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Visit Canada: A Humorous Guide and Seventeen Odd Facts

Author:

RedElf (Elle Fredine) photographer and published author, educator. Life-long learning is key to adding value to life.

Canada Has Something To Sing About

"From the Vancouver Island to the Alberta highlands,

'Cross the Prairies, the lakes, to Ontario's towers;

From the sound of Mount Royal's chimes, down to the Maritimes;

Something to sing about, this land of ours!"

In the words of that catchy little tune, “this land of ours” is, indeed, “something to sing about”. It is a land of sharp contrasts: broad vistas and towering mountain peaks, rolling farmlands that give way to modern city towers, small towns and friendly people, the diverse cultural inheritance of our First Nations and Celtic forebears and pioneering immigrants from every nation, and breathtaking scenery at every turn.

Table of Contents

  1. Why Daylight Savings Time?
  2. Regions of Canada by Geography
  3. Canada's First Nations People
  4. Regions of Canada by Attitude
  5. Some Odd and Interesting Canadian Facts
  6. More Odd and Interesting Facts
O, Canada

O, Canada

1. Why Have Daylight Savings Time?

Daylight Savings Time is often a hotly debated topic in Canada. When it was first instituted, some, notably Westerners and Northerners, saw it as a plot hatched by those "out east" to further regulate their lives.

Many Easterners blamed it on the farmers, notably the Prairie farmers, loudly proclaiming that they just wanted to have more free time after the cows were milked - a patently untrue canard as everyone knows farmers have no free time until the winter, and precious little then if they run a mixed farm.

Still others announced it was thought up by government workers, mainly urban dwellers, who wanted an extra hour of daylight so they could head out to the lake with their families in the daylight, and have some extra playtime after work. It is still a touchy subject to this day.

2. Regions of Canada By Geography

Canada, From Coast to Coast - Jogfree

(as it is called in the Ottawa Valley, according to Charlie Farquarson -

Geography, to the rest of us):

For those of you non-Canadians who may be unfamiliar with our regions, Canada is officially divided into ten (10) provinces, and three (3) territories. Each of the provinces and territories has its own capital city (much like a State capital), its own provincial flag, and its own flower and/or emblem.

ProvinceCapitalFloral Emblem

British Columbia

Victoria

Pacific Dogwood

Alberta

Edmonton

Wild Rose

Saskatchewan

Regina

Red Lily

Manitoba

Winnipeg

Prairie Crocus

Ontario

Ottawa

Trillium

Quebec

Quebec City

Blue Flag (Iris)

New Brunswick

Fredrickton

Purple Violet

Nova Scotia

Halifax

Mayflower

Prince Edward Island

Charlotetown

Pink Lady's Slipper

Newfoundland/Labrador

St. John's

Pitcher Plant

Yukon

Whitehorse

Fireweed

Nunavat

Iqaluit

Purple Saxifraga

Northwest Territories

Yellowknife

Mountain Avens

Canada is also divided into geographical areas by virtue of its many plains, rivers, and majestic mountain ranges, and as well, into ideological areas, as diverse as the character of those who inhabit them. The names of these areas tend to differ depending on where in the country you reside.

Vancouver Harbor

Vancouver Harbor

The West Coast

This designation tends to unfairly include all of British Columbia, and is also known by a number of designation revolving around nuts and flakes, the mildest of which is "California North", referring, no doubt, to the climate, rather than any political disposition. Home to rhododendron trees, hydrangea groves,sage brush and cattle country, Stanley Park, the Lion's Gate Bridge, and the Gulf Islands - known as "God's country", to its residents

The Northwest Coast

The Northwest Coast - a designation rarely used except by a Northwest coaster, to differentiate themselves from the "lower mainlanders", who, as they are not fishermen, hunters, nor loggers, are viewed with some suspicion - also known as "God's country", to its residents

