Imagining Canada


A new collection of 22,000 New York Times photos of Canada has made its way here--to Toronto. It's an illuminating and fascinating archive of images, all seen through a particular lens--an American lens.

It's a perspective that is familiar, yet different, somehow. It casts us as a vast and expansive nation with clusters of people, carving roads through mountains and floating logs down rivers. But we're also seen as a nation of hockey players, immigrants and Indians. A place where the Royals come to holiday and our brightest stars go south to make it big.

"Canadians have a very sort of a sketchy thing where they don't endorse something until America endorses it and then they love it," says Dave Thomas, the comedy veteran of SCTV and half of the iconic comedy act of Bob and Doug Mackenzie. "Americans loved Bob and Doug because they were very funny, very quaint, very Canadian and kind of like Muppets, very non-threatening, very like Canadians."

IMAGINING CANADA, a new documentary by Toronto's 90th Parallel Productions, will use the New York Times photo collection to explore how the Americans see us. It's something we wrestle with, like gossip over the neighbour's fence: we pretend not to care, but we really, really want to know