Happy Birthday, Canada!
July 1 is Canada Day. On this day in 1867 the British North America Act united three colonies into a country called Canada and it’s a good thing too, or I would have been born in some weirder place. About half of the people who follow this blog are not Canadian, so in honour of July 1st, may I present 10 completely arbitrary things that entertain me about this country.
1. The word Canada is derived from a native American word that means ‘village’. I’ve always thought that was awesome because Canada is the second largest country in the world, and yet still a village. It is, too, oddly enough.
2. There is a leaf on the flag. Some country’s flags are completely badass, Albania or Angola for example. Since Canada is also badass, perhaps the baddest-ass of all, we stuck a leaf on our flag, a big, red, maple one. No one messes with the leaf.
3. The national animal of Canada is the beaver. I’m pretty sure I don’t need to say anything else about that.
4. The longest-serving prime minister in Canada’s history (no presidents here!) also happens to be my favorite prime minister, William Lyon Mackenzie King, who led the country for over twenty-one years. I wrote many essays about this guy in university, but some of his notable contributions include leading the nation through the Second World War and introducing employment insurance. A lifelong bachelor and into some pretty funky spirituality, he wrote in a diary basically every day of his life and you can read the entire thing online. If you’re a history nerd like me, that is the most awesome thing ever. He also gave a lot of pretty good speeches over the years, including one that you can and should listen to here that is particularly poignant for Canada Day. It will give you those kind of embarrassing, but at the end of the day ‘I am pretty proud to be Canadian’ goose bumps.
5. We have very colourful money that everyone enjoys.
6. Since we are a simple people, we buy our beer at The Beer Store and our liquor at The Liquor Store and our drugs at The Drug Store. Why complicate things?
7. Poutine, which is a miraculous dish of French fries covered in cheese curds and brown gravy, is apparently only available in Canada. C’est domage!
8. Great music. Some of my favorite bands are Canadian including The Tea Party and Econoline Crush, but there are plenty of others such as Rush, Our Lady Peace, Arcade Fire, and of course, The Tragically Hip. A far more comprehensive list can be found here.
9. The words toque and toboggan. Great, great words. Used in a sentence: “I can’t possibly go tobogganing without my toque!” Excellent.
10. The great outdoors. I was born in northern Ontario and even though I have lived in a city for the last thirteen long, long years, I can never wait to get back to water, rock and trees. This Canada Day, I’ll be doing just that, heading out on holidays to the wide, calm vistas of the northern part of Ontario. Space is what I love about this country, the feeling of endless, quiet space.
So in the true spirit of Canada, happy Canada Day to everyone, no matter where you’re from because this country is for anyone who wants to be a part of it. That corny, nerdy spirit of acceptance and inclusiveness is probably the most Canadian thing of all.
- Getting Ready for Canada Day (huroniamuseum.com)
- Add To Your Canada Day Fun With Books and Music For Your Kids! (deltajones.com)
- Canada Day: Facts About Canada, Eh! (parenting-success.com)