As requested, my response to The Globe and Mail article: 147 reasons to love Canada. Some points are partially quoted from the article.
1. Our national anthem
We are genuine and authentic, honest and are leaders to the world on so many fronts. I believe heavily in the words to our anthem “with glowing hearts” and “True North strong and free.”
Leaders to the world on so many fronts? And pray tell, what are those? I’m honestly curious. Not the first country to give women the vote, abolish slavery, decriminalize abortion or homosexual acts. When has Canada ever been a leader in anything? And the anthem? As dull as the country.
2. We never say die
Canadians never give up on one another. When we were at 1-2 at the Olympics, people were still supporting us.
Typical asinine Canadian comment. Of course when it comes to supporting Canadian teams, yes, cakers are supportive … everything revolves around making Canada look good for everyone else. When you’re empty and shallow on the inside what do you do? You worry about appearances.
3. The maple leaf on travellers’ backpacks from all over
While in Ireland, I met two people with Canadian flags on their packs and asked them what part of Canada they were from. They said nowhere – they were Americans who had discovered that showing the Canadian flag earned them special treatment. It’s about respect. It’s a fulfilling sense of pride and a great sense of identity. As a Canadian, we just know we live in the best country.
This is the urban myth that cakers never stop flapping their jaws about. I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard this one. I’m not surprised it’s at #3 … typical. Almost every American I meet is quite proud to be American and I’ve never met or heard of one pretending to be Canadian. Perhaps in some violent war zone (where American politics are at play) but even then doubtful.
4. We play to win
We’ve been known for a long time for being happy to compete. “Oh, we made it to the Olympics.” “Oh, we qualified for this tournament.”
Who doesn’t? Who plays to lose? Do tell.
5. The ‘Canadian swagger’
In my seven years as commissioner, the moment that was probably most fascinating to me was around the 100th Grey Cup in Toronto: We let fans carry the Cup the final five kilometres after a trek across the country.
What is this ‘Canadian swagger’ you speak of? You mean fans celebrating their team winning? I’m pretty sure that happens everywhere, constantly. The Canadian ‘swagger’ right up there with the Canadian tuxedo …
6. 5 per cent beer
Canada is pride, manners, hockey, wilderness – and 5 per cent beer!
Yes, unwarranted pride in an empty boring place lacking achievements. Pride in mostly lousy hockey teams which haven’t won the Stanley Cup since 1993, and a whole lot of barren wilderness nobody lives in or can afford to visit. Sure 5% beer is good I guess, it needs to be since it COSTS SO MUCH! And is Canadian beer stronger than American beer? Apparently not, it’s simply measured differently.
Muskoka is “cottage country” or a vacation spot for tourists and wealthier Canadians. It’s located in central Ontario where your average earner can’t afford to go or own a cottage. (Lakefront properties averaging a million dollars.)
8. ‘We’re building a country together’
There’s a quote from a cheesy, feel-good story by a former prime minister, touched by Canada’s diversity. Canadians are building a country together … since they have no choice! Aboriginals are here to stay and aren’t going anywhere – suing the provincial and federal governments over land, treaties and past abuses. Quebec remains the same with a minority wanting to leave; most Quebecers I met don’t consider themselves “Canadian” and quite a few fed up Albertans want to separate. Let’s not forget the immigrants, the only ones keeping Canada afloat population-wise and financially.
9. The ‘small town’ of Canada
I love being able to travel the world and run into a Canadian and feel like we are both from the “small town” of Canada. Like when someone says, “Oh, you’re from Vancouver. Do you know John?” And three times out of five, you do know John.
What a load of tripe. The greater Vancouver area has over two million people … nobody knows John. God this is stupid. California has roughly the population of Canada. Hey, guy from San Diego reading this blog – do you know John?
10. Our raw natural landscape
Yes, there are some parts of the country that are quite pretty and picturesque. However you can find that almost anywhere. It’s still something to be proud of I suppose, although over a third of Canadians live in the top 3 major cities and their metro areas, while most haven’t traveled the country.
11. It’s where we fall in love
Childhood is a country one never leaves. It’s our first country, that we hold inside us the rest of our lives. This small poem evokes the summer when I was 8 on the banks of the Lorette River in Quebec. It’s probably the most beautiful river in Canada, because it’s the one where I played in my childhood…
Childhood does hold fond memories for many people, but not all. I’m sure the Inuit children killing themselves aren’t in love with this place. I’m sure the Aboriginal people who were raped, abused and witnessed murders in the residential schools aren’t “in love” with this place. Ask a Quebecer if he’s “in love” with Canada and listen to the guffaws and laughter. Who is “in love” besides your average deluded, self aggrandizing caker?
12. Lester B. Pearson
… Deceptively dull, he had a life of derring-do in sports, the military and diplomacy that would give James Bond a run for his money. He gave Canada many of the things it’s proudest of: universal health care, bilingualism, the abolition of capital punishment, non-involvement in the Vietnam War, and a national identity, symbolized by a new flag, that was distinct from the Mother Country.
Most important, he won a Nobel Peace Prize which (unlike a certain other North American leader) he actually deserved, for conceiving and implementing one of humanity’s greatest inventions: the armed peacekeeping force.
The first thing that came to my mind when reading this name was his Nobel prize. And that’s something to be proud of – but really, Lester Pearson at #12? Most Canadians couldn’t tell you a damn thing about him. And it wouldn’t be ‘Canadian’ without taking a jab at the Americans. Hey Canada, when will you have a Black Prime Minister? Hmmm ….
13. Toopie and Binou
My kid used to like watching this cartoon. It doesn’t strike me as something to love about Canada though … but cakers gotta cling to whatever they can, amirite?
14. Our new $5 bill
What do I love about Canada? Everything, but, especially … all that water, salt and fresh; loons; the smell of the air on Signal Hill; poutine, followed by beaver tails for dessert; our humility, our bilingualism and our multiculturalism – our new $5 bills. There are so many cool places to go and people to meet in this country, I will never do it all, but I will never lose interest in trying.
