Before about a week ago, the furthest I had ever delved into Canada was Windsor and Niagara Falls – both border cities. At those places you don’t even really need to change your money to Canadian. You can hardly say that my family and I had taken in much culture.
Being the good ol’ American boy that I am, I decided to rectify that and take a trip to Canada. It just so happened that it lined up perfectly for a friend and I to go to Toronto, be in Ottawa for Canada Day, and then finish up with Montreal. It is adding up to be what I would consider a great primer for the eastern half of Canada, and one of the better trips I’ve taken in my life.
Between eating copious amounts of food, drinking too much, and generally walking around cities until our feet felt as though they may fall off at any point, we made some time to explore Ottawa on Canada Day (If you’re not aware, Ottawa is the capital of Canada. We’ve had to explain that to many friends).
Word of advice: When in Toronto, go to Sneaky Dee’s, and when in Ottawa, go to House of Targ.
What we found was an incredibly diverse, welcoming city, full of deliciously fattening food, amazing views and Parliament Hill, where there are real live Canadian politicians! It was incredible and heartwarming to see a city come together for a day to celebrate its own culture; one that we, as Americans, often seem to overlook.
The idea that Americans “hate Canada,” or find it somehow inferior to them, is a terrible cliché at this point. Just turn on South Park at any point and you’re bound to hear a joke about Canada. It is honestly a little disgusting to me after spending some time here. But hey, they don’t need me to defend them. Just spend some time in the Great White North and you’ll realize that you’re surrounded by beautiful scenery with amazing people. Oh yeah, and they seemed to LOVE getting drunk with us. So that was cool, too.
I guess my point is this: July 1st is Canada Day, and every year as we lead up to our own national celebration, we should maybe take a second to remember that “America’s hat” has been there for us and will continue to be. Pour one out.
By the way, fireworks are amazing no matter what country they’re celebrating.
As a bonus, here is a picture of my friend when we found “Bronson Street” in Ottawa, which we can only assume was named after Robot Butt editor Bronson Arcuri: