Detroit is the only major city in America, people will tell you (even if you haven’t asked), where you drive south to get to Canada. The southerly orientation of our otherwise-northern neighbor is due to an odd strip of Canada that squeezes in between Lake Huron and Lake Erie. That strip extends all the way to the outskirts of the Motor City. There, just across the Detroit River, is the city of Windsor, which is located in Ontario, which is a province of Canada.
You can stand at the bottom end of Belle Isle—a Detroit city park on a small island connected to the rest of the city by a bridge—and observe, if you are so inclined, the goings-on in Canada just a stone’s throw away. (You are not encouraged, however, actually to throw stones.) That man jogging along the path just across the water there? He’s a Canadian.
Why is it so striking, this Canadian proximity? One answer is that we’re in Detroit, and Detroit, more even than other American cities, seems to be so very much an American city. Perhaps this is because of Motown, that most American of American Pop music. Perhaps it is because of cars, American cars: General Motors, Chrysler, Ford. [Read more…]