I think I just threw up a little in my mouth. There’s nothing to be proud of about the bill, please do give it a rest.
I’m in love with a city. I leave her, often for long periods of time, even going so far as to give another city the title of home. But my heart knows the truth.
Montreal has that terrible regional weather: gross humidity in the summer and cold, nasty winters. The downtown core is ugly as hell and the traffic is awful. But the people are OK (I prefer them to cakers) and there’s more to do than almost anywhere else in Canada … so I’ll let this slide.
16. On the edge
The thing I love most about Canada is our coastline – our landwash. Where the water and land meet. We have 265,000 kilometres of coastline, the longest of any nation and 16 per cent of the total coastline in the world. That means we have a lot of wonderful places to go for a walk. Seven million of us live on the coastline and many of us go down to the sea at every opportunity.
I find this an odd one. Who the hell has access to the coastline? You either have to live on the shorelines of British Columbia or eastern Maritimes to have access to the coast. The rest of the country (right in the middle) has no coast, no sea … nothing. You also have the north which almost nobody lives in. Lots of coastline around the Arctic? Great!
17. The Canadian flag
The Canadian flag is a bore: it’s a maple leaf in between two red columns. Lame. California has a better flag. Hell even Iowa has a better flag! I’d even take Arizona’s over the leaf.
18. Canadian passports
… I know that, when I see someone holding this little booklet, I will be standing with someone who understands the value of kindness, sincerity, curiosity and dignity; someone for whom basic rights – such as health care and education – are not merely for a certain segment of society and someone who values my views and beliefs, even if we disagree.
I think it’s ridiculous to assume just because someone is Canadian they are kind, sincere, or that they value your beliefs. They just happen to have been born and raised here and are fortunate enough to have healthcare and education. When I see a Canadian with a passport I see an individual who may or may not be a good person, who was born in a country I was born in and has access to the things I do, period. You smile and talk about how fortunate you are to have each other? Yeah, that sounds Canadian … bigging each other up.
19. Canmore, Alta.
Never been, although it looks pretty. Might be one of the few tourist traps in Canada actually worth visiting. (It helps that she arrived there after being held as a hostage in Somalia for over a year!)
20. The Lucky Iron Fish
I love Canada for the creativity of each new generation – creativity that can make a difference in people’s lives. A wonderful example of this is the Lucky Iron Fish. Developed at the University of Guelph, it is a simple and inexpensive object used to reduce iron deficiency in such places as Cambodia.
It sounds like a great idea. I’d never heard of it before this article. But let’s not get carried away with “Canada’s creativity” … for the simple fact this is one of the least creative major industrialized, developed nations out there.
Jesus. I mean, I’m sure there are some great people in Saskatchewan. But by and large it’s a flat prairie province with nothing going on: tons of racism, drinking problems, obesity, incompetence, terrible winters, loads of poverty everywhere and nothing to do but watch a CFL team. But hey, loving Saskatchewan sounds very Canadian!
22. The Trans-Canada Highway
I’ll let this one pass. The fact that Canada has been able to maintain a major highway across this bunghole to allow passage is frankly a miracle. The fact we’re not horse-and-buggying our way across this shit? Miracle!
23. Prairie summers
Yep, cause there’s nothing like the sweet life of living in Saskatchewan or Manitoba eh? What’s not to love? Hot? Flat? Mosquitoes? Blackflies? No ocean to look at? No mountains to view? Love it!
24. We stand up for each other
The one thing I must say is that the little family of academics here fight for each other. Within 72 hours of my firing, 1,800 people from schools across Canada were willing to put their names on a petition to bring me back. All those people were willing to stand up and say, “This firing was wrong.”
Sure, if you say so. People everywhere do tend to take a stand when they see something they think is bothersome – I don’t know that it’s a particularly exclusive trait to Canada. Do Canadians stand up for each other overall? It depends, is the Canadian white?
I was born in India, and was 7 when we moved to Timmins, Ont.. where it gets really cold in the winter. When the temperature goes down – we would get nights that were minus-40 – any moisture in the atmosphere would precipitate out. I always remember how, waking up in the morning, there was often this beautiful snow that sort of sparkled in the sun.
Yup, this guy loved the snow so much that he moved to British Columbia and became the president of UBC. Snow is pretty, but winter at -30 C or -40 C ? Not so lovable.
26. Canadian maples
We have these maple trees here that in the fall, in a particular period, produce a colour that I have never seen anywhere on the planet. They’re not the same as the maple leaves we have in New England. They’re just spectacular. They are a deeply saturated red – perhaps garnet comes closest although, as I said, I have never seen this colour in nature or man-made.
“Our maples are better than your maples!” Give me strength. I googled ‘New England maple leaves’ and they looked the same to me, but what do I know? I’ve never lived in New England although I’ll take that place over Canada any day, inferior leaves notwithstanding.
27. Mountain hikes
As an Albertan, I’ve spent many hours hiking through the Rocky Mountains, winding my way through trails outside Jasper and Banff. Indeed, the time spent in the outdoors is the best possible escape …
Finally something worthy of being on this list. Canada does have many beautiful forest trails and mountains for hiking. I know as I’ve done a good portion of them.
28. The Chicken Lady
We’re a country where government-funded television broadcasts a show (or at least used to) like Kids In the Hall. Where would we be without Chicken Lady?
Don’t know, don’t want to know. If it’s Canadian and on this list – it’s lame and sad.
29. We care
I love how Canadians care about the world around them. From the @LuckyIronFish project to @WorldUniService student-refugee program, Canadians make a difference.
Oh Canadians love to put on a show of caring – if you’re from elsewhere. Come by and have a look at how they treat their own First Nations and Inuit peoples … they truly “care”!
30. Two words: Ann-Marie MacDonald
From her riveting novels to her acting to her beautiful face.
