After nearly 20 years as a resident, I’m starting to actual feel like I am Canadian.
The 2010 Olympics helped. When the gold medal hockey game went into overtime I was watching as a guest of an Alaskan family. Many in attendance commented that some Alaskans feel an affiliation to Canada. But not all. And not our hosts. I sat on pins and needles and kept my celebration private when the last goal of the shootout was finally in the net and the Canadians were going ballistic.
Last weekend was my final initiation as a citizen. I was in Eastern Canada doing Camp Shows and I had a full-on Canadian experience. I love the west, but Ontario has the largest population, and the largest economy of any Canadian province. There is no ambiguity about where you are. In Ottawa I stayed with Rosemary and David Spendlove who shared what it is like to live in the capital of Canada surrounded by the swirl of politics. I had my first batch of homemade pancakes with real maple syrup. The sidewalks were so slippery after last week’s ice storms that most of the pedestrians (and there were lots of them!) were walking in the roads which had been plowed and salted. And because the temperatures had warmed to near freezing, no one was wearing a toque.
In Toronto I stayed with the Wilson family whose son, Matt, provided my second batch of homemade pancakes (and more real maple syrup), along with my first-ever ride on a snow-mobile, my first time up the CN tower, and, confirmed westerner that I am, a rare trip to Niagara Falls. (The Canadian side has always looked way better to me even as a Yankee kid.)
Over the course of the weekend there were at least three trips to Tim Horton’s as well, and despite the corporate takeover by Wendy’s Hamburger Corporation in 1995, Tim’s remains about as firmly etched into the ethos of modern Canada as the maple leaf. And I’m apparently not the only one to think so.
In Pearson Airport, every other food-selling establishment on the whole of “D” concourse was essentially a ghost town. Timmies was a mad-house with people ordering “double-doubles” and sausage biscuits like there was no tomorrow. Maybe because everything else was twice the price.
I’m still plenty proud to be an American. I love watching the Blue Angels scream over the Golden Gate Bridge. Corvettes are still my favourite car. The Empire State Building in New York City and the Arch in St Louis are still icons to me even though I’ve never lived in those cities.
Camp Bow-Isle is so fortunate to have supporters and campers from both sides of the border, and I continue to enjoy having one foot in each nation. I love defending each country from the friendly gybes of my more patriotic friends on both sides.
But this year when the Olympic torch is lit in Sochi, Russia, I’ll be wearing my Red and White. I’ll save the Blue for emergencies. Like if Canada loses a game.