Despite the shitty weather, I love my country. As a Canadian author, I usually create fictional settings full of Canadian elements. Some don’t even realize I’ve done this. Want to know why? Because some people are so stupid they believe Canada is another planet. Canada sits just above the United States, and while we might very well be more polite and less confrontational than our American neighbors, we’re not so different.
Today is Canada Day, which is when we celebrate our country’s establishment or birth or something patriotic like that. The Americans have a similar celebration on July 4th. So, I thought in honor of Canada Day, I’d save you all some research and straighten out some Canadian stereotypes and misinformation.
It does not drop 50 degrees when you cross the border. Anyone who believed that up to this point, go kick yourself in the nuts. The reason the temperature reads colder is that we use Celsius as our unit of measure for temperature. Americans use Fahrenheit. 0 degrees Celsius is equal to 32 degrees Fahrenheit. All of you believing the 50 degree myth couldn’t even get that right. Jesus…
Other units of measure you might find interesting:
We use the metric system. Kilometres, not miles. Centimetres, not inches. Kilograms, not pounds. Litres not gallons. I write home and gardening articles for some American sites. It’s great fun converting that shit. Thank God for Google. When I used to work at a gas station, we’d get Americans through who were newbs to the area. They’d be all “Shit, $1.10 a gallon? Fill it the fuck up, woman!” I’d fill it, ask for their $40 or $50 dollars (I am not figuring that out) and they’d have a stroke. “My tank only holds (whatever) gallons!” I’d say, “Yeah, but we measure in litres, fucknut. One gallon is about 4 litres. So, you pay $40.” That was kind of fun.
We do have free health care. Yay us! Basically, we don’t worry about having money to go to the doctor. We worry when we’ve misplaced the card that allows us to go there for free. Sometimes that card doesn’t swipe right, or it expires. That sucks because we’ve gotta pay for shit then. And it’s not a one card for all Canadians type of situation. Each province (those are like States for the less informed in the class) has its own health care system.
And let’s tackle this polite thing. You all know me. How polite and non-confrontational do I seem? Exactly. While we’re world famous for being polite, it’s just not true. Some of us are, but most of us are just as ornery as the Yanks. But we are fucking hilarious. Practically comedy kings and queens we are.
The Queen of England is our so-called head of state. She’s on our money. And yes, our money is like a rainbow. Our $1 is a coin, and we also have a $2 coin. The $5 bill is blue, the $10 bill is purple, the $20 is green, the $50 is red/pinkish, and the $100 is brown. Anything above that I’ve never seen personally, so let’s not discuss it. Getting back to the Queen. She’s still like, our “leader” but it’s an empty title. Kind of like being an assistant manager or vice president. You have the illusion of being in charge, perhaps the respect that position entitles you to, but really you have zero say in anything.
Speaking of politics, one of our official federal political parties, the “Bloc Quebecois” tried to get the province of Quebec to secede from Canada. For the slow kids, “secede” means they wanted to be their own country. No, I don’t want to talk about it. Most of us think it’s beyond stupid too. I mean, you’re in the middle of the damn country. How you gonna be separate?
Anyway, some things we did that were good and smart:
You can thank Canadian Sanford Fleming for inventing the world time zones and a Canadian invented the zipper. Oh, and let’s not forget that Superman, that big old American superhero, was co-created and drawn by Joe Shuster. He’s Canadian.
Basketball? That was us. You’re welcome. Sunglasses, Canadians thought those up. Diabetic? A Canadian scientist stumbled upon insulin. I guess those long, boring winter days trapped inside made us very creative, eh?
While we’re talking about the cold, let me clear up some misconceptions about our weather. Yes, winters suck ass in most parts, but we’re not covered with snow year round. Okay?
In the Arctic, which includes the Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut, it’s below freezing (0 degrees Celsius) pretty much all the time. This is where you’ll find the polar bears and shit. In British Columbia, it’s actually pretty mild along the coast. They get very little to no snow in the winter. You guys might know it as “Hollywood North.” You might not. I could give a shit either way. The American equivalent to the climate of Western B.C. is California. No, I’m totally serious. Now, as you move east, it gets more diverse, and cold, snowy winters do happen. Northern B.C. is snowy and gross, but summers are quite pleasant.
Now, in Alberta, Ontario, Ontario, Quebec, and the Maritimes (Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland), they have four seasons very much like folks in New York, Minnesota, and such. Winter can be bone-chillingly cold, but that’s winter. I didn’t mention Saskatchewan and Manitoba because they only have two seasons. Burn the flesh off your bones summers and freeze your testicles winters.
We don’t all speak French. Although our official languages are both English and French, most of us can’t speak French very well. We take it in school, but those classes are largely bullshit. We do learn French swear words, but only so we can insult you all without you knowing you’ve been insulted. And all of our commercial products, food, etc. have labels in both languages. Our government services are bilingual. It’s all bilingual. It’s awesome.
Our official sport is not hockey. We’re the best at it. (Fuck you, we are so!) But Lacrosse is actually our official sport. What the hell is lacrosse? Folks running around a field with sticks that have cups at the end, with which they try to shoot a ball at each other to score a goal. It’s like hockey on grass, but not hockey. Doesn’t make sense? Well, talk to the brilliant Canadian government. They made the official sport, not me.
Our official animal is the beaver. I heard you giggle.
We have Prime Ministers, not presidents. Our parliament is full of premieres, not senators.
We do not live in igloos. And you all think we say “eh” a lot and make fun of our accent, saying we pronounce “about” as “aboot”…. Never mind. We do talk weird. But like Americans, the accent is different depending on where you’re from. My favorite is the accent in Newfoundland. Beautiful. Not “stupid” like some would have you believe. Seriously. I’m not being sarcastic. I love listening to a Newfoundlander speak.
Anyway, our beer is better. This is true. But unless we’re really drunk, we never ride moose or polar bears. They’re fucking nasty animals and would rip our limbs off if we tried. Word of caution: The moose looks like a docile, stupid animal, but do NOT try to approach one. If you do, it’s your funeral. Don’t say you weren’t warned. The fucking things are massive and don’t like petting.
Bears don’t walk into our backyards…well not usually. It’s happened, but we’re just as shocked as an American would be. I mean, why the hell did we spend all that money on a fence if the wild animals are just gonna walk in?
Not all of us are good at hockey, and not everyone likes poutine. I mean, I love poutine, but I don’t really like hockey. We all love bacon, because bacon is fucking awesome. Anyone who doesn’t isn’t really Canadian. Our police don’t ride horses wearing funny hats and red coats. While the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) is famous for such things, nowadays our cops look like everyone else’s. They’re usually in regular uniforms, driving regular cars, arresting you for stupid reasons and such. (Just kidding. I’m sure they arrest for valid reasons too.)
One stereotype really pisses me off and it’s the one where you all think Canada is a country full of rednecks. Sorry, guys. I’ll admit we’ve got our share of hillbillies and such, but the American South has us beat on redneckery. It’s not a bad thing. I love rednecks. Just saying.
Ever wonder where Canada got its name. Funny story. Once upon a time, Jacques Cartier stumbled across this great land, and met some Iroquois youth. They pointed out a village, calling it “Kanata”. Now they were really identifying a small area which is now Quebec city, but Cartier assumed they meant the whole area. So there you are.
Now, if any of you have any questions, please ask. I’ll try to give you the right answer.
And, happy Canada Day! Also, Happy Birthday to my baby brother. I’m going to shower now so I can partake in the festivities, eh?