Who? I googled her but I still haven’t a clue. Can’t be arsed to find out either.
31. Trudeau on a trampoline
“When I was much younger, I was at Canada Day in Ottawa. Outside the National Arts Centre there was a huge crowd gathered around a trampoline. As I walked towards it, I caught sight of a familiar face, but thought, ‘No can’t be…’ And yet as I got closer I realized that, ‘Yes, it was.’ Pierre Trudeau on the trampoline with his sons standing around in the crowd watching their dad…”
Goes on to blather about the ‘accessibility of Canadian politicians’. This is not uniquely Canadian by a long shot. You can also bump into American politicians at public events, in hotels and at the airport. Randomly bumping into the odd politician is not “accessibility” it’s coincidence. And they often don’t have security, true, because no one cares …
32. Teeing off, no helicopters overhead
Sure, that works while comparing this place to war-torn Syria, err …
33. That our national identity is about not really having one
“Working in China, a country with a very clear and strong sense of national identity, what I’ve come to appreciate most about Canada is that we don’t have one ourselves. Because a strong sense of ‘us’ naturally engenders an equally strong sense of ‘them’ and an alienation of the Other.
Unlike other immigrant societies like the United States or Western European countries, we don’t have an overly dominant traditional or mainstream culture of our own. People have a pretty clear idea of what it means to be an American, to be British or Italian, but what does it mean to be Canadian? What is Canadian culture? Apart from a few tidbits (Timbits?) here and there, we don’t really know. Any attempt to define a Canadian identity, our culture or our values, usually descends into vague generalizations that could pretty well include anyone the world over. Basically, what it takes to be Canadian is just to be a decent human being and call this place ‘home.’ …
Wow I am nearly speechless. Since it’s an acknowledged fact there is no culture here, Canadians have taken to pointing it out with a sense of pride with no irony. I find this incredibly sad and my mind wanders to thoughts of Greece, Italy and the like. Such cultural poverty here! This quote is made even funnier by the fact its author chooses to live and work in China.
34. Charlevoix, Que.
“Where else can you ski while at the same time watch an icebreaker open the way for a cargo ship on the river below? Living in China makes you appreciate Canada’s clean air and water and how close to nature Canadians are.”
Pretty place and tourist stop. Never been.
35. We’re safe (and that’s not boring)
“If you say the word ‘Canada’ in the war zones where I’ve been living in recent years, people usually respond: ‘Ah, good. A safe place.’ That’s one of my favourite things about Canada, the way our country embodies the idea of sanctuary – especially for people who do not feel safe in their own countries…”
Canada is safer than many other places, and yes that’s a good thing. However it’s all relative. It’s not so safe outside the major metropolitan areas … in fact I argued it’s a major shit hole. This guy goes on to brag about safe Toronto – a city with more murders than New York by mid-2018. (Cakers tried to argue semantics, but facts are facts.)
36. Gentle patriotism. Sometimes expressed with a bugle
A young cadet takes over bugler duties at a Remembrance Day ceremony. Great. I can’t get the feels with this story because Canada arouses no patriotism in me, only derision.
37. Maple syrup
“Radio host Peter Gzowski once ran a contest to come up with the Canadian equivalent of ‘As American as apple pie.’ The winning entry? ‘As Canadian as … possible, under the circumstances.’ Droll as that may be, I beg to differ. The answer is obvious: As Canadian as maple syrup.”
Jesus. You see what I’m talking about? You see what I’m dealing with here? Pathetic. Quick question: would you rather apple pie or maple syrup? The answer is obvious.
38. Montreal bagels
Another of Canada’s fine dining contributions. There’s nothing special about Montreal’s bagels, nor Canada’s maple syrup in contrast to anywhere else. Next!
39. Our tolerance
“Canadians have a distinguishing social generosity. Peacefulness, fair-mindedness, understanding and tolerance…”
It would be commendable if only it were true. Yes, Canadians are more tolerant when contrasted with theocracies or war-torn countries. But comparatively to other democratic western nations? Not really. More immigrants, true, but only because the country needs them for funding and sustaining population levels. For one example, take their treatment of Blacks.
40. We’re still becoming
Can’t disagree there. Canada isn’t much of anything yet. Still becoming … what? Probably a bigger sack of crap. Time will tell.
41. It’s a great place to be a mother
It is a great place to be a mother compared with Somalia, where the woman quoted came from. Sure I’ll give it that. Is it a better place to be a mother than Denmark, Finland, Sweden or the like? Doubt it.
42. We thrive on entrepreneurship
I can’t even write a proper rebuttal to this or I’m going to get angry. Really? You can’t do anything without insane amounts of bureaucracy and taxation plus monopolies control most major services. What a joke! One success story for a man’s family doesn’t make this applicable to the whole country.
42. Our writers
“What I love most of all is reading about Canada’s history, landscape and people from our wealth of writers. I can walk the streets of Toronto with Michael Ondaatje (In the Skin of a Lion), learn the hard truths from Joseph Boyden (Three Day Road) and feel the vastness of Cape Breton with Ann-Marie MacDonald (Fall On Your Knees). The list is endless.”
Who ? I’m not being snarky, I just legitimately don’t know who any of these authors are (and don’t care to find out). I tried to think of five Canadian authors in my head and couldn’t even get that far.
Sure I can agree with this. I’ve taken some nice road trips along picturesque highways. If like the average Canadian, you can’t afford rent or owning a house – driving cross country in the van you also use as a home could be fun!
44. Our bold design (and nice designers)
The quote is about clothing, definitely not architecture or anything of lasting value! I know nothing about fashion so won’t comment – but if it’s Canadian, I’m sure it’s subpar.
45. Toronto. Take that, haters.
The only people who love Toronto are the ones born and raised there. The rest of the country is unified in hating it. It is: expensive, ugly as hell (brown, grey, depressing, dirty), with awful winter weather and no beautiful natural landscapes. (It’s actually kind of brutal.)
