Thursday, April 12, 2012

Stereotypes

There is nothing like having foreign visitors to highlight our stereotypes as a "Canadian" family, as "Canadians", as "Canada", as "Vancouver", as "Steveston".  I could argue all these terms are hard to define in the first place and yet a series of images and behaviours have attached themselves to us and these places that make them what they are, at least in part.

It is easy to tell the stereotypical story, check off the stereotypical images and our visitors will think they met Canadians and saw Canada.

But did they? 

Our French Home stay Julia and my Aunt Shirley (Great Aunt to my kids!) from Australia were just here this week.  We showed them snowy log cabins in the forest, lakes with trees to the waterline, ferries, boats, Granville Island, the Canada Line, The City of Vancouver, The Empress, the Legislature, museums, misty islands.......

We fed them salmon on the grill, salmon burgers, burgers, milkshakes, clam chowder, poutine.

We talked hockey.

And there was SO Much more we could have done and showed them if we had had more time.

Truly on the map of Canada they saw the smallest speck. 

One small moment in which we bust at least one myth, was at the "welcome to Canada" BBQ at the school on Tuesday.  We had the Fraser River Fiddlers come in to perform.  They were 4 young people in jeans, t-shirts and cowboy hats and boots.....stay with me.....they had fiddles and man could they play.....they had the whole room tapping their toes and clapping along.....and what stunned the visitors......all the fiddlers were Asian!   The French teens couldn't stop talking about it.

I think our blended South African/Canadian immigrant family also busted a few myths. And also massacred the French language a fair bit...ok so that was me... but I was trying to be a friendly Canadian.  We didn't, however, reveal that we eat ketchup on our french toast.....some things are just for "family" afterall.

We are lucky to have these things to share with the world.....to live in this magnificent place on the planet.  I love showing it off and it never ceases to make me feel grateful to live here and I hope it never feels boring or old.....that I never feel entitled to this place.

So we saw no Beavers, No Mounties (in regalia), No Moose (other than stuffed)...... What do you think when you think of "Canada" and "Canadians"?


2 comments:

  1. First Nation - many years ago I spent a few fascinating hours in a museum in Ontaria - and then there is that fascinating book -"I heard the Owl call my name".....

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  2. Good one Fiona....we had a Musqueam Dancer welcome the French Students to the Musqueam territory and he dedicated a song to them called "Safe Journey" - it was lovely and today they are at the Museum of Anthropology at UBC for more on First Nations - you would love that museum!!

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