10 Things You Might Not Have Known About Canada

Nine - it's been nine days since my surgery. Nine days of chilling at home recovering...which has been more difficult then I imagined (perhaps more on this later). Nine days of mindless crap television, book reading, 3 am cookie eating and endless entertainment that the interwebs has provided me. Take this one for example...

10 Things You Might Know Have Known About Canada

1. Our Parliament Has a Sanctuary for Stray Cats
Really? How did I know not this? This is in my city!! I should be ashamed of myself. I am a bad Canadian but more importantly a bad Ottawaian. The wee cats live in little wooden houses and even have their own blog and facebook page. No kidding!

2. One of Our Prime Ministers Used a Crystal Ball
William Lyon Mackenzie King (he’s the one on our $50 bill. If I had a $50 bill I'd show you who am I kidding, I never have a $50 bill) also tried to get advice from his dead mother at séances he held in his home. You can still see his crystal ball in the library of Laurier House in Ottawa. So you see...we have nut jobs here in Canada too and they've even run the country. Mac...you are not the man I was always taught to believe you were. I have to admit...I like this about you.


3. We Launched a Secret Project To Build an Aircraft Carrier Made From Ice
Wait...what? This is awesome. How did I not know about this? Patricia Lake, just ten minutes outside of Jasper AB, was the site of 'Operation Habbakuk' a bizarre top-secret WWII military experiment. The 1943 mission was to build a 1-to-50-scale prototype of an aircraft carrier using ice and sawdust. The site is now marked by a roadside plaque and submerged monument. Really Canadian scientists...ice and sawdust?! 

4. Our Beavers Built a Dam Visible From Outer Space
This one I am happy to tell you, I did know about and wow...it's cool. It was first discovered by an environmental researcher using Google Earth in 2007, the dam is located just inside Wood Buffalo National Park, the 2nd largest protected area in the world. The dam stretches 2,790 feet. You should check it out. Go beavers Go!


5. Have a Taste of Home When You Travel
Order a sandwich with Dijon mustard in France or a dressed hot dog in a US ballpark and smile with some national pride: the mustard was likely made with seeds from our Prairies. Canada is the world's largest exporter of mustard seed, 80% is grown in brilliant yellow fields in Saskatchewan which just happens to be the province of my birth. If you ask my Dad where his 3rd (and most amazing) child was born..he'll tell you “6 feet from a Moose's ass”. I was born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan and yes, that really is the name of a canadian city.


6. Iceberg Vodka? How about Iceberg Wine?
One of the best places in the world to view icebergs is in the village of Twillingate, NL, and it’s a winery in this community that is now using Iceberg water to make wines: Black Currant Iceberg, Bakeapple Iceberg, etc. For fun you can track icebergs by satellite at Icebergfinder.com. As a Newfoundlander, this fun fact makes me very happy indeed. Icebergs are way cool.


7. You Can Drink a Toe Cocktail in Dawson City, Yukon
It’s true! If you make up to the land of the midnight sun drop by the Sourdough Saloon at the Downtown Hotel and for $5 you can try the Sour Toe Cocktail yourself. This bizarre ritual began in 1973 with a miner’s toe that had been amputated in the 1920’s. So ummm...yeah...I'm from a family of Newfies and we have a tradition called "Kiss the Cod". This is done as part of getting "Screeched in". And here I thought the Newfies were the strange ones!


8. Just Think, Being Canadian Means You Could Be From...
Climax, Conception Bay, Snowflake, Moonbeam, Likely, Pooh Lake, Ripples, Paradise, Punkeydoodles Corners, Eyebrow, Elbow, Dildo (a friend once programmed my GPS to direct me to Dildo), Happy Adventure, Love, Snafu Creek, Garden of Eden or Brilliant!


9. Leave Your Door Unlocked in Churchill Manitoba...or Else!
Canada is home to about 15,000 polar bears, and every autumn a few of big white guys wander right into the town of Churchill, MB. Doors are left unlocked so you can duck in if you have an unexpected encounter. Watch the autumn migration on polarbearcam.com. Awww...polar bears are just so darn cute and cuddly!


10. We've Minted Many of the World's Coins
Carry coins in Cuba, Yemen, Columbia or Iceland and you could be more in touch with home than you realize. Our Royal Mint has produced coins for more than 60 other countries. And, we are known for being innovative: this year we are producing a ‘glow-in-the-dark’ dinosaur quarter which in my opinion will never be quite as cool as out loonie or toonie.


Pride of Canada the Maple Leaf by Bruce Stanfield Artist via Etsy


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