Sunday, July 1, 2012

Oh Canada!

Today Canada celebrates her 145th birthday and to mark the occassion I am bringing you my annual "everything you ever wanted to know about Canada and more!" post. Forgive my bias, your country is fabulous too, I'm sure, but Canada really is the best place on Earth.

Canada is home to nearly 35 million people. With  9,984,670 sq. km of land we've got lots of room to spread out.

Canada's dominion was July 1st, 1867. We became a self-governing colony of the British Empire. Canada had 4 provinces at dominion: Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. The remaining 6 provinces and 3 territories joined Canada from 1870 until the creation of Nunavut in 1999.

Our money is colourful and is often referred to as monopoly money by others. We like it though. Our $1 and $2 are coins, not bills and are commonly known as the Loonie and Toonie respectively. The $1 coin has a picture of a loon on it, hence the Loonie. The $2 coin followed a few years later and was nicknamed the Toonie as a play on words. (We Canadians are a fun people!)

The Royal Canadian Mint struck it's last penny on May 4th, 2011. It cost 1.6 cents to make 1 cent. Not really economically feasible. So while we can still spend our pennies, no more will be made.

The rest of our bills are  $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 (we did have $1000 bills as well though I've only ever seen them once and they are no longer being printed or are in circulation) 

Our bills are slowly being fazed into being made of a polymer compound rather than cotton fibres. Yep, plastic money. We rock!

 Alright, enough of the boring stuff. Now the fun stuff....

Famous Canadians include: Howie MandelKim Catrall, Matthew Perry, Ryan Gosling, Alexander Graham Bell, Tommy Chong, Barry Pepper, Shannon Tweed Simmons, Donald Sutherland, Joni Mitchell, William Shanter, Ryan Reynolds and, of course, the Biebs.

We do not live in igloos but something uniquely Canadian is the term 'raised bungalow' which is it exactly what it sounds like, a bungalow that is raised so that the basement is actually above grade.

Our national/federal law enforcement agency, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, do not ride on horses through the streets and wear the funny red outfits (called Red Serge) Those are their dress uniforms and they drive cars. They do have horses however for the most part they are only used for the muscial ride. I've only actually seen an RCMP officer maybe 15-20 times ever. Most larger cities have their own police force as well as provincial police.

While Canadians do have a unique accent (and within Canada there are many unique accents - try speaking with a Newfoundlander) we do not say things like 'oot' (out) and 'aboot' (about).  We do often say 'eh' and that one particular word can have up to 25 meanings.
There is an old joke that goes like this....

"How did they name Canada? The letters were thrown in a bag, and the first one to be picked was 'C' eh?, then 'N' eh? and finally 'D' eh?"

Because you see, above all else, we Canadian's have a fantastic sense of humor and have no trouble laughing at ourselves.

Happy Canada Day, eh!

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