Thursday, 15 March 2012

East Coast Home

Today as I was checking out my social media feed, I couldn't help but notice that all the big Canadian magazines and blog sites are based out of Ontario (with a more or less particular bent for the Toronto crowd). I find it fun to read about the adventures of my Ontario counterparts. They get all the best concerts (without all the controversy we seem to attract here in the east), amazing museums, arts coming out of their ears, not to mention the fact that there is ample entertainment for kids that doesn't quite bother making a tour spot anywhere near my city. That's the benefit of living in a bigger city, I suppose. We've talked about moving out west (yes, Ontario is out west to us!) several times, but I can't imagine transplanting our lives for the sake of being able to see something like Disney's Stars on Ice with the kids. (Although really, if that were here, I'd be waiting in line for tickets or whatnot).

I suppose it's more than convenience that keeps us here, or even our family. Despite the fact that we are lacking some of the really upper crust cultural things here, I feel like there's so much to see and experience in our beautiful province that makes up for the lack of worldly culture. Everywhere you look in our small city there's some history to behold or a song to be sung. We may not get U2 to rock the commons, but we're the home of Joel Plaskett (how many times can you mention Clayton Park?), Chris from Sloan (I used to sing in a choir with his lovely Mom!), Sarah McLachlan, Matt Mays, Anne Murray, and many other musicians of the past, present and future. Our pub scene is crawling with future stars, all singing music on the cutting edge of their style.

Even ignoring the music, an obvious favourite of mine, we also have several world class universities, including NSCAD, which is churning out a new generation of artists as unique as they are numerous. While we may not have the unarguably amazing Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, we're lucky enough to have a city teeming with new art from up and coming talent that has come to study here from all over the world.  There's also our museums, which tell the tale of our rich and fascinating history. How many museums can boast an extensive collection of Titanic memorabilia? Some adorably nerdy folks from one of our local museums live tweeted the morse code messages between the Titanic and surrounding ships at the exact time, 99 years later, of the night she found her resting place on the ocean floor. I don't need to see Titanic in 3D this year (although I might anyway, classic), because I can go to the Fairview Cemetary to see the graves of her victims arranged in the shape of the bow of the ship. Our whole province, and those surrounding us, are littered with history houses turned museums. One of them is even the old family home of my grandmother's family. In PEI, there is the home made famous by L.M. Montgomery in her Anne books, Green Gables, beautifully preserved. We have forts, grand houses, churches built in a day, and so much history we endeavour to share, while maintaining the thriving life of a young and vibrant downtown core.

I think that's what I really enjoy about province and our city. We have the best of both worlds, though obviously on a smaller scale than our counterparts in central Canada. We have history mixed seamlessly with modernity. History meets social media through our innovative museum staff. All the benefits of culture on the backdrop of a truly beautiful landscape. While I would love to be able to experience some of the world-class events places like Toronto can attract, I wouldn't trade our beautiful harbour, friendly faces, and local flavour for them. So while I may seem a little green some days as I read of all the activities I can't share with my kids, I'm thankful to call the East Coast my home.

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