I grew up in Iowa and live in New York, so Canada has never seemed like a far away place, and Canadians never seemed particularly exotic. (That's perhaps with apologies to my Canadian friends: Ami who's returned to Winnipeg, John who's from Niagara, Mark from Quebec.) Canadian history is fasinating. Canada's premier history magazine is The Beaver, and Canadian History for Dummies is a good resource as well. It's by Will Ferguson who wrote about key varieties of iconic Canadian character-types in The New York Times recently. Also see the webpage for episode 32 of BBC Radio 4's This Sceptred Isle series.