Monday, October 05, 2009

Knitting Sprawl - Toronto, Ontario, Part 2

After my last post, Helen wrote a comment saying, in essence, that not all groups are not good or welcoming and that is just part of community - a different part, but part nonetheless. Too true! Too true!

In reflecting on the experience at Lettuce Knit, I started out thinking, "jeez, what a closed group of people" to recognizing that my own attitude and energy level contributed at least equally to the less-than-perfect experience of it. I just want to be clear that I understand this distinction.

But the thing did happen in Toronto, which was, perhaps, not completely accidental.

I have been only half-jokingly telling people that my knowledge of Canada stops with anything west of Newfoundland. We became Canadian permanent residents so we could live in Newfoundland - a very conscious choice and a very specific choice. This choice has meant that what I do know about the rest of Canada has been gained mostly through talking to Newfoundlanders. (Apologies to my fellow Canadians, but the people in the US rarely learn anything about their northern neighbor. In fact, it is almost never mentioned except to make jokes about it. But I think you know that.) To the point! The point is that my ideas about Toronto were formed largely from hearing people in Newfoundland talk about it and from reading books written by Newfoundlanders and seeing movies made about Newfoundland that mention Toronto. So I had this idea about it that was actually closer to myth than reality.

In meeting with knitters throughout Ontario, I quickly learned that this Toronto myth exists in other's minds as well only they usually know it is myth straight away. In fact, it seemed like the only people who actually believe this myth might be the people living in Toronto. I think I am allowed to say this because New Yorkers tend to suffer from a similar delusion.

This myth interests me greatly. I kept thinking about the goose that laid the golden egg and other fairy tales of promised riches that never really appear. Or maybe reverse Ugly Duckling - people think it is a swan but it turns out to be just a plain old duck.

There is a knitting pattern in there somewhere.


OfTroy said...

i know twice as much about canada as the average american (which is not saying much!) but do Newfee's mock Toronto the way the rest of canadians mock Newfee's? (since i do know Newfee's are often the butt of canadian jokes--they are the 'blonds' of canada)

Still the only Newfee's i know, are you and friend (with a PhD in biology--hardly a dumb blond!)--so my impression of Newfoundland is skewed in the other direction!

Robyn said...

I don't doubt that you know more than double about Canada than most Americans, Helen!

In my experience, Newfoundlanders don't really mock Toronto. For a very long time it was where everyone went in search of work. It was a poor substitute for home but a necessary evil. Now that has shifted to Alberta.

And just so you is considered in very bad taste to use the term "Newfie" unless you are from Newfoundland and even then, it's sketchy. This is largely because of just what you allude to - that was a derogatory label used as a put-down and to connote being stupid.