These Cool Facts Will Make You Want to Move to Canada
So you think it’s too cold to go to Canada, eh? There’s a lot to love about the Frozen North, and once you’re through with this list, you’ll have your bags packed up in no time. From the beautiful lakes and landscapes to the tasty Canadian snacks, the land of maple syrup and poutine has a whole lot to offer (even a UFO landing pad – but don’t tell the aliens)! So, for the wild, the wonderful, and even the downright weird, read these cool facts that will make you want to move to Canada tomorrow. If Santa Claus holds citizenship, there must be a good reason. Just watch out for those polar bears!
1. When All Else Fails, CHEESE!
This might come as a bit of a surprise, but Canadians consume 55 percent more boxed mac and cheese than Americans. Out of the seven million boxes sold around the world per week, Canadians buy 1.7 million of that cheesy goodness.
So, it safe to say that life is certainly “grate” when you’re a Canadian, and everyone’s in on it. Paul Martin and Stephen Harper, both former Prime Ministers of Canada, have listed Kraft Dinner as their favorite boxed dinner, while Harper even cooks the melted grub for his children. That’s what cheese said!
2. The Backstory of Winnie-the-Pooh is Canadian
Who knew that the beloved children’s character created by A.A. Milne was inspired by a female black bear named Winnipeg who was moved to the London Zoo from Canada in 1915? Milne’s son Christopher Robin used to love visiting Winnipeg and changed his own bear’s name from Edward Bear to Winnie the Pooh.
Inspired by his son’s bear, Winnie-the-Pooh, a.k.a. Pooh bear, came to life on the pages of Milne’s book in 1926 and remains one of the most popular collection of children’s stories until today. In 2015, research conducted at the Royal College of Surgeons Hunterian Museum in London revealed evidence that Winnipeg had tooth decay, possibly because Christopher used to love feeding her honey every time he visited his new best friend.
3. Polar Bears Go to Prison in Canada
Speaking of bears, out of the 25,000 polar bears left in the world, 15,500 live in Canada. They are somewhat of a national symbol, with the license plates in the Northwest Territories shaped like them. These frosty friends like to frequent the remote northern town of Churchill, Manitoba on their way to Hudson Bay in the winter and cause quite the hullabaloo, or as Canadians put it – kerfuffle – while they’re at it. Hence, Churchill is dubbed the polar bear capital of the world.
During their migration season, polar bears actually outnumber the 800 residents in Churchill, so the locals leave their cars unlocked in case anyone needs to escape from furry “friends” striding past. For those pesky ones that keep returning, there is an aircraft-storage-hangar-turned-polar-bear-jail with 28 cells. The conservationists then transport them a few miles away in hope that the bears won’t return.
4. Santa is Canadian!
Every Christmas, the Canadian postal service faces a bit of an overload with something like one million letters addressed to North Pole, Canada with the zip code H0h 0H0, and the addressee is none other than Santa Claus himself. After some back and forth as to whether the North Pole belongs to Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau put it all to rest in 2016 when he declared, “Everybody knows the North Pole is in Canada.” So that makes Santa Canadian!
According to Canada Post, there are postal elves assisting Santa in replying to every single letter no matter the language; even braille is accepted. And fear not for a delayed response, because with over 2.5 million caribou reindeers in Canada, Santa is on the ball. So, here’s an excuse to believe in Santa just “beClause” he’s Canadian.
5. Saint-Louis-du-Ha!Ha! Really Exists!
Yes, it’s a real municipality and the only place in the world that has two exclamation marks in its name. Located near the south shore of the Saint Lawrence River in Quebec, Saint-Louis-du-Ha!Ha! is home to around 1,318 residents. The parish runs on an agricultural based economy with the motto “Solidarity in work” (Solidaire dans le labeur).
“Ha! Ha!” is supposedly derived from the 17th century French term, which meant obstacles, possibly referring to the obstacles the first residents of the town had to face crossing Lake Témiscouata, which was like a never-ending path. There are several suggestions from where “Louis” is derived, one pointing to Louis Marquis, one of the first colonists to visit the region.
6. Canada Accidentally Received Its Name
If it weren’t for the Breton explorer Jacques Cartier, Canada would probably be called something like Albertsland, Cabotia, Norland, Borealia, or Britannia. However, in 1534, the French explorer made his way to the New World from the Brittany port of St. Malo to Newfoundland in search of riches and a new route to Asia.
