When I was finishing up high school
and looking for a place to "further my education
", I had trouble deciding and was leaning toward going to the States
. I probably would have gone had I been able to afford it.
I've lived in Canada all my life. Granted, there were a few primary years spent in New Jersey, but other than that, I've always enjoyed living in Canada. It's a largely misunderstood country and a great conversation starter when you're abroad. However, I have only ever lived around the GTA. I moved from Etobicoke, a suburb of Toronto, to some of the northern suburbs. So my home/party life has always revolved around the great Toronto.
It wasn't until then that I really discovered what a narrow view I have of Canada, and how little I really knew about the country. I wanted to be in a city for school and consequently thought that Toronto was my only option. Somehow, even though I live here, I had succumbed to the stereotypical American view that Canada was a country of maple trees and small village communities. Cities, that is, real cities, were only to be found in the states. I thought that Toronto was the closest thing to urban life I would find without having to leave the country.
How did I get this view? Perhaps having only learned the Canadian past rather than the present, I stupidly felt that the rest of Canada had stopped evolving circa 1900. (I also suck at geography, but that's not the point.)
This comment was inspired by Pseudo_Intellectual's comment on Vancouver. Unfortunately, his view is one that many canadians have. Margaret Laurence rightly asked in Heart of a Stranger, "Why on earth did generations of Canadians pretend to believe this country dull?"
I was floored when I first learned that Vancouver had a million people in it. I delved into Canadian fiction and read lots of Margaret Laurence, Margaret Atwood, and Mordecai Richler. My own prejudices are slowly being destroyed - but more importantly I have learned to recognize them. I love Toronto, but I also love Vancouver and Montreal. I've heard Halifax is fabulous. And there is still so much that I haven't seen.
This country never ceases to amaze and surprise me. And luckily, now I am expecting to be surprised.