A Canuck. A herringchoker and Maritimer by birth, a Newfie and Atlantic Canadian by choice. An Anglophone. English and Irish by ancestry. My paternal grandparents emigrated from England (via Gibraltar) sometime around 1908. My grandfather was born in Surrey and my grandmother in Liverpool.
My maternal grandparents were Canadian-born. My grandfather was a rabid member of the Orange Lodge, so I presume my ancestors on that side were Ulstermen. My grandmother's roots are less known, but were supposed to be Irish with one German grandmother. Very typical Atlantic Canadian roots.
It's funny being a Canadian. It's kind of like being the somewhat obscure sibling of a superstar. Everyone knows you exist, they just don't know that much about you. Even our accents (for there is more than one) are unknown. In England, I am asked if I am American. In America, I'm asked if I'm English. And they can work against you here. In Western Canada, I would be scorned as a Maritimer; here, I'm snubbed as a Mainlander.
Despite our being the second largest country (in area) in the world, non-Canadians generally have no idea of the scale of the country. Relatives from other parts of the world tell you they'd like to go shopping in Toronto on Saturday and what time would you have to leave St. John's to get there by car. Oh, around, say... 8:30 in the morning... on Thursday. It's a 10-hour drive from here to the west coast of Newfoundland*, then an 8-hour ferry ride to the east coast of Nova Scotia and then at least another 16 hours or so to Toronto.
Or you'll meet someone whilst travelling the world and when they find out you're Canadian, they'll ask if you know their cousin Dave in Winnipeg. I got bussed to school, but not that far...
Even we don't always know how big we are or where we end or begin. Or at least the advertising agencies don't. There was an Anacin commercial a few years back that boasted it could keep you headache-free as you flew from coast-to-coast - from Vancouver to, not St. John's, which would truly be from coast to coast, not even Halifax, which would be close, but... Montréal. They'd only left out four provinces. Four of the smallest provinces, granted, but still. I guess it was as far east as they could imagine travelling. Or maybe as far east as they'd want to, but that's another post. If you consult the map above... okay you can't exactly do that, it's too small, but you can find a readable version here. Otherwise, you'll have to trust me on this. Montréal is in Québec, the big green province on the right and St. John's is in Newfoundland** and Labrador, the purple province on the right and as far east as you can go before you have to start treading water. Let's just say if I stood at an airline counter in Vancouver airport (in the yellow province on the left) and told them I wanted to fly to the opposite coast and they sent me to Montréal, I'd be a tad peeved. And have a very long walk ahead of me.
So. Due to the travellin' feet of my grandparents and probably in no small way to the Irish potato famines of 1800's, I am Canadian. I think Joe says it best.
Molson Canadian - Joe Canadian ad
*Newfoundland, while the 15th largest island in the world and approximate half the size of Great Britain, is only 4.1% of the total area of Canada.
**Newfoundland is pronounced to rhyme with 'understand' with the middle syllable sounding more like 'fen' than 'found'. Newfoundland, understand?
The Wrath of Dawn. Educating the world one blog reader at a time. Fnarr and, indeed, guffaw. As if.