North America's Breadbasket

North America's Breadbasket

Out West

Used by an Easterner, this area usually includes B.C., and sometimes, Saskatchewan, but, technically speaking, should only include Alberta, especially if you are an Albertan, with a proud heritage of ranchers, oilmen, hunters, farmers, fishermen, and rugged individualists. Home to the mighty Peace River, Writing on Stone Provincial Park, The Hoodoos, Dinosaur country, and the Rocky Mountains - known as "God's country", to its residents

The Prairies

Also referred to as "miles and miles of nothing but miles and miles", but usually only by Easterners, or first-time visitors. Comprised of Saskatchewan, and much of southern Manitoba, though some rather uncharitably lump southern Alberta in there, too, this region is thought to be the land that gave birth to the phrase, "Are we there yet?" - usually uttered by small children, Easterners, and first time visitors to the prairies. Home to waving fields of wheat, great softball teams, the Qu'appelle Valley, the white sand beaches of Lake Winnipeg, and curiously enough, birthplace of great sailors - known as "God's country", to its residents

Midnight Sun Country: taken at 1:20 am.

Midnight Sun Country: taken at 1:20 am.

Up North

This area includes Northern Alberta, the Hudson Bay region of Northern Manitoba, all of Yukon, Nunavut, and the Northwest Territories, parts of Northern Quebec, and any bordering areas where the residents demonstrate the same hardy reliance on self. Home to traditional hunters, trappers, artists, and internationally renown Canadian diamonds - known as "God's country", to its residents "

Down South

Also known as "Outside" to a Northerner - anywhere other than "Up North"

Out East

Sometimes called Upper Canada by Ontario residents, but not outside of Ontario, this region includes Ontario, the Ottawa Valley (a very different region, both ideologically AND linguistically,) Toronto, the known hub of the civilized world, second only to New York (as far as Torontonians are concerned), and Quebec. This region is also home to such diverse scenery as the rugged Precambrian shield, rolling farmlands, Georgian Bay, Olde-Town Montreal, and excellent maple sugar bush country - known as "God's country", to its residents "

Dickson Falls Nb

Dickson Falls Nb

Down East

Also known as "The Maritimes", this picturesque area includes New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, the stately homes of some of our first settlers, Peggy's Cove, Magnetic Hill, the Reversing Falls, the start of the Evangeline Trail, fresh lobster, and some of the finest fiddle music this side of heaven - known as "God's country", to its residents"

The Harbor at Peggy's Cove

The Harbor at Peggy's Cove

The Rock

Politically designated as Newfoundland-Labrador (no-one is quite sure what to do with Labrador except the long-suffering folk who actually live there), this amazing region is home to some of the most breathtakingly beautiful scenery in the world, from fragile high-alpine park-lands, to rocky coastal vistas, Viking settlements of long ago, and fishing villages that make your camera fairly leap out of your pocket. Inhabited by some of the finest musicians and humorists ever to grace a concert hall stage or dining room get-together, this blessed, sometimes benighted region actually is "God's country" - just don't tell the rest of Canada

3. Canadian First Peoples

There to meet the first European visitors to step ashore on the shores of both coasts were Canada's first peoples, a diverse yet as interdependent a nation as the Canada we live in today. Some First Nations people have since explained that they thought their European guests must be lost, and in a show of what is now internationally known as "typically Canadian" generosity, they welcomed the newcomers, fed them, and generally made them feel at home.

In return the newcomers brought hundreds more of their friends and families, settled the new land, generally took over the whole place in the name of several foreign rulers, and embroiled the local populaces in any number of territorial skirmishes.

The times are a-changin' though, and steps are being made together to redress many of the old ills. Canada has taken another step in improving the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians by signing onto the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), according to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

And not to be set apart from the rest of Canada, our First Nations people are indigenous to all the regions, both geographical and attitudinal.

4. Canadian Geography by Regional Character

Now that you've been introduced to Canada's regions, you have some idea of our national character - which is as varied and ruggedly individualistic as each of the regions or areas from which each was born.

Starting with the High Arctic, and the norther-most quadrants of most of the provinces, you will encounter that breed of Canadian cat known as "the Northerner." This particular kind of Canadian will not be found in any of our southern cities.

