Canada Day — Eh (2018)

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Sunday, July 1st is Canada Day.  (On the map, we’re that big pink bit on top of the United States.)  Living next door to America is a blessing and a curse.  On the one hand, we can wander around the world, spouting all kinds of pie-in-the-sky nonsense because we’re pretty secure under the American military and economic umbrella.  On the other hand, nobody pays much attention to Canada because we are permanently stuck in that shadow.  As a result, a lot of people around the world have some serious misconceptions about Canada – what we do and how we live.  So in honour of Canada Day, here are a few myths about my country that need to be straightened out.

We all live in igloos. – Not really, but given the outrageous house prices (Vancouver’s average is $1.1 million) it’s becoming a viable option.

We all say “eh.” — Actually, like “aloha,” we only do it for the tourists.

We don’t lock our doors. — Michael Moore said we didn’t in one of his “documentaries” and the world thought that was cool — although Canadians laughed themselves stupid.  “Hey, Mikey!  You jackass!  Just because we’re not Americans, that doesn’t mean we’re idiots.”

Nous parlons tous francais. – No, nous ne parlons pas tous francais.  The fact is, only about 20% of Canadians speak French.  The rest of us try to get by on the French we learned in school — with various hilarious results.

Our police wear bright red uniforms and ride horses. — Yeah, right!  And Dutch people all wear wooden shoes!

We don’t have guns. – Actually, Canadians have a lot of guns (3 for every 10 people in the country.) We just don’t whip them out every time we have a social disagreement.

Canadians are obsessed with hockey. – Just because the entire country shuts down when Canada plays for Olympic Gold, that doesn’t mean we’re obsessed!

We say “sorry” all the time. — Sorry, we don’t.

You can legally grow and smoke marijuana in Canada. – Nobody really knows, but we do it anyway.

Canadian dollars are called “loonies.” – This is true, but we only do it to make the pompous asses at the IMF sound silly.

And finally:

Canada is always cold.  — Canadian winters are no joke, but it’s really only mind-numbing, soul-eating, kill-me-now cold for part of the year.  The second week of August is usually quite balmy.

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So Happy Canada Day — when Canadians all over the country forget their differences and remember the only thing we all have in common – we love to make fun of Americans.

Now, A Word About Snow

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View from my deck

Meanwhile in Vancouver, Canada, a couple of days ago, Mother Nature and Old Man Winter got together in a romantic embrace and — Bullshit! Last Thursday night, Mother Nature and Old Man Winter had spectacular, incredible sex — and they went at it all weekend like a couple of perverted porn stars.  The result was (and still is) a snow storm of biblical proportions.  The roads are icy, the sidewalks are impassable, buses are as rare as unicorns and you need to produce holy relics to get a taxi.  In short, my town has turned into an illustration from the Book of Revelation.

FYI — There is a universal myth that my country, Canada, is a gigantic vertical refrigerator sprinkled with igloos and Inuit, while the rest of us cling to the 49th parallel as if the USA were a bowl of hot soup.  The fact is, 99.99% of that myth is true, except for my town, Vancouver (Vangroovy, as it is affectionately called) where the local word for “bad weather” is — well — we don’t actually have one.  Normally, we have the kind of weather California used to brag about — before the droughts, fires and pestilence.  Our golf courses are open year round, it’s not recommended but you can wear shorts all winter and — on most days — play tennis in them.  Trapped between the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, Vancouver has weather so different from the rest of Canada that the children here think Disney’s Frozen is a horror movie.

And that’s the problem.  We are not prepared for this white crap.  We have no idea what it is.  On Thursday evening, the snow was beautiful, drifting in the dark, covering everything in a crystal blanket that sparkled in the quiet light.  But by Friday morning, it was showing its teeth — growling and snarling at anybody who ventured out — driving them into the ditch and shoving them off the sidewalk.  Then on Saturday and Sunday,  things just got nasty.  It was as if Jack Frost was channeling Jack the Ripper and they were both trying to decide where to stick the icicle in next.  Vancouver’s snow removal crew (three guys with two shovels) finally gave up and hid out in a bar, and the only thing left for the good citizens of Vangroovy to do was lock the doors and pray.

Now it’s Tuesday with no relief in sight.  So would everybody who reads this please pray for rain in Vancouver — so we can get back to normal and the rest of Canada can start hating us again?  Thank you!

7 Things I Love About Canada and 1 More

Today is Canada Day — Canada’s Birthday — and, in honour of the day, here are seven things I love about my country and one I hate.

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1 — Aside from the Brits, Canadians have the coolest flag on the planet.

2 — My country is incredibly beautiful.  For some strange reason, cameras love Canada the way French pigs love truffles.  I suppose it helps that 90% of the country doesn’t have any people in it, but for drop-dead gorgeous, even our slums aren’t that bad.

3 — Canada is safe.  Yeah, yeah, yeah! There are places in this country where you don’t want to be stranded, drunk off your ass, at two in the morning.  The thing is, though, those places are 2 — maybe 3– hundred kilometres outside any established urban area, and the local inhabitants there don’t want to rob you — they want to eat you.  In general, to get killed, beaten up or even pushed around in my country, you really have to work at it.

4 — Hockey

5 — Go to any city, town or village in Canada and you will find a library and anybody — ANYBODY — can go there, get a book, sit down and read it — for free.

6 — We’ve got the whole world in our backyard.  Walk 2 or 3 kilometres in any direction in any city in Canada, and you’ll hear at least four different languages.  Keep going and you’ll eventually hear them all — even the dead ones.  You can eat in a different ethnic restaurant every week for two years and never repeat yourself.  You can dance, sing, read, write, paint or practice the fine art of Bulgarian nose knitting in my country — and everybody thinks that’s cool.

7 — Butter tarts, Terry Fox, Toboggans, Norman Bethune, Cheezies, Poutine, David Suzuki, Leonard Cohen, a warm parka on a cold morning, nothing between me and the horizon, Spring, Tim Hortons, Rene Levesque, mitts, John McCrae and all those other things that are so uniquely Canadian I can’t even explain them to anybody who doesn’t live here.

However:

Unfortunately, most of our “unique Canadian identity” is taken up with one overwhelming idea — we’re NOT Americans.  This crap is really tiresome.  We spend huge amounts of time looking over our shoulder, checking and comparing and waiting for the Americans to do something stupid so we can feel inherently superior.  When George Bush was president you could cut the smug in this country with a knife.  Now that we’ve got Donald Trump to kick around, we’re on the verge of a national orgasm of auto-erotic vanity that may never be equaled.  This is not healthy.

But what the hell!  If it wasn’t for the Americans playing silly bugger all the time, we’d have nothing to bitch about except the weather.

Happy Canada Day!