He sailed across the Atlantic and without knowing it, arrived near Quebec. The local natives spoke of “kanata” when referring Cartier to the route leading to the village of Stadacona. In the Iroquoian language the word means village or settlement, but Cartier thought it was the name of the entire area. He named the area Canada, and by 1547 the entire region above the Saint Lawrence River was called Canada. The name was officially adopted for the new Dominion in 1867.
7. All Mapled Out
It’s no wonder that the Canadian flag bears a maple leaf, the hallmark symbol of the country. Canada is responsible for 71 percent of the world’s pure maple syrup, and 91 percent of that amount is produced in the province of Quebec.
With over 8,600 maple syrup companies in the country, this sweet syrup is part and parcel of Canada’s cultural makeup. Canada exports its maple syrup to over 50 countries, with the U.S. as the primary importer. Fun Fact: Only three of Canada’s 13 species of maple trees are used to produce maple syrup, including sugar, black, and red maple.
8. Doughnut Worry; Be Happy
With the most doughnut shops per capita in the world, it only makes sense that Canadians consume the most doughnuts in the world. Most people would assume that America takes it all when it comes this “holey” food, but its friendly neighbor Canada literally takes the cake in this international food fight … and it’s all thanks to the Tim Hortons doughnut.
It all started in 1964 when Tim Horton, an all-star Toronto Maple Leaf hockey player, opened a small doughnut shop in Ontario. Fifty-four years later, there are 3,468 Tim Hortons in Canada, 807 in the U.S., and 29 in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
9. The National Sport is Lacrosse; Not Hockey!
While many assume hockey is the national sport of Canada, lacrosse was in fact the original national sport of the country. Some Canadians have neither played hockey nor care much for the sport. However, in 1994, Canada’s National Sport Act declared lacrosse as the National Summer Sport and hockey as the national Winter Sport.
Nevertheless, most people think of hockey and ice-skating when it comes to the Frozen North. On the occasion the Atlantic Ocean freezes in Newfoundland, it creates a natural ice rink for hockey players and ice-skaters. Lacrosse, on the other hand, is a team sport played on grass with a lacrosse stick and ball.
10. Loonies and Toonies
Since 1987, Canadians have had one dollar coins called loonies. Minted on the reverse of the coin is a loon, a well-known bird in Canada, and on the obverse is Queen Elizabeth II. The loonie has become the go-to term for Canadian money, as evidenced by the “value of the loonie” being discussed in currency trading.
The two-dollar coin, introduced in 1996, is called a “toonie”, a portmanteau of the words “two” and “loonie.” Some spell the coin as “twoonie”, but the Royal Candadian Mint and Canadian newspapers prefer “toonie”. The reverse side bears a polar bear, and like all other Canadian coins, Queen Elizabeth II adorns the obverse side of the coin.
11. The Eiffel Tower Almost Moved to Montreal
The Eiffel Tower was almost temporarily exported to Montreal in 1967 for the Universal Exhibition. The President of France at the time, Charles de Gaulle, held secret meetings with the mayor of Montreal, Jean Drapeau, to relocate the iron lady to Canada.
The wrought-iron tower was to be dismantled and relocated to Montreal to serve as a tourist attraction and landmark during the exhibition. The secret negotiation never came to fruition because the company in charge of the Eiffel tower vetoed the move for fear that it wouldn’t be re-erected in the original location. Imagine Paris without the Eiffel Tower!
12. Brush Up on that French
French might be one of the official languages of Canada alongside English, but the Canadians definitely pronounce it differently. While English is the mother tongue of 56.9 percent of Canadians, only 21.3 percent of the population consider French their mother tongue.
What’s more, 85.6 percent of Canadians have a working knowledge of the language and only 30.1 percent speak it. If a French person were to move to Canada, his best bet would be to move to Quebec, where most of the Francophone citizens in the country reside and consider French the official language. Other options are New Brunswick as it’s an official bilingual province, followed by some places in Manitoba and Ontario.
13. They Speak Goose
The third official language of Canada might as well be Goose. The Canadian goose, known as a waterfowl, have a very intricate vocal communication system, including 13 different sounds and calls the adults use, including the Cackle, Hucka, Honking, and Snore.
Some of the calls are allocated according to gender. The honk is restricted to the male of the flock, while the females use a higher-pitched and shorter call. These in turn cause variations in behavior and mating habits.
14. Canada On Mars
In case you didn’t know it, Canada stakes claim to a piece of Mars. To be specific, Canada’s reach into outer space goes much further than just the International Space Station because there is a crater on Planet Mars named after Gander, a town in Newfoundland.
