Canada For Dummies

Lord, I hope Canucks in other countries don’t show themselves as dim-witted as some of the visitors to the great country of Canada.  They probably do, but, at least I don’t have to see it.  I can understand folks from Europe, Asia or Australia not being cognisant of details of Canadian culture, but I get a little short with Americans.  C’mon guys!  You live right next door.

Americans want to know things like, “Who’s the old broad on the money?”  She’s the Queen, and no, she doesn’t “rule” Canada.  “Does the flag come in any other colors?”  And, why don’t we celebrate the Fourth of July?  Because we’re not Americans.  Our Independence Day is July 1.

I strive to be a little more accurate in this post than Ann Landers once was, when she told a Colombian tourist that Boston was not the capital of the U.S.  “It’s always been Washington,” ignoring the fact that the city didn’t exist before 1791.

Other than D.C. there have been 15 capitals – actually 8 different cities, NYC – 3 times, Philadelphia – 5 times, as well as Baltimore MD, Lancaster, PA (for one day), Princeton, NJ, Annapolis, MD, Trenton, NJ, and Leesburg, VA for a short while in 1814, during the War of 1812, when the Canadians ambled down and sacked Washington.

Take the Detroit auto-worker, (please) who drove across the Ambassador Bridge for years, to work at a Ford plant in Windsor.  One day a Canadian co-worker suggested that he move to Windsor, to save the commute.  No!  He couldn’t do that.  It’s too cold to live in Canada.

A Bed and Breakfast in British Columbia got an email reservation from a couple from England.  They were to arrive on a Saturday, and spend most of the week.  On the Saturday, the BnB got a phone-call.  Could they hold the room?  The couple was delayed and should arrive late Sunday.  They would pay for the week, but wanted to guarantee the room.  Sunday came, and another phone-call.  The concerned proprietors asked what the problem was.  They’d got off a flight in Halifax, and planned to drive to B.C.  They had got as far as Toronto in two days.

Many people just don’t understand the vastness of Canada and the U.S.  If you get in a car in England, and drive for ten hours including the Chunnel crossing, you’ve gone through three countries.  Only Russia, with seven time zones, beats North America’s six, including one for Hawaii for the U.S., and a strange little half-hour Newfoundland one for Canada.

A Vancouver, B.C. newspaper has a travel department that you can email with travel questions.  The following are some of the questions they’ve received, with country of origin, and frustrated answers given.

Q: I have never seen it warm on Canadian TV, so how do the plants grow? (England)
A. We import all plants fully grown and then just sit around and watch them die.

Q: Will I be able to see polar bears in the street? (USA)
A: Depends on how much you’ve been drinking.

Q: I want to walk from Vancouver to Toronto – can I follow the railroad tracks? (Sweden)
A: Sure, it’s only four thousand miles, take lots of water.

Q: Is it safe to run around in the bushes in Canada? (Sweden)
A: So it’s true what they say about Swedes.

Q: Are there any ATM’s (cash machines) in Canada? Can you send me a list of them in Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton and Halifax? (England)
A: What, did your last slave die?

Q: Can you give me some information about hippo racing in Canada? (USA)
A: A-fri-ca is the big triangle shaped continent south of Europe. Ca-na-da is that big country to your north… oh forget it. Sure, the hippo racing is every Tuesday night in Calgary. Come naked.

Q: Which direction is north in Canada? (USA)
A: Face south and then turn 180 degrees. Contact us when you get here and we’ll send the rest of the directions.

Q: Can I bring cutlery into Canada? (England)
A: Why? Just use your fingers like we do.

Q: Can you send me the Vienna Boys’ Choir schedule? (USA)
A: Aus-tri-a is that quaint little country bordering Ger-man-y, which is…oh forget it. Sure, the Vienna Boys Choir plays every Tuesday night in Vancouver and in Calgary, right after the hippo races. Come naked.

Q: Do you have perfume in Canada? (Germany)
A: No, WE don’t stink.

