|This is not-so-scenic Little Current, Ontario|
Canadians like bad postcards, too.
I learned this after this gem arrived in my mailbox this week. I love it.
Why am I receiving bad postcards from Canadian strangers? Let me explain.
Several years ago I stumbled across a website called Postcrossing. It’s like the middleman for pen pals who like postcards.
After registering, the site assigns you a random address, and you send that person a postcard. Then your address is assigned randomly. Soon, your mailbox starts filling with wonderful postcards from around the globe.
I've received 139 postcards so far—38 from Russia. That’s by far the leading country, and that’s not even counting the now-liberated countries that made up the Soviet Union. Russians might have trouble building Olympic villages, but they are into postcards.
People in Japan send some of the coolest postcards, in case you were wondering.
My Postcrossing profile revels that I like boring postcards. This seems to confuse people. But my new Canadian friend Jason gets it.
He sent this card of Little Current, Ontario.
We’re so high up that’s it tough to make out any details of Little Current, other than the massive freighter and the event more massive piles of coal. Note that we’re not calling this “Scenic Little Current.”
The back reads: “LITTLE CURRENT, Ontario, Canada. Aerial view showing Bridge, Coal Docks and La Cloche Island.”
Actually, that’s what’s printed on the back. Jason’s note is more revealing.
“Hi Dave, from Ottawa, Ontario! This photo won’t win any beauty contests (did they think it would encourage tourists to visit?!), but you did say you didn't mind boring cards, so hopefully a bit ugly is OK, too.
“Here’s a story I have not told on a postcard before: In the 1990s, my girlfriend lived in South Bend. Driving back to Guelph, Ont. one time, I must have been in a daze or on autopilot because I ended up in Grand Rapids when I meant to pass through Flint! Seems like a lifetime ago now. I've been in Ontario now for 13 years and have 2 young kids. Best to you, Jason.”
I suspect Jason was headed north on US 131 and was so dazzled by Kalamazoo that he missed I-94. That’s OK, because Grand Rapids is a nice place. That wasn't autopilot; it was an inner desire to experience the glories of West Michigan. Come see ArtPrize.
Canada’s a fun country. They put walruses on their stamps. A lot of countries might not want to boast about being a frozen wilderness. But not Canada. It owns it, ice bergs and everything.
And we don’t just get a single walrus – or morse de L’Atlantique for our friends in Quebec. No, there’s a whole walrus family there.
Now, I didn't see a single walrus when I was in Toronto last year. They must be nocturnal.
Anyway, I did some research, since we’re not going to learn much about Little Current from this postcard.
It’s located on the northeast side of Manitoulin Island, and is actually very close to Michigan.
The always accurate Wikipedia reveals that the town was a place where lake vessels stopped to take on wood for fuel. Lumbering was and still is a big industry, and today the local economy is based on farming and tourism. Jason is correct; this postcard is not going to help.
Apparently the town also hosts an annual “Haweater Weekend.” Sounds interesting.
Apparently Haweaters are the name given to anyone who is born on Manitoulin Island, and the celebration held in the first weekend in August includes fireworks, a video dance, street vendor and a parade.
The Manitoulin Expositor newspaper tells us that last year’s event include a “Haw Run,” a fire truck pull, live roller derby, the “Hawfest Dance,” and “Little Ray’s Reptile Show.”
All of which, I might add, would have made for a better postcard. Thank you, Jason!