46. The sight of the ocean near my Vancouver home
There’s nothing like the smell of a nice coffee as you gaze out your patio and view the ocean … from your multimillion dollar home. The rest of us plebs will have to settle for driving 20 minutes through ugly grey concrete to get that view.
47. My Norman Rockwell, On Top of the World
Odd choice. It’s not even close to his best painting, although I suppose it’s all subjective. (He’s not even a Canadian painter but “everything is available” to this lucky fella in Canada, thus the painting’s meaning.) God this is getting tedious. How long is this list? Can I really finish this???
48. We’re always game for a new normal
Throw in some crap about Canada being progressive and getting better, so on and so forth. Societies are always changing, improving, progressing … am I gonna finish this list??
Bilingualism is an asset, I do agree. It’s even better if you live in Quebec, southern Ontario or New Brunswick. If you’re in the rest of the country where nobody speaks French and you might get two hours of lessons a week at school (guaranteeing you’re never bilingual) and having it impede your job prospects – not so great. But of course Canada is too cheap and pathetic to have free lessons or federal oversight, so get Googling!
50. Our health care
“I am so grateful to be a physician in Canada, where no one has to go into bankruptcy to pay for treatments that I recommend.”
How did they wait all the way to number 50 to list this? I guess they didn’t want to be too cliche. I’ve always said that Canada needs to make a personification of Health Care so cakers can hang the portrait on their walls like Mao or Stalin and curtsy nightly – they’d do it too.
I’ll give Canada some credit: having health care is a good thing, even with the huge wait times, poor quality and other bullshit. At least it’s there. Of course, if you want proper healthcare at a fast pace you can’t get it because along with Cuba and North Korea – Canada has banned private healthcare.
Cakers like to whine about American-style healthcare while ignoring the blended systems in use in Europe and elsewhere. Which is probably why it ranks right at the bottom (often last place) among affluent countries, beating only the USA – at least cakers can enjoy that.
51. Our compassion
Followed by some garble parped out by Lulu Lemon’s founder. How is Canada compassionate? How do you measure that? Certainly not in its treatment of First Nations people. Let’s look at a report from Charities Aid Foundation Index which measures donations, volunteering and helping strangers: Canada came in at 15th place.
52. You can make it here. And still care about your employees
No empirical evidence of course, just take the word of the chairman of Sleeman Breweries. According to him because Canadians have less serious political division, they care more about their employees. Make sense to you? Nope me neither. But it’s Canada … carry on!
53. Our apologies
“Canada is the best country because you can walk into someone and they will apologize first.”
How strange that’s considered a measure for best country. This one might actually be true. People constantly apologize, saying ‘sorry’ for every little thing. In most countries people say “excuse me” politely and carry on. Cakers are so used to bending over that they have to grovel and apologize to strangers too!
54. It’s inspiring
… Canada is a society beyond nationhood: a population from every corner of the globe, a welcome to every cultural voice, an international reputation that is unique. In short, this country, as it unfolds, is my inspiration.
I suppose inspiration is subjective. After all, I meet young women who tell me Kim Kardashian is inspirational. Jokes aside, all of that criteria applies to the United States as well – which I happen to find inspirational, and comes to mind before Canada.
55. We believe in the public good
While I’m willing to concede that there’s less of a dramatic divide between left and right politics in Canada, the idea that rightwing politicians also believe in public works and welfare is laughable. All across the country those on the right are fighting against raising the minimum wage, slashing welfare and social programs and generally working against “the public good”. I don’t even have time to list it all, just google it!
56. There’s an Indonesian restaurant in Kitimat, B.C.
Kitimat is a northern B.C. municipality with less than 9000 people. I would venture to say that most large towns with that population have some type of ethnic restaurant. But sure, love it, why not?
57. Our soldiers
I’m not going to badmouth the long suffering military men and women. I will say though that I have met some who are real sacks of shit, although I’ve no doubt they’re worth respecting overall. (Just not those who steal and sell equipment and wares on the side.)
58. Canada Day on Parliament Hill
I’m sure this is great if you’re a tried-and-true caker. For me, it’s the epitome of all I hate. I’d rather celebrate the fourth of July.
59. The drive between Ottawa and Thunder Bay
Oh I’ve no doubt the drive is pretty enough, if you can afford the gas! But read about Ottawa and Thunder Bay before getting too excited.
60. Being in a canoe on a quiet morning
Sure that’s nice enough. Maybe not the Attawapiskat river though (as mentioned), due to the First Nation nearby: people living in shacks, corruption, mismanagement, depression and up to a dozen kids attempting suicide in one night. Fun.
61. The landscape that keeps us apart also brings us together
The broadcaster quoted is right: you can’t survive alone in Canada. The First Nations people who helped the settlers were betrayed and later made into slaves. The Chinese were used as slave laborers to build the railroad, the malaria-stricken Irish used to build the Rideau Canal, and so forth … we did it together!
62. Manitoulin Island, Ont.
Basically a tourist spot, and like all of them it’s scenic; nice to visit.
63. Toronto ravines
Hooray, green has been spotted in the concrete jungle! Enjoy the old railroads, rundown concrete structures, graffiti and horror-esque feel in certain places.
64. “The vivid clarity of end-of-day light in Alberta’s foothills.
Alberta does indeed have some pretty places. It’s too bad its cities are shit holes and towns are full of violent rapists and sickos. Still though … come for the wilderness, leave for the people!
65. Northern Ontario on the May 24th long weekend
“The stubborn rain, the ravenous black flies, the carcass-smell in the cottage and a lake with ice around its shaded corners. But dammit, it’s not winter!”
Self-explanatory. And this is on the list of BEST things, imagine!
66. Sir Alexander Galt and his son Elliott
“Sir Alexander Galt and his son Elliott founded Lethbridge – as well as coal mines and railways in the area, and the first large-scale irrigation project in Canada.
Ah Lethbridge … home to plenty of Mormons and other Christian fundamentalists, need I say more?
