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  #21  
Old Posted Dec 7, 2014, 11:02 PM
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I've travelled a decent amount to major American cities in the past few years. I can see some similarities, but culturally Calgary or Edmonton feels closer to home than Chicago or New York does.

There are outliers I'm sure, hence the Nfld thing. But the rest of the Maritimes felt nothing like Massachusetts to me.
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  #22  
Old Posted Dec 7, 2014, 11:29 PM
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Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
Toronto does not feel or look even the slightest bit like Buffalo or Detroit, Chicago or Cleveland, etc. Not in the slightest.
I take it you've never been to Main and Gerrard. Some of the side streets look just like Detroit.
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  #23  
Old Posted Dec 7, 2014, 11:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Ramako View Post
I see far more of a cultural and historical connection between Canada and Western and Northern Europe than I do with South America.

What exactly is the connection between Canada and South America? We're in the same hemisphere? We're both technically part of the same landmass? Do we even get many immigrants from South America, compared to places like east and south Asia? I don't really see the connection.
There are undoubtedly strong connections to Europe on one level, but there's an altogether different sort of connection with the rest of the Americas. Disregarding Latin America for a moment, we certainly have strong cultural bonds with the Anglo- and Franco-Caribbean that shouldn't be overlooked in the broader conversation. Those ties range from the superficial (sharing a Queen, &c.) to the substantive (large immigrant communities, strong economic ties both today and in the past, &c.).

On a broader level, there are certain traits, issues and even anxieties that link New World societies together. A few:

1) The legacy of colonialism and the Indigenous substrate - On the most obvious level this manifests itself in the thousands of Indigenous communities one can find scattered from the High Arctic all the way to Patagonia. There isn't a single country on the continental Americas that doesn't have some sort of continuing Indigenous presence - often marginalized economically and culturally, all of our countries face similar issues on this front. There is the lingering trauma of colonial violence, sometimes very much on-going, that marks our societies. I don't think any of us have really figured out how to balance the needs of Indigenous nations with those of our wider communities yet. And I would argue that all of us have, in some way, incorporated various Aboriginal cultural artefacts into our own identities.

2) The fallout from the Trans-Atlantic slave trade - This one would not, at first, seem to be the case in Canada, especially relative to the US, Haiti, Brazil, &c., but I'd argue that as a New World society we are very much shaped by the horrors of the slave trade and its ensuing cultural baggage. We can look at concrete historic events that directly link Canada to slavery and its direct legacy: the presence of African slaves in New France (though relatively few in number), Black Loyalists and our role in the Underground Railroad, historic economic ties to plantation economies, segregation in Dresden, the destruction of Africville, the abuses at the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children, &c.

But there is also a wider cultural legacy of slavery that continues here and now. We see it in the way we conceive of and talk about race, in the marginalization of racialized minorities, in our position economically and politically relative to the position of former slave-dependent economies (specifically but not exclusively the Black majority nations of the Caribbean). We can hear it in our music, even taste it in our food.

3) Hybridity of identity - related to the above, New World countries have forged national identities in a distinctly different way than both the Old World's nation states and its post-colonial lines-on-a-map-istans. Identity is a conscious but palpable construction free(ish) of the bondage of old ethnic ties. In some cases this is the result of actual genetic admixture of formerly scattered peoples often resulting in mixed identities (Métis, Mestizo, Maroon, &c.). In others, we see a mingling of languages creating creoles, mixed languages and even informing our slang (Patois, Kreyòl, Chinook jargon, &c.). More broadly, our societies seem more adept at accepting and integrating disparate cultural groups whether by melting pot, mosaic or what have you.