Q: I have developed a new product that is the fountain of youth. Where can I sell it in Canada? (USA)
A: Anywhere significant numbers of Americans gather.

Q: Can you tell me the regions in British Columbia where the female population is smaller than the male population? (Italy)
A: Yes, gay nightclubs.

Q: Do you celebrate Thanksgiving in Canada? (USA)
A: Only at Thanksgiving.

Q: Are there supermarkets in Toronto and is milk available all year round? (Germany)
A: No, we are a peaceful civilization of vegan hunter/gathers. Milk is illegal.

Q: I have a question about a famous animal in Canada, but I forget its name. It’s a kind of big horse with horns. (USA)
A: It’s called a moose. They are tall and very violent, eating the brains of anyone walking close to them. You can scare them off by spraying yourself with human urine before you go out walking.

Q: Will I be able to speak English most places I go? (USA)
A: Yes, but you will have to learn it first.

Canada welcomes all visitors.  Feel free to join us.  Bring some more questions….and lots of money.

Addendum:

After White Lady In The Hood posted pictures of her back porch, I took a couple of shots of my back deck.  I’m about as far south in Canada as it’s possible to get, and we had a bit of a thaw last week.  First of March, and this is what’s left.  See the yardstick??    😦    I’m ready for spring now.     😀

SDC10522                    SDC10526

And Away We Go

Oh good!  Another blogger with nothing to say, but determined to say it.

I’m here because of BrainRants. so I thought I would see what his first blog looked like, plus a couple of others.  Nobody had a big start, they just started publishing.  I thought that my first post should be like a mission statement, and give an idea of who I am and where I’m coming from.

I’m a 67 year-old white male from the wilds of central Southern Ontario.  I have a Mensa-level IQ, the curiosity of a magpie, and the attention span of a gnat.  I research things which can do me no good at all.  When the memory isn’t failing me, I have a head full of interesting and hopefully amusing trivia, which I hope to share with what will soon be an enormous following.

I have done a bit of travelling.  I have been in two provinces, fourteen states and two time zones.  If you haven’t been to BrainRants site, I strongly recommend it.  If you have been there, this may turn out to be quite similar, not as a rip-off, or even as an homage, but simply because he and I seem to think and feel much the same.  I hope to be as entertaining as him.  It may take some practice.

I may rant from time to time about English; spelling, wrong words, definitions and construction.  I’m only a bit of a word-Nazi, with just enough flexibility to accept the inevitable evolution of the language.  I hate lack of consideration for others, and an all too common feeling of entitlement.  I don’t hate stupidity.  You can be as dumb as a sack of rocks and still figure out how to get out of the sack.  What I hate is people who seem to have intelligence, but simply can’t, or won’t, apply it to what will happen next, especially for the people behind them.

A case in point, for my first rant.  I went into a supermarket today to pick  up a copy of the regional newspaper.  I went to the express lane to check out.  An oriental man waved the young fellow in front of me, and me, to go ahead of him.  I gave him two points for kindness and good manners, but then took one back, when his wife showed up with another couple of items.

The young guy has two quarts of orange juice, a two quart jug of milk, and a big bag of ice, all held in his arms.  He doesn’t want to hold all that cold stuff, so he puts it down on the end of the feed belt.  The distinguished gentleman in front of him has two items, a small bottle of mouthwash and a pack of gum, probably a hot date tonight.

Instead of putting his stuff on the belt, he stands there with it in his hand.  When the last item from the woman in front of him is scanned, the belt begins to move forward, carrying the kid’s stuff past him, to stop at the sensor light.  But he wants to be first!  So, instead of just putting his things down just the other side of the light, he reaches down and pushes the orange juice back.  Of course, by the time he turns back to deposit his things, the belt has moved forward again.

I watched him and thought, “Dear God, he’s not going to do it again.”  But he did…same result.  Finally the checkout clerk took pity on him and reached out and took his things and scanned them, or we’d have been there all day.

Is anybody out there?  That’s all the fun I can take for the first day.  Be back soon.