TV North of the Border

I’ve made some trips to Canada over the years. I’ve enjoyed the blustery beauty of camping in PEI, had bagels with smoked meat in Montreal, and indulged in ice wine in Niagara on the Lake.

But I’ll be damned if I don’t just love Canadian TV in a Toronto living room.

Early on in my journeys north, I witnessed the Swiss Chalet Rotisserie Chicken Channel. For those who don’t know, Swiss Chalet is Canada’s answer to Boston Market, which is a drunk person’s answer to Kenny Rogers Roasters, which is the answer to everything. The above used to run on an endless loop on a dedicated cable channel as part of a bizarre (yet fulfilling) ad campaign.

There are all sorts of beautiful things on Canadian TV. Canadian HGTV gave the world Love It or List It (Hilary & David) and those dreamy Property Brothers.

Currently, I’ve been watching You Gotta Eat Here which is the Canadian version of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. In every way that “Triple D” is loud, brash and over the top, You Gotta Eat Here appears to have been made by Guy Fieri’s quieter and more reserved “non-union Canadian equivalent.”


Where Guy drives around a flashy red convertible, Canadian host John Catucci walks. Guy yells and slaps backs. John questions shyly and politely. I’m sad to report that Canada’s version was canceled last year.

While I’ve been enjoying the CBC News in the morning, most of the channels seem nearly identical to their American counterparts, just with tiny maple leaves on their logos.

A week ago I was flipping through channels and landed on CNN USA’s United Shades of America, in which host and comedian W. Kamau Bell went to Canada, and frankly, it made me want to live in Canada on a more permanent basis.

As Bell explored moving to Canada, I flipped through to a TV show all about the world’s longest open border: Border Security: Canada’s Front Line.


This is where I realized when the US sends their people, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with them. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.

As I sat there watching, a representative of the Canadian special forces knocked on my front door with temerity.

She walked in wearing red and black, shook my hand, gave me a cookie, and started firmly and politely asking me questions.

“Did you make an obscene joke, at the expense of one Mr. Donald J. Trump, Sr.?”

“I suppose. I mean I guess it wasn’t nice. Wait, didn’t I just think that joke?”

“Canadians are sensitive. I’m soorry, but we’re going to have to ask you to leave.”

“Wait, what?”

“We may not like Mr. Trump’s words, but we won’t let you denigrate someone just because you don’t like them. It’s not Canadian. Please leave. Oout now.”

“Okay,” I said with a frown knowing I’d never have Swiss Chalet again.

“Soorry for raising my voice. So soorry.” She whispered as I walked down the street with all the neighbors watching from their windows…



As I slowly walk the 169.14 km to Buffalo, go back to the start, and accept that Canada is as beautiful as it is inaccessible to Americans who just can’t be polite!


Canadian TV Senryu

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