Happy 150 Canada!



Canada is the new kid on the block so to speak, but we have charm, manners, and taken up the challenge of celebrating our 150th Birthday with gusto. And quite a few books. One such celebration of Canada in print is “Now You Know Canada: 150 Years of Fascinating Facts” by Doug Lennox. Unfortunately, Doug has passed away and does not get to celebrate Canada’s 150th with us on in this cosmos, but I am sure he will be waving a flag in whatever corner of the ether he happens to inhabit.

First of all, I want to wish all of you a Happy Canada Day and a Happy 150th birthday. In order for you to be just a little more cognisant of this great nation of ours, I am going to share a few facts I found fascinating via all the hard work Mr. Lennox went to in completing his book. I warn you that I did not find all of his facts fascinating—especially since he spent over half of the book talking about sports—from hockey (of course) to basketball (which a Canadian invented) to curling and the Olympics. I am sure that many of you find sports fascinating (as in captivating, interesting, absorbing and enthralling), so, for those of you sports aficionados out there, I share these bits and pieces randomly chosen for your reading pleasure:

“Lacrosse is Canada’s official national sport of summer, while Canada’s official national sport of winter is ice hockey.”

The first Canadian woman to win an Olympic gold in skating as well as having a doll created in her image was Barbara Ann Scott.

Hockey player extraordinaire, Jean Beliveau was offered the post of governor general (which he declined). According to Lennox, he was “one of the greatest hockey players ever to lace on a pair of skates.” Okay, I have completed the required sports portion of this programming. For more read pages 82-191.

A few other fascinating facts you can recite at any barbeques or parties you may attend this coming weekend:

The official motto of Canada is “A Mari usque ad Mare”. For those of you who did not take Latin the phrase means “From Sea to Sea”, taken from Psalm 72:8 – “And he (the King) shall have dominion also from sea to sea…”

Red and White are the colours of Canada not because they gently depict a nation that loves Christmas, but because King George V wanted to honour “the gallant sacrifice made by his Canadian subjects” in the First World War. Red represents the blood they shed, and white represents the bandages associated with their wounds.

The beaver is not our only national animal. So is the Canadian horse. As of 2002 in recognition of the “agricultural traditions and historical origins of the province of Quebec.”

The maple leaf was chosen as “Canada’s national badge” due to a little tour of Canada by the Prince of Wales (who later became King Edward Vll). Apparently “native born Canadians voiced their desire for a badge to wear when welcoming the Prince” and since the English rose, the Scottish thistle, the Welsh leek, Irish shamrock and French lily were already taken, “the maple leaf was adopted.”

The motto of the RCMP is unfortunately not “We always get our man”. (Poor Dudley Do-Right!) It is “Maintiens le Droit”, French for “Uphold the Right”. Still a good motto, but not quite as catchy.

“Wild Goose Jack”, our own Jack Miner garnered a paragraph in the book, though there was no mention of Kingsville. Lennox gave him his due for unlocking “the mysteries of migration routes” and celebrated the fact that he was presented with the Order of the British Empire in 1943 by King George Vl.

Literary trivia is always a must in my columns. Only two Canadians have won the Nobel Prize for Literature, and it is very gratifying that one is a man and one is a woman. Saul Bellow from Quebec won in 1976, and Alice Munroe in 2013. And the bestselling book by a Canadian author? Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery, published in 1908. It has sold more than 50 million copies. How much more Canadian can you get than Anne of Green Gables? Too bad she did not play hockey. (Or did she?)

Now, hum a little “O Canada” and wave that flag! We are 150!

Published in: on June 29, 2017 at 2:18 pm  Comments (3)