What State is Vancouver in?

The answer would be of course Washington State. But let’s talk about Vancouver, BC Canada for a moment.

Having lived in the US for 12 years, I’d say I have a unique understanding of how Americans view Canadians and Canada in general. We’ve all heard jokes about how Americans think we live in igloos and get around by huskies and dog sleds, how Canada is the 51st State, etc. But why is that, and is it true?

Years ago in San Francisco, during a regular Friday night dinner, our friend Ronald informed us he was heading to Vancouver the next day for a week long vacation. We all wished him a good trip. The next day at dinner, we were surprised to see Ronald show up. Very curious, we all wanted to know why wasn’t he in Vancouver.

Ronald told us he was not allowed on the plane because he didn’t have his passport. But the reason he didn’t have his passport was the amusing part. He didn’t bring his passport because he thought Vancouver was part of the USA and he didn’t need a passport to travel to other parts of the States. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

This might be an extreme case, but it’s not far from what I’ve witnessed. Despite its close proximity, the fact is Americans just don’t think about Canada much, and don’t know a great deal about its northern neighbour – it’s just not on their radar. To the average American, the US is huge and contains a great deal to occupy their thoughts and concerns.

I would say very few American’s know that Canada is the USA’s:
– largest trading partner
– biggest oil and gas importer
– main provider of foreign tourism.

It’s also a tribute to Canada’s peaceful existence. Nothing unfortunate or memorable goes on here, or at least few things bad enough to attract anyone’s attention and make people say, “Oh no, what’s with those Canadians?”

That’s probably why when Americans do think about Canada, they admire what appears to be the serenity of Canadian life: less crime, fewer racial problems, and of course, the unimaginable national health care system.

We might be insignificant to them, but I’d prefer to keep it that way and fly under everyone’s radar – speaking as a modest, low key Canadian, who enjoy living on the Great Northern Tundra.


– Will

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