Canadians: I’m lovin’ em
What? You don’t know what that means? You do, but you are not really sure? Uh…You better keep reading then! (Refer especially to the “What you REALLY need to know, but you won’t find in any orientation session” sidebar)
Ginger Ale and Nanaimo bars are just a couple of the many gifts Canadians have given to the world. Really, can you imagine how would the life be without green garbage bags, zippers, margarine and multiplex movie theatres?Were it not for Canadians, the world would be devoid of paint rollers, snowmobiles and five-pin bowling.
There would be no electric organ, green ink or Nanaimo bars. Yes, the recipe for that treat does come from the British Columbian town of the same name.
Without Canada, time as we know it would end. Sir Sanford Fleming, a Scottish immigrant to the New World, devised the world's 24-zone standard time system.
“Canadians aren't boring in the least,” says Will Ferguson, award-winning author of “Canadian History for Dummies” and “Why I Hate Canadians.”
Canadians are diverse, eclectic and eccentric, he says. And pragmatic. Rather than wither in the winter cold, Canadians pulled colourful toques down over their ears and invented snowmobiles, the electric car heater and the snowblower.Big small townCanada’s name comes from the native words meaning big village -- much better than Efisga, Tuponia or Colonia. Those names were proposed for the motherland during debates on Confederation.It is arguably the most ethnically diverse country in the world. Canada has the highest population of Icelanders outside Iceland, the most Italians outside Italy and the second biggest Chinatown outside Chine (the first biggest is in San Francisco).
“It's such a culturally diverse and interesting country that has geography and history and people that come from every corner of the globe,” says Heritage Minister Sheila Copps. “That's what makes it really unique.” Well, unique is one way to put it…Each month, in each province, there is at least one report of a UFO. Of all the road accidents that occur in Canada, 0.3 per cent involves a moose! Moreover, a Calgary tour company offers a course in igloo building. Maybe such madness is what makes comedian Rick Mercer feel so lucky to be Canadian.“I just always feel . . . that we won the Lotto and anyone who was born in Canada or has come to Canada, you won the Lotto,” says Rick Mercer, star of CBC's hit comedies Made in Canada and This Hour Has 22 Minutes.“You know, Canadians don't take themselves that seriously, and quite often we're self-deprecating and that's a character trait I admire greatly in an individual and so I admire it in a nation,” says Mercer, who will spend Canada Day working on Made In Canada, albeit from a hammock in his back yard.Better than the Guinness’ RecordsCanadians may not take themselves seriously, but they do some seriously strange stuff. Canada holds the world record for the highest stunt freefall for a 1,100-foot plunge from the CN Tower.The world's oldest snowboarder hits the slopes in Canada. Wong Yui Hoi, of British Columbia, took up the sport at 75 according to the folks at Guinness.
Canadian Jack McKenzie, 77, is the oldest person to ski to the North Pole.Those months spent with scant daylight hiding from frostbite may go a long way to explain some other Canadian accomplishments. Canada boasts the longest gum wrapper chain in the world - 10,387 metres - according to the Guinness book of world records, and the most push-ups in an hour - 3,416.Canadians hold the record for pogo-stick jumping and the largest hug. They baked the world's largest cherry pie, made the world's largest block of cheese and hold the world kissing title for the most couples smooching simultaneously.
Maybe it's not cabin fever, but brain freeze. A 7-Eleven store in Winnipeg sells more Slurpees per capita than anywhere else in the world. Canadians eat more Kraft dinner and Albertans more Jello. Details were not available on the favoured flavour.Canadians have such an imagination they try to take credit for basketball and the telephone, says Ferguson.
“They'll claim the telephone as a Canadian invention. Alexander Graham Bell was born in Scotland, educated in Scotland and most of his research took place in Boston, but that doesn't matter because he lived in Canada,” Ferguson says.Yet, Canada claims basketball because James Naismith was born in Canada, although he came up with the sport while living in the U.S. However, there's no denying that Toronto's Joe Shuster was co-creator of that greatest of American heroes, Superman. And who else but the first nation of hockey could have invented Plexiglas, the goalie mask or the referee whistle?Since beer is practically a sport unto itself in Canada, Vancouver's Steve Pasjack came up with those built-in, tuck-away handles for beer cases in 1957. Women can blame Canada. Montreal's Canadelle company invented the push-up bra in 1964 and Dennis Colonello invented the abdominizer in 1984. Their greatest achievement? “I think Canada's greatest achievement is Canada, just the existence of this country, this wildly diverse, huge, rich, quirky, wonderful country,” Ferguson says. And I agree.