As far as Canadians recognizing themselves as belonging to a Pan-American identity, I think we still have a ways to go. We're taught, at length, about our ties to Europe. We're reminded of those links constantly, and we ought to recognize that we've spent a good deal of time and energy avoiding our ties to the rest of the hemisphere. We were a staunchly proud colony while Latin America engaged in wars of liberation. We viewed the Monroe Doctrine as an existential threat instead of as a benevolent (but ultimately misguided and even destructive) gesture of continental solidarity in the face of foreign imperialism. We took our sweet time joining the OAS, and have only recently become really awake to our neighbours down-continent (immigration, globalization and the resource extraction industry all playing a role). When do we know we've embraced a Pan-American identity? Is it when we vote as a bloc at the UN (which, IIRC, we recently did re: LGBT rights, some exceptions notwithstanding)? Is it when the Pan-Am Games get more attention than the Commonwealth Games? Is it when some permutation of the FTAA gets past its substantial hurdles? I don't know.
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  #24  
Old Posted Dec 7, 2014, 11:32 PM
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Originally Posted by lio45 View Post
Maybe to you, because you're so familiar with southern Ontario that the slight differences leap to your eyes, but having traveled through both countless times, they actually don't feel completely different at all. Your opinion on it is, IMO, to be taken with a huge grain of salt, the same way we should for, say, a German's opinion that (German) Switzerland and Upper Bavaria "feel completely different". To say things like that, one must not have traveled much (which is why I find it a bit weird, from you).
Yes, of course, to people from other continents (I did it again) New York and Ontario seem very similar.

But I have to challenge you on the appearance thing. Go to Google Maps and take any street in central and inner suburban Buffalo or Detroit, literally any one, and you cannot replicate it in Toronto.

Seriously, you can't. Throw a dart on the map in Buffalo: you'll find large sidewalks, grass between the sidewalks and the curb, large houses with wood siding, and an overwhelming sense of deteriorating grandiosity. Now go to Toronto: you get brick, small lots, millions of semi-detached houses, narrow Victorian shopfronts, etc.

Alpine villages in Austria, Switzerland and Italy are far more alike to each other than Hamilton and Buffalo are. Just look at them from the sky, and you can see how the different national myths helped shape them:

Buffalo


Hamilton


Which one of these two is the product of grand gestures and boundless optimism? It's ironic, isn't it? Americans bang on endlessly about individual freedom and opportunity, but the landscape gives the game away. It has always been shaped by the powerful and very non-organic forces of great wealth and government, always hand-in-hand with each other. It's the same everywhere, but it runs contrary to the American myth. And in Canada our milder temperament and lack of social disruption have allowed things to proceed comparatively differently.

Do you only drive on the highways? I can understand how southern Ontario and New York/Michigan look quite similar at the very superficial level of a car speeding along the interstates, but when you actually get onto the surface streets? No way. I've literally had Europeans grab my arms and explain, with wide eyes, how shocked they were at how different they found Buffalo to be from Hamilton.

Even better: do a Googlemaps streetview tour of the two Niagara Falls, Ontario and New York. Away from the tourist stuff. The residential vernacular is just totally different. You'd never mistake the one for the other.
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  #25  
Old Posted Dec 7, 2014, 11:33 PM
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As someone from Vancouver, I'd say that south of the border in Washington State, areas like Bellingham and Seattle feel about as familiar to me as areas in Southern Ontario.
If I'm being honest though, I probably like Washingtonians more, if only for the reason that they don't see themselves as the centre of the universe
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  #26  
Old Posted Dec 7, 2014, 11:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Nouvellecosse View Post
I think when we're talking about physical components (both built form and natural landscape), Canadian regions tend to look more similar to nearby US regions than to distant Canadian regions. But in terms of connectivity and cultural/philosophical affinity, the opposite. This is one case in which looks are deceiving despite the impression they may give.
Even for "connectivity", too. There might be more lifestyle and interests overlap between for example a NS fisherman and a ME fisherman; a Tonawanda worker/an Oshawa worker/a Hamtramck worker; a cattle rancher in S. AB and one in Montana; a logger in BC and a logger in WA; etc.

What you call "physical components" aren't merely physical only; employment, lifestyle choices derive from the "physical components" in a significant way.

