Thursday, July 1, 2010

It's a Celebration of Canada's Birthday, Eh!

Today is Canada's 143rd Birthday so I am celebrating. My hubby just got back from a 50 km bike ride to Parliament Hill in downtown Ottawa where he enjoyed the crowds and festivities. Tonight is a big fireworks display. I hate biking and I also hate crowds, so I decided to celebrate by opening this lovely 750 ml bottle of Niagara Riesling (and yes I have just poured the last drops into my glass). I am enjoying it immensely. I threw in the ml just so I could confuse my American friends. Right now things are a bit fuzzy which makes it hard to convert to Imperial units. But lets just say, I am also joining in an early celebration of Independence Day on July 4th. Anything for a party I say!

Taking my cue from Big Daddy (who writes about Dubai) I thought I would give you ten facts about Canada that you might not have known...

1. Canada became a Confederation in 1867 which basically meant it became independent from England (not really, but it makes it easier to describe). The impetus for this was the American Civil War. We drive on the right side of the road, unlike other British colonies.

2. The Queen of England is also the Queen of Canada. She is our head of State but is really only a figurehead. Our government is a Parliament run by a Prime Minister and his elected government that make laws and such. Currently we have a Conservative government similar to the Republican's in the US, Conservative in the UK. The Governor General is the representative of the Queen when she is not in Canada. Lizzie II came to visit us this year and everyone is in awe of her. We respect and admire her stoicism but many want to completely cut off the monarchy and make Canada completely independent. We write British English which means we spell things like humour vs humor, colour vs color and favourite vs favorite. Spellcheck can be a horror. And we say Zed (Z) instead of Zee (Z).

3. The Beaver is our national animal (nuf said). The Maple Leaf is a symbol of Canada and is part of our flag which is two red stripes on a white background with a Maple Leaf in the middle. I know most of you saw our flag when we won gold in Olympic Hockey (and many other events).

4. The official languages of Canada are English and French which means the Federal Government must offer services in both languages. French is spoken mainly in Quebec but they want to separate from Canada because they do not like the English. The federal party representing Quebec in the Federal Government is the Bloc Quebecois whose mandate is to seek separation from the rest of Canada. I do not speak French which has hindered any advancement in my job (I work for the Federal Government). Montreal, Quebec was named after the mountain it was built on, Mont Royal.

5. We have oil which is why the USA want to stay friends with us. We were tremendously excited when Barack Obama became President and worry about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Our economies are joined at the hip and when things are bad economically, it affects all of North America. We can travel unrestricted to Cuba and know that travel restriction for US Citizens will ease in the future. The Cubans are warm and caring people and I hope you will visit if you can.

6. I don't say "eh" but the rest of the world thinks we do so I have to keep up the illusion. I still don't understand the "aboot" (referring to about) so will have to have a word-off when we get to Chicago. Sally and Roo will be first up!

7. Canada abolished slavery in 1834 and many Black Americans escaped to Southern Ontario in subsequent years. I was recently moved by reading "The Book of Negroes" by Lawrence Hill: (U.S. Title: Someone Knows My Name). It documented the life of a women captured in Africa and brought into slavery in the US and then resettled in Canada. A difficult read but a moving story.

8. Canadians are fighting the "War on Terror" in Afganistan and we have lost 150 souls. Canadians fight beside Americans, Brits, Australian and many other troops. God bless all the soldiers from all countries who are currently fighting and for those that have given the ultimate sacrifice with their lives.

9. Ottawa is the capital of Canada and I live here. The Rideau Canal (pronounced Re-Dough) was dug from Kingston to Ottawa to allow a supply route to fight off the Americans who might attack us in the 18th century. We won the War of 1812 against American invasion. I am sure they finally figured out they really didn't want to live in a cold country.

10. We don't live in igloos. Really. The average summer temperature in Ottawa is 20C-40C (70F-100F). Winter is from -30C to + 10C (-22F to 50F). I love fall when the leaves change to multiple colours.

OK just one more:
11. We have free healthcare but it doesn't cover everything. I had to pay for my band. And we pay for healthcare through our taxes. Everyone is covered even if you are homeless. We have employer funded health insurance for things like dental care, glasses and prescriptions. But if we need surgery, we do not pay. If we need to see a doctor, we do not pay. If we are in an accident and are put in ICU, we do not pay. We are not communists or socialists (not even sure what these mean). We sometimes need more doctors and nurses and technicians so if you know someone who wants to live in a great country tell them. We gladly accept all immigrants.

