The Great North

At a college in upstate New York, a band of outsiders share an esoteric interest: Canada

David Marchese

In the bustling student centre at the state university in Plattsburgh, New York, a town of 19,000 just a few kilometres south of the Quebec border, Vicky Banas stands at attention beside a table draped with the Canadian flag. On this rainy Thursday morning in late April, she and five other members of Club Canada — dedicated to promoting knowledge of the country — have laid out display boards showing images of the Plains of Abraham and plates of poutine. The group has organized a promotional trip to Quebec City. The bus leaves Saturday morning. They still have tickets left to sell.
“Drinking age is eighteen in Quebec, right?” says a scruffy-haired guy who has approached Banas. He’s wearing flip-flops, sweatpants, and a Plattsburgh State T-shirt. So is the girl he’s with.
Banas, a round-faced junior in cat’s-eye glasses, ignores the question. “Want to answer a trivia question for a chance to win a Club Canada T-shirt?”

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