About 600 km farther westward later now. I have driven from an area of Canada first settled in the 1640s by Baroque explorers to one that came under the Victorian British plow around two hundred years later. When I was at the museum that sits on the spot where the French founded Montreal, standing among foundations in a thoughtful presentation, I spoke with a nice young staffer who had no idea that my town just 300 km up the St. Lawrence has a lot of its early stone buildings still up, occupied with people working.
After days of clinky cafe life and an amazing amount of second hand smoke, our hotel tonight is part of a small prosperous Ojibwe community set among fields and woodlots. One of the bigger names in US country music is playing across the road. Didn't know until I checked in. I have a sense the quiet of the hallways is a temporary state of affairs but that is fine. For three nights, we slept soundly to the roar of the big city.
The combination of experiences since waking has an odd sense of Canadiana about it - as did stopping at a small town LCBO on the way. I have a complex relationship with the store my son has dubbed the LickBo. It has plenty of what anyone might need, the prices are good for the most part but there is that whole unevenness of stock selection thing. Sometimes it is irritating and then, like today, you stop in a town of just a few thousand surrounded by miles of farms and find Fuller's London Porter, Spaten München as well as Chimay "off-white" on the shelves. Which should be more than enough, right? But a half hour's drive to the next state monopoly store in the next market town might have none of those but a few others that are interesting enough. The managers likely have no idea what each other stocks... or why.