if you’re planning to travel to canada for any other reason, here are a few more things to know
1. We DO NOT have snow all year round. We DO NOT live in igloos. We DO NOT ride around on dog sleds. We DO NOT have to check the back yard for polar bears, before we let our kids go out to play.
2. Stop asking if we know somebody in Canada, when you find out we’re Canadian. We DON’T know everybody in Canada.
3. Canadians do not find, “Say ‘eh’ for me,” to be particularly funny.
4. Our president is called a Prime Minister.
5. We have never had a Prime Minister assassinated. Although we’ve been tempted, a few times.
6. We’re a lot bigger than you, in land mass, but our population is considerably less. The populations of Los Angeles and New York City would be around 30 million people. The entire nation of Canada has around 32 million people. Due to the fact that most of our country is in the northern latitudes, we huddle close to the border, for warmth. (That’s a JOKE.)
7. In the War of 1812, we kicked your butts. The reason why your Whitehouse is white is because we set fire to it and it was whitewashed to hide the damage (for propaganda purposes). The west wing was almost completely gutted. Some Americans will say that THEY won the war. However, to win, a party must reach their objective. Your objective was to take over British North America (what Canada was called then), our goal was to stop you. You don’t have any more northern territory along the Canada/US border than you did before 1812. So who won? (Alaska doesn’t count, you BOUGHT that state from Russia.)
8. A form of baseball was played just outside of Toronto, Ontario three weeks before Alexander Doubleday played the ‘first’ game of baseball in your country.
9. We do not find the term “Canuck” derogatory, like Americans find “Yank” derogatory. It apparently originated during World War One. Your soldiers were call “doughboys” ours were called “Johnny Canucks”. I think the British coined the term, but I’m not sure.
10. We did not have a “Wild West”. The forerunner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (Mounties), the Northwest Mounted Police, kept the peace. Due to the fact that they were a national police force, you could not escape their jurisdiction. They always got their man. Or woman. We have had our share of outlaws, though. Many famous pirates had their headquarters on the east coast of Canada.
11. Speaking of Mounties, they do not all ride horses. So don’t try to outrun them if you see their lights in your rear view mirror.
12. We get the same TV shows and channels as you do. So don’t ask “Do you get [name of show] up there in Canada?”
13. We are not “just like Americans”, we have our own national identity, we just haven’t figured out what it is, yet. Someone once said that, “Canadians are unarmed Americans with health care.” That pretty much sums it up, I guess. We are internationally (but unofficially) known as the “World’s Most Polite Nation.”
14. Our national animal is the beaver. Sure it’s just a rodent, but they’re not even CLOSE to being extinct. You can still get money for beaver pelts. It is NOT our main unit of exchange, we have money, just like you.
15. We do not find the fact that American wear Canadian flag pins (so they can get better treatment in Europe) very amusing. So stop it.
16. Contrary to popular belief, the Klondike Gold Rush happened mostly in Canada, not Alaska. American prospectors were stopped at the border and had their liquor, gambling paraphernalia and firearms confiscated by the Mounties.
17. We have Thanksgiving in October, so we don’t look like copycats (it IS an American originated holiday, after all). However, we celebrate Christmas, Easter, Halloween, Passover and other holidays at the same time you do.
18. We were formed, as a nation, in 1867.
19. We do not trade in beaver pelts, blankets and gunpowder. We have currency. Unlike you, however, we have a two dollar bill. (Although you had them during your bi-centennial celebration.) Actually, our two dollar bill is a COIN. Our bills have pictures of birds on them and are multi-coloured. Our one dollar coin has a picture of a loon on it, so it’s called a “Loonie”. The two dollar coin has a picture of a polar bear on it, so it’s called a “Toonie”. (Don’t ask, I’m as confused as you are on this one.) There are plans afoot to mint a five-dollar coin, we have no idea what to call it.
20. November the 11th is called Remembrance Day, up here. It is a day when all Canadians honour our war dead and the veterans who are still amongst us. It’s significance is that on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month the Armistice was signed, ending World War One.
21. Not every Canadian speaks French. In fact, Canada is the only country where speaking French is not cool.
22. We spell words differently. Honour, valour, defence, neighbour, colour, centre and other words are from the British way of spelling. We also pronounce the last letter of the alphabet “zed”, not “zee”.
23. The Queen of England is not our national leader. She’s’ just a figure head and somebody to put on our money with the birds. (Some Royalists in Canada will have something different to say about his, but they’re a minority.)
24. In Canada the term “bilingual” does not mean the person can speak two languages, it specifically means “speaks both English and French”. Canada has two official languages, they are (coincidentally) English and French.
25. Members of our Senate are appointed by the national party in power. It is a life time position. Even though they are not elected by the people, they can still control government legislation.
26. Our states are called Provinces. We even have three Territories.
A territory is created through federal law. In this case, Crown (government) lands in the territories are retained by the federal government in the Crown in right of Canada. This differs from the provinces, which own provincial lands in the Crown in right of the province.
Secondly, in a territory, federal Parliament may enter into provincial-type affairs, such as school curriculum.
Thirdly, territorial governments are not included in the Constitutional amending formula (this is the way Canada decides if we want to change something in the Canadian Constitution). Provinces get a vote when a change is proposed — territories don’t.