Visit, but don’t move there: small population; not enough work, people leaving in droves and part-time employment forcing many onto welfare. The term “newfie” is a running joke across the country: synonymous with unemployment, life on welfare, and laziness (whether the stereotypes are true or not, they exist). Imagine a small coastal town in the northeastern U.S. and you’ve got Newfoundland.
68. Canadian Immigration agents. Really
Apparently they’re great. Interesting to me because all I’ve ever heard are horror stories from visitors and immigrants. They treat me like shit, so I can’t even imagine what foreigners go through …
69. Highway 93
I can agree on that. It’s beautiful.
70. We’re pretty good people
When three officers are killed in the line of duty a small city pulls together to show support. That’s nice, it would happen almost anywhere. (Yet on the other hand cakers want to tell you how “safe” Canada is and how almost nothing ever happens here, while three officers are shot and killed in a small southeastern place.)
71. Harris Park, London, Ont.
A very average park in Ontario. Silly it made the list, but not surprising.
72. Roméo Dallaire
A former Canadian general, senator, and humanitarian. I actually respect this man and I’ve read his books, so I can’t argue with this.
73. The illuminated High Level Bridge in Edmonton
A really ugly bridge in Edmonton. I have no idea why this made the list, there are nicer ones. (Read all about Edmonton.)
“Shinny” is basically street hockey or an informal game on ice. Since most of the country is a frozen wasteland and since it’s winter for half the year … this is about all you can do.
75. The Dionne Quints
I find it bizarre and even gross that these girls are on the list. The Dionne quints were five girls (quintuplets) born to a Canadian mother in 1934. They were taken by the state and made a tourist attraction like animals in a zoo; they were also tested and studied. Their parents had to fight hard to win them back after the province of Ontario had made more than $50 million displaying them. But they’re on the list for bringing a “brief respite” to the world during the Depression. OK then.
76. John Peters Humphrey
“John Peters Humphrey was the principal drafter of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights and served for two decades as the first director of the UN Human Rights Division.”
I don’t know who this man is, but I can respect that contribution. (They throw in a compliment about his typical “Canadian modesty” – modest as ever – while throwing shade at the French recipient of the Nobel prize.)
77. Our backyards
This is so stupid … if you could see the majority of shit hole plots or concrete patios most Canadians in major cities have to live with. Grasping at straws?
78. Sir Sandford Fleming
“He was a driving force for the railroad network, which opened up expansion into the West…”
In typical caker fashion they applaud this Fleming fella while ignoring the slave laboring Chinese workers. I would suppose they are more worthy for this list.
79. The stone bridge in Pakenham, Ont.
“It is the only five-span stone bridge in North America.”
It’s a cute little bridge. One of the best things about Canada though? I suspect you’re reaching here. When things like this make the list you can see for yourself how dull Canada really is.
80. Tom Thomson
“His paintings are the visual equivalent of our national anthem – he gave us images of our country in a new and maverick style that captured the spirit of Canada as it came of age as a nation.”
An early 20th century painter, one of the more famous Canadian ones. He has some nice works although most of it isn’t my style. Still to each their own, can’t knock it.
81. Wolfe Island, Ont.
Some guy loves living on Wolfe Island: a small island of around 1400 people. There’s a pub, pizza place and lighthouse. It’s nearby Kingston, which should be enough to scare you off.
82. Mark Carney
This guy is an economist and banker. He loves Canada so much he chooses to live abroad and obtain Irish and British citizenship too. He’s currently governor of the Bank of England. Since he’s made it to the “big leagues” and is Canadian – get ready to profess love! The Brits called him “hysterical, incompetent” and a “failed, second-tier Canadian politician.” (Sorry Brits, as evidenced by this list he’s the best Canada’s got!)
83. Oktoberfest in Kitchener-Waterloo
“Kitchener and Waterloo turn into a Bavarian outpost during Oktoberfest – pretty girls in drindles, men in tracht, spontaneous outbreaks of polka, lots and lots of sausages, schnitzel (my mouth is watering just thinking about it) and beer steins.
Never been, but it sounds fun. There’s (gasp!) some type of tradition and culture (even if it’s stolen from elsewhere). Set your calendars!
84. Stephen Lewis
“He exemplifies many of the great things about Canada – determination, a commitment to the greater good and a passion for his country.
A former politician who now runs an AIDS Foundation. OK, that works.
A Pakistani man from a persecuted Muslim sect appreciates his freedom. Fair enough. Notice that Freedom is at #85 (how very Canadian) when any other country would have it right at the top … especially those ‘Mericans!
86. The Kiskatnaw Bridge between Dawson Creek and Fort St. John, B.C.
A bridge in northern BC by a provincial park. Damn this list is tedious …
87. Georgian Bay, Ont.
“In a way, it is a lonely place. The pine trees stoop with the wind that pounds them. The stoic granite facades of these small, nameless islands loom large at dawn. And the dark, secretive waters surrounding them crash unyieldingly against their shores. Despite its stern exterior, this place gives me peace and comfort.
A nice bay with a provincial park nearby; good for camping, canoeing, etc.
88. Canada’s Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART)
Sure, sounds good. But then we get: ” I find it amazing that a country with such a small military is able to make such a gigantic impact in the world, and for no other reason than to help people in need.”
Woah, let’s not get carried away here! While it’s indeed commendable, this is a force of 200 people that’s been on six missions to date. Gigantic impact? Canadian-speak for basic human help to others …
89. The Canadian Arctic
Sure I guess. You only had to kill and starve to death a bunch of Inuit to get it! Congrats.
90. The Montreal Canadiens
“There are so many reasons for the Canadiens to be on a list of things to love about Canada. Their glorious history of success (24 Stanley Cups). Their exciting style of play – using speed and creativity to pressure the opposition and generate offence. Their trademark jerseys.
They haven’t been a viable team or won a Stanley Cup since ’93. Still, they were great back in the Depression era and at 24 cups they’re the best Canadian team out there.
