Tuesday, March 11, 2014

An Englishman Abroad

As an Englishman relocated to Canada just seven years ago, I cannot help but find this recently posted video rather fun and charming. It's a bullet point account of a young English guy's visit to my country, seemingly mostly, if not entirely, in Ontario. He revels in what he may feel are some 'typical' Canadian experiences and, indeed, on my first visit to Canada back in 1996 - briefly taking in destinations in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia - I understandably sought out the very same. Like young James I also saw the Toronto Maple Leafs play, visited (several) Tim Horton's and ascended the (terrifyingly tall) CN Tower, but I am amused at the thrills he gleaned from decidedly non-Canadian, somewhat universal experiences - such as visiting a mall, riding the subway, eating pizza and, bizarrely, welding! Oh well, all that matters is that he had a good time and went home high on Canada.

But it is funny what the general perception of Canadian life appears to be from those that have never visited the country. I've had people back in England ask what it's like living in "the wilderness," when I live in a relatively modern city; they picture some kind of frontier existence in which we have to hunt our food and chop down trees to heat the cabin. Of course, many people in the more remote areas of this vast country do live this way, but the romantic vision of Canada is that we all do. Although, of course, some of it was said in jest, a friend who visited from the UK some years ago said he envisaged that it snowed year-round, that lots of people on Vancouver Island live in igloos and cabins deep in massive forests, that maple syrup is served with every meal, that every Canadian says 'aboot' and 'eh' all the time, and that all we listen to is Rush and Gordon Lightfoot.

That's pretty funny, eh? And aboot all I have time for today.