Inconstant Moon is set at Christie University, a fictional school located in an unnamed fictitious Ontario city with a population of around 300,000.

Canadian Identity Crisis

Laurel sitting on a folding chair at a back yard picnic, wearing a Night Heat baseball cap, circa 1980s

Laurel L. Russwurm, circa 1980s

After years of joking about the fact that the tv series Night Heat was set in an unnamed city, here I’ve gone and done the same thing.

Of course, Night Heat was made more than twenty years ago, and Night Heat’s city had to be so scrupulously anonymous, because I think no one believed that an American audience would tune into a tv series set in Canada.

Although set in “any North American city,” the only city Night Heat could not have been set in was Toronto, the place where the series was filmed. We know this because in one episode the heroes had to fly to Toronto so they could have a CN Tower chase scene.

One of the biggest Night Heat challenges was to ensure that only laws that were essentially the same on both sides of the border could be dealt with in the show. In this way it was supposed to be accessible to viewers in both countries.

Ironically, I never thought I’d invent an unnamed city, but here I’ve done just that.

Canada Rocks!

pictured in "Canadian Women in Film"

Canadian Mary Pickford was "America's Sweetheart"

Part of the reason for disliking the Night Heat brand of anonymity is my lack of patience for the “Canadian Inferiority Complex” that so many Canadians thought was an essential component of “the Canadian Identity.” Canadians have never had a problem competing on the world’s stage. Since the beginning of film history, when Toronto born and raised Mary Pickford took Hollywood by storm and became “America’s Sweetheart” in the silent film era, a staggering number of expatriate Canadians have played a huge part in creating “American” entertainment.

Of course, much prime time television fare watched by Canadians has traditionally been American network programming. That is beginning to change now as more and more people watch their “television” online. I expect that the powerful influence of Japanese Manga and anime will lead to even greater cultural sharing and diversity as my son’s generation grows up and begins molding the next generation of culture.

Because of the perceived similarity to our lives that Canadians see in American fiction, most of us are more familiar with the American justice system than our own. I have long felt Canadians should have the same opportunity to get a glimpse of the workings of our own legal system through fiction.

an unashamedly Canadian novel

So although I have chosen to make Christie University a fictional institution, it is very firmly located in Canada. Specifically in Ontario. Instead of placing my students at a an existing school, they are on a fictional campus that could be anywhere in Southern Ontario.

Except Toronto. 🙂

This is the first of the “Special Features” pages.

Note: Although I’ve been a reader all my life, the bulk of my professional experience was forged in the media industry, so much of my writing vocabulary is transposed film jargon.

Image Credit:
Mary Pickford public domain photo, original photo “© Public Domain” made available via Library and Archives Canada: Celebrating Women’s Achievements Mary Pickford

Laurel L. Russwurm snapshot taken by some unidentified Russwurm, shared from the Russwurm family album