It’s Canada Day, and it’s become a tradition here at Chez Harlot to do a little Canada praising on it’s birthday. (More information about the hats, including where to get patterns, on Monday.)
Before we get going, last year an American reader wrote to me after my post on Canada and told me that I was a terrible American and a horrible patriot and that I should be ashamed of abandoning my country and becoming a “Canadian Wanna-be” just because I’m a Democrat. To head off any further confusion, I’m not a Democrat. I’m a Canadian. I was born here, I was raised here, and I live here now. (Technically, I guess she does have a point. That would make me a pretty terrible American, what with not even being a citizen.)
The last year I’ve had wonderful opportunities to travel all over the States and learn lots about it. (You should see the Mississippi from the air, or the Olympic mountains, or this park in the middle of Portland, or eat a real Southern bisquit, or drink Peet’s coffee, or see the Lincoln monument. Very nice.)
Today, I return the favour. Here’s stuff you maybe didn’t know about us.
1. We invented baseball, basketball, washing machines and insulin.
2. We have Homo Milk,
and until I went to the grocery store with an American I had never seen anyone giggle when they bought it.
3. Since the North Pole falls within our borders, Santa Claus is a Canadian. (His address, should you wish to write him this year, is Santa Claus, North Pole, Canada, H0H 0H0. He writes children back all over the world, thanks to a huge group of volunteers with Canada Post.)
4. 18% of Canada’s population was born outside the country. This is the second highest percentage in the world, after Australia.
5. The United States invaded Canada during the war of 1812. The Americans were defeated by the Canadians (with help from Britain, although more than 60% of the forces were Canadian, as the British were busy at another war) and driven back as far as Washington, where we burned the White House. The war ended with the Treaty of Ghent, in which the parties agreed to both go back to the way things were before and play nice. This treaty re-established the border and independence of both countries. This war is a very important part of Canadian history, and most Canadians are very proud of repelling the invasion.
6. Yonge Street is the longest street in the world, running 1896km, or 1100 miles and beginning in Toronto Ontario, and ending in Rainy River, just about in Manitoba.
7. 91% of Canadians are satisfied with their personal safety.
8. 97% of tea in Canada is consumed hot; in the United States, 85% of tea is served iced. (This should be a warning to travellers from both countries. Just asking for “tea” can be very surprising. (As an aside? When I was in the American south a while ago I discovered that asking for iced tea gets you an unsweetened one. Very nice.)
9. Canada has a surplus economy.
10. Canada adopted it’s flag in 1965.
Before that we used the Union Jack.
11. Same-sex marriage is legal. Nothing bad has happened as a result of this decision. Despite warnings of divine retribution or the ruination of opposite-sex marriage, absolutely nothing has changed.
12. Our Five dollar bill has hockey on it.
and our one and two dollars are coins, respectively called a loonie and a toonie.
13. Canadians are famous for: apologizing, embracing technology, hockey, being polite, eating more Kraft Dinner than any other country in the world, peacekeeping, saying “eh?”, beer, humour and sarcasm. (Those last three may be related.)
14. Canada has the largest English population in the world that has never withdrawn or surrendered to anyone during a war.
15. On July 1st 1916 on the first day of the Battle Of The Somme, 800 members of the 1st Newfoundland Regiment went out of the trenches to fight the Germans. (A regiment of this size was remarkable, considering the small population of Newfoundland at that time.) Despite a reputation for excellence and extreme bravery, only 68 of them were able to answer roll call the next day. 710 members were dead.
“It was a magnificent display of trained and disciplined valour, and its assault only failed of success because dead men can advance no further.”
— Major-General Sir Beauvoir de Lisle, Commander of the British 29th Division, speaking of the first regiment.
In Newfoundland, this day is Canada day, and Memorial day.
16. I still really love this.
Canada produces a disproportionate amount of knitting genius. Sally Melville
Shirl “the purl” Scott
The Fleece Artist
17. Canadians don’t say “sophmore” or “freshman”. We just say “grade nine” (minor niner) or “grade 12”. As in “She’s a grade 12”.
This means that sometimes when we watch American sitcoms, we don’t know how old the kids are.
18. Mounties don’t always wear the hot outfits. That’s dress gear. (They’re also not always mounted.)
19. On December 6, 1917 a Belgian relief ship and a French ship carrying munitions collided in the Halifax harbour. A fire started and the French ship, the Mont Blanc, exploded and virtually flattened then entire city of Halifax.
Until Hiroshima, it was the largest explosion, ever. The state of Massechustts was very generous to the survivors of the explosion, sending an enormous amount of aid, very quickly. To this day, the city of Halifax sends the city of Boston a huge Christmas Tree for the Boston Common as a thank you.
20. Your turn. Tell me your most interesting things about Canada!