The crater, dedicated to Gander in 1991, is 39 kilometers in diameter. The crater was bestowed its name because of the extensive and pioneering aerospace and aviation technologies the people of Gander provided throughout the years. Speaking of Mars, scientific research suggests that Mars is warmer than Toronto despite the latter being 80 million kilometers closer to the sun.
15. Canada is Ready for An Alien Arrival
It turns out that Canada isn’t only equipped and ready for cold weather. The country is also ready for an alien arrival with its UFO landing pad and welcome site located in St. Paul, Alberta. The pad was built in 1967 as part of the country’s centennial celebrations.
Weighing in at over 130 tons, the pad is a large structure made of concrete and contains a time capsule that is to be opened in 2067 for the country’s bicentennial. Surrounding the pad is a map of Canada constructed from stones from each province. The St. Paul center encourages anyone to call the toll-free number to report any sightings.
16. Hawaiian Pizza Hails from None Other Than … Ontario
You know the pizza topped with pineapple and bacon? Well it turns out this combo, dubbed Hawaiian pizza, doesn’t originate from the island after which it’s named. The history of this recipe actually dates back to 1962 in Ontario at a restaurant called the Satellite Restaurant.
Sam Panopoulos, a Greek-Canadian, claimed that he created the pineapple and bacon topping idea by experimenting with different flavors that were not really popular to mix. Soon after, the Hawaiian pizza became a worldwide hit, and surprisingly, became the most popular pizza in Australia in 1999.
17. A “Smack Down” of the Falls
Whether you like it or not, Canada boasts the more majestic and beautiful side of the Niagara Falls. On Canada’s side lies the Horse Shoe Falls, the most popular and photographed waterfall compared to the other two located on U.S. soil, namely Bridal Veil Falls and American Falls.
You can take a 30-minute boat ride on both sides of the Falls, but the Canadian side simply offers more breathtaking vistas as there is a panoramic view of all three waterfalls from the edge of the valley. In the U.S., however, you cannot catch a proper glimpse of the Horse Shoe Falls, even on all the observation decks.
18. It’s Not Called America’s Hat for Nothing
According to the U.S. Articles of Confederation, ratified by all thirteen colonies in 1781, Canada was cordially invited to join the United States with absolutely no catch or strings attached. When the formal offer was made in Article XI on March 1, 1781, Canada consisted of only Ontario and Quebec.
The offer was never taken up and become null and void when the U.S. Constitution came into effect in 1788. However, some people firmly believe that the Constitution was not properly authorized under the terms set out in the Articles of Confederation, and therefore believe the invitation still remains open.
19. Free Portraits for the Win
Canada might have been under British rule a very long time ago, from 1763 to 1867 to be exact, but that doesn’t mean some things don’t hold fast for centuries to come. “God Save the Queen” is still the Royal Anthem of Canada and sometimes played together with national anthem “O Canada.”
What’s more, if Canadians order a portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II donning her Canadian insignia of the Sovereign of the Order of Canada and of the Order of Military Merit, they can have it shipped from Britain to Canada free of cost.
20. People Get Arrested for Flying in Canada
Ever heard of tying 120 helium balloons to a chair and flying in the air? Well, that’s totally possible, and Daniel Boria achieved just that in 2015. He wanted to promote his cleaning products at a rodeo event in Calgary with a grand entrance, and what a grand one it was!
Kudos to Boria for his determination, but he was detained after he landed in a field on the outskirts of the city. He injured his leg after somersaulting out of the chair when the balloons raised him higher than he expected. Boria was charged with causing danger to life with mischief.
21. It’s a Place of Miracles
What is it about Calgary and all the action taking place there? In October 2010, a man was alerted by a passerby to a noise coming from a dumpster. Upon further investigation, he discovered a newborn baby tossed in a garbage bag and immediately rushed to the hospital.
The nursing staff informed him that the baby must have been in the dumpster for over two hours and had a bad case of hypothermia. A few hours later, the man received a call from the police informing him that he was in fact the father. The baby’s mother said she didn’t know she was pregnant until she gave birth, and her boyfriend had no idea she had given birth and suspected she was just a bit overweight. The mother was sent for psychiatric assessment and charged with attempted murder and child abandonment.
22. Police Hand Out “Positive Ticket”
Getting slapped with a police fine is certainly not a fine feeling, unless you live in Canada. Since 2014, police officers patrolling the streets of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan hand out positive tickets when they see residents committing good deeds.
How can you earn one of these prestigious tickets? You can start by picking up litter or crossing the road safely. The best part is that these tickets earn you free movie tickets, hamburgers, or a chance to watch the local hockey team. Sounds fun!
