I've been working on Pelting Out long enough to exercise a healthy skepticism in the new material I come across. As a part of doing so, I spent last night in Sault Ste. Marie - home to one of the most mispronounced/misspelled/misunderstood place names in North America. Call it "Soo Saint Marie" or just "the Soo". There would be even less here today were it not for the history and innovation of the Soo Canal. Even at the height of its engineering heyday, the Canal is an industrial expansion upon a once natural waterway between Lakes Superior and Huron. But I'm nonetheless intrigued by this place. Go back far enough and you'll find many competing origin stories. I found what I came looking for, which included wanting to see whether (or how) both sides left certain parts out of the narrative. I should back up a bit to say that "sides" in this particular place corresponds to the border between Canada and the United States. The Canadian historical narrative is different than the American one. Not necessarily opposed. It's what gets left out that intrigues me. Add to that the current emphasis that Stephen Harper (Canada's Conservative Prime Minister) has chosen to re-frame the War of 1812 (which actually lasted until early 1815). and contrasts then and now between the U.S. and Canada.
Intriguing stuff, right? Uh...maybe not yet. I'm leaving out a ton of detail. And I'm about to hop on the road for another long day of driving. Monday was Winnipeg. Tuesday Thunder Bay. Yesterday Sault Ste. Marie. Today is more parts of Michigan and then back into western Ontario. Detail will follow, I promise. And please don't wait for the movie. You'll like the book better.