Mickey Mouse and Maple Syrup

Mickey Mouse and Maple Syrup

After far too long an absence, he’s back. And we’re jolly glad he is.

Jason Enlow writes:

There are people living 2,548 km away in faraway land called Orlando who have never skated, skied, snowboarded, built a snow fort or thrown a snowball. Ah, the wonders of winter! Why would anyone, lucky enough to be living in a scene straight out of a Christmas card, defy the weather gods by trying to escape their regional fate? The answer, of course, is Walt Disney World.

Disney World EnlowTo quote Mojo Nixon (sort of), Disney is everywhere, Disney is everything, Disney is everybody…well you get the idea. Disney is the pilgrimage that many families feel compelled to make, mine included. Flying out of Québec City’s Jean Lesage International Airport was painless. After all, it was voted Best Airport in North America for a second year in a row (in the 0-2 million passenger category). Unfortunately, changing planes in Philadelphia was less enjoyable. As I stood in my socks waiting for my shoes to be scanned holding my Ziploc of liquids under 100mL, I couldn’t help thinking about what George Carlin had to say about air travel. “I’m getting tired of all this security at the airport…rootin’ around inside my bag for no reason and never finding anything.” I started to understand how Bilbo Baggins must have felt when he first began his long journey, “Bother burgling (travelling) and everything to do with it! I wish I was at home in my nice hole by the fire, with the kettle just beginning to sing!” And it was not the last time that I wished that.

Disney_World_CastleCome to think of it, heading to Disney was a lot like the hobbit’s voyage to the Lonely Mountain, minus the Canada Pavilion. It’s always interesting to see how Americans perceive Canadians, but I’m not sure that it’s much different than how we think of ourselves. According to the Disney World website, the Canada Pavilion features “the peaceful Canadian landscape with magnificent gardens, majestic architecture and a canyon reminiscent of the Canadian Rockies. A 30-foot rushing waterfall offers a refreshing spray and carved totem poles add to the ambiance of this amazing place.”  It’s true, it was peaceful, there weren’t many people visiting it. There was a film presentation in CircleVision 360 entitled O Canada! I decided to pass because I knew, thanks to the China Pavilion, that a 360 film meant that I would be standing. Plus the film was hosted by Martin Short and I haven’t seen a good Martin Short film since ¡Three Amigos! I’m sure there are some; I just haven’t seen them…

The best part about the Canada Pavilion was the Northwest Mercantile trading post building, which has been designed to look like a traditional West coast native longhouse. You can purchase all your typical Canadian needs such as: wilderness themed bric-à-brac, hockey stuff, plush animals, Canadian wines, maple syrup and oh yes, more hockey stuff. Browsing around, I began to understand why the burning question amongst some Americans about Canadians is, “On what side of our igloo do we park our dogsled team?” (Real question) One couple was quizzically admiring a baseball cap with the logo “Canadian Syrup Team” embroidered on it. I explained that it was referring to maple syrup, not Aunt Jemima, and up in the Great White North, we drink it. Don’t laugh. I used arrive in Toronto bearing gifts of maple syrup and I had friends that would down it in shot glasses. I had to cut them off, not just for the good of their health, but also because of the $8 per 540mL can price tag. Actually, that’s a steal compared to Disney where a 200mL bottle of sugary sap will set you back $20.

But seriously, Disney World was a lot of fun and I realized that Quebec City is quite similar. Both have quaint city streets to stroll along. There are tons of interesting shops and restaurants. There’s always something new to see or do. There are castles, parades, talking costumed characters, outdoor shows and lots of tourists. I guess it’s true what they say, that sometimes you have to go away to appreciate what you’ve already got at home. Except for Space Mountain, it beats the Dufferin Terrace slide by a mile!

Categories: News, Opinion

About Author

Jason Enlow

Jason Enlow is a Special Education Technician at an English elementary school. He was born in Montreal, Quebec and grew up in Burlington, Ontario. Jason studied Radio and Television at Ryerson University in Toronto. His previous employers include CityTV, CBC, The Weather Network, and Global Television. He’s worked as a DJ, camera operator, musician, teacher, translator and video game content designer. Jason moved to Quebec City in 1997 where he still lives today with his wife and three sons.


  1. sharleen
    sharleen 28 January, 2013, 16:07

    Hmmmm… Quebec City and Disney World similarities: outdoor temperatures in winter – none. No similarity. Not at any time of the year! Take me away, Mickey, take me away now!
    Wearing of big ears would be considered freakish and absolutely frowned upon in Quebec City. We look much better in fur Davy Crockett hats.
    Running and giggling aloud toward the Plains Of Abraham might raise suspicion and even sound alarms. Shrieking while staggering and carrying big canes filled with Caribou is no cause for alarm at all.
    Bright white shorts, white shoes with socks and loud shirts worn by gentlemen look fine in Disney World (for some strange reason.) Here, little clothing, big tattoos.
    But, in the end, it is good to come back to our home and native land where the polar bears, wolves and beavers run free among us.

  2. jasonenlow
    jasonenlow Author 25 August, 2013, 09:41

    Wolves and beavers and bears? Oh my! We’re not in Kansas anymore…

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