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Oh Canada! My Ode to Toronto and All Things Canadian

While I consider myself a global citizen, I am a PROUD Canadian, born and raised in Toronto. I was born at the now-defunct Northwestern General Hospital, spent my formative years kicking around Keele and Eglinton Streets, and my mom still lives in Mississauga. Not Mississippi, Mississauga.
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While I consider myself a global citizen, I am a PROUD Canadian, born and raised in Toronto. I was born at the now-defunct Northwestern General Hospital, spent my formative years kicking around Keele and Eglinton Streets, and my mom still lives in Mississauga. Not Mississippi, Mississauga.

I tag "eh" on at the end of my sentences without thinking, can ice skate better than I can swim, and like maple syrup on absolutely everythaaaaang (but mostly pancakes and scrambled eggs).

I knew about Drake when he was still Jimmy on Degrassi-heck, I WATCHED the original Degrassi series when it was on TV (holla Snake, Spike, and Joey)! I shopped in Zellers and Eatons and Dominion and Beckers when they still existed!

I went to University of Toronto but secretly wished I went to Ryerson so I could hang out on the cool part of Yonge street between classes. I've partied at Western and Winsdor sports weekends. I applied for and received OSAP.

In elementary school, I busted my lungs singing both the Canadian national anthem and Ontario provincial anthem (Ontari-ari-ari-o!).

I wore Roots clothing and rocked Beaver Canoe (before they went out of business). My first jobs were in retail, shilling clothing at distinctly Canadian outlets like Northern Elements, Garage, and Sirens (at Square One Mall, no less!).

Yo, I remember minimum wage when it was $6.40 and when taxes were known as GST and PST (and totalled 15%). Sidebar: HST at 13% ain't much better, but I'll take it.

I ate at Harvey's and gorged myself on Smarties and ketchup chips.

I got my G1 with no issues but flunked my G2 driving test. Twice. *hangs head in shame*.

I speak French fluently (with a slight Quebec accent), but thanks to growing up in Toronto also know a few choice words in Tagalog, Cantonese, Italian, and Polish. I've been to Filipino debut parties, Ukrainian Easter egg painting tutorials, and gotten my eyebrows threaded (long before it was a "thing") at the many East Indian-owned beauty salons found in Mississauga and Brampton.

And I knew and loved Justin Trudeau looooong before he became Obama's bestie, highly celebrated international heartthrob, and media sensation.

I lived in Toronto when it was still referred to as the T-Dot and not The6. I remember a time when Etobicoke, York, East York, North York, Scarborough, and Toronto were all separate cities before the amalgamation happened. I remember a time when the only phone area code was 416 (I also remember a time when Bell telephone booths were ubiquitous and I had a Telus flip phone, but I digress).

And as a Afro-Caribbean person from Toronto I grew up watching Master T on Xtendamix on Saturday afternoons, eating Jamaican food on Eglinton West, and attending (and participating in!) Caribana on the Lakeshore.

I've partied on King Street West, Queen's Street West, College Street West (yo, but BREDRIN, do you remember those jams at Revival?!? Epic!) and Yonge & Eglington amongst other places. I partied at the Docks before they closed down and rocked out to late '90's/early 2000s hip-hop and RnB at the "Nostalgia" party series when they were still happening (R.I.P. to some dang good jams!) I've partied in dimly lit basements and slapped the wall or the ceiling when the music got hype!

Kardinal Offishall's "Bakardi Slang" is still my summer anthem.

And bruh. I have shovelled more snow in my lifetime than I'd like to think about. I also have (gleefully) lived through a number of snow days (best reason to miss school!)

But that snow THO. To be Canadian and endure Canadian winters...

So while I'm married to a German guy, live in Hong Kong, and have travelled the world, I'm a Toronto/Canadian gyal to the core...Oh Canada, my home and native land!

Canada stand up! This is my official Canadian roll call. Where my Canadians at?

And for those of you (unlucky, haha) folks who didn't grow up north of the 49th parallel, have you ever been to Canada? If not, any desire to go? And what's your opinion/impression of Canadians?

Follow Oneika's international adventures through over 80 countries on her blog Oneika the Traveller or on Instagram at @oneikatraveller.