While doing some research for my next blog post I rediscovered the Canadian Heritage Minute videos that were produced in the 1990s. From James Naismith inventing basketball to African American slaves escaping to Canada through the underground railroad in the 1800s, Heritage Minutes showcase the best of Canada’s history. Not to put too fine a point on it, but if you’re a Canadian and watching those clips doesn’t bring a proud tear to your eye, I recommend moving south of the 49th parallel pronto.
Anyway, while watching all these Heritage Minute videos I stumbled across one that’s a spoof on the history of Canada’s most beloved cocktail. Since that’s exactly what my next blog post is about, I thought I’d share this to get you thirsty to learn more:
If you haven’t visited or lived in Canada, you might not know that our country is officially bilingual. Canada is a culturally diverse nation where numerous languages are spoken, but only French and English are legally protected by the Canadian Constitution. Rather than getting into a lengthy history discussion, suffice it to say that Canada is officially bilingual because we were founded by both the French and the English.
Now you might assume that all Canadians can speak both languages, but according to the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages some 22 million Canadians can speak either French or English but not both. As of 2006, 85% of Canadians spoke English, 31% spoke French, and 2% spoke neither language.
The effects of living in a bilingual country can be easy to overlook because they just become part of your everyday life. For instance, Continue reading
Every culture has its own distinct foods that you long for if you’ve been away from home for too many days. Some are intricate dishes, perfected over thousands of years. Others are comparatively new on the food scene, but become beloved cultural fixtures in short order. And many meals, regardless of how long they’ve been around for, take a little faith for the first-timer to try. For instance, as I mentioned in this post, Canadians down thousands of Caesars each year. The uninitiated, however, need a little convincing to get past the whole tomato juice mixed with clam juice thing before they can truly appreciate Canada’s beloved hangover cure. As for me, I rarely order a Caesar at home. But travelling for any extended period of time never fails to make me start craving one.
Image by acme via Flickr
In terms of cravings though, my urge to down a Caesar is nothing compared to the itch I get for a good plate of poutine if I haven’t had any for a few weeks. If you are one of those unfortunate souls who has never sampled this nectar of the gods, I’m sorry to tell you that your life is incomplete. Continue reading
Image by Jen Waller via Flickr
I don’t know if this exists in other countries, but in Canada there are large bins placed around major cities where people can recycle their old clothing, shoes, and accessories. Considering the bins inevitably have the word “donation” emblazoned on them, it’s assumed that charitable organizations collect the items in order to earn revenue by reselling the pre-loved items. In such a scenario everyone seems to win; the charity makes some cash to help fund their operations, and the donor gets to feel good about recycling their old clothes and gaining back some closet real estate.
But what you see is not always what you get in the world of clothing donations, and recent news headlines warn that donors are being duped by for-profit bins that masquerade as charitable receptacles. Continue reading
If you asked someone to name a few foods that come to mind when they think of Canada, they would probably list items like maple syrup, poutine, and Canadian bacon (spoiler alert: we just call it bacon). Clamato juice might also be mentioned if they’d ever had the hair of the dog in the Great White North, or tourtiere if they’d spent a Christmas in Quebec.
But if you switched the question up and asked them to name the most popular condiment that originates in Canada, I’d be willing to bet the farm (pun intended) that not one person would provide the correct answer.
So what condiment am I referring to? Well if you haven’t already figured it out from this post’s title, here’s a visual hint: Continue reading
People are loyal to brands for numerous reasons, one of which is the sense of continuity they offer. For instance, if you have a bottle of Corona in Mexico, it’s pretty much guaranteed to taste the same as the one you consumed in Montreal or Dublin. Draft beer should follow the same rule: regardless of where you consume it, the beer on tap here will taste like the beer on tap there.*
One would assume the same goes for how intoxicated you’ll become from drinking draft: a pint is a pint, and the effect is the same regardless of where it is consumed. Right?
Photo credit: psd