UP HERE IN THE NORTH
Jonathan Nuss captures #RaptorsFever (above) all the way up in Taloyoak, Nunavut. “Kids are stoked here, the most Northern community on mainland Canada and I think that’s pretty amazing,” he writes on Instagram. Toronto's appearance in the NBA finals has united the country in Canada's national pastime: trying to prove we're better than Americans. Once again under the banner of We The North.
It's a successful bit of nation-branding condensing all Canadian identity down onto Toronto's playoff chances. The slogan itself was created for the NBA team a few years ago by Montreal-based, Dutch-originating, and Japanese-owned marketing company Sid Lee. Shannon Hosford, marketing director for Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, tells Canadian Business magazine that people gravitated to the brand because of its Canadian resonance. “The thing that I love about We The North is that it’s authentic. It’s about who we are as Canadians. We spun all the negative things about where we come from into a positive; it might be cold but we are the North and we’re proud of it.”
But who actually is “the North” depends entirely on where it is you're standing. To anyone living above the Arctic Circle, we're all southerners. Those below the tree line would say the same of anybody living south of 60. “Moreover,” notes the Northern Policy Institute, “the only major Canadian cities that are more geographically south of Toronto are Hamilton and London.” Even Portland, Oregon and Minneapolis, Minnesota have taken great joy in pointing out they're actually further North than the Raptors' hometown.
Inaccurate then, sure, but if it helps the rest of Canada actually tolerate Toronto, so be it.
As always, thanks for reading.