Saturday, January 10, 2009


This tasty Canadian dish consists of fries, gravy and melted cheese! Mmmm, mmmm! Artery clogging goodness!

If made traditionally, as in Quebec it would be fries, gravy and cheese curds, but don't bash it until you try it!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Money Lingo and Facts

England has pounds, Japan has yen ... what does Canada have?

The answer is we have dollars and cents the same as the USA. However our bills and coins are different and some even have different names.

1 cent is called a penny. A Canadian penny has a maple leaf on one side and a picture of Queen Elisabeth of England on the other (as does every Canadian coin). Pennies made in 2008 or later are not fully copper, only copper coated due to the expense. (It cost over 7 cents to make a penny when I was 7 years old.) You can tell these coins easily because they stick to a magnet.

The 5 cent coin is a nickel. It has a beaver on it.

10 cents is called a dime and has a famous ship called the Bluenose printed on it.

The 25 cent coin is called a quarter. The picture on the quarter is of a Cariboo.

Here's where things get really shaken up compared to American money.

We have a $1 coin. This is called a loonie and depicts a loon on it.

Our $2 coin is our largest value coin. It is called a toonie and has a gold center depicting a polar bear and a silver ring of metal around that. If you get a toonies from 1996 you can stick it in the freezer and the gold center will pop out. Then you can put the silver ring on a chain and make a mighty fine necklace! Of course no one would do that... that would be defacing the coin and be disrespectful to the Queen! Toonies older than year 2000 are made slightly different so that the centers do not pop out as easily when frozen.

Also if you flip a toonie upside down the polar bear's feet look like penguins! Neat eh?

Canadian bills come in the denominations $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100. Each bill is colour differently and has a number of anti-forgery devices utilized in the design as well as braille for the blind. The new bills are especially interesting to look at with the hologram foil and intricate pictures as well as quotes, etc incorporated into the design.

Using an old $50 or $100 bill can be tricky. Many places will not take them due to the large amount of forgeries in circulation.

Also of note are the collectors coins in circulation. Most of them are quarters but there are some in every coin denomination. Look for them in your change! Some even are painted with red poppies, etc.

There are also on occasion 50 cent coins in circulation. If you get one keep it!

***Money is not to scale in pictures.***

The Last Spike

The Last Spike is well marked in Canadian history books. It was the final spike joining Canada from coast to coast at last by a "ribbon of steel". The Last Spike was driven in on November 7, 1885 by Sir Donald Smith at Craigellachie. Sir Donald was a former Hudson Bay Trader and a member of the original Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) Syndicate. His cousin, Gearge Stephen was in fact, the President of the CPR from 1881 to 1888. The railway was completed later than had been promised by Prime Minister Sir John A Macdonald in 1971 when British Columbia joined Canada. On of the conditions of BC joining confederation was the promised railroad which Macdonald said would be completed within 10 years.

Despite the hardwork put in, mostly by unpaid Chinese workers, it took a 14 years to finish the railroad, the worst of which was carving out track in the Rocky Mountain region of British Columbia and Alberta. Explosives, including nitroglycerin were used and the project had high casualties among workers. It was a dark passage in Canadian histories that so many workers, most Chinese, were killed. The Chinese workers were poorly treated and paid only $1 per day. With this they had to pay for their food and accomodation. White workers were paid $1.50 - $2 per day and food and accomodation were provided. In addition white workers were given less dangerous jobs.

The CPR still operates today, although more as a freightline and not entirely on the original route which it was built.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Showcasing Vancouver

I'm afraid I have very few pictures of Vancouver cityscape despite a number of visits there over the years. Therefore I borrowed this one and gave the site above.

I chose Vancouver as the first Canadian city I'd showcase because recently a very rare phenomena has been occuring there.. and that would be snow.

Now the majority of British Columbia and the majority of Canada for that matter is well acquainted with snow. Vancouver however is ill-equipped to deal with snow when it has it, which is infrequently. Instead they mostly get rain. The problem with not having snow often is that people do not know how to properly remove it, drive in it, etc. There can be a lot of accidents. The roads don't get cleared fast enough for the traffic volume because the city does not have enough snow removal equipment at its disposal.

