Opinion » Maxed Out

Maxed Out

The avocado stops here



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Avocadoless, we finally entered a surreal world of AM talk radio – right-wing, left-wing, sports, self-help and evangelical christianinanity – very large, very fast vehicles, and hard-scrabble entrepreneurism. There are many things Canadians shouldn’t learn from Americans. Neoconservatism, evangelical christianinanity and unilateral aggression top the list. But there are definitely things Canadians should learn from Americans. That hard-scrabble entrepreneurial spirit tops the list.

Driving to the Cariboo recently, along the newly signed Coast Cariboo Circle, a hoped-for tourist route of exploration into the heartland of British Columbia, I was struck by the utter lack of things touristic. In fact, the only thing to suggest tourism along virtually the entire route was the signs. No attractions, very few roadside businesses, nuttin’ but road.

Along the coast of Oregon and California, and even across the wasteland stretches of Nevada, the roadside was littered with reasons to stop and spend a couple of bucks. Restaurants, of course, crab shacks along the coast, kitschy Mystery Forests, fruit and vegetable stands, junk collections, the world’s biggest pinwheel, come-ons to see Big Trees – Yes, foresters, you can charge tourists to SEE big trees, of which B.C. is littered – and in Nevada, where there ain’t nothin’, every outpost of humanity had roadside tables selling, wait for it, rocks. Yes, rocks. In a desert landscape consisting of nothing but dirt and rocks, no crabs, no big trees, just dirt and rocks, people sell rocks. I was shocked no one seemed to be selling bags of dirt.

In B.C., we seem to wait for the government to set the table for tourism, wrangle an Olympics™ or in some way or another tell us what to do. The circle tours are good starts; they may prime the pump. But without enough hard-scrabble entrepreneurialism to see an opportunity in trees and rocks and whatever else our world is full of, it’ll remain a circle of signs.

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