So another July 1st has passed. And my bottle is empty. So sad. But I did promise to celebrate July 4th. BTW, one on my most favourite movies was Independence Day! I think I will have a little plateau this week.

22 comments:

Carmen said...

thank you for the education on canada! :-)

Linda said...

Happy Canada Day!! Enjoy the long weekend!!

Cindylew said...

Have a great holiday weekend gumdrop.

Darlin1 said...

Canada sounds like a nice place---would love to visit!
I'll give a toast to you and Canada tonight and another to you on our 4th!!

Gilly said...

Yay!! Canadian history lesson!! Come visit, Americans!! We'd love to see you!!

Sandy, angel, I think I might be joining you in plateauland...at least I hope that's the worst of it! At least we'll have wine!

Barbara said...

I love the Canadians and I love you>> thanks for that history lesson, made many a trek to Ontario when my brothers znd I played in ice hockey tournaments.

Enjoy your Day!!

Janice said...

I love Canada! I have a friend in Ottawa and one near Victoria. I feel like I'm celebrating with you as I read the blog. I even feel the wine...Thank you for sharing...perhaps I should have a glass of wine tonight to celebrate Canada Day. It is the least I can do to support international relations. :) Happy Holiday weekend!

Maria said...

Great post! I love me some Canada! I have family all over from Vancouver all the way over to Halifax, and being in Detroit, we used to visit Windsor quite a bit.

-Grace- said...

This list made me love Canada and you even more!

Kristin said...

Happy Canada Day to you and your countrymen.

My first romantic weekend with the man who is now my husband was in Montreal. In February. Our tour of the city was whirlwind and frozen, but I have such great memories of it.

For our honeymoon, we each got to pick a destination, and the Hubs picked...wait for it... Niagara Falls. So we stayed on the Canadian side at the Marriott, and a magician came around to our table at dinnertime. The Hubs fulfilled his dream of going on the Maid of the Mist for his honeymoon. ;)

Tina said...

hey...or should I say ehhh :) happy Canada Day. My doctor was from Quebec and he said about (with the funny oo sound instead of ou. I think the eh is a western Canada thing. My friends from up north do use it.

I LOVE Canada.

Janelle said...

Cool! I don't know much about Canada so this was very interesting!

Nella said...

Happy Day Sunshine...all the way from the WEST COAST!

Andrew said...

Happy Birthday Canada and God Bless the Queen.

Alison said...

I love your Canada facts! I'd love to visit some day.
I'm really encouraging my husband to look for a post abroad, Canada or USA would be good, he works for a company who's name starts with British so its unlikely!

Lonicera said...

Loved this post - As I read, I was ticking off on my fingers the bits I do know about Canada, and the "eh" wasn't one of them. But the only way I know how to recognise a Canadian speaking is when they say oot and aboot, so it's definitely there... I've been to Toronto and Quebec (thought French Canadians seem much more uptight about the language & nationality issues than the English Canadians, who struck me as relaxed about it all). Would so love to visit Western Canada, British Columbia, etc.
Happy Canada Day!
Caroline

Drazil said...

I love you, eh?

Jess said...

Interesting facts! Ya know what I am talking aboot? hehe

Steph said...

I really enjoyed this post. Thank you for sharing!

Virginia said...

Great blog Sandy!

But on point 4: It's not that the Quebecois people don't like the English, -I'm Quebecoise and consider myself an anglo lover!
There are differences, like language, history, religion, family, culture, etc, and in order to protect its difference they have put laws in place.

In a recent CTV article, about the 20 years since Meech Lake...

"Still, recent polls suggest the zeal for sovereignty in Quebec has gone astray. The latest, published last May, showed most Quebecers have come to terms with the constitutional status quo, even if they aren't happy with federalism."

I personally agree with the above, and think that the Bloc would do better, and be more successfull if it were to gear itself towards Francophones, not just Quebecois.

Just my 1 cent, it's way to early in my coffee for me to be more coherent ;)

Lynda said...

I love getting these little tidbits from my friends in other countries. It's a shame that we Americans think the world revolves around us. Perhaps I need to work on a post of "things you may not know about the United States".

anne h said...

How fun is that.
Love Canada!

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