Canadian Studies

A not-terribly-widely-known fact about me is that in 2000, I applied to Carleton University in Ottawa to work on a Master’s degree in Canadian Studies.  At the time, I was planning to emigrate within the next few months.  I did receive a visa from the Canadian government, but I wasn’t accepted at Carleton.  Perhaps it was for the best… perhaps.  I was really running on empty at the time, and moving back to Ulster County rather than emigrating to Canada was probably a good decision.  Again – probably.  It is a decision which I revisit and about which I wonder from time to time.

A far more widely known fact about me is that in the decade or so since, my interest in Canada, Canadians, Canadian music, Canadian literature, Canadian history, the Canadian landscape has in no way diminished.  Since making the switch from dial-up to broadband seven or eight years ago, I’ve spent most weekday mornings listening to CBC Radio One, one inadvertent result of which is that I am now far, far more well versed in Canadian politics and cultural happenings than I am with their US counterparts.  Most of the music I listen to is Canadian.  Many of the books I read are written by Canadian authors and/or deal with Canadian topics.  And I often spend my vacation time north of the 48th parallel.  One of the biggest compliments I’ve ever been paid was when I was visiting friends of a friend at a farm in Eastern Ontario, and they asked me after an afternoon’s conversation, “When you’re in the states, how are you able to pass [as an American]?”  I was walking on clouds for the rest of the day.

I was discussing some of this with a friend a few months ago, and he suggested off-hand that I might want to see if there are any universities which offer on-line Master’s programmes in Canadian Studies.  I let the idea percolate for a few weeks, then began doing some hunting on-line.  Unsurprisingly, my search came up empty.  So I will continue as I have; quietly pursuing my studies on my own, with neither the structure nor the distraction of an organised curriculum.  Again, this is probably for the best.  I tend to think of education as a formal, ritualised system, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Related to all of this, I feel obligated to own up to an error I made over the summer.  While on Prince Edward Island, I visited Province House, the birthplace of Canadian confederation.  I overheard some American tourists asking their tour guide how a territory could become a province; she did not know the answer, so I chimed in and told them that I believed it would take an act of Parliament.  I felt very proud of myself, and a little self-conscious.  A few days ago, I finally got around to checking this, and of course my explanation was incorrect.  The creation of a province requires an amendment to the Canadian Constitution.  (The creation of a territory, however, does only require an act of Parliament; so I was close, but didn’t quite hit the mark.)


One Response

  1. I wondered about your Canada obsession. I just thought you were Canadian. Interesting what one becomes ‘addicted’ to.

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