Our Nearly Anonymous Neighbors
We share the North American Continent with two large neighbors bordering us, yet most Americans know little or nothing about either nation because they’re hardly ever in our news. Mexico is of course notorious for the dominance of their drug cartels and the resultant political corruption. But I suspect the majority of its citizens are just like the average American, good people who never make the news and are only trying to live a responsible and rewarding life.
I’ve been to both nations on brief vacation visits and was sent to Canada once to do a job. Outside the major cities like Toronto and Montreal, the atmosphere is frontier-like, and I found the people warm and friendly.
I visited Cozumel and Costa Maya on a cruise, but those are tourist-heavy places I’m sure don’t represent the average Mexican experience. I love the food and their music, and I’m slowly learning Spanish through the fun online site Duolingo.
Both nations have popular exhibits at Disneyland’s excellent Epcot World Showcase, and I’ve visited them with much interest several times.
Canada probably intrigues me most of the two because it’s closer to New England where I grew up. I can tell you the Canadian side of Niagara Falls is a lot cleaner and more attractive than our side. Dad drove our family to New Brunswick on one vacation and the seacoast was spectacular, as is the coast of Nova Scotia. I’m told the Canadian Rockies are majestically beautiful.
Some facts about our large cool neighbor to the north:
We share the world’s longest international border at 5,525 miles, and it’s undefended by either military.
Despite having only 11 percent of our population—fewer people than live in Tokyo’s metropolitan area—Canada is bigger than us, second only to Russia, and has the longest coastline on the planet at 151,000 miles. It has more lakes than all the other nations on Earth combined. They have the third largest oil reserves after Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.
Canadians are the world’s most educated; nearly half of their adults hold college degrees. They were the third nation in space after Russia and America.
The Trans-Canada Highway is 4,860 miles long, running through all 10 provinces from St.
Johns, Newfoundland, on the East Coast to Vancouver Island on the West Coast. I’ve
always wanted to do it on a motorcycle. Vast areas of the northern regions have no roads at all
and depend on bush planes for supplies. Some extreme northern regions can have snow year
The northern reaches are frigid. Drivers in Churchill leave their vehicles unlocked to offer
escape to anyone confronting a polar bear. In Newfoundland, people sometimes play hockey on
frozen ocean bays.
Canada has been our staunch ally in major conflicts. After Pearl Harbor, they declared war on
Japan before we did.
Overall, Canadians seem to hold America and its people in high regard. Maybe it’s time we
returned that admiration and affection.
The suspense novel series Guns, Diamondback, Kllrs, and Deathsman, set in the misty folds of the Great Smokies and endorsed by top gun bestselling authors Lee Child, Ridley Pearson, and Stephen Coonts, can be had in print or Kindle from Amazon (Easy buy link on my website.)
Thanks to all those who’ve reviewed the series favorably on Amazon and kindly sent notes and