The Canadian Shield is approximately four billion years old, formed of the oldest rock on earth. It is eight million square kilometres in size, most of it is found in Canada, and almost every square centimetre looks like this:
Because we all know size is what counts. Canada’s landmass is nearly ten million square kilometres. Only Russia is larger.
We’re number two. Woot!
3. Niagara Falls
Yes, I know we have to share Niagara Falls with the United States, but the more spectacular Horseshoe Falls is all ours. In order to enjoy it, Americans have three choices: a) bring a passport and brave lineups at the border crossing, b) be content with photographing it from a lookout across the river, or c) set out in a barrel. I don’t recommend that last option.
4. Chris Hadfield
Chris Hadfield was the first Canadian to walk in space, and the first Canadian commander of the International Space Station. After beaming down photos and videos from space, and wowing us with his zero-gravity rendition of Space Oddity, he’s known worldwide as the guy who made space travel cool again.
5. Maple Syrup
Every March we all go a little maple-crazy with the onslaught of maple syrup products: maple sugar, maple butter, maple butter with various fruits (strawberry is awesome), maple candy, maple pie, and the ever-popular hot maple syrup on snow. Then there are the maple-flavoured products: ice cream, donuts, cookies. As if all of that weren’t enough, we then combine the two greatest Canadian tastes ever into MAPLE BACON. And that has its own line of attendant flavoured products: maple bacon potato chips, maple bacon barbecue sauce, maple bacon donuts, maple bacon lip balm. Okay, maybe those last two are a little over the top.
6. Toronto’s Santa Claus Parade
Started in 1905, and continuing for 108 years, Toronto’s Santa Claus parade is the oldest annual parade in the world. It’s also one of the largest in North America. Television crews from around the world attend every year, and it can be seen as far away as New Zealand, Norway, and Ireland.
7. Canadian Thanksgiving
Yes, we do celebrate Thanksgiving much the same way it’s celebrated in the United States, and for the same reason. We have turkey, stuffing, potatoes, sweet potatoes, gravy, cranberries, and pumpkin pie.
What sets our Thanksgiving apart from its American counterpart (besides our tendency to work in maple syrup) is the fact that we celebrate it the second Monday in October, instead of the fourth Thursday in November. That gives us twice as much time to recover and use up the leftovers before it’s time to roast another turkey and endure another week of turkey sandwiches, turkey soup, and turkey salad.
8. Toronto Blue Jays
The only non-American team to ever play in the World Series. They did so twice, in 1992 and 1993, and won both times. That also makes the Toronto Blue Jays the only non-American team to ever win the World Series. And they WILL do it again. But probably not this year.
9. Marriage Equality
Same sex marriage has been legal in Ontario since 2003, and in all of Canada since 2005. Get this – after a full decade of same sex marriages (in our most populous province, at least), not only has the institution of marriage not collapsed, but it turns out that same sex couples make darn fine parents. So, the debates currently raging in the US and the UK leave Canadians scratching our heads and wondering, what’s the big deal?
10. CN Tower
When it was completed in 1976, the CN Tower was the tallest free-standing structure in the world. It has since slipped to fifth place, but it still rocks. There is a revolving restaurant, a glass-bottom observation deck, and tourists can now do a rim walk on the outside of the tower. Oh, and it’s also a functioning observation and communications tower.
For those who believe the CN Tower is a Freudian symbol, take a good look, and you’ll see it bears a much closer resemblance to a giant arm and hand, with middle finger upraised. This is Canada flipping you the bird.
And you thought we were polite.
Happy Canada Day!!