Monday, May 4, 2009

The changing face of Canada

Yesterday, I was forced to choose between attending a first communion party in Grafton for the son of a friend, or the confirmation party in Toronto for the niece of a friend. (From now on, everyone referred to in my blog will be referred to as "a friend" to avoid the possibility that my new found group of 12 faithful followers from St. Michael's will be tempted to continue to use my blog to draw erroneous conclusions about the nature of my relationships. I hope this self censoring won't interfere with your enjoyment of this place in cyberspace). Back to the story. For a number of reasons, I ended up going to the confirmation party in Toronto. I was a little late leaving, so I ended up missing the actual church part, and headed directly to the reception, which was held at a small restaurant called the Sky Ranch, at Dufferin and Eglinton. The restaurant also specializes in Argentinian food. Across the street from the restaurant is a place specializing in falafals and another selling some kind of Filipino speciality. Driving from Yorkdale and the 401 to Dufferin and Eglinton, one drives past a number of other shops of varying origin. Same thing happens driving along Finch Avenue, College, or Bathurst, through Woodbridge, Maple, or Brampton. A world within a city, on our doorstep. Upon entering the Argentinian steak house, I immediately felt the energy of the South American people, the beat of the music, the smell of the food, the lively conversation all reminded me of trips I've taken to "Latin" countries over the years. These people have a love of life that enriches our sometimes reserved, and often quite boring "North American/European" tradition. As the night went on, I was reminded of a camping trip to Sable Beach that I was invited on a few years back by some of the same people hosting this party. As a boy, I was an avid cub scout/boy scout and venturer. I loved camping. However, my memories of camping didn't include the kind of all hours dance music and drinking that this Argentinian crowd subscribes to. As a white guy amongst mostly brown Latinos, I felt a little out of place, especially if I made any attempt to join in the dancing, the laughter or the drinking, as apparently I was born without rhythm, and dance to a completely different beat. I have learned to enjoy eating much more, and have broadened my range of food choices immensely, as is evidenced by my bulging waistline. At this particular gathering there was a mix of families from Ecuador, Argentina, Italy, Ireland, and other places, I'm sure. Toronto, and for that matter much of Canada, has become such a rich weave of multicultural tapestry, all living side by side in relatively perfect harmony. We are so fortunate. So if you haven't already, open your mind and wander into some of these "foreign" places. You will be rewarded with warm hearts and wonderful food. If your experience is anything like mine, your life will be enriched and enhanced.

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