91. Home-grown TV.
“Canadian television shows are definitely at the top of my list of things I love about Canada: Rookie Blue, Lost Girl, Orphan Black, Flashpoint – almost without fail, Canadian TV proves that it can hold its own against foreign media.”
The laughter on this one took awhile to subside. I’m actually staggered at what a complete lie this is and the fact they have the nerve to print it. (Actually, why am I surprised?)
(While this isn’t explicitly about Canadian TV, read my reply about Canadian cinema.) Some people seem to like Orphan Black although to be honest I didn’t make it to the second episode. Canadian TV is an absolute joke of epic proportions. If you don’t believe me, try watching it!
92. Tim Hortons and poutine.
You HAD TO GO THERE. You HAD TO GO THERE !
93. “Our semi-regular attempt to annex the Turks and Caicos Islands.”
I guess this is a pathetic attempt at humor. Not to be outdone by the Americans – Canada needs its own warm islands to steal! Why not? Cue outlandish dreams to take the Turks and Caicos Islands or even take over Haiti. Because Canada’s doing such a swell job running itself, right?! (Colonialism never sleeps in Canada!)
94. “Our democracy, as protected by our amazing Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”
Ah the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms: the poor man’s down-market, milquetoast version of the American Constitution. Better than nothin’, I guess.
95. Stompin’ Tom.
A Canadian country and folk singer I’d never heard of until today. Am I going to Youtube a song? Nah.
96. Gay marriage!
The jokes write themselves if we were back in the 90s, nowadays they’d be considered homophobic. So let me say there’s nothing wrong with being gay … being Canadian on the other hand …!
97. Gun control.
OK I’ll let this slide. (Even though criminals can get guns easily and I was offered a machine gun in Ottawa by a random client, but hey, sure … gun control.)
98. “Our revered national police force: The RCMP.”
The rebuttal needs its own blog post, just think: it’s a uniquely Canadian police force. What could go wrong you ask? Well look at the state of Canada and answer yourself.
99. Blue Rodeo.
Some rock band. I’m amazed I haven’t heard of them yet, usually anything Canadian is shoved in your face incessantly. Speaking of, where’s The Tragically Hip on this list? Must be further down … you know it’s coming!
100. Benedict Vanier and his brother Jean
A Catholic monk (now accused of abusing women) and his philosopher brother, the sons of a former Governor-General. It’s a Quebec thing …
101. “We managed to send Justin Bieber and Celine Dion to the United States. What’s not to love?”
Can’t argue there. Notice how they never came back? Does anyone, ever?
102. “Our freshwater supply. We are the envy of the world.”
True … Canada lucked out without effort (the usual story). How long ’til cakers screw it all up or the Americans grab what they want? Start the countdown.
103. “Beavertails on the Canal in Ottawa. Gatineau in the fall.”
Beavertails are a much lauded but pretty gross “Canadian pastry”: fried fat and sugar, so overdone it’s too much. Even grosser? Ottawa (and Gatineau is just as bad).
104. Ceasars. “They taste so good and can only be found in #Canada. Canadian bartenders make them best.
Since Canada fails at everything … why not alcoholic beverages too? (Who the hell drinks clamato juice of their own free will ?!?)
105. Our children.
“Some of the best educated and motivated people in the world!”
Well I’m not going to knock kids so I’ll move on …
106. “Awesome summer sunsets at Sandbanks Provincial Park.”
A cute provincial park by a bay with some nice beaches and so on.
07. “Easy. Mike Weir and @WeirWine, two of our country’s treasures!”
How telling that I have to keep googling the things and people on this list. For those who don’t do golf: Mike Weir is a pro golfer.
108. Gros Morne National Park.
A calendar-worthy national park in Newfoundland and UNESCO world heritage site.
109. “Newspaper dispensers that trust you will only take one, and we do!”
They’re reaching, they are really reaching …
110. Our diversity, it’s gotta be said.
Canada is very diverse, that’s true… it has to be! Canada relies on immigrants in order to sustain current population levels and keep the country going. Altruism? Love of world cultures? Cakers love to preach it (with staggering racism and ignorance) but it’s all about the money and need – and has been for over a hundred years!
Currently over 1 in 5 Canadians is an immigrant, a number that’s projected to rise to 30% in the next decade and a half. In only a few years 100% of Canada’s projected population growth will come from immigration. Cakers pat themselves on the backs but the fact is they have no choice.
111. Winning isn’t everything.
An athlete is proud of the support at the Olympics … could be said of anyone from anywhere. (Winning isn’t everything because Canadians are used to losing … on all levels.)
112. We’re a land of opportunity
There are far worse places out there but that isn’t good enough for me considering Canada’s location (beside world super power), natural resources (second largest land mass), lack of war and invasion historically (geography), lack of costs and global responsibility (military, etc) and all the luck and favor its had.
One in five children in poverty, one in ten students prostituting themselves, not enough work, hard to pay bills and live, low-quality healthcare (taxed out the ass for it!) and I could go on … NOT GOOD ENOUGH CANADA!
113. My farm.
I’m so glad you like your farm. It must be nice when the average one in Canada is going for $2.2 million dollars. Put it on the list of reasons to hate Canada: can’t even own a crappy farm (unless living in a trailer with a few cows and chickens is a “farm” to you).
114. That we can push for things that would make us love Canada even more
Canadians can marry whoever they want – OK, fair.
Equality not just in the charter but our DNA – gimme a break, total bullshit look around.
Healthcare is a right, not a privilege – average caker pays over $6,400 per year in tax. Don’t you have a right to something you paid for?
I’m not going to go on … bunch of other crap about how Canadians are beloved and respected and amazing … bilingual, on and on … tedious.
115. Salmon fishing in the Atlantic
OK great. I’m not going to argue. I’m tired. Let’s move on …
116. Coming home
“I travel extensively for work and pleasure. In summer, I drop into Los Angeles and Southern California for healthy living and reviews of new hotels. In the fall, I love a dose of art fairs and culture in Europe. In winter, I need a hit of sunshine in St Barts. In springtime, I dream of cherry blossoms in New York`s Union Square.
