04 Jul Happy 155th Birthday, Canada!
Canada turned 155 on July 1, and in honour of the occasion, here’s my top 10 most likeable features of this great country.
10) Right next door to the USA.
I like to tell Americans that they border on excellence, which confuses them because they think of Mexico. But really, 90% of Canadians live within 100 miles of the longest undefended border in the world for a reason. Cheaper groceries, mostly. It’s not like that 100 miles makes for different or better weather…
9) Our quirky patois.
Canadians have their own lexicon. For example, “it’s some friggin’ cold out, eh?”, translates to “my, it’s chilly today”, and “the arse is clean out of ‘er” which means “it’s broken beyond all utility”. A flat is not an apartment (it’s a case of beer), and a bunnyhug is not a gesture (it’s a hoodie). I sprinkle these into my interactions with Americans and Australians to help them appreciate what they’re missing.
8) les Français.
I was back in Montreal this spring for a birthday party and I had forgotten how much I love the city, from Old Montreal, Crescent Street, Greek restaurants, the language police, the bagel bakeries, and smoked meat on the Main.
7) The winter.
Actually, I don’t mind winter, but being an adult in a winter country is like being the janitor on a 6 month long party. You’re constantly shovelling up the debris from all the fun the kids are having. Fun fact: on the BC coast, the hummingbirds are year-round residents who confuse Christmas lights for blossoms.
6) Natural beauty.
Toronto aside, Canada is blessed with its share of inspired naturally beautiful places. I love the Rockies, the Okanagan, the ferry passage between Vancouver and Vancouver Island, Niagara Falls, anywhere on Prince Edward Island, the Bay of Fundy, the harbour in St John’s and Old Quebec City. Can’t forget the rivers – the St Lawrence, the Saint John and the Bow. Or the lakes – Canada literally has Great Lakes.
5) Polite society.
It’s true that Canadians are deeply apologetic. I apologise when I arrive early for a meeting, I apologise when I’m late for a meeting, and I apologise when the meeting comes to its scheduled end. I like that. Sorry you had to read that.
4) Safe and secure.
It’s really safe in Canada. Food poisoning is so rare that it makes the news. If it flows out of a tap, it’s pretty much drinkable. Only the police have guns, and they’re not allowed to fire them. Everyone wears their seatbelts, helmets are mandatory for bikes, and don’t get caught without a life jacket. The only recent let down was the idiots opposed to masks during a respiratory epidemic.
You don’t need to visit a Canadian zoo to see the fauna. Just grab some coins. Beavers are on the nickel, caribou on the quarter, loons on the dollar, polar bear on the toonie, the mackerel on the 1967 dime, the wolf on the 1967 fifty-cent piece. Every year, though, some unwitting tourist gets terminally mauled by a bear, strangled by a big cat, or gored by a randy elk. This tidbit is not mentioned in the promotional brochure.
2) The naughty bits.
What’s naughty about Canada? We jaywalk when we think no one’s looking. We brew high test beer to feed to American tourists. Our Supreme Court decided that if men don’t have to wear shirts, then neither do women. And weed.
1) Other Canadians.
The formula for a successful country is to have just a few assholes per square inch. Canada has it made because we have an abundance of square inches, keeping the assholes spread out. You can go whole days without interacting with an asshole.
Yep, there’s a lot to like.
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