Guest Author - Cavelle Natasha Layes
I understand that a pierogi is not "Canadian" and in fact its origins come from the Ukrainians but when Canada has the third largest population of Ukrainians in the world would it not make sense that some of their cultures, traditions and food become part of our history as well?
When one small area of land such as Ile Royale is settled by the Irish, Scottish, French and English just in the 1700's alone is it insane to expect that we as Canadians have a widely diverse culture? Throughout hundreds of years Canada has been made home to many settlers of Asian, Italian, French, English, Native and Dutch decent, and this is just naming a small few of the many who have travelled here.
Many see the term Canadian culture as being quite hard to define, and without being able to define such a simple term it makes it somewhat impossible to pinpoint what things like Canadian cuisine truly are. We need to be able to come up with a proper definition of this term in order to be able to define who we are. What does it mean to be Canadian? Surely there is more to us then hockey and beer, there must be something that is unique to us.
I personally believe that if these many cultures who have settled in our great nation over a period of hundreds of years have not left an imprint upon us then something is drastically wrong. Of course they have, Ile Royale which now is known as Cape Breton Island is a perfect example. Hundreds of years after the Irish and Scottish settlers arrived on the land their culture is still strongly found throughout the Island. Celtic themes show themselves in song and dance daily, with musicians such as Ashley MacIssac, Aselin Debison, The Cottars and the Rankin's as proof of this. Even the East coast accent shows evidence of its history.
These many settlers have made a large impact on who we are. Yes we are known for poutine but when speaking to a Canadian you are more likely to find a recipe for cabbage rolls, fish cakes and yes even pierogi that have been passed down through generations before you would find one for poutine. No these recipes may not have originated here but they are indeed Canadian. They are just as much part of our roots and heritage as they are for the Ukrainians, Irish, Scottish and all the rest.
My belief is that Canadian culture is its own unique blend of many different cultures, we have a little bit of everything and this in turn creates something totally new, something I like to call "Canadian".