Friday, February 20, 2009

5.45 - The One with the Myths about Canadians

  1. We live in igloos
    • Contrary to popular belief, our homes are not made out of hand-cut ice blocks and decorated with rough-hewn seal skins. The fact of the matter is that Canada is home to some of the world’s most beloved architectural marvels, including Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal, Notre-Dame Basilica, Château Frontenac, and the fabulously phallic CN Tower, none of which are made out of oversize ice cubes. Over the past century, Canada has also produced some of the most accomplished architects in the world, including Frank Gehry, whose Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Experience Music Project and Walt Disney Concert Hall are considered to be among the most innovative buildings on the planet.
  2. We love Nickelback
    • Over the years, Canada has produced a staggering number of quality musicians, and yet one of the acts we’re best known for is Nickelback, the world’s most maddeningly generic rock band. Although these self-important Hanna natives have sold millions of albums, most Canucks consider it a point of pride that the vast majority of their sales have occurred south of the border in the land of the free and home of the tone deaf. Every nation gets the artists they deserve and America is more than welcome to keep Chad Kroeger and his tragically bland bandmates for as long as they like.
  3. We eat lots of whale blubber, bacon and maple syrup
    • Canadian cuisine isn’t vastly different from American cuisine, although in our defence, there is a lot less of it. Many Canadian chain restaurants actually offer smaller portions than their American partners, hence ensuring their clientele can leave on their own power rather than needing the Jaws of Life and three pounds of butter just to get through the front entrance.
  4. Toronto is the capital of Canada
    • Americans can be forgiven for thinking that Toronto is our capital city given the fact that it’s also our most populous urban center and the self-proclaimed “center of the universe.” However, the fact remains that our national capital is in Ottawa, a quiet little town that’s every bit as respectable and law-abiding as the country it so proudly represents.
  5. We speak Canadian
    • Canada’s two official languages are English and French, although they’re hardly the only dialects you’ll hear within our borders. According to Statistics Canada, one out of every six Canucks has a mother tongue other than English or French. That’s why the CBC now offers Hockey Night in Canada in Punjabi and why many of our street signs appear in as many as three languages.
  6. Our streets are patrolled by singing Mounties
    • From Renfrew of the Royal Mounted to Due South, Hollywood has churned out dozens of productions over the years depicting our police officers as smiling balladeers dressed in spotless scarlet tunics and ridiculously large wide-brimmed hats. Although our RCMP constables do indeed possess these decorative uniforms, they tend to save them for special occasions -- like Canada Day, Victoria Day and Dudley Do-Right movie premieres. Today’s RCMP is a thoroughly modern police force with approximately 28,000 employees, including police officers, civilian members and public service workers.
  7. We're draft-dodgers and pacifists
    • There’s a big difference between being polite and being a pacifist, and it’s a distinction that has confused many Americans over the years. It’s about time that our neighbours to the south learned that Canada has one of the world’s most respected and well-trained militaries, comprised of 62,000 Regular Force members and 25,000 Reserve Force members. Nearly one-third of our deployable forces are currently engaged in overseas missions in locations such as Afghanistan, Cyprus, Darfur, Jerusalem, Haiti, and Sudan, and if it weren’t for Canada’s critical role in both World Wars, folks in Philadelphia and Detroit might now be speaking German.
  8. We all play hockey
    • Although Canadians pride themselves on their ability to slip the puck through the five-hole, we also participate in a wide variety of other sports as well. According to a new report funded by Sport Canada, the most popular participatory sport in Canada is now golf, with hockey coming in a distant second. Don’t tell Don Cherry, but hockey registration could continue to slide in the years ahead as more and more of Canada’s youth gravitate toward soccer and baseball.
  9. We desperately want to join the U.S.
    • Although annexation may have been a viable option back in the 18th century, most Canadians are now pleased to live in a country where health care is free, social welfare is provided to all citizens and gun shops don’t offer “Back to School” specials. Besides, given its exorbitant debt, who would want to be part of the United States of Foreclosure these days? Although we may look, dress and even occasionally sound like Americans, Canada has a distinct culture all its own. We have our own parliamentary system of government, our own national symbols and, perhaps most importantly, you can order poutine at all of our McDonald’s. Take that, North Dakota!
  10. We Know Gord
    • Once and for all, we do not know your cousin Gord in Muskoka, your uncle Bob in Moose Jaw or your sister’s ex-boyfriend Pete in Thunder Bay. Canada is a country of 33,551,000 citizens, so you’ll have to excuse us if we have difficultly keeping tabs on everyone. Although, in all fairness, we do know your old roommate Ken and the guy is a serious tool.