In the light of the large snowfall in Vancouver this year the rest of BC welcomes Vancouver to their ranks. Finally Vancouver has snow! Now you know what almost every other town deals with all winter every year!

But this entry is not really about snow or the rest of BC. It is about Vancouver so let's do this properly.

Vancouver has a population approaching 600,000 making it the largest city in British Columbia. (And third largest in Canada.) It is located on the West Coast of Canada roughly above Seattle, Washington (USA). Vancouver gets an average percipitation of 1,219 mm per year. That's 48 inches! Average temperatures for January are 3 degrees Celsius (37 F) and for July about 18 degrees Celsius (64 F).

Vancouver is a major Canadian port and supports a lot of industry. Fishing, mining, forestry, computer software and biotechnology are just a few industries flourishing in the city. In recent years Vancouver has become like Canada's little Hollywood. It is a hub for the film industry. Tourism is a major industry as well.

Vancouver will also be the site for the 2010 Winter Olympics!

Vancouver was a site of First nations villages as early as 500 BCE and Captain Vancouver landed there in 1792. Vancouver was initially named Granville and was a sawmill community in the 1870s. Granville was renamed for Captain Vancouver in 1886 when it was incorporated.

Vancouver is a diverse city that attracts people from all over the world to come live there. Because of its location on the Western Coast it attracts a lot of immigrants from Asian countries in particular.

Events worth seeing include: the Chinese New Year Festival (January 26th this year!),International Bhangra Celebration (last weekend of January), Chutzpah Festival (the week of Hannukah), Vancouver International Children's Festival (last weekend of August), and the Annual Symphony Free Concert (First Sunday of November).

Tourist attractions that are of interest include: the Vancouver aquarium, the Steam Clock in Gas Town, Grouse Mountain, Whistler Ski Village, Capilano Suspension Bridge, Science World, Burnaby Village Museum and Minter Gardens. It also is worthwhile to take cruise or rent a boat. You never know what sea life you might spot!

Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons is a coffee and doughnut store chain. Originally a Canadian chain, it was then bought out by an American company. However we Canadians still call it our own and it is a popular meeting place... perhaps because coffee and a doughnut there is offered at such great value.

Tim Hortons (or Timmies/Timmy's as it is often called) has put out iced cappucinos (ice capps) in recent years which have become popular among Canadian youth.

And of course there are Timbits. Who can have a function without a box of 40 doughnut holes?!

Tim Hortons is also known for its Roll Up The Rim to Win contests... Keep Rolling! Best of all, it is 24 hours in many locations!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Canadian Humour

Canadian Humour is a bit of a strange phenomena... extremely common but strange, especially to an outsider.

Some ground rules...

The majority of Canadians have a very good sense of humour. Canadians like to laugh at everything... their country, other people's countries, their politics, other people's politics, situations, controversial issues... everything. Sometimes it may seem inappropriate. In fact if they are making fun of your country, religion, or anything else that may be related to you... don't be alarmed. It is probably not necessary to take offense. A Canadian in their next breath may turn around and make fun of their own country, religion, etc. It's just what we do. Everything is funny... sometimes even when it is not funny.

Another thing to look out for, especially if English (of French depending on the situation) is a second language to you is sarcasm. Canadians use a lot of sarcasm. You can be having a perfectly serious conversation and then sarcasm will be thrown in there out of the blue. Sometimes a whole conversation may be sarcastic. If you are not from Canada and you miss the sarcasm usually Canadians will apologize and point it out to you... unless they decide given the context that it is more humourous not to.

