Happy Birthday, Canada

Canada Day fireworks in Ottawa 2 - google images

Today, in Canada – the true North strong and free – we’re celebrating our 147th birthday! In communities large and small, from sea to shining sea, they’ll be bringing out the huge bakery slab cakes emblazoned with red and white maple leaves. There will be parades, local artists belting out tunes from town centre bandstands, face painting, sack races and everyone waving mini flags and proudly wearing maple leaf T-shirts and hats.

Canada Day Cake - google images

It’s our birthday and though we Canadians have a reputation for being self-deprecating and laid back – always apologizing and saying things like please and thank you and excuse me – we can party down with the best of them. You get what I’m saying – eh?

Here are a few facts about Canada that some of you may have been unaware of – including the Canadians out there.

From 20 interesting facts about Canada

Canada is huge! At 9 984 670 square km and comprised of 6 time zones, you better believe it.

For all you Winnie the Pooh fans – a bear cub named Winnipeg was exported from Canada to the London Zoo in 1915. A little boy named Christopher Robin Milne loved to visit Winnipeg (or Winnie for short) and his love for the bear cub inspired the stories written by his father, A.A. Milne.

Giant Sudbury Nickel - google images

The Big Nickel in Sudbury, Ontario is the world’s largest coin. It is a huge reproduction of a 1951 Canadian nickel and measures 9 meters in diameter.

Canada has a desert. It’s only 15 miles long but it’s the only desert in the world with a long boardwalk for visitors to walk out on. (Desert Centre in Osoyoos, British Columbia)

Osoyoos Desert Centre

From 50 insane facts about Canada

31% of Canada is forest. Where I live that is quite easy to believe.

Bald eagle,near Mt. Washington, British Columbia - by Charles A.E. Brandt

20% of the world’s fresh water is in Canada. Think the Great Lakes and you’ll understand, to say nothing of Manitoba – known as the land of a thousand lakes.

247 car accidents a year in Canada involve a car and a moose. I’m thinking many of these happen in Newfoundland but the mighty moose roams more than one province.

Canada produces 77% of the world’s maple syrup. There’s a reason they sell it in the airport gift shops.

From 10 funny facts about Canada

Canada’s name comes from a misunderstanding between Jacques Cartier and some Iroquois youth who were pointing out a village (for which they used the word “Kanata”). They were actually trying to identify the small area which is present day Quebec City, but Cartier used the similar-sounding word “Canada” to refer to the whole area. Oops!

Narcisse Snake Dens sign

The Narcisse Snake Dens in Manitoba have more snakes in a concentrated area than anywhere else in the world. Tens of thousands of red-sided garter snakes gather there every year. On the other hand, there are no snakes on the island of Newfoundland, at all. I’m thinking maybe St. Patrick made a stop there on his travels.

Wind mills outside Pincher Creek - Bruce Witzel

In 1962, Pincher Creek, Alberta experienced the fastest, biggest temperature change ever recorded in Canada as a result of a Chinook (a warm, dry wind that comes off the Rocky Mountains). The temperature rose from -19C to 22C in just one hour! Hardly enough time to get the long johns off and the bathing suit on.

Between 1984 and 2008, it was illegal to sell pop in cans in PEI. All carbonated drinks had to be purchased in refillable glass bottles. PEI was the only place in North America to have a “can ban.”

Forget the Loch Ness Monster: Canada has its own mysterious lake creature, Ogopogo, who reportedly lives in Lake Okanagan, British Columbia.

Ogopogo - google images

From 13 strange things you didn’t know about Canada

We are home to “Iceberg Alley” where every spring, massive islands of ice break off glaciers in Greenland and parade past the coast of Labrador and Newfoundland. That is definitely on my must-see list.

Iceberg off the coast of Newfoundland - google image

It’s thanks to thousands of kind Canadians that kids around the world get answers to their letters and emails to Santa each year. Canada Post volunteers have answered more than 1 million letters in 30 languages (including braille). They ask that you don’t include cookies, but do include the postal code: HOH OHO.

From 13 awesome things you didn’t know were made in Canada

Sam Bat - google images

Carleton Place makes the world’s best baseball bats – In 2012, more than 100 Major League Baseball players chose to swing Canadian maple wood bats – better known as the “Sam Bat”. Sam Holman, founder of the The Original Maple Bat Corporation, invented the bat by choosing maple wood, a harder wood than the traditionally used ash. So, if you see a professional player with a little logo on their baseball bat, that’s one of the 18,000 sluggers produced each year in Carleton Place, a half-hour from Ottawa.

95% of the world’s lentils are grown in Saskatchewan. Wow – all I can say is wow.

