In May 2014, soon after I began to publish and write my second website/blog, Honourary Canadian: Seeing Canada From Away, I wrote and assembled a personal essay titled “Why I Started this Blog and Call it Honourary Canadian.” It chronicles more than forty years of trips to Canada, first as a 12-year old traveling from Cleveland to Expo ’67 in Montreal, to many solo vacations when I was single and first working in NYC, to many trips with my wife and son, and since 2011, annual visits to Toronto for the NXNE music festival and for publishing activities, especially with author Elaine Dewar. The essay is longish, with almost 8,000 words of narrative text and more than 200 captioned photos, many taken on film back in the day, and scanned for the web.I’ll some day hope to fashion it as part of a book about Canada, seen from away. Having the chance to publish the essay is, in a sense, probably why I started the second site—to conjure up the experiences and landscapes I encountered in the nation to the north.
Canada Day 2017 was observed this past Saturday, on July 1 (sometime, I have to find out why US Independence Day, and Canada’s day, happen to be so close on the calendar). It was sort of a special one, as the 150th since Canada’s confederation. Many Indigenous groups weren’t keen to celebrate it, but it engendered widespread coverage, and debate about Canada’s colonialist past, a good thing. With the special anniversary in mind, I re-shared the link to the 2014 post on my Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn page, the first time I’ve done that on a Canada Day. There’s been a gratifying response, so I’m posting it here, too. Before I started the second site—no surprise—I published a lot of Canadian reflections here on The Great Gray Bridge.