Northerners

Some say that Northerners are born, not made - that it is an attitude towards life, and a perception of how life should be lived that draws these people to the North. A Northerner may not have been born in the North, but, happily, most of them make their way there by adult-hood. Some don't manage to make it up North 'til later in life, and then wonder why they didn't go North sooner.

Some of those lucky enough to be born in the North are, in fact, not Northerners, and they are not really happy until they move down south.

Northerners prefer to be as far away from big business and big government as is humanly possible, though they may be involved in business or local government in their community.

They are community-minded people who believe in lending a hand - no questions asked - wherever and whenever they are needed. As well, they are fiercely independent creatures who believe in taking care of things on their own, and in running their lives without "interference" from outsiders, or non-Northerners, which loosely translates to big business or big government.

Northern pests - the Black Fly and Mosquito

There are a few unlovely things about the north, mind you - the size and aggressiveness of the mosquitoes and black flies being among them. The black flies referred to in the song below, though, are not ordinary house flies - they are a particularly bloodthirsty insect that seems to be able to insert itself through the smallest, pinhole in your screen window, under your hat or scarf, or up your sleeves and pant-legs. These little predators insert an anesthetic when they bite, so first indication of their visit will be when you notice the tiny trickle or pool of blood left by the nasty little biters.

Westerners

Westerners are a similar breed to Northerners. They exhibit the same sturdy self-reliance, the same same lack of regard for overly-intrusive government, and the same sense of community-mindedness, though most Westerners would call that "bein' neighborly."

Like most Northerners, Westerners don't take well to folks sticking their noses in where it's none of their affair - be it the tax man, the town council, or the latest land-use edict from Ottawa, the seat of Canada's big government.

Also like Northerners, Westerners are fiercely protective of family, but don't ever mistake their regard for women and children as any kind of condescension. Their womenfolk are just as capable and independent as their men, and will stand should to shoulder with them to repel all boarders.

Southerners

Technically speaking, we don't have a whole lot of southerners in Canada. We actually don't have a whole lot of "south," our border with the United States being where it is - following the 49th parallel for much of its length, with a few notable diversions.

Most of our population tends to cluster from the middle down towards the southern parts of each province, mainly because of climate. Anyone crazy enough to live above the middle of most of the provinces tends to end up either becoming a Northerner pretty quickly, or heading back south.

We do, however, have...

Easterners

Mainly urban dwellers, these folk tend to be more at home in large schools, all swimming about together. Their history is rich and as culturally diverse as the homelands from which their forebears emigrated.

Eastern Canada comprises the largest population base, and is a major seat of power in the political system. In rural areas of the east though, you will find pockets of farmers and rural small towns not unlike those in the Eastern United States, with the same pioneering spirit and sturdy self-reliance.

There is a sharp contrast between the rural communities and the hustle and bustle of the large urban centers. Here urban sophistication and multi-cultural diversity reign. The pace of life, of speech, and of traffic is much faster - witness the vehicular mayhem on Highway 401, one of the major arteries into Toronto.

Easterners are the caretakers of some of the prettiest farmlands, the most deliciously productive maple sugar bushes, and some of the most beautiful lake resorts in the world, as well as inhabiting picturesquely historic towns and villages along the length of the St. Lawrence Seaway, one of North America's major inland trade routes.

Maritimers

Some folk mistakenly lump Newfoundlanders into this bunch, but the 'Newfs will be the first to let you know that they are a whole 'nother world to themselves.

Maritimers have a close connection to the sea, in no small part because they live right beside it. Their ancestors were some of Canada's first settlers, and they will point out that out to you or anyone else who cares to know.There's a good reason for the pride of Nova Scotia, the Bluenose II, to be featured on the Canadian dime, celebrating the proud heritage of our nation's seafarers, and unsurpassed excellence in shipbuilding.

The Scottish, Irish, British or French ancestry has colored the character of the locals, who proudly maintain many of their cultural traditions. Music abounds. You can scarcely throw a stone without hitting a fiddler, a dancer, or a piper, and no gathering is complete without a kitchen ceilidh (pronounced kay-lee), also called a kitchen concert.

