I’ve very excited to be introducing Jamie from Books and Ladders to the blog today! She has a very interesting piece about why Canada is a great place to use as a book setting. For those of you who missed it, Travelling the Pages is specifically trying to bring awareness to books that don’t take place in the U.S. so this is a great topic for this week where we are visiting Canada. I hope you all enjoy!
Why Canada is A Great Place to Set Your Book
Every time I see a book is set in Canada, I get SUPER excited. I love reading about people doing things in my country because a lot of times I can say “BEEN THERE!!” or make a plan for things I should attempt to recreate while I travel throughout this vast place we call Canada.
If you don’t know, Canada is freaking huge. We have a lot of country so there are a lot of regional differences and nuances that may not necessarily be known to someone who doesn’t live in that specific area; however, I have a fun fact for you: 75% of the Canadian population lives along the southern border.
I have lived in various areas in Ontario: border towns, large cities, university towns, and have visited many others because I thrive on exploring the vastness of my province. I also have travelled out to the West Coast on multiple occasions because it is the best part of our country to be quite honest. (As much as I want to say that Ontario is, we call it Onterrible for a reason.)
But I feel like authors don’t take advantage of the vastness of Canada as the setting in their novels. North American literature is saturated with the United States as the location for characters to live, especially California which is amazing, don’t get me wrong, but I want more places in Canada to be discovered. I want to see our rich, vast country explored in works of fiction in ways that truly depict them and everyone living here. There is so much Canada to go around and I dislike seeing us reduced to stereotypes in media. Sure, they are “positive” stereotypes that claim we are all super nice and ride polar bears to our jobs and school, but there is so much more nuance that isn’t being vetted and that saddens me.
I want to know about the kids who grew up in PEI covered in red dirt and complain about tourists who buy the red dirt shirts (which I, as a tourist, totally have). I want to know about how the price of food in Nunavut impacts what the teens there eat and how it causes problems for their home lives while they are still out having fun with their friends. I want a historical fiction novel set in the Yukon rather than Alaska during the Gold Rush. I want a ski romance set in Whistler, BC. I want more aboriginal stories in general, whether they are set in BC, Manitoba, or Quebec. And this is just a drop in the ocean of the types of books that could come out of Canada and our country.
So authors, this is my plea to you, please write more books set in Canada. Sure, Canadian history is boring, but our culture is vast and we thrive on multiculturalism. Bring your stories up North and see what Canada can offer to you.