Home > Listening, walking > I went to visit the Pier 21 museum in Halifax, which focuses on immigration to Canada, and has a special exhibit this year for Canada 150. One activity it asks of museum-goers is to write about their first day in Canada, which I did. It was August 1968. I remember clearly walking by a vacant lot by the highway between our high-rise apartment and the restaurant where we had dinner that day. The lot was filled with chirping crickets, and that sound along with the pervasive sound of a multi-lane highway, seemed very Canadian to me as an immigrant from the UK. Both highway and insect sounds were unusual to my ears, although it feels strange to write that now, having become so accustomed to them in the intervening half century. In both cases, it was a buzzing, layered, sound caused by many individuals. And it turns out that my perception of the cricket sounds as unusual, and more Canadian than English, has an ecological reason. At that time in the UK, crickets were almost extinct because of industrial farming practices. So I would not have heard a field filled with crickets like that before.

I went to visit the Pier 21 museum in Halifax, which focuses on immigration to Canada, and has a special exhibit this year for Canada 150. One activity it asks of museum-goers is to write about their first day in Canada, which I did. It was August 1968. I remember clearly walking by a vacant lot by the highway between our high-rise apartment and the restaurant where we had dinner that day. The lot was filled with chirping crickets, and that sound along with the pervasive sound of a multi-lane highway, seemed very Canadian to me as an immigrant from the UK. Both highway and insect sounds were unusual to my ears, although it feels strange to write that now, having become so accustomed to them in the intervening half century. In both cases, it was a buzzing, layered, sound caused by many individuals. And it turns out that my perception of the cricket sounds as unusual, and more Canadian than English, has an ecological reason. At that time in the UK, crickets were almost extinct because of industrial farming practices. So I would not have heard a field filled with crickets like that before.

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