Newfoundlanders or Dwellers on the Rock

Many of the Rock Dwellers I have personally known were no longer dwelling there. Some were mercifully only temporary emigres in search of better paying jobs,

There are pockets of this hardy breed sown the length and breadth of our great land due to economic hardship in their home province. Sometimes, political heretic that I am, I wonder if joining Confederation was the wisest choice for this island culture to have made.

A hardy, and independent breed, they have much in common with Westerners and Northerners, and generally fit in well in western and, particularly, in northern communities.

As you can see from the video below, they hold some of the same things dear, like enjoying a brew or down at the local, and have a similar disregard for picayune details, or the more mundane aspects of life. Life is to be lived, and enjoyed - cheer up b'y - after all, no one ever gets out alive...

5. Some Odd and Interesting Canadian Facts

Did you know that...?

  • At 8,891 kilometers (5,525 miles) long, including 2,475 kilometers (1,538 miles) the border between Alaska, in the United States, and Canada is the longest undefended border in the world, known as the International Boundary
  • You can still hitch your horse (use your reins to tether your horse) to a hitchin' rail in downtown Calgary
  • Insulin, used to control diabetes, was first discovered and produced by Canadian doctors, Frederick Banting and Charles Best
  • At low tide, the Saint John River tumbles down through a narrow gorge into the Bay of Fundy. At high tide in the bay, the rising tide is too strong for the river, forcing the waters to flow upstream. Twice a day, every day, the tidal bore forces its way upstream and is still quite noticeable by the time it reaches the city of Moncton, many miles inland
  • Canada, without any significant wars or battles, signed treaties with its First Nations peoples, who remain unconquered to this day
  • The average annual rainfall in Bella Coola, BC., is 250 cm (about 100 inches)
  • In sharp contrast, Canada's southern desert has an average rainfall of less than 12 inches per year, and summer temperatures can rise to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The desert which boasts plants and animals found nowhere else in Canada, is approximately 15 miles long, inhabiting an area from Osoyoos Lake to Skaha Lake and westward up the Similkameen Valley towards Keremeos
  • Canada's official currency includes a one dollar coin, affectionately called a "loonie", bears the image of the Common Loon. The call of the loon is synonymous with Canada's wilderness. The two dollar coin which bears the image of a Polar Bear is called (no, not a "bear-ie") a "toonie", named for the two, distinctive metals that comprise it.
  • Think of Canada as "the Frozen North"? Best rethink that - Canada is home to two deserts, and, according to the Guinness World Book of records, one of them is the world's smallest desert, found in the Yukon - see video below

6. More Interesting "Canada" facts

  • Canada has no active volcanoes
  • Canada's Baffin Island, the fifth biggest island on Earth, is more than double the size of the UK, and is only slightly smaller than France.
  • Lester Bowles Pearson, formerly Canada's Prime Minister, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace
  • Wood Buffalo National Park, in Alberta, Canada's largest park, is home to the world's largest bison herd and the only nesting site of the whooping crane
  • The Trans-Canada Highway at 7,604 kilometers long, is the longest national highway in the world. Completed in 1962, it stretches from St. John's, Newfoundland, on the Atlantic Ocean, to Victoria, British Columbia, on the Pacific Ocean
  • The world's first chocolate bar was invented in 1910 by Arthur Ganong, son of the founder of Ganong's Chocolates, who began wrapping his chocolates in foil to avoid having them melt in his pockets - Ganong began selling the individually wrapped bars of chocolate for 5 cents
  • Insulin, used to control diabetes, was first discovered and produced by Canadian doctors, Frederick Banting and Charles Best
  • In Canada's high arctic, the sun never sets in the high summer - see video below

© 2018 RedElf

Comments

Enelle Lamb from Canada's 'California' on February 27, 2019:

I do love living in "God's Country..." lol! A very informative and interesting hub. I enjoyed reading it, but will have to come back to watch a couple of the videos...love the Log Driver's Waltz...

