Hiding out in the ‘burbs

September 21, 2011 /
Film still representing the lives of immigrants in the suburbs

Surprisingly to some, many of the people living in the suburbs – places like Peel or Scarborough – do so voluntarily—almost as if they like it or something. Moreover, a very significant chunk of those suburbanites aren’t white and weren’t born in Canada, a fact that raises some rather sticky questions. To wit, as downtown…

Keep Reading »

When all is fleeting anyway, food becomes everything (Immigrant Decor Part 5)

August 4, 2011 / Comments Off on When all is fleeting anyway, food becomes everything (Immigrant Decor Part 5)
Russian Salad Olivier - Russian version of potato salad

If I had a Russian food blog, it would be something like The Gastronomical Me, by Katrina K., a transplanted Russian who lives in London. And, if I loved in London, I would be crashing her monthly Soviet brunch club. As it is, I may have to start my own version in Toronto. In the…

Keep Reading »

The weight of an English chesterfield (Immigrant Decor Part 4)

July 27, 2011 / Comments Off on The weight of an English chesterfield (Immigrant Decor Part 4)

This next post is from Navneet Alang, a tech-culture writer and PhD student. You can catch his always thoughtful commentary in This Magazine and the Toronto Standard, among others. Nav’s memorable item is slightly bigger than your average tchotchke, but what I really appreciate is how neatly it upends expectations of what, or where, home…

Keep Reading »

Hindu gods, the Alberta way (Immigrant Decor Part 3)

July 26, 2011 / Comments Off on Hindu gods, the Alberta way (Immigrant Decor Part 3)

Our next submission on the things we take with us growing up in immigrant homes is from writer Scaachi Koul, who writes about her distance from her Indian background. Scaachi is currently interning over at Huffington Post Canada. She also keeps a personal blog, Big Fists, where she’s recently started an advice column featuring her…

Keep Reading »

A suitcase full of matryoshkas and salami (Immigrant Decor Part 2)

July 15, 2011 / Comments Off on A suitcase full of matryoshkas and salami (Immigrant Decor Part 2)
, ,
Russian Matryoshka nesting dolls at the Ottawa Children's Museum

Today’s peek into the immigrant home comes from Anna Tarkov, a journalist and blogger from Chicago. She’s been published in the Chicago Tribune, Time Out Chicago, and others, and her blog, THE OUTSIDER… and the rueful dilettante, is full of insights on the state of journalism today. Though she left the USSR much later than…

Keep Reading »

The faux Persian rug, crowning glory of every Russian home (Immigrant Decor Part 1)

July 13, 2011 /

A couple weeks ago I asked for people to send in their stories about immigrant household decor, an extension of my own musings on the question of whether what’s on your walls impacts your immigrant identity. I got some great responses, and I’m excited to be sharing them over the coming days! Today’s contribution is…

Keep Reading »

Immigrant household decor: Your stories wanted!

June 28, 2011 /

Did you grow up in an immigrant family (Russian/Soviet or otherwise)? Was every available inch taken up with mementos of the “Old Country”? Or did your family shun any and all reminders? Or maybe it was you who made the journey to a new language, new food, new home and had to decide what to…

Keep Reading »

Do Russian and Soviet memorabilia an immigrant make?

June 23, 2011 /
Anna Sui makeup display representing Russian tchotchkes

I talked about Russian tchotchkes a few weeks ago. And then recently, I spotted this make-up collection from Anna Sui, and though it’s called “Dolly Girl” and references wind mills, it has an unmistakable waft of the Slavo-folksy to me. $27 worth, no less. I’m not a fan of the Russian “look”—tchotchkes, nostalgia, kitsch, call…

Keep Reading »

On Russian tchotchkes and Soviet design

June 6, 2011 /
, , ,
Unsung Icons of Soviet Design book cover

A very long time ago (in internet years), I had a Twitter conversation with blogger and general funny girl Vicki Boykis (@vboykis) about our attitudes towards Russian tchotchkes. The original link is dead, but it was probably something along these lines. Her response was an unequivocal “yea,” while I was firmly on the “ugh, why?”…

Keep Reading »

No frills, but plenty of multiculturalism

August 24, 2010 / Comments Off on No frills, but plenty of multiculturalism
Food and multiculturalism at No Frills in Canada

While I was ranting about $8 chocolate bars yesterday, I got to thinking about No Frills, where we get a lot of our groceries. What Canadian doesn’t like to rave about our open-minded multiculturalism, and especially the eating part? It’s easier than trying to dissect international politics, or talk critically about the ways in which…

Keep Reading »