Happy Canada Day, everyone!
I’m rather fond of our neighbors up north. You could say it’s because I’m a hockey fan. You could also say it’s because I used to watch “Due South” and had a huge crush on the Mountie. In fact, the last time my family and I visited Canada, my dad and brother found a postcard with Mounties on it and gave it to me just to troll me.
While the aforementioned reasons might be true, I’m most fond of Canada because many of my best childhood memories were forged in British Columbia— one of those memories being me trolled by that postcard. Now, bear with me while I start to sound like a travel brochure, but believe me when I say I had an awesome time in BC and would dearly love to recreate them for my daughter and husband.
My dad was a true road warrior— he enjoyed road trips for the journey and the joy of driving. Driving through the Pacific Northwest to Vancouver was more or less Heaven on Earth for him. I vividly remember the sweet, soft, floral aroma of lychees and dragoneye fruits so fresh that they were still on their branches when we bought them at Chinatown; the taste was like clear, refreshing honeyed water. Then there was the ferry ride to Victoria Island, which was always fun to stand on the deck and feel the spray of the channel on my face. My mom got to indulge in her gardening passions at Buchart Gardens: she had me put on my prettiest flowery dress so she could take lots of pictures. Oh, and don’t forget all of the pretty architecture at the parliament building and all over the city.
There was second trip to Vancouver to see the Sharks take on (and lose to) the Canucks at the then-new GM Center. Not much else to say about that, unfortunately.
The last trip to British Columbia we would take as a family was no less memorable. What stands out from that trip was going to Twinings Tea House on Victoria Island, and then visiting the bookstore next door. The bookstore, Munro’s, was something out of a hobbit’s fancy: all old, polished wood bookshelves; the smell of binding and paper; a sense of tranquil, contented peace. I think that was when I first became enamored with the romantic notion of enjoying tea with a good book, of spending hours amongst the shelves and taking care of the books, of showing someone my favorite books and giving recommendations— and I was well on my way to being the quasi-librarian I am now.
Ah, good times. I hope to go back some time. Toronto is closer, of course, now that I’m in the Midwest, but I hear it’s also a great city and beautiful city.
I raise my mug of tea to you today, Canada. May you stay well and stay strong.