Canada and Its Inferiority Complex
October 6, 2009 § 8 Comments
Last week, I published a review of Canadian journalist John Lorinc’s new book, Cities: A Groundwork Guide, over at the Complex Terrain Laboratory. As much as I liked and enjoyed this book, I found myself wondering, though, as I read this book, was what is with Canadians’, or maybe just Torontonians’, obsession with Toronto?
Toronto is mentioned more than any other city in the world in Lorinc’s book. More than London, Hong Kong, Sao Paolo; more than Nairobi, and New York. Toronto is mentioned more than twice as often as Canada’s other 2 major cities: Montréal and Vancouver. Moreover, Montréal is usually, though not exclusively, mentioned in a negative light. Not Toronto.
We are a nation with an inferiority complex, that I can accept. Toronto’s wiki page, though, is kind of sad, as it has to point out that: “As Canada’s economic capital, Toronto is considered a global city and is one of the top financial centres in the world.” It is indeed a top financial centre in the world, somewhere around 20th. Great. Who cares, really.
Why can’t we just stand on our own merits and not have to defensively point out that we can play with the big boys? I liked Canada more when we were an unassuming nation, proud to be what we are, but not a neighbourhood bully or the whiny little brother of the USA. This inferiority complex is getting out of hand.
And whilst Lorinc, on the one hand, is showcasing Toronto for the domestic audience, it is kind of sad that it has to come at the expense of Montréal and Vancouver, and that Toronto is mentioned more often than any other city in the entire world. Years ago, the Vancouver band, Spirit of the West, wrote a song about this, called “Far Too Canadian;” times have changed, though, we are no longer content to be the unassuming, quiet Canadians. Now we’re becoming a bunch of loudmouths. I like the old way better.