While I won’t be going to the SXSW festival in Austin this year, for the past two years I always enjoyed heading over to the Maple Leaf lounge and checking out what my fellow Canadians were up to. Canadian beer, Canadian projects, guaranteed good times.
A few months ago I started getting emails from Northof41.org, the group that puts the Canadian events on. The very worthy goal of Northof41 is to “promote Canada as a dynamic place for business opportunity by highlighting digital media technology companies.” Right on!
But something wasn’t quite right. I mean, when I was growing up in Toronto, I was always taught that the border between the two great nations was the 49th parallel. Yes, there was some confusion at the fact that Toronto sits north of the 43rd parallel, but also pride, pride in the fact that my compatriots had stood up to the slogan of the perfidious President Polk: Fifty-four forty or fight! Canada without those five degrees of latitude would be pretty grim.
Returning to the 41st parallel. The 41st parallel is the Colorado-Wyoming border. It does not touch Canada at all. So why has Northof41 chosen it? My initial reaction was that they are a bunch of bunglers, and that no one who has ever associated with the group has pointed out that the usual shorthand for the Canada-US border is the 49th parallel, and not the 41st.
But let’s be charitable. We could point out that the southernmost point in Canada is Middle Island in Lake Erie, which sits between the 41st and 42nd parallel.
But if that’s the case, Americans watch out! Thirteen U.S. states are entirely to the north of that point, and one thing that’s clear is that the world’s longest undefended border will soon be under attack by Canadian technology entrepreneurs. “Cross-border discussion” indeed!
Northof49 might be a better name.