Ethel Smith from Kingston-Upon-Hull on August 26, 2018:

Yes RedElf and it just seems to have stuck

RedElf (author) from Canada on August 26, 2018:

Thanks for stopping by to read. I think that's what it's really all about - make longer work hours :)

Ethel Smith from Kingston-Upon-Hull on August 23, 2018:

Looks such a beautiful country. So much information thanks RedElf.

Your daylight savings, we have similar in UK. Ours date back I think to a defence of the realm act during WWI to lengthen the working day.

RedElf (author) from Canada on June 09, 2018:

Hope you find that connection. We still have family in England Somewhere around Renshaw, I think. One of our family name is from that area.

RedElf (author) from Canada on June 08, 2018:

Oh, my, Nell, how fortunate we all are to be so blessed with daylight savings. And I thought it was just us lucky folk in North America. Hopefully you'll make it here one day. A trip to England is still on my bucket list.

Nell Rose from England on June 08, 2018:

I am still trying to find a connection between my family and my grans that went to live In Vancouver, I would love to visit Canada! its awesome! And we have daylight saving too! lol!

RedElf (author) from Canada on April 28, 2018:

Kenny, thanks so much for stopping by. Always happy to meet another "Canada fan" :) OF course, I'm a bit prejudiced, but I agree we are fortunate to live in a pretty amazing land. Hopefully you'll get to see more of it in future visits.

MR Black from UK, Europe on April 28, 2018:

Hello RedElf, thanks for very awesome article. I am from London, England and visit Canada quite often. Not just visit siblings and friends but, man the country is beautiful. It should be called Gods, country although all the countries of the world are His. But the country just feel as if you are in some awesome place and Devine presence. I love everything about the country and people. Though I only visited Ontario, Toronto, CN Towers, Niagra Falls etc., pity we don't see much of the original people in the places we visited.

RedElf (author) from Canada on April 28, 2018:

Awesome country, Genna :)

RedElf (author) from Canada on April 28, 2018:

I haven't been back in some time either. I am sure the 'cottagers' have multiplied prolifically though :) My fondest memories are of a sugaring off we attended - gotta love that maple syrup.

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on April 28, 2018:

Hi Red. There was. We stayed on Lake Simcoe in Barrie; huge lake with breathtaking scenery and acres of giant evergreens but I have no idea what it looks like now. :-)

RedElf (author) from Canada on April 28, 2018:

One of my sisters was born in Ontario. And there is some pretty country out that way :) Thanks so much for stopping by, Genna

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on April 28, 2018:

Like the US, Canada has its own regions, cultures, history, and some of the most beautiful country I've ever seen. My father was first generation in the US; his family are Canadian. These photos remind me of the wonderful times I had in the province of Ontario as a child, visiting during the summers. Thank you for this wonderful, entertaining journey through an amazing country.

RedElf (author) from Canada on April 26, 2018:

Thanks so much, Nicole. As a west-coaster, born and bred, I feel the same about Van, second only to White Rock.

Hi Peggy - c'mon up! Anytime you're in my neck of teh woods, I'll be happy to show you around.

Hey, Bill - my son loves Daylight savings Time, but he's's a truck driver and it means an extra hour of daylight near the end of his day. I'm certainly not a fan though.

RedElf (author) from Canada on April 26, 2018:

Thanks so much - it sounds silly, but some days it feels awfully close to the truth :)

Castlepaloma from Toronto, Canada on April 26, 2018:

Funny stuff, lol. Black fly's.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on April 26, 2018:

Let me quickly throw in my praise of Canada. I'm 150 miles from the border, I've visited your country often, and I have always love it when I have. As for Daylight Savings Time....blech!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on April 26, 2018:

Daylight saving time is debated down here in the U.S. as well. I enjoyed your Canadian facts. I did not realize that you had any deserts up there. Vacationing in Vancouver and then Vancouver Island will always bring back fond memories for me. Seeing Niagra Falls from both sides of the border was also memorable. I would love to visit more of Canada someday.

Kitty Fields from Summerland on April 26, 2018:

Recently visited Whistler and Vancouver, and I have to say, I feel like I should've been born and lived in Canada! Love the people and culture there.