Jeremy Taggart is the former drummer for Our Lady Peace, one of my favorite bands from my youth. Jonathan Torrens is an actor and television host who has enjoyed a long career as a constant presence on Canadian television. A few years back, they met and decided to produce a podcast about their shared love for their home country of Canada. In turn, the podcast spawned a book of the same name, Canadianity. It is both a nostalgic look at Canada’s pop-culture landscape as well as stories from the lives and careers of the two authors.
Broken down province-by-province, Taggart and Torrens discuss what makes each one great as well as their fond memories traveling and sometimes living there. The two longest chapters are reserved for Ontario and P.E.I., their respective homelands. For each province, they discuss its notable exports whether it is its public figures, actors/actresses and bands as well as what to do when you’re there (bars/restaurants/etc). While some of the lists lack diversity, they’re without question some of the more popular men and women that come to mind when you think about each location.
Above all else, Canadianity is a fun and easy read. I laughed out loud on more than a few occasions (there’s a great story about Gordon Pinsent on a movie set in Newfoundland that got a big chuckle out of me). I would have liked more about Taggart’s decision to leave OLP, but maybe there isn’t more to the story that he shares near the book’s final pages. It’s worth noting that you do not need to be a fan of the podcast to enjoy the book – I’m not a regular listener myself. However, I’m sure it helps with the handful of references to the games they play on the show.