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Friday, July 1, 2011

Happy Canada Day/Joyeuse Fête du Canada!

I want to wish happy celebrating to all of the Chronicles visitors from Canada or border towns in the US where you gain Canadian cultural influence. I know I grew up with a lot of Canadian influence in metro Detroit. We were in the ADI, area of dominant influence, for the Windsor TV channels. In fact, CBET, channel 9, was a station we watched Canadian programs before cable. Some of the shows I loved as a child were Canadian kids shows, adding a few words of French to the Italian that enhanced my formative English. I think that early influence is why I ultimately chose French to study in high school and college. I’ve always said the border towns produced babies that were 100% one country with a 10% the other by birthright. That makes us 110% people, just a little more.

So everyone knows how much I love Canadian McDonald’s and how I grumble about needing passport to visit. It seems the government doesn’t recognize that 10%. I figure if you have a birth certificate that says you were born less than 60 miles from the border from either country, you should get a free pass. Okay, I’m an American who loves Canada and I’m cheap, but harmless. I’m a good girl too. I've had my passport almost three years and I’ll probably be getting my fourth stamp in it soon.

I loved growing up so close to another country that it almost didn’t seem like another country. The big fireworks show on the Detroit River was part of the Detroit-Windsor Freedom Festival, which had concerts and carnivals, a street fair that you could see more of from either side of the river. I grew up knowing the beginning of July meaning a celebration of two countries.

Common to many of my generation who grew up in Metro Detroit, Canada is the first place I had a legal drink without my parents there. I’d had a legal drink in San Marino, when I was 12, but my parents were with me, so it only kinda counts. Canada is also where I chose to go for my “travel test” with Mom to get the okay to drive somewhere and stay overnight. It’s also where I tasted a scone for the first time, long before they were common anywhere in the US. I’ve seen baseball and hockey games in Canada and made a donation to the local economy at the video poker machines at Casino Windsor. I went to Niagara Falls many times before I even knew what “for lovers” meant and the Skylon tower is why I never had a fear of heights! I dated a couple guys from Canada and when we were in Canada, I never felt like a foreigner and never felt like I was dating a foreigner when we were in the US.

I celebrate Canada Day, not just for my perceived 10%, but as anyone would lovingly celebrate a favorite sister’s birthday. My life experiences would be much smaller if not for the many trips through my almost 45 years and I will keep that passport that I begrudgingly need now because I won’t give up the next 45 years or so with the other country I love so much.

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