Trying To Find Something Made in Canada

The  green shampoo bottle in the wire basket hanging from the shower head looked like it was made in America. It was green and a similar shape and design to my shampoo bottle in my bathroom in Pennsylvania. I was in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, getting ready to fly home to The United States. I held the bottle up to my nose as the water ran down my back. I was mistaken, it was Made in Canada. The front of the bottle was written in French and English.

The Official Languages Act in 1969 declared French and English to be the official languages of Canada. And in 1974 the Consumer Packaging and Labeling Act  required the bilingual labelling of most consumer products sold in Canada.  A certain  percentage of the merchandise had to face forward in English and a certain percentage in French. I don’t remember what the percentages were, and I couldn’t find the information when I  searched on the internet.

The  shampoo bottles I was using had one side in French and English, and the other side was clear.  It would be easy to merchandise these bottles, as both languages were on the front of the bottle.

My mother and I were shopping for bras, at Simpson Sears in Saskatoon Saskatchewan in 1974, after the Consumer Packaging and Labeling Act had passed.  The boxed bras we were looking at had the French side facing forward. We turned all of the boxed bras that were facing to the front in French, to English. We walked up and down the lingerie department flipping all of the boxed Soutine-gorge’s to Brassiere, or Bra.  They may have passed a new Law about packaging in Canada. But my mother and I were going to have our own silent rebellion in the prairies of Saskatchewan. We were 2,059.7 miles from Quebec City. We wanted to read our bra packaging in English.

Brassiere, is actually a french word. So is serviette. The last time I was home I asked my mother,” Mom, do you want me to put the napkins on the table?”

“No, Pamela, please put the serviette’s on the table.”

I wonder if she would start to call them napkins, if she  knew serviette was a french word.

I was flying from Toronto back to the United States in a few hours and I still had not found anything to take home to my children that was made in Canada, except for the shampoo.

One store had interesting items, but I could have purchased them at home, in the United States, as they are made there, not in Canada.  There was a small mirror covered in leather, but it was made in Scotland.  Several items made in China, but I was not visiting China, so I passed on those as well.  If I am in China, are all the souvenirs made in China? Maybe some are made in Canada, or The United States.

My cousin and I walked to the Royal Ontario Museum on Bloor Street in Toronto. I found several items  that were made in Canada. I purchased an arrowhead, a rock and a small container of tea.  Small tokens to show my children that their Mama was thinking of them.  I hoped that they were the happiest to have me home.  Their Mama who was Made In Canada.


7 responses to “Trying To Find Something Made in Canada

  1. Nice ending, the best made in Canada gift-you! 🙂 Many souvenirs aren’t made in the place visited. I try to get something actually made in the place I am visiting, too. Interesting about the bilingual labeling act and the story it reminded you of with your mom.

  2. I’m sure they were glad to have you home. I love your final sentence. It’s hard to find items actually made in the country you are visiting. That’s rather sad.

  3. zeaserspalace

    I had a good giggle reading about your own silent rebellion as it totally sounds like something I would do! Those are the memories to hang onto of precious times with your mom. Thanks for the smiles!

  4. When I go back home this summer, I have to remember to look at carefully the labels and make sure I only bring stuff back that was actually made there. And when I do, I will remember your post 🙂

  5. Neat story & yes Pamela I do know “serviette” is a french word, we have just always called them that, maybe because it sounded so elegant, hmmmm, we also say chesterfield. Sometimes I still turn the canned goods around with the english side facing forward in the grocery store, reminds me of our times together.

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