Scarborough makes most of the world’s Halls cough candies. The plant at Bertrand produced more than 6 billion pieces of “medicine” for the U.S. last year – enough that if you lined them side-by-side they would circle the earth at the equator approximately 3.4 times

The Royal Canadian Mint in Winnipeg produces coins for 60 different countries – kroner, peso or centavo, anyone?

Swedish FishHamilton, Ontario makes the world’s Swedish fish. Those chewy Swedish Fish sure weren’t made in Sweden! More than 5 billion of the colourful little candies are produced in Hamilton, Ontario every year – that’s all of the Swedish Fish consumed in North America.


The world’s best cymbals come from New Brunswick. Just ask Rush, Keith Harris of the Black Eyed Peas, the Philadelphia Orchestra and marching bands around the world. The small village of Meductic (population 300), located along the Saint John River in southern New Brunswick produce the SABIAN cymbals which are sold in 120 countries around the world.

Well, there you have it, folks. Canada – we love you – one little, two little, three little Canadians. Who remembers learning that song for Expo ‘67?

Here’s a couple of hashtags to get trending: #CanadaDay and #mycanadais – fill in the blank.

Prince Edward Island is hosting the biggest fireworks display in the country. Marianas Trench is playing on Capitol Hill in Ottawa. Sam Roberts is rocking out in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. The never-ending rain didn’t stop people from forming a massive Canadian flag in Winnipeg. All I can say is, Go Canada.

I’ll leave you with my two favourite little Canada Day celebrants having fun at their local festivies.

Emma & Brit at Canada Day Celebrations

27 comments on “Happy Birthday, Canada

  1. Happy Canada Day! I love all these fascinating facts!

  2. Absolutely love this post. You have brought forth the beauty and history that is Canada’s legacy. I learned a few things, remembered some, and delighted in all of it. Happy Canada Day!

  3. Myke Todd says:

    Such an endearing post this is… I love all things Canadian.
    My best friend lives there.

  4. Gallivanta says:

    Wishing Canada a very Happy Birthday. I am a big fan of Canada even though I have yet to see it for myself. Love all the fun facts. But why did PEI bring back the cans?

    • Good question on the cans – they were certainly onto something in terms of recycling. I think it had to do with pop being smuggled onto the island from outside and then once cans could be recycled – what was the point? It makes for a nice bit of Canadiana trivia.

  5. ygm17 says:

    The best country in the world! Happy Canada Day ❤

  6. avwalters says:

    I grew up with the story of how Canada got its name. I thought it awfully Canadian that, upon discovering the translation error, they didn’t correct it. Much to polite to make a fuss….

    • Right you are – better to just let the misunderstanding ride and Canada is not such a bad name. I once let a guy call me Pam for well over a month because I didn’t want to correct him and let him know he had heard wrong and my name was Fran.

  7. jennypellett says:

    Happy Canada Day! What an interesting post – you are single-handedly flying the flag to promote your wonderfully diverse country – the tourist board should sign you up immediately!

  8. I loved all of the interesting fact, Fran. I hope you had a great time celebrating Canada Day! Did Bruce take the photo of the eagle?

    • The eagle photo was taken by a mentor of Bruce’s, Father Charles Brandt. He is a 92 year-old hermit priest who is still active in environmental work, practices the ancient art of book binding and repairing old texts, loves fly fishing and obviously, takes out of this world photos of wildlife in the area of Oyster River where he lives.

  9. Roy McCarthy says:

    Happy Canada Day! A 2000km long street 😮 Funny, my immediate image of Canada is flat and snowy – far from the reality. I’d have picked Wayne Gretsky as the most recognisable Canadian.

    • Yes indeed – Wayne Gretsky would be right up there. We certainly have a few flat provinces (Saskatchewan comes to mind) and a few cold spots – the Northwest territories, the Yukon and Nunavut. But the vast majority of the population of Canada lives in a band close to the US border – major, world class cities like Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal – all within spitting distance. Canada – a country in search of an identity – we are not American and we are not British – so what are we? A wonderful blend of influences all tempered and sifted through the lens of our 200 plus year association with our First Nations peoples. Ah – to live in Canada is to live many dichotomies.

  10. Wow – so much info and yes, many points I didn’t know about my home. Heading to Osoyoos on Saturday!

    • Have fun in Osoyoos – we spent many fun summer trips there when my dad was alive. He had a beautiful home up on the hill overlooking the lake. If you haven’t visited the Desert Centre it’s a great stop.

  11. Happy Canada Day! Fascinating insights, it’s nice to learn more about your beautiful country.

  12. Wonderful tribute, Fran. Thanks for posting this. Ian came from Scotland and I came from the States to find that this is truly the best country in the world for us. You did a great job of listing so many reasons we love it here.
    Gayle Moore-Morrans

    • Canada is great – I really appreciate the comments from people who have lived in different countries and thus have some real experiences to compare Canada to. I loved the little bit about the baseball bats.

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