Hey there, fellow Canucks! Today, I hope you’re joining the millions of Canadians whose sole mission is to celebrate this great nation we live in. From BC to NFLD, ladies and gents are barbequing, drinking, swimming, drinking, picnicking…and did I mention drinking? We sure know how to party on this side of the pond! This year, my family-friendly Canada Day will be alcohol-free, but I invite the rest of you to grab a cold beverage (maybe a Molson Canadian if you’re feeling especially patriotic) and enjoy this list of facts you probably didn’t know about Canada.
1. Canada actually got its name by mistake. When French explorer Jacques Cartier arrived in the new world, locals invited him to their “kanata”, meaning “village”. He and his companions thought they meant that the name of their country was “Kanata”, which was later changed to the name we know today.
2. You know that green ink used on American dollar bills? That was invented in the 1850s at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec.
3. Toronto, Ontario is home to the longest street in the world. Yonge Street stretches from Lake Ontario to Minnesota; that’s almost 2000 km.
4. Canada holds the record for most gold medals won at one Winter Olympics with 14 Golds at the 2010 games. Impressive!
5. St. Paul, Alberta, is home to the world’s first UFO Landing Pad, which was built in 1967.
6. Kids around the world count on Canada Post to answer their Christmas letters on behalf of Santa Claus. Our postal service has replied to more than 1 million letters written in over 30 languages – including braille!
7. Roughly 15,500 of the world’s 25,000 polar bears live right here in Canada. And FYI: we do not ride them to school! Where did that myth come from, anyway?
8. Halifax, Nova Scotia is closer to Dublin, Ireland than it is to Victoria, British Columbia. Think about that for a moment – it’s kind of mind-blowing!
9. The country’s longest place name is Pekwachnamaykoskwaswaypinwanik Lake, in Manitoba. (Try saying that five times fast.)
10. The number of annual car accidents involving moose: 247.
11. Canada has one desert. The 15-mile-long stretch of land located in British Columbia is apparently the only desert in the world that has a boardwalk.
12. We have 20% of the world’s fresh water and more lakes than all other countries combined. It’s safe to say that you’ll never be thirsty here!
13. We take credit for the inventions of basketball, peanut butter, IMAX, Trivial Pursuit, garbage bags, egg cartons, the walkie-talkie, and standard time, to name a few.
14. It is said that Canada produces 80% of the world’s pure maple syrup, most of which is made in Quebec. You’re welcome, world!
15. Halifax has more pubs per capita than any city in Canada. (No wonder it’s home to thousands of out-of-province university students.)
16. More than two billion Tim Hortons coffees are sold each year. Funnily enough, only 56% of Tims customers can roll their r’s.
17. Thought the Loch Ness Monster was the only mysterious lake creature out there? Think again: locals say a fierce water monster named Ogopogo lives in Lake Okanagan, British Columbia.
18. In Dawson City, Yukon, you can join the Sourtoe Cocktail Club by sipping on any beverage, so long as it has a real human toe at the bottom. The club’s motto: “You can drink it fast, you can drink it slow – but the lips have gotta touch the toe.” (Gag.)
19. The beaver has been Canada’s national symbol for over 300 years. Contrary to popular belief, a Canadian snack called a “beaver tail” doesn’t actually include any beaver; it’s a fried pastry made of dough and icing, flattened to look like a beaver tail.
20. Americans have been known to masquerade as Canadians when travelling (seriously), likely due to the hospitality we often encounter simply because of our nationality. We always knew y’all wanted to be more like us!
That’s all for now, folks. Thanks for reading! Enjoy the rest of your Canada Day and make sure to keep an eye out for UFOs, polar bears, and Ogopogo. Oh, and fireworks. ;)