The Maple Countryside: Series Introduction (#1)

maplecountry_banner#1 Series Introduction

Hello! And welcome to the new monthly series called: The Maple Countryside: Anecdotes of Korean Culture in Rural Canada.

My name is Peyton M. Bechard. I am a grad student at York U (currently focusing on different interpretations of the beloved Korean folksong, “Arirang”) and I’m glad to have the opportunity to be your host throughout the next year as we explore some of the many instances of Korean culture that exist outside of Canada’s major and famously multicultural cities.

Here in Toronto, where I’m living now, we have a booming Koreatown designated in the downtown core and an arguably equally booming unofficial Koreatown that has sprung up in the northernmost part of the city on Yonge Street. But outside of the city, things are much different. One example that I will often refer to is Chatham-Kent, Ontario, the area I grew up in, and an area that (as far as I know) has only just recently opened its first Korean restaurant!

The combination of my own move from a rural to an urban setting and my subsequent shift into Korean cultural studies at university triggered an interest and many questions regarding the cultural conditions of the Korean-Canadians that I had known while growing up and others in comparable situations around Canada. These questions will define the topics that will be covered here in each of the following months. In March we will talk about the effects of the Korean Wave (of Korean pop culture, such as K-pop, K-dramas, etc.) in rural areas, and in April we will talk about the education and use of Hangul among these small communities… and you will have to stick around to see what else we have on the schedule!

Since we are trying to expand the perspective of what we know as the Korean-Canadian experience, it would be no good to only speak to my old friends from Chatham-Kent. Instead, I will do my best to connect with Korean-Canadians from a range of provinces. Each month I will introduce one particular person and talk loosely with them about that month’s specified theme and their experience with that theme, and each month we will hopefully gain some more insight on the perpetuation of Korean culture in Canada, even where small and, to some extent, isolated diaspora exist.

I hope that this new series is something that intrigues you as much as it does myself, and I hope that you will be back each month to pick up on some new experiences and perspectives from rural Canadian-Korean communities!


3 replies »

  1. This is a wonderful idea, Peyton! I don’t think I have seen anything similar to this. I look forward to following your series :)

  2. My interest in all things Korean comes from stumbling on Korean drama accidentally. I am now very interested in how Korean-Canadians of all generations see their experience in Canada. Thank-you for sharing your experiences.

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