Another popular type of humour in Canada is comparative humour. Generally this type of huomur involves Canada comparing Canada and the USA. Again this is not usually a cause for offense! Hold on while I explain. Canadians and Americans get along quite well. The reasons for Canadians to compare themselves to Americans are simple. The first one is American politics. Often what Canadians mean when they compare Canada and America is actually they are comparing American politics to how things are done in Canada. Often Canadians may hold different political opinions than those in office in the USA. The problem in this humour is it often appears in a more generalized form so it sounds like a Canadian is comparing Canadians to the American public rather than say... the President of the USA. (Being well travelled I personally try to stay away from such generalizations because they can harbour resentments when the humour is misinterpreted). The other reason Canadians feel the need to compare themselves to Americans is an issue of Canadian identity. Canadians and Americans are similar in many ways... however in recent years there has been a strong desire among Canadians to create an identity that makes them stand out from the USA. This has come about due to the larger size, population and economic power of the USA but was perhaps sparked by beer ads a number of years ago that where aired by Molson Canadian with the slogan "I AM CANADIAN". For the record a lot of the information that was supposed to highlight Canadian achievements was false and should not be quoted! After all, even Canadians should know better than to let beer do the talking! So yes, comparative humour is usually meant to be harmless but it sometimes goes too far and something should be said to stop it.

There is also comparative humour between provinces, towns, cities and regions within Canada. This can also go too far at times. Canadian humour may have different variations depending on the region as well. For instance Newfoundland humour is not entirely the same as British Columbian humour, which is not the same as Albertan humour, Torontonian humour, or Quebec humour. I could give you reasons for this but it would involve using comparative humour...

The last "serious" aspect of humour I want to discuss is Canadian comedians and celebrities. Humour in media is not limited to comedians and political comics. If you were to watch CBC (the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) you would even find humour in the news... generally involving annoucers bantering back and forth between segments. Canadian humour also finds its was into Canadian music. A prime example of this is the Arrogant Worms. (Also of note to Canadians... the song "War of 1812" is not an Arrogant Worms song! It is sung by the band Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie. Look it up! Another Canadian fact!) True there are lots of great Canadian comedians who are humourous as a profession: Rick Mercer, the cast from 22 Minutes, and Red Green just to name a few!

You may be wondering why this entry which has some truly controversial content in it would come first. Simple. It seemed best to get it out of the so that when I am using humour later on in other entries you'll recognize it. (Hopefully.) Now let's stop being so serious for a moment. I'm going to include a few jokes here that are by Canadians and about Canadians. (Laughter Encouraged... even if you don't get it.)

You Might Be Canadian If...

1. You bring a portable TV on a camping trip so that you don't miss Hockey Night.
2. You can repeat the entire Molson's Canadian 'The Rant'.
3. You know all the words to "If I had a million dollars" by The Barenaked Ladies, including the inter-stanza banter between Steven and Ed.
4. You dismiss all beers under 6% as "for children and the elderly."
5. You hum David Foster's '88 Calgary Olympics theme in the shower.
6. You know that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) don't always look like that.
7. You make up patriotic lyrics to go along with David Foster's '88 Calgary Olympics theme.
8. You cried when Gus "drowned" on Road To Avonlea.
9. You remember when Alanis Morrissette was "Too Hot To Hold".
10. You think there isn't enough of Peter Gzowski to go around.
11. You think it's normal to have a grain elevator in your backyard.
12. You watch MuchMusic constantly, in the hopes of occasional fleeting glimpses of The Tragically Hip.
13. You have an Inuit carving by your bedside with the rationale, "what's good enough protection for the Prime Minister, is good enough for me!"
14. You can sing "O' Canada" in French and actually know what the words mean.
15. You send angry letters to the CBC demanding the return of the Hinterland Who's Who spots so you can finally find out what happens to the arctic ptarmigan in winter.
16. You participate in Participaction!
17. You think Peter Mansbridge is sexy.
18. You stood in line for hours for Another Roadside Attraction tickets.
19. You killed your best friend for Another Roadside Attraction tickets.
20. You think Great Big Sea isn't Atlantic-centric enough.

