By Roy MacGregor

Who're we? In Canadians, one in every of Canada’s such a lot clever and loved writers maps our nationwide psyche in an excellent and bold paintings. Canadians is an pleasing portrait of this kingdom and its humans, via its historical past, pop culture, literature, game, panorama, and climate. In his pursuit of the Canadian nationwide id, MacGregor has travelled in every single place, taking our pulse, telling our tales. A glowing mixture of ancient, anecdotal, and reflective writing converges in a story that's terribly realized in its perceptions and light-weight in its delivery—all emblems of this notable writer’s work.

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We're heading this wretched evening, heads bowed, collars tight to chin, to the nationwide Library to listen to a panel dialogue on what, precisely, makes a Canadian. precise tale. numerous months prior, an enterprising younger Rhodes student named Irvin Studin approached fifty Canadian writers, thinkers, enterprise leaders, politicians, activists, lecturers, artists, and—obviously operating a piece skinny on contributors—even a couple of newshounds and requested them to publish two-thousand-word essays starting with the phrases “A Canadian is …” No solutions have been an identical, as should be anticipated, and a few didn’t even resolution in any respect, which I’m tempted to indicate can be as profound a solution as a few of those who have been really typed and added. It was once an odd workout: thousand phrases no longer approximately adequate, thousand phrases method an excessive amount of. something “A Canadian is …,” notwithstanding, is keen. As Stephen Leacock as soon as wrote a few favorite personality, “he flung himself from the room, flung himself upon his horse and rode madly off in all instructions. ” Leacock, in fact, was once writing approximately a century in the past. the pony ridden at the present time by way of alarmists is the pc keyboard. And it is going in as many instructions as there are arms at the keys. I’m no longer relatively certain why Studin incorporated me in his survey, yet i know that the closing date hooked up to my contribution used to be outrageously tight, which might recommend the B or maybe C checklist, somebody who can sort speedy subbing for an important identify that both dropped out or didn’t convey. And no funds used to be provided, which just about constantly ends up in the journalist’s go back notice starting “Much as i might love to…. ” however the invitation used to be very unlikely to show down. i discovered my mind driving madly off in all instructions, asking the foolish query whereas jogging the puppy, driving my motorbike, observing Hockey evening in Canada, or even attempting to get to sleep at evening. for somebody who’s by no means had difficulty snoozing, this used to be traumatic certainly. I easily had no notion what the reply was once. after all, the single means i'll give some thought to to accomplish that suggestive commencing word was once to visit the records Canada web site, lookup the operating census, and begin off with “A Canadian is 32,146,547 various things altogether—and counting. …” It appeared shrewdpermanent on the time. looking back, it appeared foolish. On rereading, it appeared satisfactory. not able to make up my brain and, being Canadian, I went with it. Canadians, I occasionally imagine, do lead the realm in a single topic. now not hockey, now not pulp construction, now not snow, no longer even potholes, yet in choosing via their very own belly-button lint. For a humans recognized for his or her resourcefulness, this may frequently look a dreadful waste of one’s most crucial source: time. Compulsive self-introspection, although, turns out oddly and uniquely Canadian. americans don’t appear to do a lot of it, except issue-based magazines that occupy yet a fragment of the shelf house dedicated to star, activities, or even pornography. British writer Jeremy Paxman says that these he studied in his 1998 publication, The English: A Portrait of a humans, “have no longer dedicated loads of power to discussing who they're.

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