So this conference that is keeping me from being in Canada for Thanksgiving and also making me miss The Bandicoots is now redeemed by the fact that I will actually be there for this (which I’ve missed for the past year or two) and for a friend’s graduation from library school in London (the one in Ontario that actually has its own Thames). Pretty good tradeoff all in all.
Also on the agenda:
- Groceteria research in Detroit, maybe Toledo, and Niagara Falls
- Quality time in the Toronto Reference Library
- Falafel Queen (just discovered it’s now closed and I’m depressed) and all my other favorites
- London and Windsor for the first time in twelve years
- Seeing friends (I hope) in Toronto, Detroit, and Buffalo
- Maybe another side trip yet to be determined
I’m home. Flying back from Halifax only took fifteen hours longer than driving would have. I hate flying.
So I’ve now done the Maritimes. I’m glad I’ve been there and I enjoyed the trip, but a return trip is not a terribly high priority for me. The whole area is just too rural and lacks a lot of the urbanity and diversity I associate with Ontario and Québec, though there are still some interesting notes I’ll add to that long essay on suburban form in Canada I’ve been formulating for years now.
A few more random thoughts:
- New Brunswick is the only “officially bilingual” province in Canada. Greater Moncton (and particularly) Dieppe was the only place I visited where it really seemed to “take.”
- There are a lot of a highways that seem to have much more capacity than the traffic requires.
- I found Halifax the most interesting place of all, probably because it’s the biggest city in the region and had some of the only decent bookstores I found.
- Halifax also has one of the oddest street numbering systems I’ve ever encountered anywhere.
- I’d like to read a spatial history of Saint John because I really don’t understand how it developed the way it did.
- A&W’s “beyond meat” burger? Meh.
It’s very odd for me to be wearing shorts in Canada.
I’m usually here in October, and it’s usually a bit chilly for shorts. I had fantasized that the Maritimes would be chilly even in July, and it is cooler here than at home, but the daily highs are still much higher than the 25F maximum I was hoping for. Stupid heatwave…
Anyway, quick impressions of the eastern provinces so far:
- New Brunswick is apparently the one place where St. Hubert and Swiss Chalet peacefully coexist. That may or may not be a metaphor for something.
- I’m surprised at how small the main municipalities are, particularly Saint John. I realized I’d seen most of it after just a few hours last night. Halifax seems to have a bit more texture and size. I’ll be back there at the end of the week.
- People here are very nice. Their driving behaviour, alas, does not reflect this fact.
- I have not yet tried the new A&W plant-based burger. That may happen tomorrow.
- The combination of being so far north and also being in the western part of the time zone means that it’s disturbingly light outside till well after 9PM.
- Like everywhere in Canada, the public libraries (and librarians) are great!
- Also like everywhere in Canada, the residents seems so happy to be here. There’s not that (growing) perpetual, simmering anger that we have in the US.
- I eat too well when I’m travelling.
More to follow…
I don’t think I could ever have a completely monogamous relationship with a city. I get crushes too easily, and they make me a little obsessive, even when they’re never really…uh…consummated.
This week, for the record, it’s Cincinnati (which I’ve finally gotten used to spelling correctly) and I’m now in that “uncovering its history and doing my Groceteria research” phase following the lovely weekend we just spent together. I’d been in Cincy exactly twice before, once with Bob on the 1998 U.S. Tour and once in 2006 with Mark. Both were quick drive-throughs which gave me no real feel for the place but made me want to see more. Apparently I also considered moving there, at least for long enough to write this.
I probably wouldn’t actually move there now, but it seems a nice enough place to have another affair with. I’m in Pittsburgh next month for a show. I hope this won’t make things awkward between us.