The reason why for example a Canadian from Northern Ontario and an American from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan likely have a lot more in common for lifestyle (activities/interests/hobbies) than an American from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and an American from Southern Florida is precisely that and that only, the physical and climactic characteristics of where they live.
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  #27  
Old Posted Dec 7, 2014, 11:39 PM
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Originally Posted by SignalHillHiker View Post
Second, no... our connection with the U.S. is stronger. I just meant... O.K, let me just say what I actually think so it's clear and can't be misinterpreted: Canada isn't a "thing". It's a political arrangement. The THING is NL/Maritimes/New England, TO/Great Lakes US/Eastern Seaboard, Prairies/Prairies. B.C./Washington. We have stronger connections to the portions of America below us than we do to each other.
That's what I thought until I moved to the US.

The US is very different from Canada. Demographically, the huge Hispanic and African American communities make American cities very different from Canadian cities, which tend to have large South Asian, East Asian, and Southeast Asian populations (or Arab and Caribbean in the case of Quebec).

Many of the cities in the US also developed far earlier than the ones in Canada. This is especially apparent when comparing a city like Toronto to any American city in the Northeast or Midwest; these Northeastern and Midwestern cities are far older. The architecture hits you in the face; it's almost like going to Europe to experience older architecture, on a more subtle level.

Beyond that, there are many other political and social differences, too.
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  #28  
Old Posted Dec 7, 2014, 11:40 PM
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Originally Posted by yaletown_fella View Post
I take it you've never been to Main and Gerrard. Some of the side streets look just like Detroit.
What are you talking about? I have been to Main and Gerrard countless times and it looks nothing like Detroit. I'm not sure if this was intended to be a slight on the neighbourhood as being rundown or not but the housing vernacular and storefront layout is completely different. No vacant lots really either. Also, Main and Gerrard has some sweet 1890s era row houses from when it was an independent village.

Unless you mean similar in this sense (which I don't find particularly similar):

http://goo.gl/maps/KpNcz

http://goo.gl/maps/dyVvf


Also, said row houses: http://goo.gl/maps/KcLc0
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  #29  
Old Posted Dec 7, 2014, 11:44 PM
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Originally Posted by MonctonRad View Post
Agree. Canada has connections to northern USA (and Florida, Arizona and California for holiday reasons). There are some connections to the Carribean and to Bermuda. Otherwise, Canada tends to be Eurocentric; much more so than the USA is. This is because of our more progressive, socialist bent.

South America (Latin America I mean) might as well be on another planet.......
That makes no sense; Latin America has several socialist states. I don't think that is the reason. Canada still focuses on Europe because, even post repatriation of the Constitution, many Canadians haven't cut the umbilical cord. America is more firm in its independent identity, which happens to be as a state situated in the Americas.
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  #30  
Old Posted Dec 7, 2014, 11:45 PM
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Originally Posted by rousseau View Post

My guess is that people on the coast of Maine probably really do share a lot in common with coastal Maritimers, but you're extrapolating this too far.
Hmmm??

YOur comparing boston to halifax, and your talking about people taking things to far.

It's a no brainer if canada major city was on the atlantic it'd be much closer to boston than vancouver.

You can't just gloss over population, it has a huge effect on the percieve culture.

As a newfoundlander I can really sense real similarities with people in the rural south.

Even certain similarities with folks from the anglo carribean.


We obviously have connections to Europe, but I question how much this would be true if we weren't putting so much weight on economic circumstances.
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  #31  
Old Posted Dec 7, 2014, 11:47 PM
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Originally Posted by lio45 View Post
Maybe to you, because you're so familiar with southern Ontario that the slight differences leap to your eyes, but having traveled through both countless times, they actually don't feel completely different at all. Your opinion on it is, IMO, to be taken with a huge grain of salt, the same way we should for, say, a German's opinion that (German) Switzerland and Upper Bavaria "feel completely different". To say things like that, one must not have traveled much (which is why I find it a bit weird, from you).
Maybe you didn't pay enough attention?

