Introduction: Canada, the Unknown Country
No one knows my country, neither the stranger nor its own sons.
–Bruce Hutchison, 1942.
“…For academics, journalists and fiction writers alike, Canada is a subject of constant fascination and study. Bruce Hutchison, a prominent newspaper editor and author, once described Canada as “The Unknown Country.” To a large extent, Canada, with its complex weave of languages, cultures and regions, is a geopolitical conundrum.
Mythologies and stereotypes abound concerning the Canadian landscape people. To outsiders, Canada is a land of snow, hockey, Mounties, wildlife, untamed spaces, maple trees, peacekeepers, Tim Horton doughnut shops, universal health care, Quebec separatism, and congenial, reserved people (except, perhaps, for that redheaded rebel, Anne of Green Gables). Canadians themselves seem perplexed about their cultural identity. The quest for some elusive definition of Canadianness is a national pastime for many Canadians. They may not know who they are, but they do know who they are not. They will readily tell you that they are not American, British or French. Canadians do not think, talk or act like their American, British or French cousins, but will admit, often begrudgingly, that they have been very much influenced by them. And at a quick glance, it is sometimes difficult to discern these subtle differences.
In reality, Canada is an improbable country — a land of immense geography, extreme climate vast resources, and a small but ethnically diverse population, overshadowed by the most powerful nation on earth. No list of clichés can presume to define this collage of multilayered identities. The country is too varied, too vast, too hybrid. And yet, Canada is one of the great national success stories of modern history, a country where people from all over the world have found opportunity for individuality and community.…”.
From: Canadian Studies: A Guide to the Sources – by John D. Blackwell, Director, Research Grants Office, St. Francis Xavier University,
& Laurie C.C. Stanley-Blackwell, Professor, Department of History, St. Francis Xavier University
It is descriptions like that above that inspired us to create Journeys into Canada.
We felt that there was, in fact, a “Hidden Canada”.
Just what was the Hidden Canada?
It’s not likely to be found on a map. Nonetheless, the Hidden Canada may be found across the land – along the coasts of the Maritimes and British Columbia , in cities such as Montreal, Toronto and Winnipeg, along the Prairies, in the scenic Canadian Rockies ,and especially along its backroads on in its small town Main Streets. It’s the individual parts of Canada that collectively make up the Canadian experience.
It’s scallopers in Nova Scotia, loggers at work in the woods of B.C., a rodeo in Saskatchewan, and traditional Quebecois musicians. It’s the foods, places, peoples, customs, and history that unite us in a common narrative – something providing a rare degree of commonality for Canadians these days, while accounting for the historic diversity that endures to today.
Inspired by the spirit of the late Charles Kuralt (On The Road), Hidden Canada is a guide to the people, places and events that celebrate Canada’s rich traditions in music, books, customs and history – information that for a long time was scattered and diffuse, and, as mentioned above, is still considered elusive – even to Canadians.
The starting point for this journey is Canada’s festivals and events.
But in addition to being a valuable source of information Hidden Canada also offers context and insight on the events, traditions, culture, food, music, history, literature and customs of the surrounding area and the people who make it significant. It is entertaining and compelling content – of interest not just to travelers, but to armchair travelers as well.
“Hidden Canada” is the name we have used to identify a content platform and banner for a number of networks or communities based on the theme “dedicated to On The Road Canadiana”.
More than anything Hidden Canada is a state of mind – recalling culture and media from an earlier, some say simpler, but surely less bellicose and jaded time. No, it is not sappy nostalgia or history through rose colored glasses– We combine the technology of today with a spirit which seemingly is more elusive to find, if not lost. We are not cool, we are enduring, though. We are not the flavor of the week, but all the flavors that collectively make up what has become known to be the Canada experience.