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Oh Canada

56596Is it just me, or do you also think that Canadians are the nicest people on Earth? Outside of the hockey players who routinely beat each other to a pulp, I have to say that most Canadians I meet are friendly, pleasant, gracious, and would never think of saying stuff like, "You wanna piece of me?" They're like the direct opposites of Philadelphia sports fans.

I'm thinking about writing a book that explores this phenomenon by traveling across Canada and seeing if I can find a single mean person who isn't carrying a hockey stick. I'm reminded of a story told by my pal Hal Quinn, a marvelous sports writer from Vancouver, B.C. One time he walked out of a football game and a drunken guy walked up to him and said, "Hey, you. You want to fight?" Hal said, "No, not really." The guy then said, "Aw, crap," and walked away.

Now that's a polite drunk. I've had great experiences every time I go to the Great White North, from cooking and eating with Chef Mara Jernigan at her Fairburn Farm on Vancouver Island to kibitzing in two languages with a gorgeous Montreal tour guide named Annique Dufour who was showing off the subterranean passageways of her city. A concierge named Avelino at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler Resort promised to teach my five-year old son Joe how to snowboard. And golf professional Rowdy Rodney Cochrane from Vernon, B.C. even laughed at my jokes for an entire week, and they weren't very good jokes. Now that's a polite golf pro.

I'm heading up there for ten days in August and will have more to say about nice Canadians. Hope I run into more curling stars and figure skaters than hockey players. What are your favorite experiences in Canada?

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