I mean, no doubt the flora and fauna are similar in Ontario and Michigan.

But the differences in demographics and architecture are striking, and anyone who spends any appreciable time in the two places would be able to discern the differences in political attitudes and social norms.
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  #32  
Old Posted Dec 7, 2014, 11:49 PM
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Originally Posted by niwell View Post
Unless you mean similar in this sense (which I don't find particularly similar):

http://goo.gl/maps/KpNcz

http://goo.gl/maps/dyVvf
That's a perfect case study right there. That's as close as you're going to get between Toronto and Detroit, and yet, they're still very different.

The houses in Detroit are bigger, wider, more muscular looking, and on bigger lots. Streets in American cities are also more monolithic for socio-economic reasons. You don't get great variation in one street or neighbourhood the way you do in Toronto.

Look around that Toronto one: you've got big brick homes on one side, and some semi-detached on the other! They come in all shapes in sizes on that street. You just never see that kind of variation on American streets. They're much more monolithic.

The only place in Canada that you get that monolithic effect is in Montreal.
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  #33  
Old Posted Dec 7, 2014, 11:51 PM
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Originally Posted by niwell View Post
Unless you mean similar in this sense (which I don't find particularly similar):

http://goo.gl/maps/KpNcz

http://goo.gl/maps/dyVvf
I suspect those neighbourhoods would have looked strikingly similar when they were first built. But decades of different economic fortunes and some other cultural differences have lead to fairly different looking neighbourhoods.
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  #34  
Old Posted Dec 8, 2014, 12:01 AM
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Originally Posted by saffronleaf View Post
But the differences in demographics and architecture are striking, and anyone who spends any appreciable time in the two places would be able to discern the differences in political attitudes and social norms.
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Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
Do you only drive on the highways? I can understand how southern Ontario and New York/Michigan look quite similar at the very superficial level of a car speeding along the interstates, but when you actually get onto the surface streets? No way.
I wouldn't claim to spend "any appreciable time in the two places", but I do like to leave the freeways to cast looks around.

To me, this, below (a little town that I happened to like when I passed through it), could easily pass off as Southern Ontario. Now let me quickly say that, no doubt, to the trained eye I trust you that "the differences in [...] architecture are striking" but if you haven't spent a ton of time comparing both, the differences won't be striking. Street is larger, maybe? But even things like the style of the traffic lights is completely similar (and different from Quebec's).





Quote:
Originally Posted by saffronleaf View Post
... be able to discern the differences in political attitudes and social norms.
But you admit there are "differences in political attitudes and social norms" between, say, San Francisco, and rural Alabama? Yet it's the same country. Use the same range for your spectrum, and you'll see that the Canada-US gap isn't absolutely dwarfing others like the Coastal-Flyover gap, Old-New gap, Urban-Rural gap, North-Sunbelt gap.
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  #35  
Old Posted Dec 8, 2014, 12:14 AM
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No, Just that you're... you wouldnt have ended up doing her laundry. ;-)

And, even if I did mean that (and I didn't), it was in a positive sense.

I was just saying I wish I could react to my South American friends that way. But I don't. I end up in drunken debates, hugs, etc.

It's good most time. I like I can't go through a checkout anywhere in Canada and not learn the cashier's life story. But, sometimes, it'd be nice to be that reserved, bitchy, thing.

****

As for vertical being more... I think you're wrong. I think, if we all went out for a beer, one from each state, I sure as hell wouldn't be with the TO crowd. I'd be with the Maritimes, and New England. And we'd be having a time. And you'd be with NYC or whoever. If this happened, you and I would be introduced via Boston/New York getting together and doing it - NOT by meeting each other face value. And the west would be with each other.

I've seen it actually happen too often to believe it's not the natural reaction.
As someone from BC who has been to Washington State many times. I fail to notice a difference between the people and culture.

I agree with this 100%. I'm more comfortable in Seattle than I am in Calgary.
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  #36  
Old Posted Dec 8, 2014, 12:15 AM
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Originally Posted by saffronleaf View Post
That's what I thought until I moved to the US.

