Miscellany: Canada, not just a country, a suburb too

Having lived in Toronto, Canada for five years my ears prick up anytime I hear the “C” word back here in Melbourne. I refer to the terms  Canadian or Canada. For my blog I will post all things Canadian I come across here during my time in Australia – history, people, sports, buildings etc.  If you are reading this and know of some Canadian content here in Melbourne, please email me. I’d like to find out more: justinrobertson79@gmail.com.

 

I like being surprised when I head out on a road trip. Heading to the Grampians last weekend via Ballarat my wife and I decided to spend some time at Sovereign Hill. Trying to do the math in my head while making the turn off to Ballarat’s city centre, I had come to the conclusion It had been more than 20 years since I had been there. My wife, a Canadian, had never been nor heard of it before this weekend. After a quick stop at the information centre, we piled up all the maps on the back seat and headed toward  goldrush country.

We had one more turn to make when I stopped the car in disbelief.

“What did that sign say?” I said, pulling into the curb. “Did that.. say… Canadian?”

We climbed out of the car and ran toward the roadside sign as if we were greeting family by the international gates at the airport. Sure enough, in big white lettering it read: Canadian.

According to the history of Ballarat, Canadian is best known for the first ever gold find in Victoria. In 1851, two miners, John Dunlop and James Regan  found a few ounces of the yellow rock while panning in the Canadian Creek. By the following year more than 20,000 diggers started their search in the Ballarat Goldfields and it exploded into a frantic search for gold.

After taking some photos, the initial gloss of the unique sign wore off so we decided to walk the street and get a sense of what this suburb was like and what it represents today. The suburb itself is tiny. No more than 2,498 people reside there. As we neared a gravel bridge there was a man sitting in his rocking chair on the porch of his house, smiling and waving.We stopped out the front of his property and exchanged hellos and gave introductions. After he found out we had been living in Toronto he  laughed and said,”small world.”

“My sister used to live in Buffalo. She would go to Canada to shop because she thought it was cheaper,” said the elderly man, shrugging his shoulders. The conversation became hard to sustain as the house was situated on the busiest road in town and right next door, a new housing development had attracted bulldozers, cranes and trucks. It was noisy to say the least. What I did hear the man say though, he’d been living in Canadian since 1970, worked as a builder and is now retired.

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