23. Thanksgiving Comes Early
The early bird catches the worm in Canada where Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday of October instead of in November like the U.S. Despite the difference in date, Canadians have been celebrating the holiday since 1879 and practice the same customs as their U.S. neighbors.
A Canadian Thanksgiving spread will most likely consist of stuffed turkey, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, squash, mashed potato, baked ham, salmon, and apple pie. There is also a game held by the Canadian Football League that day.
24. They Like to Dress Their Chips
The rest of the world might never know the greatness of Canada’s All Dressed potato chips. It’s a bit of a mouthful, but bear with them for a moment before you judge. How do ketchup, salt and vinegar, barbecue, and sour cream and onion sound as flavors? Pretty good, right?
Well how about mixing those all together into the amazing concoction that is All Dressed potato chips or assaisonnées, as a Canadian Francophone would like to call it. They are so tasty that the Americans were introduced to them in 2015 by Frito-Lay under the same name, Ruffles potato chips.
25. Vinegar Is a Thing There
If you spot Canadians pouring vinegar over their French fries, just nod, smile and go with it. Basically anywhere you go in the country, you can expect to find bottles or packets of vinegar on the tables next to the ketchup.
Perhaps vinegar is a sign of the remnant the Brits left behind because Canadians also like to douse their fish and chips in lots of vinegar. Most Commonwealth countries use white or malt vinegar for this strange but tantalizing dish.
26. Would You Like Some French Fries With Your Cheese?
Here’s another classic Canadian cuisine dish. Originating from the province of Quebec, poutine is made from French fries topped with brown gravy and fresh cheese curds. There are many variations of the dish, dubbed the Canadian salad, with brisket, chicken, and smoked meat (Montreal style), but the original always does the trick.
Quebec’s iconic junk food spread across Canada like wildfire and even America. This comfort food is so popular that the world “poutine” was added as a dictionary entry to the Merriam-Webster dictionary of the English language in May 2014.
27. Toronto Still Chimes
There is an audible chime in Toronto, and it comes from none another than the bells on the streetcars. When the municipality built new Euro-style streetcars, it didn’t want to get rid of that iconic clang. The only difference is that the sound is electronically produced, unlike the original streetcars which consisted of a metal disc and steel ball.
The sound serves as a friendly reminder to motorists and pedestrians that a streetcar is making its way down the track. The downtown streets of Toronto wouldn’t be the same without this gong, so it’s staying put.
28. There Are A LOT of Lakes
More than 50 percent of all the natural lakes in the world are situated in Canada, which means that nine percent of Frozen North’s total surface area is covered in fresh water. There are around 31,752 lakes that measure larger than three square kilometers.
Lakes in Alberta and British Columbia are particularly beautiful with their turquoise color against a backdrop of mountainous peaks. Some of the most magnificent are Joffre Lakes, Garibaldi Lake, Emerald Lake, and Peyto Lake, just to mention a few.
29. Parts of Canada Have Missing Gravity
The Hudson Bay and surrounding areas have less gravity than the rest of the world. Scientists first picked up on this phenomenon in the ’60s when the gravity fields of the Earth were charted. However, no one can quite put their finger as to how this occurs.
One theory suggests the phenomenon is partly because of convection that takes place in the Earth’s layer of molten rock or magma called the mantle. The second theory focuses on the Laurentide Ice Sheet which covered most of Canada, with its thickest sections in Hudson Bay. Both phenomena decreased the mass in the area, thereby resulting in the loss of gravity.
30. Bathtub Races Are a Thing
If you see people racing with bathtub boats in Nanaimo, British Columbia, then you’ve arrived at the right place. The first ever race took place in 1967 from Nanaimo to Vancouver and was called “Nanaimo to Vancouver Great International World Championship Bathtub Race.”
The racing event was held as a fixture of Vancouver’s annual Sea Fest from Nanaimo to Kitsilano Beach in Vancouver until the ’90s, but when that festival came to an end, the route changed. The bathtub races now take place every year on the last weekend in July within Nanaimo Harbour.
31. A Canadian Invented Basketball
Okay, he might have been half Canadian and half American, but the Canadian-born James Naismith invented the game of basketball. A jack of all trades, the physician, physical educator, chaplain, and sports coach, wrote the original rules of the game in 1891.
Naismith founded the basketball program at the University of Kansas and lived to see the sport adopted as an official Olympic event in the Summer Olympics in Berlin in 1936. He also witnessed the founding of the National Invitation Tournament and the NCAA Tournament.
