After over a week of eating poutine and terrible pizza, accruing Toonies, and poorly attempting to communicate in French, our run in Canada has wrapped up. It’s been eleven days since we’ve landed, and it’s been nothing short of interesting and entertaining. Despite a total lack of Taco Bells, we’ve managed to survive and have made the most of our time in Canada. We were sad to see it go, but we’re finally able to use our own money and cell phones without risk, so the excitement is understandably palpable.

The last third of our tour has taken us straight through the heart of French Canada. Gatineau gave us our first taste during Heart Fest, where local shops advertised primarily in French and the overwhelming percentage of conversations between locals were in French. However, communication was never a problem. Heart Fest itself was a sweaty good time, and we got to reconnect with some good friends and former tour mates in Counterparts, who put on a fantastic show. After the small turnouts in Oshawa and Kingston, Gatineau was a welcome upswing. Despite being the last artist during a day-long fest, there were still energetic fans that toughed out the muggy air inside the gymnasium/venue to watch our set, and for that, we are grateful. It seemed that, following Gatineau, our destinations became progressively more French than Canadian. Montreal, a beautiful city, gave us a little leeway with communication, as many of the locals spoke sparse but understandable English. Quebec City, less so.

By the time we reached Jonquiere and Trois Riviere, we were reduced to using make-shift sign language and the three or so words of French that we knew. It was shades of Europe all over again, but with a slightly better chance of finding someone to translate for us. Thankfully music is a universal language. It never ceases to amaze us that, despite cultural and language barriers, that music can illicit similar reactions no matter where it’s played. Whether we’re lugging equipment up four flights of stairs in Montreal or playing in an Elks lodge in Jonquiere, we are doing it knowing full well that someone watching us may just walk away with a view point altered for the better.

Despite touring being a fairly exhausting event, you leave feeling otherwise fulfilled and grateful for the experience. Canada was as advertised and more: welcoming and polite people, a love of hockey, and a prevalence of French. It was a pleasure to share it with bands like My Turn to Win, Endwell, Naysayer, and This is Hell, and hopefully our next tour will be as generous and fulfilling as the “Northbound And Down Tour: has been. So long, and thanks for the Toonies, Canada. – Tony Delmonego / Shai Hulud

Check out the song: “Misanthropy Pure”