But as much as I love leaving the daily grind, I adore returning home even more. I think about this a lot. What is it I love coming back to? Is it just a sense of returning to the nest after a period afar … or is it deeper than that?”
So many cakers do this: they travel, work and live abroad while showering Canada with praise. Yes it must seem nice when you’re never there! Do you think you could travel extensively or earn this type of living in Canada? No. Would all these amazing places, experiences and opportunities be available here? No. But do carry on living the good life while avoiding Canada and telling everyone how amazing it is … !
117. Asked for our virtues, we can’t name just one
Oh god no. Cakers can never shut up about themselves … it’s truly something to behold. If you want a Canadian to talk all day ask one of two things: why they’re amazing or why the US is evil.
118. People around the world love us
Canadians love telling themselves this constantly. (Cue a story about being mistaken for an American and then truly beloved when announcing Canadian status.) Any admiration for Canada comes from the fact that people know nothing about it other than caker propaganda; to them Canada is: equality, Mounties, fresh air and scenic views. These people clearly haven’t visited Toronto, seen the Aboriginal third-world reserves, paid half their income to tax or endured a -30 C winter. (As they say, familiarity breeds contempt!)
119. Stereotypes about us are usually right – and worth being proud of
Apparently the stereotypes are that Canadians are modest, humble and trustworthy. Funny, because in my travels I’ve noted that people often found Canadians to be yokels, naive, and easy targets (albeit they didn’t have anything truly bad to say either). Want to scam someone? Rip someone off? Need a laugh? Find the Canadian! It used to offend me before I grew to despise Canada … now I laugh because it’s true.
120. The weather
This is so incredibly stupid. Half the country is the Arctic, and everyone lives along the southern border next to the USA. The winters are terrible and that’s why huge numbers of people flee to southern British Columbia to spend almost a million dollars on a home.
121. We support our athletes
Is there any country in the world that doesn’t? Any high school team? Anyone, anywhere?
122. Because we can laud the best among us, even in shorthand
A novelist loves our veterans and hockey players … is this list almost over yet?!?
123. Lots of places to chill
Yeah, okay …
124. Frederick Banting
“Canada is the birthplace of insulin, and without it, I wouldn’t be alive, nor would millions of people around the world!”
Sure, can’t knock that I guess. Moving on …
125. Newfoundland Icebergs in June
The jokes write themselves …
126. Wallace, N.S.
A lady moves to a small community in Nova Scotia where people care for each other despite little money, material items, no work, and being on welfare … sounds pretty Canadian.
127. Don Cherry
“Whether you agree with him or not is not the issue. Canadians need to have a voice to make sure we distance ourselves from our neighbours to the south. He points out over and over that we all love hockey – the arenas, the parents who take us there – and how our lessons at the rink make us better people. Nobody shows us more often that we should celebrate this. Every time I watch him he reminds me to be patriotic.”
Don Cherry is a hockey commentator; way back in the day he was a player and coach. What’s funny about this quote is that Cherry personifies the American stereotype: brash, big-mouthed and obnoxious. He wears ridiculous flamboyant suits, supports right-wing American politics (calling others “left-wing pinkos”), and makes other idiotic comments about women, climate change not being real, etc. Ah Don Cherry the ‘national treasure’ who typifies everything cakers claim to hate about Americans – but he loves hockey so it’s OK!
128. Kluane National Park and Reserve, Yukon
A pretty place with some great views. Note how all the authentically good things about Canada revolve around the outdoors and national parks.
129. Terry Fox
“We’ve come a long way with treatment and cures for different forms of cancer, but when Terry Fox started his run it was a different story. Hope wasn’t an automatic response. But this kid that’s lost a leg and has other serious health problems comes up with a scheme to raise money and awareness for cancer by running across the country. Today we’re inundated with runs, climbs, cycling, etc. for all sorts of causes. He influenced that. Because of his selfless, courageous act the Terry Fox foundation has raised over $600-million and the run takes place worldwide.”
I can’t say anything bad about Terry Fox. He’s truly a rarity: a caker worth respecting.
130. The Lake O’Hara of the Rocky Mountains
More beautiful wilderness that 98% of Canadians haven’t seen, most can’t afford to do so. Visiting requires travel by special bus service that 17,000 people a year apply for – only 1000 are able to get in. Trying to get a ticket is basically a crapshoot and they’re sold out within minutes.
131. Canoing the Toronto Islands
(Clearly the title is meant to say ‘canoeing’.) You can paddle in the water or visit a chain of small islands right by Toronto. Nice enough for a day trip, but nothing special if you’ve ever visited real Canadian wilderness.
132. Clara Hughes
“When things get tough on the bike, I think: “WWCD” (What Would Clara Do)? A winner of multiple medals in both the winter and summer Olympics, an amazing motivational speaker, a fantastic sports commentator for the CBC – and she’s been riding across Canada to raise awareness for mental health. She is truly inspirational to me as a person and an athlete.”
No idea who this is although she sounds like a nice enough lady.
133. Butter tarts
“Canadians take these sweet treats so seriously that whole towns have been pitted against one another claiming the title of Butter Tart Capital or being a part of the Butter Tart Trail.
I didn’t realize these had a Canadian origin. So why does everyone make a big deal about poutine and not butter tarts? Weird. My vote goes to nanaimo bars.
134. My mom
This guy’s mom sounds like a great lady. However, I could tell you plenty of tales about crazy alcoholic or crackhead mothers and plenty of reasons why they could represent Canada just as well. (I’ll keep it short and spare you.) One guy’s mom on this list? They’re reaching some more …
135. Our volunteer firefighters
In typical Canada-style there are plenty of shit towns and places where people have to volunteer because nobody wants to live/work there and they need firefighters. In more typically Canadian style – don’t expect to get paid. But it’s still great that people volunteer. I knew some guys back in the day who volunteered to claim ‘firefighter status’ to get laid. Whatever motivates you, eh boys?