32. It’s So Cold, There’s an Ice Hotel
Quebec is home to the first and only ice hotel inNorth America. Hotel de Glace opened in 2001 on New Year’s Day in Montmorency Falls Park near Quebec City, but moved to a new place in Charlesbourg in 2011.
This ice hotel is erected by 50 workers using special snow each December and opens in early January until it’s taken down in April. The beds are made of ice supported by a sturdy wood base which holds a comfortable mattress. Patrons are provided sleeping bags, pillows, and bed sheets to keep warm. The bathrooms are situated in an enclosed insulated section for heating purposes.
33. Ever Eat a Beaver Tail?
The Canadian chain of pastry chains called BeaverTails or Queues de Castor invented the iconic pastries made from fried dough. What makes these pastries special is that they are stretched into the shape of a beaver’s tail.
The chain of pastry stands dates back to 1978 when the first one was opened in Killaloe, Ontario, followed by Ottawa’s permanent store in 1980. Today, there are 119 franchise stores across the globe, namely in Canada, the United States, Japan, South Korea, Dubai, and the United Arab Emirates.
34. Nanaimo- the Place for Bathtubs and Brownies
Another Nanaimo, British Columbia invention is the Nanaimo bar. This bar of deliciousness is made from wafer crumbs topped with a custard icing and melted chocolate. If that doesn’t melt your heart, then what can? As these things go, many flavor variations of the dessert now exist.
The Nanaimo bar is also made with different kinds of crumb bases and icing, such as peanut butter, mint, coconut, and mocha. However, you’ll know how to spot these chocolate goodies from a mile away because of their distinctive square-cut shapes.
35. Wolverine is Canadian
The world is no stranger to superheroes, but some people would never guess which of these heroes actually hail from Canada. Well, one the the biggest hints is that the Canadian superhero prototype is often rooted in several national and cultural stereotypes, namely hockey, nature, and wildlife.
Did you know that Wolverine and Deadpool are Canadian? How about Captain Canuck, Guardian, Northstar, Nelvana of the Northern Lights, and Sasquatch? However, the master minds behind these superheroes need to be extra careful not to depict crime in comic books because it’s considered illegal under Section 163, 1b of the Criminal Code of Canada to print, publish, possess, or sell a crime comic.
36.Where Strip Clubs Double Up As Churches
The Manor, a strip club in Guelph, Ontario, actually doubles up as a church every Sunday afternoon. Well, following Saturday night’s usual shenanigans involving naked women, booze, and lots of sin, one is definitely in need of some redemption, right?
The church at the the Manor is considered a judgement-free zone, so what ever happens the night before doesn’t really matter to pastor, Jack Ninaber. In fact, the strip club also functions as a transitional housing location for those who have lost their way in society.
37. Canada Has Its Very Own Nessie
If you thought all the all the hype around Scotland’s Loch Ness Monster wasn’t enough, Canadian folklore comes out to level the playing field. Legend suggests that a sea monster by the name of Ogopogo or Naitaka roams the waters of Okanagan Lake in British Columbia.
The First Nations people (Indigenous people in Canada) have allegedly spotted Ogopogo since the 19th century. The creature is described as possessing a snake-like body stretching 40-50 feet (12 to 15 meters) long. Critics have dismissed these sightings as a legendary water spirit.
38. Alberta is Rat-Free
Rats first arrived in North America when ships docked at the East Coast seaports in the 18th century. The rats then made their way across the continent crossing the borders of Alberta by World War II.
The residents of Alberta had their own war to declare: their war against rats. Since then, there has been a rat control zone which runs along the eastern border of Alberta. This buffer zone has made the province rat-free for the last 50 years and is going strong.
39. The Most Educated Nation
In Canada, 51 percent of its adults having a tertiary education with either a university degree or undergraduate college degree. This makes the country one of the most educated in the world, according to a report released by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in 2012.
Canadians take their education pretty seriously and the government invests a great deal of money and resources in schools, colleges, and universities. There is a 99 percent adult literacy rate, and at least 89 percent of adults between the ages of 25 and 64 hold a high-school degree.
40. Pepper Spray is Illegal
Under Canada’s Firearms act, it is considered illegal for anyone to carry around pepper spray as a weapon. This means that the weapon is forbidden from being sold and produced in the country. If someone is caught in possession of the spray, they can face up to 10 years imprisonment.
This rule stems from the Criminal Code of Canada, which prohibits one from carrying certain products or devices designed for personal protection to combat human attack. Pepper spray has a high concentration of oleresin capsicum, and therefore it’s illegal to carry.
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