I am a closest Canadian – or should be.

When I began to discover I was different than the other boys, I concluded at the tender age of 6yo I must be a Canadian too.

The correlation is not that off the wall. When I was growing up in Michigan, Canada was directly SOUTH of us, and more assessable than any state. We spent some of our family holidays in Canada. Father would take us to Goderich and Sarnia, where his mother’s side used to live. We grew up listening to the CBC. Detroit and Windsor celebrate their national holidays on the same day. The two countries seem smeared into one.

In American history, Canada was a haven for persecuted people (Native Americans, Loyalists, and draft dodgers). People fleeing Europe came to North America, but people fleeing the USA went north. So if I was the only queer lad in the States, then perhaps there are people like me – in the Great White North.

There used to be vast differences between Canada and the USA. My father recalls having to drive on the left side of the street. Up until the 1950s, Canada was more European than North American, and more inclined to the United Kingdom than to the States. Now, there seems less of a difference. Even as a boy I felt no great difference being there other than more colourful money, the metric system, better doughnuts , and  – bless’em! – a decent cup of tea.  Vast improvements, all.

Canadians like to say they are very different from The States, but when pressed to tell these differences, they have a hard time coming up with things. One of my favorite authors, Robertson Davies, wrote Canada has two great National Myths – the Myth of Innocence, and the Myth of Difference. He writes about it all better than I can.

I like to think of Canada as the ‘good daughter who stayed home’. When Mother England and daughters were fighting back in the 1700s, the USA tried to bribe Canada to run away with her. But Canada took the modest approach, and it has been doing so ever since. Mother England, always one to smell fortune, soon bonded with her estranged daughter, leaving Canada feeling a bit gipped.

I once asked a Canuck chum how do they make Canadian History interesting?
”They can’t, so they don’t try” was the reply.

Canada remains a more civilized country. It has always called me. Canada seems quieter and less violent than the USA. Now that I live in the West, I think more on the Cowboy Archetype. We have the Cowboy: Canadians have the Mounty. The Mounties were created to go ahead of the Canadian western migration to set up order ahead of time so there would not be any lawlessness. Can you imagine? While Dudley Do-Right and the Smiling Mounty may not seem as ‘cool’ an archetype as The Cowboy, the bloody shoot outs and lawlessness are missing as well.

Canada has the ‘best of both worlds’ – a socialized government with a monarch at its head, for psychological needs.

I feel quite at home when I go on my annual August holiday to Stratford, Toronto, Niagra-on-the-Lake. I look forward to it every year.

And where else can I go where my ‘ou’ pronounced ‘oo’ is not questioned?

Anyway, I am looking forward to going “back home” this August.

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