It's my turn to lead our book group discussion this month, and the book I chose is The Blue Castle, L. M. Montgomery's novel for adults. The Blue Castle is Montgomery's only book set outside of Prince Edward Island; it takes place in Bala, Muskoka, Ontario, where Montgomery went on holiday once.
Here are more reasons why I love Canada:
Poutine! It's the ultimate comfort food. Take french fries, add fresh cheese curds, then pour delicious brown gravy over the top, so that the cheese melts somewhat, but retains its texture and shape. My mouth waters as I write. Oh, and Crème Budwig--like muesli, only a lot nuttier. Other delicious Canadian foods: toutons (bread dough fried in salt pork fat), figgy duff (similar to plum pudding), and maple fudge. Or really, maple anything.
Barenaked Ladies! Great Big Sea (I have a huge crush on Alan Doyle, second from the right in the photo above)! The Wailin' Jennys! Leonard Cohen! Rush, Triumph, Steppenwolf, and The Guess Who! Joni Mitchell and Neil Young! Oscar Peterson! La Bottine Souriante! There are so many great Canadian musicians. I even liked Céline Dion back when she was still singing in French and before she started beating on her skinny chest in platinum-selling, anglophone power ballads.
Robertson Davies! Mordecai Richler! Michael Ondaatje! Margaret Atwood! Mavis Gallant! Dave Duncan! Charles de Lint, Guy Gavriel Kay, and Yann Martel! Alice Munro and Lucy Maud Montgomery! A significan percentage of my favorite writers are from Canada.
Dan Aykroyd. Eugene Levy. Mike Myers. Catherine O' Hara. John Candy. Dave Foley. Phil Hartman. Howie Mandel. Andrea Martin. Jim Carrey. Canada is good at making funny people.
French without anxiety. I studied French for 12 years in school, but that doesn't mean I was a fluent speaker when I got to Laval. Imagine my relief when I found that the Québecois were thrilled with my French, a reaction completely unlike the ill-disguised sneers or looks of outright incomprehension I'd gotten when trying to communicate with those of a more Parisian profile. (The difference between Canadian French and European French is as dramatic as the difference between British English and American English.) Canadians were so kind and encouraging of my French, even sometimes asking me whether I was from western Canada (this is much better than sounding like an American, I assure you).
I have many ancestors who settled in or were born in places like Scarborough, Ontario; Grand Bay, New Brunswick; and Cardston, Alberta.
For my senior project in college, I wrote a detailed outline for a post-apocalyptic fantasy novel partially set in a mythical Canadian province called Nunavut. Right after I turned in my project for final approval in March 1999, the real province of Nunavut was officially created. I now (irrationally) feel as though I were the creator of this new province.