My Canadian Memory

Class: The Writer’s Craft (EWC4U1)
Date: April 2008
The Assignment: Write about a distinctly Canadian memory.
Mark: 90%

While Canadians are certainly capable of defining themselves with many different traditions — hockey, loonies, and saying “eh” to name a few — it seems that being Canadian is more often defined simply as not being American.

Yet, another Canadian tradition is that of crossing the border to shop.

My family makes this trip several times a year. In fact, my mother and I refuse to buy our clothing anywhere but in the States. Of course, that rather prevents the safety provided by the flame retardant clothing law we have here in Canada.

Speaking of Canadian laws, we have quite a few that do not exist in the States. I must point that out, you see, because it is this very fact that makes them Canadian. Never mind that Australia doesn’t have these laws, nor does China or Brazil. No. These are distinctly non-American laws. Laws such as the skill testing question, the ones in small print at the bottom of the Tim Hortons Easter colouring (and definitely not coloring) contest, the ones I could never get right because I had yet to learn the middle school math concept of BEDMAS.

Another Canadian law, one that I am not always very grateful for, is the Canadian content requirements for radio. It seems that you hear the Tragically Hip, Rush, and April Wine songs every day! You know, hearing “A Million Vacations” a million times really was not what I had in mind, thank you very much.

My brother doesn’t mind nearly as much as I do. We’re both classic rock fans and musicians and I always tells him that if he ever wants to become anybody, he needs to go to America, plain and simple. After all, there aren’t any good Canadian musicians! He looks at me, shocked. I’m only kidding, of course; I do have a collection of Neil Young and Guess Who songs, and I was known to listen to the Barenaked Ladies and Avril Lavigne in my younger days.

As much as I make fun of our Nickelbacks and Celine Dions, on one of my family’s shopping trips south of the border, I couldn’t help but smile when I heard “Takin’ Care of Business” playing on the radio — not because they had to play it, but because, let’s face it, Canadians make pretty good music.