134. West Coast Trail, Vancouver Island
Great place to go hiking. Vancouver Island has a lot of beautiful places for day-long hikes or week long trips worth visiting.
135. Old Quebec
The only place in Canada that looks like Europe. Everyone celebrates Montreal, but if you’re fluent in French and were born in Quebec I don’t know why you wouldn’t be living in Quebec City. One of the few places in Canada with true ‘historic feel’.
Good salmon abounds on the west and east coasts. Get it fresh? Even better.
137. Senator Jacques Hébert, co-founder of Katimavik
This guy founded a charity and named it with an Inuit word (which means ‘meeting place’). Groups of teens from across Canada come together to live and do volunteer work in the community for six months.I think it’s a nice idea, but community service strikes me as almost the antithesis of Canadian living. Why? Because in most places people volunteer or help others and then just get on with it. But in Canada it’s such a big deal that they never stop congratulating themselves and telling everyone constantly, forever. Surely if something is a regular part of your culture and way of life then it becomes ordinary and doesn’t merit obsessing over and nonstop publicizing?
138. The Millarville Races, outside of Calgary
“To me, Canada Day isn’t really Canada Day without the Millarville Races – which have been taking place for over 100 years.”
Never been into horseracing but at least it’s something to do …
139. Blackcomb glacier
Another provincial park … the only thing Canada is good for. Nice place to ski.
140. Our banks
“Canada’s banking system is steady, reliable and can be kind of boring – and it’s exactly what I love about this country. Because, really, it’s one of the things Canadians do well: run banks. Big ones and little ones and, increasingly, innovatively boring ones.”
Remember the mantra: make Canada look good no matter what. Need to lie? No biggie. Need to hide a secret? No biggie. Need to ignore the rot? Why not. Twist the facts? Hell go for it.
Anyway, Canadians loved to brag about the financial crisis a decade ago, but quote: “The study reveals that Canada’s banks received $114 billion in cash and loan support from both the U.S. and Canadian governments during the 2008-2010 financial crisis. The study estimates that at some point during the crisis, three of Canada’s banks—CIBC, BMO, and Scotiabank—were completely under water, with government support exceeding the market value of the bank.
Due to government secrecy, the study raises more questions than it answers and calls on the Bank of Canada and CMHC to release the full details of how much support each Canadian bank received, when they received it, and what they put up as collateral.”
141. The Post Hotel in Lake Louise
Top rated hotel and spa in Canada and it looks gorgeous. (For rooms starting at over $400 a night it better be.) Canadian wilderness is something to behold – if you can afford to visit it or drive hours out of the shit cities to find it!
142. Wild leeks
“I’m especially fond of wild leeks, also known as ramps, which can be found in the Canadian woods during spring. What I love is the juxtaposition of their modest, unassuming appearance with their rather amazing inner qualities. So Canadian!
Canadians can even find ways to compliment themselves with leeks … my god. Anyway I’m not much of a cook so I can’t drone on about the wonderful qualities of wild caker leek.
143. My dad’s steak with red-wine butter and portobello mushrooms
Grilling in the backyard sounds like a nice way to spend Canada Day. I think of that more so as an American thing on the fourth of July, and I’d rather do it there but hey, copy away Canada (fireworks too)!
143. Le Cagibi café in Montreal
I’m sure it serves the best coffee in the world since it’s Canadian … but it’s in Quebec so is it? A question to astound the ages. Anyway after the glowing review I googled the place. My reaction: that’s it? Thank Christ this list is nearly finished!
144. Egg cartons
Invented in 1911 in Smithers, B.C., by Joseph Coyle. Replaced costly, impractical earlier practice of putting tiny hemlets on eggs.
When you’re getting desperate enough to add ‘egg cartons’ to the list don’t you think you could just make the list shorter ???
145. Kodiak construction books
The title is supposed to say “boots”. Kodiak is a brand here known for its work-wear and durability. Some wimpy kids who’ve never done back-breaking manual labor feel cool wearing the brand’s boots. Since you’re Canadian and doing back-breaking labor for peanut pay, better get those Kodiaks for the cold!
146. Shawville, Que.
A hockey team manager loves the small town he grew up in. Great. It’s right nearby Ottawa-Gatineau which tells you everything you need to know …
147. Waving to the band on July 1
“I love Canada Day itself. I live in Nova Scotia in the summer, and I try to arrive on July 1 so that the bands play for me as I drive from the ferry to my village. I’ve perfected what I think is a pretty good imitation of Prince Phlip’s wave.”
Phew, it’s finally over! This list tells you just about everything you need to know about Canada: a nation of almost 40 million people, next to the world’s super power and with the second largest landmass in the world. This is all they have to come up with: hockey players, egg cartons, obscure towns and other irrelevant nonsense.
Read between the lines: there’s not much to do; the people are forgettable; it’s bland and boring (no real culture) and the ONLY thing going for it is the natural landscape. Sure come visit and see the resorts, hike the trails, go skiing or stay in the national parks – that’s about it. Those are Canada’s only true strengths and claims to fame. And many are worth seeing if you have the money and inclination … but leave it there.
To live? Hell no! The people are ignorant, arrogant, jealous and hypocritical. There’s no culture and they’re now convincing themselves to be proud of it to boot. There are the same problems you find anywhere: violent crime, racism, social issues – but none of the benefits of living in other more interesting places. The best Canada can do is compare itself to war-torn hell holes and claim to be safe. It is a dull, sterile, sad, soul-destroying place to live. Making it more unbearable is the high level of taxation, unaffordable living costs and housing prices, isolation from the rest of the globe, and terrible weather throughout the country for most of the year.
You think I’m lying? Swallow up the caker propaganda and come on down! See for yourself! (But don’t say you weren’t warned.)