Canadian Coffee Break: Where Is Canada, California?
The Canadian Coffee Break brings together some of the finest Canadian minds in Southern California every week for a topical, lively round-tablesque discussion over very dark coffee. Won’t you join us.
This week’s topic: Where can the “most Canadian” city block in Southern California be found, and what makes it such? How do you qualify it?
After several minutes of deep rumination, I came to the conclusion that it is difficult to define an urban or rural block of the Southland as quintessentially Canadian because Tim Hortons hasn’t broken into the California market yet.
With this restraint in mind, I may be breaking with convention by selecting a certain pond-cum-center situated seconds offa the 57 Freeway on East Katella Avenue in Anaheim. The Honda Center (formerly the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim) is perhaps the safest bet for any conspicuous Canadian looking for a slice of home in California.
“Honda Ponda,” as it is affectionately known to Anaheim’s innumerable connoisseurs of Duck, is an unassuming sports arena that most notably treasures Canada’s sacred sport, le hockey. I’m aware that the LA Kings hang at Staples, but I challenge anyone to argue that LA fans give half the hoot that the Anaheim quacks do about their 2007 Stanley Cup champs. There’s no contest. Look at this guy. Look at him. From my archived empirical evidence, I can attest to the devout nature of Ducks fans in the 714 – I’m talking pure hysterics over there – almost Canadian in nature.
We sport it without hesitation on the five dollar bill, when the NHL went on strike we started watching minor league women’s hockey to get our fix, and you’re ostracized as a kid if you don’t play (you don’t know my pain). While the shitty of Anaheim can’t quite compete with the homeland in the hockey infatuation department, they did have the savvy to utilize a bunch’o’Canadian jouers de hockey to win themselves a Cup from a couple of Senators from Ottawa back in June without once resorting to the flying-V or asking Emilio for coaching strategies.
Quack… Quack… Quack.
There is no real geographic enclave of Canadians in LA, that would go against our MO. The whole plan is that we walk invisibly amongst until the uprising begins (which I’ve heard is scheduled to coincide with the opening night of the Body Snatchers remake). If you don’t believe me just watch the ’85 Canadian Consipracy, a documentary about our infiltration of American culture through the entertainment industry. The film’s a little dated but with the likes of Jim Carrey and company, the problem’s only gotten worse since the ’80’s. In fact, I’ve even heard it said before that there were more illegal Canadians here than any other nationality. Even if that’s only partly true that’s a lot of Canadian zombies.
Canada isn’t a place. Canada is a feeling.
You know when you wake up in the morning, hear the birds outside, kiss your husband/wife/mistress/hand, and fill your lungs with the beautiful, fresh air?? That’s Canada.
When you go to Germany they don’t have “Germany” written on the maps – well we don’t have “Canada” written on our maps either. In it’s place we have “Utopia.”
For me Canada is at the skating rinks (except the one in Culver City, it’s old, over populated, and small – although they were nice enough to give me a band-aid when I cut my hand on my laces) and anywhere there are nice, green landscapes with lots of green trees (not including palms). The Canyon roads feel Canadian to me, especially at night. I grew up in a town with maybe 200 people and no stop lights, so the more nature = the more Canada, in my opinion.
Finding a Canadian city block in LA is simple–Long Beach leads to flashbacks of the Toronto’s suburban sprawl, home of many a junior high tournament soccer game; San Pedro feels Vancouver-ish; God knows metropolitan Alberta looks like Anywhere, USA.
But finding somewhere akin to a Haligonian (“of Halifax, Nova Scotia”) city block isn’t easy. Where are the salt-stained, three hundred year old stone buildings? How about the pubs with names like “Old Triangle,” “Your Father’s Moustache,” and the infamous “Economy Shoe Shop?” Where are all the homeless hippie kids who play the fiddle? What about red, square mailboxes, Tim Horton’s, hole-in-the-wall used book shops, chip wagons, moss-covered fortresses and armaments, bagpipers, hydrostones, buskers, $15 parking tickets, steep hills, blasted celtic rock and local rap, overly polite drivers, boat-themed playgrounds, souvenir stores, hundred-year-old oak trees, donairs, local celebrities (weathermen, realtors, trailer park boys), shitty malls, sea life petting zoo tanks, brass plaques on every building, bus-riders of every stripe, pewter seagulls, crumbling graveyards, inspirational lobster statues and someone you know met on every outing…
I think I’m homesick. Fuck, Los Angeles sucks. But at least there’s less hippies here.
I’m gonna say the most Haligonian city block is probably somewhere in Venice: lots of white homeless kids with dreds, crappy souvenirs made of shells, folk art galleries and people who wear shorts in the dead of winter.