The Most Canadian Thing Ever?

I arrive on campus this sunny afternoon to witness the spectacle of the first day of school. Undergraduates everywhere, corporations hawking their logos and free food, one sorry frat trying to get people to eat hot dogs. As I walk up the hill toward the Arts Building (which houses my office), I pass the giant Provigo tent, which has set out dozens of tables and chairs where new students can congregate. Everything and everyone smacks of anticipation, energy and well, cool.

And what is the soundtrack that Provigo (a grocery store chain) has chosen for this classic collegiate scene?

Rush — Limelight.

5 replies on “The Most Canadian Thing Ever?”

  1. I always found that McGill really did the \”frat thing\” very well. It was worse in the 80s, trust me. Though the corporate sponsorship thing is indeed new.

  2. Interesting. I didn\’t know this was a new thing at McGill. I\’m used to it on American campuses. Just goes to show you how desensitized I am to the corporatization of universities. That\’s a bad sign for sure.

  3. Frats are neither big nor new at McGill — they arrived around the beginning of the 20th century, and used to be much more prominent than they are now. There\’s an interesting account of their on-campus history here; McGill has traditionally been so clubby that fraternities have tended to be the places where some who felt displaced have congregated.

  4. My comment was not about history, per se, but the rather nasty turn that happened when I was there in the 80s, when fraternity culture seemed to be still basking in a post-Animal House haze (pardon the pun). It was after a number of pretty horrible events that the fraternal presence on McGill\’s campus began its slide, as noted in the story.

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