Ever since I can remember I've heard the comment that there is "no difference" between Canadians and Americans. I respectfully beg to differ as there is a difference on so many levels! We have unique Canadian culture consisting of Canadianisms, a Canadian perspective on world events, Canadian cuisine as well as products and foods only available in Canada. This blog is dedicated to celebrating all things Canadian from "my perspective" as a Canadian. Please enjoy your visit and be sure to visit often.

Garden Gnome
Americans should never underestimate the constant pressure on Canada which the mere presence of the United States has produced. We're different people from you and we're different people because of you. Living next to you is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant. No matter how friendly and even-tempered is the beast, if I can call it that, one is effected by every twitch and grunt. It should not therefore be expected that this kind of nation, this Canada, should project itself as a mirror image of the United States.
- Pierre Trudeau

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Dresden Story

Racism is a quiet but dirty little Canadian secret.  It is swept under the table and is a bit more subtle than in other parts of the world but is still very much there waiting to rear its ugly head.  At one time, 'coloured' folk were not allowed to be in certain towns after dark.  They were not allowed in certain stores and were in fact refused service at many businesses across Canada.  Despite various laws prohibiting discrimination, persons of colour were not free to buy a home and settle down wherever they chose. Surprisingly and quite sadly, while the discrimination is for the most part not as open today, it is still there...

Dresden, Ontario is a small agricultural based town with a population under 2,500, about 12% African Canadian, located in southwestern Ontario.  It is home to the Uncle Tom's Cabin Historical Site honouring Josiah Henson and black history in the area.  Henson was a former slave from Maryland who escaped to Canada via the Underground Railway, settling just outside of Dresden an safe destination for the Underground Railway.  His writings were the inspiration for Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe, "This short film goes to Dresden, Ontario in 1954, to sample local attitudes towards racial discrimination against black people that brought this town into the news. After a round-up of the opinions of individual citizens, white and black, commentator Gordon Burwash joins two discussion panels, presenting opposite points of view. The rights and wrongs of the quarrel are left for the audience to decide."  At the time this film was made, the Ontario Fair Accommodations Practices Act enacted on April 6, 1954 which "no one can deny to any person or class of persons the accommodation, services or facilities usually available to members of the public."  As Burswash points out this Act made it a statutory offense to discriminate in a public place on the grounds of race, creed, colour, ancestry or place of origin.  Like its predecessor the Racial Discrimination Act of 1944, the Ontario Fair Accommodations Practices Act also made it a statutory offense to publish or display discriminatory signage.


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