The Armchair Mayor is on staycay this week. In place of his usual daily editorials and column, we offer blasts from the past. The following column was originally published June 27, 2015.
EACH YEAR, in the days leading up to Canada Day, I take the time for some personal reflection about my country.
Many years, I am fair bursting with pride at the things we have accomplished, the products we’ve invented, the people who have done great things for the world. There continue to be many things that make Canada special.
In this era of lists, you don’t have to look far to find “20 interesting facts about Canada,” “10 mind-boggling facts about Canada, “50 insane facts about Canada,” and so on.
Did you know, for example, that there’s a UFO landing pad in St. Paul, Alberta? Nothing has landed there except helicopters.
Alberta and Saskatchewan almost ended up being one province called Buffalo. Mars has a crater named after Gander, Newfoundland. Speaking of Mars, the village of Snag in the Yukon recorded a temperature of —63 C on Feb. 3, 1947, about the same temperature as Mars.
Winnie the Pooh was named after Winnipeg. An area just north of that city is the garter-snake capital of the world. Canada’s name is a mistake. French explorer Jaques Cartier was invited into an Iroquois village, the word for which was “kanata.” Cartier thought they were talking about the country.
Canada is 33 times bigger than Italy. We have 30 per cent of the world’s boreal forests. We have four times more bitumen than Russia. Yonge Street in Ontario is 2,000 km. long. The big screen at Toronto’s Rogers Centre measures 10 m X 33.6 m. The Big Nickel in Sudbury is nine meters in diameter.
Canada Geese have 13 different calls for all sorts of different purposes and emotions.
Canada has the most donut shops per capita in the world. PEI banned pop cans until 2008. The most common surname in Canada is Li.
Canada has been invaded by the U.S. twice, in 1775 and 1812. We won both times. That might be why many Americans have been known to pretend they’re Canadians when travelling abroad. The green ink in the middle of U.S. currency was invented in Canada.
The maple leaf on our flag has 11 points.
In Churchill, cars are left unlocked in case somebody has to escape from a polar bear.
These are important things to know about the country we call home. You can’t make stuff like that up. It should be taught in our schools.
What they tell us is, that despite Stephen Harper, General Tom Lawson, and Mike Duffy, Canada has much to be proud of. We’re different here. We have a lot to offer the world despite some of the stupid things that some of our citizens say and do.
Let’s be proud on Canada Day. There’s a lot to be proud of.