The US is very different from Canada. Demographically, the huge Hispanic and African American communities make American cities very different from Canadian cities, which tend to have large South Asian, East Asian, and Southeast Asian populations (or Arab and Caribbean in the case of Quebec).
.
Demographically, how can you even say that and ignore the massively similar demographics for much of the northern us-Canada.

Vancouver-Toronto-Quebec are not typically canadian for startes, nor are most of the bigger american cities.
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  #37  
Old Posted Dec 8, 2014, 12:20 AM
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Demographically, how can you even say that and ignore the massively similar demographics for much of the northern us-Canada.

Vancouver-Toronto-Quebec are not typically canadian for startes, nor are most of the bigger american cities.
How do you define typical? The biggest cities in Canada make up a large chunk of the population, as do the largest cities in the states. Perhaps the rest of Canada and the States are atypical.


I forget where I saw it, but there was something comparing the demographics between the two countries, and if you exclude Hispanics and African Americans, the makeup between the two countries is nearly identical. However it's a stretch to exclude those two groups, because they make up a bit more than a quarter of the population.

Either way, there are other differences. The largest group for European Ancestry in the States is German, whereas in Canada, English, French, Scottish and Irish are all bigger components than German.
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  #38  
Old Posted Dec 8, 2014, 12:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Ramako View Post
I see far more of a cultural and historical connection between Canada and Western and Northern Europe than I do with South America.

What exactly is the connection between Canada and South America? We're in the same hemisphere? We're both technically part of the same landmass? Do we even get many immigrants from South America, compared to places like east and south Asia? I don't really see the connection.
I think this is completely unfare. You have to remember that europe even its most liberal socieities(sweden-norjway) is very much an established society.

It's really hard to understate this.

We really do have an new world identity, in the sense we have an improvisational society across the america's.


Add to that the importance of immigration-migrations,

General history of american power in our back yard.

I could go on, which amazes me, because I get the feeling here many have had little contact with middle class folk say from argentina-brazil-uruguay etc.
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  #39  
Old Posted Dec 8, 2014, 12:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Bcasey25raptor View Post
As someone from BC who has been to Washington State many times. I fail to notice a difference between the people and culture.

I agree with this 100%. I'm more comfortable in Seattle than I am in Calgary.
Absolutely.

That being said, Calgary is becoming more cosmopolitan, and the last time I visited I was quite surprised as to how much I enjoyed my time there.
But for now, Seattle and Portland are still both more similar to Vancouver.
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  #40  
Old Posted Dec 8, 2014, 12:30 AM
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Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
That's a perfect case study right there. That's as close as you're going to get between Toronto and Detroit, and yet, they're still very different.

The houses in Detroit are bigger, wider, more muscular looking, and on bigger lots. Streets in American cities are also more monolithic for socio-economic reasons. You don't get great variation in one street or neighbourhood the way you do in Toronto.

Look around that Toronto one: you've got big brick homes on one side, and some semi-detached on the other! They come in all shapes in sizes on that street. You just never see that kind of variation on American streets. They're much more monolithic.

Yep. It's very rare in Toronto to see streets of identical houses as very little was built speculatively at the turn of the century. Whereas you had entire blocks in American cities built off the same template. Hell I have a book that details the rare occasions where you get an entire street (one side at that) of identical houses built speculatively by a single builder. There aren't many. Interestingly, a lot more in Hamilton, but still not to the same level as in the US.

You also had private transit companies building neighbourhoods in the US using the streetcar as a loss leader. Hence the larger lot sizes. In Toronto and Montreal (probably other cities in Canada too) even public transit systems generally operated on a for-profit basis until after WWII. The TTC was formed in 1922 and only operated lines at a loss in the 1950s with the formation of the metro government. So you really only had extensions after a neighbourhood became dense enough to warrant it. Large lot sizes didn't make sense.
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