Wednesday, August 8, 2007

My People

We look
like a geography but
just scratch us
and we bleed

Miriam Waddington, "Canadians"

And Who is the Storyteller?

How did I get here? I ascended. I ascended from Cape Breton coal mines and the Barnardo orphanage of Belfast, from nomadic Czech migrations and Australian penal colonies. These tales converge in men, and this is not unusual. From the first Vikings to the shattered displacement of the First Nations, from resistance to revival, from New France to the New West, from dreams of utopia to dreams of porperity, from Loyalist boat peope to modern-day refugess, Canada is more than just a country: it is a sum of its stories. We are all orphans, are all survivors of shipwrecks, and we carry these stories of exile and renewal within us, whether we are aware of it or not.

Will Ferguson, Beauty Tips from Moose Jaw


Canada is more than a canoe route after all. Canada is a road trip. And like any road trip worthy of the name, it is ultimately about freedom in its purest form."

Will Ferguson, Beauty Tips from Moose Jaw

"Can you miss a place before you leave it? Can you feel homesick for a city that isn't your home?"

Will Ferguson, Beauty Tips from Moose Jaw


"We have inherited an easy life in Canada. A life of calm. It is freedom of a lazy sort, a freedom so pervasive we barely notice it, and one that we claim by virtue of our citizenship. But it is also workth remembering that people--in the words of Bulgarian-born Canadian philanthropist Ignat Kaneff--'crawl across minefields to get here.'"

Will Ferguson, Beauty Tips from Moose Jaw

National Locomotion

"You get the feeling that God designed the canoe first and then set about creating a country in which it would flourish."

Bill Mason

"The CPR may have bound this nation together, but it is the canoe that first called it into being. The birchbark has been replaced, first by canvas and then by aluminum and fibreglass, but the symbolism remains. Paddling a canoe-why it's as Canadian as grilled cheese sandwhiches."

Will Ferguson

"What sets a canoeing expedition apart is that it purifies you more rapidly and inescapably than any other. Travel a thousand miles by train and you are a brute; pedal five hudnred on a bicycle and you remian basically bourgeois; paddle a hundred in a canoe and you are already a child of nature"

Pierre Trudeau

Sow's Ear into a Purse

Any city that turns a bank into a bookstore can't be all bad.

Will Ferguson, Beauty Tips from Moose Jaw

Finer Things

The best tobacconist in Canada. The best chocolate shop. The finest bookstore. All three located in Victoria, all within a single block.

This is leisure as an expression of status: arcane and elitist and deeply personal, all at the same time.

Will Ferguson, Beauty Tips from Moose Jaw