The provinces and territories are, from east to west:
|Newfoundland and Labrador
|St. John’s||568,349 (1986 census)||Pitcher plant||Atlantic puffin||quaerite prime regnum dei (Seek ye first the kingdom of God)|
“Canada’s Atlantic Playground”
|Halifax||873,199 (1986 census)||Trailing arbutus (“mayflower”)||Kingfisher||munit haec et altera vincit (One defends and the other conquers)|
|Fredericton||710,442 (1986 census)||Purple violet||black-capped chickadee||spem reduxit (Hope was restored)|
|Prince Edward Island
“Home of Confederation”
|Charlottetown||126,646 (1986 census)||Lady slipper||Blue jay||parva sub ingenti (The small under the protection of the great)|
“La Belle Province”
|Quebec City||6,500,000 (1986 census)||Madonna lily||Snowy owl||je me souviens (I remember)|
|Toronto||9,101,694 (1986 census)||White trillium (“white lily”)||Common loon (under consideration)||ut inceptit fideles sic permanent (Loyal she began, loyal she remains)|
|Winnipeg||1,063,016 (1986 census)||Pasqueflower||Grey owl||???|
“Canada’s breadbasket “
|Regina||1,009,000 (1986 census)||Western red lily (“prairie lily”)||Sharp-tailed grouse||???|
“Wild Rose Province”
|Edmonton||2,365,825 (1986 census)||Wild rose||Great horned owl||fortis et liber (strong and free)|
|Victoria||3,029,000||Pacific dogwood||Steller’s Jay||splendor sine occasu (Splendor without diminishment)|
|Yukon Territories||Whitehorse||23,504 (1986 census)||Fireweed (member of primrose family)||Raven||???|
“The beautiful land”
|Yellowknife||52,238 (1986 census)||Mountain avens||Grayfalcon||???|
“Our Land” (the Inuit homeland)
|Iqaluit (formerly Frobisher Bay)||24,730 (1996 Census)||Purple Saxifrage||Rock Ptarmigan||nunavut sanginivut “Nunavut, our strength.”|
27. Our governors are called Premiers.
28. Our Federal Governments are formed by the party who received the majority of votes (just like your system). Unlike your system, we do not vote for the person who we would want to be leader of our nation, we vote for the local representative in the territory they are responsible for (called a Riding). The party who had the most local representatives (seats) voted in — is the ruling party. The party who came in second is known as Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition. (This is done because we have more than two national parties.) The Opposition’s job is to keep the ruling party honest and prevent them from getting into any skulduggery. (It doesn’t always work.) We have elections every four years, but the ruling party can call an election earlier, if they so choose.
29. Our Prime Minister does not have a limit on how many terms in office they can do. The most recent record is held by Liberal leader Pierre Eliot Trudeau who stayed leader of the country for around 16 years. It is known as the Trudeau Era. A WWII era Prime Minister, William Lyon MacKenzie King, served for longer than this, by the way.
30. We have had a women Prime Minister. Her name was Kim Campbell. She was Deputy Prime Minister (that’s what we call our Vice President) when the Prime Minister of that time, Brian Mulroney, quit. There was an election shortly after that (the Deputy PM is not allowed to finish the term, like the Vice President is).
31. You don’t have to be born in Canada, to be Prime Minister.
32. Many Canadians have never played hockey in their lives. There are many who do not like hockey.
33. Besides, our national sport is not hockey, it’s lacrosse. It’s one of the few sports that originated on the North American continent, it was played by the indians.
34. We didn’t invent hockey, we just made it better.
35. Canadian football is different. The Canadian Football League (CFL) has larger end-zones, the football is bigger, and they have one less ‘down’. We don’t support it much and a few teams have gone bankrupt. Despite the fact that many say it is better than American football, others (who don’t particularly like Canadian football) use the expression “run, pass, kick” to describe the game. Apparently, they feel this best describes every offensive strategy in the CFL.
36. Even if an “American” team wins the Stanley Cup (the “World Series” of hockey) it doesn’t matter to us, because all your best players are Canadian.
37. On the other hand, if a “Canadian” team wins the World Series we ignore the fact that all our baseball players are American.
38. New York City has more murders in a week than the entire nation of Canada does all year.
39. We have no right to keep and bear arms. So leave your guns home if you’re visiting, otherwise they’ll be confiscated at the border. We have very strict gun laws, and fully automatic weapons are pretty much illegal. It almost takes an Act of God to get a licence to own a pistol. (This may be a contributing factor as to why we only have about 600 homicides a year, nation-wide.)
40. The border between Canada and the US holds the title of the “World’s Longest Undefended Border”.
41. Our side of Niagra falls is nicer looking than your side. In fact, even when Americans use images of the Falls in advertising and movies, they film the Canadian side. It’s called Horse Shoe Falls, by the way.
42. That movie you thought was filmed in New York, or Seattle, or Chicago, or Los Angeles — may have just been filmed in Vancouver, Montreal or Toronto.
43. On average four hundred thousand Americans visit Canada each year.
44. Canada has rednecks, too.
45. We pay anywhere from forty to forty-five percent income tax. This does not include Provincial Sales Tax (from 0% to 11% of many purchases, dependent on the particular province) or the national sales tax, the Goods and Services Tax (7% of any purchase over $1.00). Visitors to our country can get the GST they paid reimbursed by filling out a simple form.
46. Our country got its name by mistake. When Jaques Cartier, a French explorer, came to the new world (around where present day Nova Scotia is) they met with local Natives who invited them to their ‘kanata’ or village. The Jesuit priest with Cartier’s party (who was supposed to be providing translation services) misunderstood the native’s meaning and told Cartier the name of the country was “Kanata” or Canada.
47. Canada is the only nation to have committed genocide (the complete eradication of a race of people). The Beothuk (bee-ah-took) indians of Newfoundland were hunted like animals. The last one died in prison in the early 1800’s. There are no more Beothuk indians left in the world.
48. We call eskimos “Inuit”, because that’s what they call themselves.
49. We own the North Pole, and therefore Santa Claus is Canadian. The internationally recognized mailing address for jolly old St. Nick is:
So you better not pout, you better not cry, you better not shout, I’m telling you why: Santa Claus is a Canuck.
So there you have it. Now you just might know more about Canada than most Canadians do!