This week’s Candid Canuck is Pat from Canadiana Connection! Check out our interview with her..
When away from Canada what did you miss most? What make us unique?
There was a LOT I missed when I moved away from Canada. First, my friends and support system followed by familiarity of the daily things we wouldn’t normally consider. You’d think Canada and the USA are the same but there are many subtle differences that seem odd at first, like how people didn’t mind standing in long lines or how close they packed into seats at the community pool… even buying milk in jugs instead of by the bag! Speaking of food… I missed Swiss Chalet the most, aero bars and REAL peameal bacon (not the ham they try to pass off as Canadian bacon). I loved that you got so much information on wines purchased in Ontario Liquor stores. You’re buying blind here!
Initially I thought the people were unique but now that I’ve moved around a bit, I’ve found the differences are more regional than country based. There are wide open spaces in the USA but I’d have to say uniqueness of Canada lies in the amount of natural space. Plus, generally, Canadians appear to be a kinder and gentler race, much more accepting of differences among peers.
Tell us about why you started blogging and how your blog has evolved over the years?
After moving to the USA in July of 1999, I did not have a work permit. My two youngsters were in pre-school & school and I was bored so I decided to teach myself how to build web sites. The topic of Canadiana was chosen because I knew my two young children wouldn’t remember living in Canada and I wanted them to be able to learn about their homeland. It worked because one of my sons did a project on a Canadian that ended up being a featured page on the site (http://www.canadianaconnection.com/2009/10/frank-thompson/). They both are very proud they are Canadian and it’s a strong part of their personal identity. I don’t know that my blog has evolved as much as it has had fits and spurts over the past 14 years! Initially the blog was for me, I ended up creating a list of thousands of names as people found it…. There wasn’t anything else like it on the internet -which has changed! I sold products homemade candles with Canadian names like CNE Caramel Apple or Moon River Blueberry… the BEST seller was Algonquin Campfire. By this time I had also started my virtual assistant business and I was just too busy to make the candles, package and sell them so I removed the shopping cart. My site then fell into neglect for several years. A couple of years ago I updated to wordpress and have started to post semi-regularly again. I’d like to do more but it is a labour of love and earning an income comes first. If anyone has good advice on adding ads to it, I’d appreciate it! I’m also looking for guest writers… I’d love to see it evolve into a web site of shared Canadian stories.
Do you have any tips for people looking to start a blog?
Yes! Just do it. Don’t be frozen by fear or by making mistakes although I would recommend understanding what the purpose of your blog will be. Blogging for business is a very different endeavor than blogging for personal gratification. There is lots of advice online… read it, and decide whether it fits your purpose… then do what you feel is best for you. Connect with other bloggers, network, and build a support system.
Did you write a post that really took off? We would love for you to share it with us.
The posts I am most proud include several posts such as the one on Laura Secord http://www.canadianaconnection.com/2009/10/laura-secord/ . I consider them successful not due to # of visitors but because they are provided by teachers as a reference source for elementary school projects.
Do you have any fave blogs you read? Share with us your must read Canadians.
Funny I never thought about the blogs I read as “Canadian” so I had to think about who I read that might also be Canadian.
http://manonthelam.com/ I’m a travel dreamer so I enjoy Man on the Lam.
I read a lot of my triberr buddies sites like http://www.didyouknowcanada.ca and http://kevinmartineau.ca – I am not particularly religious but I like the messages he shares on marriage and leadership.
www.loanscanada.ca because I work with a lot of realtors in my day job and they help me stay on top of things.
http://connect2canada.com/ which is the blog for the Canadian Embassy in Washington DC.
I know there are more, and I am now wishing I had saved my list before Google Reader was cancelled! Now I’ll be on a quest to find more Canadian blogs and find a way to feature them on my site. Let me know if you’re interested!