Here’s the photo I took last year when Barb and I were in Toronto for the Canada Day celebration. It was a special one because it was Canada’s 150th Birthday. The fireworks above are coming out of the CN tower.
Anyway, I thought I would take this opportunity to give a stateside impression. Today, our Canada Day has consisted of Barb pining for Swiss Chalet sauce and saying that a Tim Horton’s back home would never refer to a sandwich as a “hoagie.” Apparently, they would call it a “sandwich.”
Also, she didn’t mention that there was a recipe for Roast Antelope in that Canadian cookbook.
Bookwise, I had a couple thoughts as it relates to Canada. Everyone’s aware of some of the greats. Alice Munro has a Nobel Prize and Margaret Atwood should have one. There are others, of course.
For example, I’d point you to Wayne Grady’s Emancipation. This book, set mostly in Windsor, is a terrific story of people involved in the African-Canadian experience directly across the river from Detroit, where the bloody and violent African-American experience was playing out. (I also learned that Newfoundland was not part of Canada until 1949.) It’s pretty timely for today–and I don’t mean Canada Day only–because it lends some understanding to how Canada is as diverse as it is and has still been immune to the global xenophobia trend, a statement I make even while noting the election of Doug Ford.
When you are in Windsor and you drive down the main drag, you see signs in English and then it transitions effortlessly to Arabic. It has to mean something.
By the way, Richard Ford’s Canada also ends in Windsor and you might get the idea that Windsor is some kind of underappreciated literary capital, and if you had that idea you’d be wrong.
Another author that I don’t think most people know was Canadian is W.P. Kinsella, who wrote Shoeless Joe and other fictional works related to baseball. Shoeless Joe is the book that Field of Dreams was based on. Kinsella (who has since passed) was a brilliant writer. He wrote like a painter. He had the ability to describe colors in a way that set your brain on fire with images. I’d recommend anyone check back on his works, which are really about how people try to find peace in the struggles of everyday life. Also, he’s a natural-born storyteller, and you know how I value that.
I didn’t realize until now that Patrick DeWitt, the author of the transcendent Sisters Brothers is Canadian. Also, the decidedly more immanent Yann Martel.
So, Happy Canada Day to all! Put an antelope on the grill, pop open a cold one and enjoy a great book.