21. You go check out the unabbreviated version of this list:


Top 10 Reasons to be from British Columbia

1. Weed
2. Vancouver: 1.5 million people and two bridges
3. The local hero is a pot-smoking snowboarder
4. The local wine doesn't taste like malt vinegar
5. Your $400,000 Vancouver home is 5 hours from downtown
6. A university with a nude beach
7. You can throw a rock and hit three Starbucks locations
8. There's always some sort of deforestation protest going on
9. Cannabis
10. If the weather's bad, wait five minutes.


How do you get 100 Canadians out of a swimming pool on the hottest day of the summer?

Just yell "Ok now, everyone out of the pool!"


A Canucklehead goes into a Tim Horton's in Gander and notices there's a "Roll Up The Rim To Win" Contest going on. So, he rolls it up and starts screaming;
"I've won a motor home! I've won a motor home!"
The girl at the counter says, "That's impossible. The biggest prize is a car".
But the person keeps on screaming, "I've won a motor home! I've won a motor home!"
Finally, the manager comes over and says, "I'm sorry, but
you're mistaken. You couldn't have possibly won a motor home because we didn't have that as a prize!"
The person says, "No, it's not a mistake. I've won a motor
home!" They hand the cup to the manager and he reads..........

"W I N A B A G E L"


there will be more Canadian jokes in later entries!

***The owner of this blog does not share the views of anything said by people that are linked from this entry, but may still find these views funny!***

Hello Eh?

This entry is going to be unlike all the other entries in this blog because in this entry I am going to give a brief introduction to myself and my background and why I decided to start this blog. The rest of the blogs will be about Canada... many different aspects of Canada! The only things about me in other entries will be stories involving me in situations a Canadian often finds themself in and me expressing my opinions on different aspects of Canadian culture. I hope you enjoy.

At this point I would like to offer up a disclaimer. This blog will contain a number of facts about Canada. It will also include my opinions and the opinions of other Canadians I know on different aspects of Canada. Some of these views may be regional and some may be my own from my experiences living in Canada for all 20 years of my life. This disclaimer goes out especially to any Canadian audience this blog may recieve. If my views aren't yours that's ok. You are free to include your own thoughts on anything showcased about Canada... which is everything basically. I just ask you keep you opinions polite. I am also not looking for a debate unless I am showcasing Canadian Politics. Polite comments are welcome. And your opinions are welcome as long as the a phrased politely and not meant as a challenge to me. This blog is NOT about me!

That said, a bit of background information...

I am a 20 year old Canadian girl. I currently live in a small community in the interior of British Columbia, within a 20 minute drive of the American border. I have not lived here my entire life. I spent a lot of time living near (and in) Kelowna, BC both as a small child and an adult. I was born in Red Deer, Alberta and lived there for the first 6 months of my life (excluding the 2 weeks time spent travelling up to Alaska with my parents in their Volkswagon van under the light of the midnight sun). I am an avid traveller. I have visited many places in BC as well as Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the Yukon and done extensive travelling in all the Western States of the USA. I have also been to Mexico and Japan. My next trip goals (when I have money) will be visiting Australia and then either doing a cross Canada road trip or visiting the UK. I have been in Girl Guides as well as Boy scouts and I am currently a Scout lLeader at the Beaver level. I also am hoping to move to Brandon, Manitoba in the fall to continue my schooling as I am working towards a teaching degree. I take a great interest in Politics as well as Canadian history... especially history involving the First Nations and Metis. I speak French as a second language, although I am sadly out of practice.

My interest in all things Canadian comes from a lot of things. The main one is travelling and meeting travellers/immigrants here in Canada. I also took some anthropology courses and they were fascinating. There are so many different ways of thinking and doing things all around the world! As a Canadian, the Canadian identity is something that has fascinated me. I wanted to create this blog first off to show what a great place our country is by showcasing different towns and cities I have visited and/or lived in. I also want share pieces of Canadian history and culture and give opinions of what it might mean to be Canadian. I hope other Canadians who stop by will be inspired to share some of their ideas of what it means to be Canadian too.

For everyone else I hope you laugh a bit, learn a bit and sit back and enjoy being entertained!