With Canada Day around the corner, I’ve gathered 20 known and not-so-well known facts about our beloved nation. With my comments, of course.
1. Canada is the second largest country in the world, covering six time zones. The largest is Russia, beating us by 7.3 million square kilometers. We do, however, have the longest coastline of any country in the world at 243,977 kilometers.
2. We can also boast the longest highway in the world with the Trans-Canada, which runs over 7604 kilometers long. I’m not sure if that includes the detour through Portage la Prairie caused by construction six months out of any given year.
3. Despite being a huge country, Canada has the fourth lowest population density in the world, with only three people per square kilometer. Almost half of Canada’s people were born in other countries, making us a true mosaic.
4. The highest tides in the world occur in the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick.
5. The world’s most northerly sand dunes are in Athabasca Provincial Park in northwest Saskatchewan. They rise 30 meters high.
6. Half of Canada is covered with forests, which should come as no surprise considering one-tenth of the world’s forests are here.
7. The coldest temperature ever recorded in Canada was -63C (-81.4F) on February 3, 1957 in Snag, Yukon.
8. The median age of people in Canada is 41 years. Guess that puts me on the over-the-hill side by a smidge. Okay, a few smidges.
9. Speaking of age, the average life expectancy at birth is 81.16 years – the sixth highest in the world.
10. Hockey and lacrosse are Canada’s national sports. Say what? I can honestly say I’ve never watched a single episode of Lacrosse Night in Canada, nor can I hum the theme song.
11. The baseball glove was invented in Canada in 1883. Some bloke grew tired of stinging his hand, I guess.
12. Canada has hosted the Olympic Games three times; 1976 in Montreal, 1988 in Calgary and 2010 in Vancouver.
13. The world’s largest totem pole was raised in Victoria in 1994 and stands 54.94 meters tall (180.2 feet). Wonder how far into the ground it needs to go in order to keep standing?
14. Cheddar is the most popular cheese in Canada. On average, Canadians consume 23.4 pounds per person annually. Someone is eating 22.4 pounds of my share.
15. The Maritimes are famous for their odd-sounding desserts, like Raspberry Buckle and Blueberry Grunt. I’m thinking all that dessert eating makes them loosen their belt buckles and grunt when they stand up.
16. Canada boasts more doughnut shops per capita than any other country, although I wouldn’t boast about it. I find this disturbing. Our health care system will never keep up with our sugar consumption.
17. Each Canadian eats an average of 190 eggs per year. Someone is eating about 107 of my share.
18. Canadians drink more fruit juice per capita than any other country. This is interesting, since so few places in Canada can actually grow fruit. Maybe we need the extra vitamins to compensate for the long winters.
19. There are eleven sub species of Canada geese. Wow, right? Makes me wonder if eleven varieties of goose poop adorn Portage’s Crescent Lake walking path. It all looks the same to me. But then, so do the geese.
20. The Canadian motto is “A Mari Usque ad Mare.” It means “from sea to sea.” This is taken from Psalm 72:8, one of the three Bible verses etched in the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill: “He shall have dominion from sea to sea.” If someone tries to tell you this country wasn’t founded on the Judeo-Christian faith, they are wrong.
Happy Canada Day!