Friday, March 5, 2010

Welcome to Canada, Have Some Jackets

Via Womanist Musings, I came across this commercial for Tim Horton's. Timmy's is iconic in Canada. Given the choice between a Tim's and Starbucks, I'll pick the Tims. The hot chocolate is nice, and the donuts are okay. I've never had a meal there, although I've had a bit of soup. I think some of their advertising is misleading (like, advertising sourdough bread bowl, and the branch itself doesn't have the bread bowls. If your product isn't consistent with ads, don't show the ads).


Renee makes a great point that most of Tim Horton's advertising is heavily white, although I've seen a couple of commercials with a token black man. She also points out that in this ad, the minority characters are portrayed as newcomers to Canada, and how in the history of Canada, not all PoC are newcomers.


I can see her point. PoC shouldn't be portrayed as newcomers, or new immigrants all the time. It's not fair, and it does a great disservice to PoC who have been part of Canadia's racial make-up for a long time.

I just want to say, though, that this commercial did move me, not because it promoted some multi-cultural Canada (it doesn't, not really - it might have if it had featured more speaking PoC who are clearly Canadian, besides the woman who glances at the reunion and smiles). 

I liked it because it reminded me of the time when my family came to Halifax for my graduation. Like the man, I, too, packed a bag filled with jackets ans weathers for my family. And I should say, I come from a privileged background, enough that we knew what cold weather was like - before I came to Canada, I knew what thermals were, and my family always had a few sets for when we travelled to cold countries. We had winter jackets packed away, waiting for the next trip abroad. My mother considered us very prepared for cold weather. When I came to Canada, I was already armed with gloves and thermals and a double-layered down jacket. 

Of course, my mother had never really lived in a cold country, so she didn't know that houses didn't have to be cold (my mother was so convinced that Canadian houses were so cold, there were no hot showers, that she gave me a bottle of powder shampoo when I first left) (no, don't ask me how she got that impression), and as long as you had decent jackets, you wouldn't be cold. So I packed my decent jackets and hied off to the airport with a bag, waiting for them, just like the man in the commercial did. 

It just seemed like the right and regular thing to do: wait at the airport for your equatorial relatives to arrive with a bag of weather-appropriate clothing. Welcome to Canada, here're some proper clothes, I'm going to take care of you. That's how you greet family, especially family you haven't seen in a long time. 

It's lovely.

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