I wrote this post for Paul at Kitchen & Residential Design last summer and thought I’d give it a replay in case you missed it…July 1st is Canada Day here in the Great White North. So in honour of Canada’s 143rd birthday, and because I’m a proud Canadian, I’d like to take this opportunity to help you get to know us Crazy Canucks a bit better.
Silly Canadian facts…
1. The province named Newfoundland is named Newfoundland because Canada lost it in the 1960s then found it again only a few months ago. Before that, it was called Land.
2. When in Montreal, make friends by asking every passerby "Hey, Frenchy, where's the Eiffel Tower?"
3. Canadians do NOT pronounce "about" as if it were "aboot". In fact, the Canadian language does not have the word "about". If a Canadian says "aboot," he or she probably means "a large shoe."
4. It is illegal in Canada to use the letter "O" without putting a "U" after it. As in "Colour" or "Poutine" or "Filthy Whoure".
5. Every fact Americans know about Canada was learned on the back of cereal boxes. All American cereal boxes are required to include facts about Canada. So if a Canadian asks you "What do you know about Canada?", an acceptable response is "You contain 190mg of sodium."
No, no, not true!! But I bet you laughed at least once!!
Here are some REAL facts about Canada…
6. We’re the second largest country in the world (after Russia) and make up almost 7% of the total surface of the Earth.
7. The total length of the Canada-US border is 8,890 kms (5,334 miles).
8. Some of the names considered for Canada before we officially became a country in 1867 are Cabotia, Urslalia, Laurentia, Columbia, and Efisga. Huh?! It’s derived from the first letters of England, France, Ireland, Scotland, Germany, and Aboriginal lands.
9. O Canada was composed in 1880 with music by Calixa Lavallée and words by Judge Adolphe-Basile Routhier. In 1908, Robert Stanley Weir wrote the translation on which the present English lyrics are based. O Canada was officially named our National Anthem in 1980.
10. The red & white on Canada’s national flag were designated Canada’s official colours in 1921 by King George V.
11. Canada’s largest island is Baffin Island. At 507,451 square kilometers (184,000 square miles), it’s big enough to hold Ireland, the United Kingdom, Hungary, and Austria combined, with some room to spare.
12. The world’s longest designated street is in Toronto, Ontario. Yonge Street is 1,900kms (1,140 miles) long. Never-ending bumper-to-bumper Toronto traffic has been around forever…
13. Newfoundland was officially set to become a Canadian province on April 1st, 1949. Premier Joey Smallwood got the date pushed back a day to March 31st, to avoid any possible jokes about Newfoundland joining Canada on April Fool’s Day.
14. Newfoundland has its own time zone.
15. Our football field is longer and wider than a US football field. No idea why.
15a. Our landmass is longer and wider than the US landmass too :-P And Alaska should be ours!!
16. Our money comes in lots of pretty colours :-)
16a. Not to be confused with colourful Canadian Tire money…
16b. And we have denominations called a Loonie and a Toonie. Seriously.
17. If you have a torn half of a $20 bill, it’s still worth $10. According to the Bank of Canada, bills that have 3/5s or more of their original size remaining are worth their full value. Bills that are split in half are worth half their amount. So the half of a $5 bill that our Lab Squirt ate and then pooped out is worth $2.50!!
18. The beaver attained official status as an emblem of Canada when an “act to provide for the recognition of the beaver as a symbol of the sovereignty of Canada” received royal assent on March 24, 1975.
18a. Some other animals that are representative of Canada…
Bison — The largest native land animal in Canada. A mature male can be 3.8 metres long, 1.8 metres tall at the shoulder, and weigh up to 720 kilograms. That’s bigger than my smart car!!
Mosquito (it’s either snow season or bug season here!!)
19. The first people to drive across Canada were Thomas Wilby and F.V. Haney on 1912. Some parts of the country didn’t even have roads yet, and it took them 52 days to make the trip. My smart car goes faster than that!!
20. Montreal’s Olympic Stadium built for the 1976 Olympics was supposed to cost $120 million. By the time it was paid off, the price tag had ballooned to $3 BILLION. Large chunks of concrete have been known to fall off of it.
21. There have been more dinosaur bones found in Canada than in any other country.
Invented by Canadians…
22. Horse race starting gate in the early 1900s by Philip McGinnis of Huntingdon, Quebec.
23. Air conditioning on trains in 1858 by Henry Ruttan of Cobourg, Ontario.
24. Java (universal computer programming language) by Dr. James Gosling.
25. The first human cannonball act, folding theater seats, and the modern parachute by The Great Farini of Port Hope, Ontario.
26. Sir Sandford Fleming proposed the present system of standard time, by which the world is divided into 24 equal time zones.
27. The original McIntosh apple tree was discovered in 1812 at Dundela, Ontario by farmer John McIntosh. It bore fruit till 1908 and died in 1910 shortly after being burnt in a fire.
28. The term Beatlemania was coined by Ottawa journalist Sandy Gardiner.
29. Superman was co-created by Toronto-born artist Joe Shuster and his American friend, writer Jerry Siegal in the 1930s.
30. The first game show on May 15, 1935 was hosted by Roy Ward Dickson. His radio program was Professor Dick and his Question Box.
31. Winnie the Pooh was created by author A.A. Milne and named for Winnipeg, Manitoba.
32. The first light bulb was invented by Henry Woodward and Matthew Evans of Toronto. They had been unsuccessful in exploiting their invention because potential investors believed the idea would be too costly, so they sold their patent so a dude named Thomas Edison.
33. The snowmobile by Armand Bombardier in 1959. He meant to call it a Ski-Dog, but a typo in the printed literature changed the name to Ski-Doo.
34. Although technically basketball was invented in the US — in 1898 in Springfield, Massachusetts — it was invented by Canadian James A. Naismith. 9 of the 18 players in the first basketball game were Canadian too.
35. Students from McGill University in Montreal introduced the game of rugby—played with an oblong ball—to their Harvard counterparts in 1874. They were so taken by the game, they adopted it and it eventually evolved into football.
Canadian foods you have to try…
36. If you like greasy French fries, melted curds, and gooey gravy, you’ll LOVE poutine!! It’s a heart attack in a bowl, and a trademark food in Quebec. If you order it, make sure you pronounce it right (pooh-teen). If you ask for a poo-ten, you’ll get something completely different…
Poutin (as played by Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman):
37. Quebec also does the BEST French fries and all dressed hot dogs steamé. The buns are so soft and tender, and the dogs are slathered with mustard, relish, onions, and coleslaw. Mmmmm…
38. And the ultimate Canadian food found right here in Ottawa… BEAVERTAILS!!! SOOOOOOO yummy!!! A beavertail is a long, thin, oval-shaped piece of pastry that’s deep fried and then covered with a variety of toppings. My favourite is the Killaloe Sunrise — lemon juice, cinnamon, and sugar.
If you come to Ottawa, you HAVE to try a beavertail. Preferably from a shack on the canal in the middle of winter to get the full beavertail-eating experience. But really, they’re good in the summertime too :-)
So there you go, now you know more about Canada!! And if that’s not enough Canada for you — and really, can a person ever have enough Canada?? ;-) — you can check out this tribute to our nice little country that I wrote last year. Yes, more recycling — we’re all about being green here at DesignTies :-)