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Connecting Expats to Their Home and Native Land

It can be lonely living away from home. Whether you’re just a stone’s throw across the line or in a land far, far away, you’re bound to feel homesick at one point or another. You’re in a foreign country now and things here are, well, foreign. The landscape, the smells, the food -- things can be so different. Exciting, sure; intriguing, indeed, but different, darn it, and sometimes different just doesn’t cut it. Sometimes you crave a little Canada.

I spent a year in Brussels studying French and I recall how disconnected I felt from my country. Sadly (or happily?), Canada was rarely mentioned on the news. Few people knew the name of the Prime Minister (no, not the President) or the capital city or that Canada boasted a town in Newfoundland called Happy Valley Goose Bay! With so few reminders of Canada I felt much farther from my homeland than the span on the map bore out.

Years later, back in Canada I took up the art of crossword puzzle construction. As an avid solver I knew that Canada was rarely mentioned in most crosswords and I always felt a twinge of alienation as a result. I wanted to make my puzzles relevant to Canadians, to include references to our country, its politics, geography, culture. I wanted to connect Canadian solvers to their home and native land.

And so I created what I call ClassiCanadian Crosswords

These puzzles are modelled on the New York Times crosswords, with tight themes and a strong emphasis on wordplay and humour. But it’s the Canadian content that sets them apart. For example, the likes of Rachel Notley, Rob Ford, Jian Ghomeshi, Peter Mansbridge – all have made an appearance in at least one of my grids. While I avoid cramming the crosswords with flag-waving Canadiana (that would be decidedly unCanadian), if there’s an opportunity to highlight the flavour of our land, I will take full advantage.

ClassiCanadian Crosswords are available by subscription and are delivered once a week by email. If you would like to learn more, please check out the website:

In the meantime, I invite you to try the puzzle below. I hope you find your inner Canuck reflected somewhere in the grid.

Barb Olson

Crossword Puzzle

Crossword Solution

canadian crossword puzzle logo

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