Queerly Canadian

My short “Dispatch” item on traveling to Ottawa to become suddenly always Canadian appears in the new issue of The Atlantic, which is now available online and at fine news stands everywhere. A snippet:

After dining with other lost Canadians the evening before I became a citizen, I found myself walking the not-so-mean streets of Ottawa alone an hour before midnight. So I wandered into the Royal Oak, an English pub on Bank Street. I persuaded some game locals, Austin and Rachelle, to share a toast and snap my picture in front of the Maple Leaf hanging behind the bar. Midnight! To gain a citizenship in one magical moment, without exertion or will, is to experience as an adult the national baptism that comes with birth. I felt exhilarated, if a bit of a fraud. Austin and Rachelle were exceedingly kind to me. We exchanged cell-phone numbers. We agreed to connect on Facebook. We all understood that I am a thoroughgoing American, qualifying as Canadian through a weird technicality. But they were happy for me, happy to have me. Because they’re Canadians, I suppose.

Author: Will Wilkinson

Vice President for Research at the Niskanen Center

6 thoughts

  1. My visit to Ottawa was a genuinely wonderful experience, from the beauty of the shallow gorge of the river to the amazing military and civilization museums to the nearby Getineau Hills to the almost universally friendly people. Even with a cultural politics that diverges even stronger from mine than in the US, Ottawa seemed a place that could be my home every bit as much, not merely second best.

  2. OMG – if Dean Echenburg is a physician from San Francisco/Tiburon, California – then you totally had dinner with my (apparently now Canadian) landlord!

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