Thursday, 2 January 2014

Canada - 10 Facts That Will Freak You Oot


Noun. Late 17th century.
[A Federal State (formerly a British territory) in N.America.]

1 Used attributively to designate things found in or associated with Canada. L17

2 elliptically. A Canada goose. L19


Noun & adjective. Mid-16th century.
[from preceding + -IAN.]

A noun. A native or inhabitant of Canada. M16

B adjective. Or or pertaining to Canada or its people. L17

Canadiana noun plural. publications or other items concerning or associated with Canada. M19

Canadianism noun. (a) Canadian character or spirit; (b) a Canadian idiom or word. L19

Canadianize verb trans. render Canadian in character. E19


Noun & adjective. Feminine Canadienne. Plural pronounced same. Mid-19th century.
[French = preceding.]

(A) French Canadian.
If you're really serious about moving there, you should know where Canada is - this map will help.

Everyone, it seems, wants to emigrate to Canada - especially (and bizarrely) those that have never been there. It's hard to pinpoint the exact nature of this Canadian allure - it's possible that it's because they speak English, and do so in a relatively accessible, easy-to-understand way. Perhaps it's also because Canadians aren't rowdy, loud, oh-so-superior Americans, nor aloof, imperialistic, oh-so-superior British. They're just Canadian - and everyone loves Canadians. In fact, I challenge every reader with the assertion that they have never met an unpleasant Canadian (if you have, you're excluded from this rhetorical assertion). However, so that we're not all packing our thermals and heading off to this Canadian paradise unprepared, Lexicolatry has collated ten essential facts about Canada that, in internet speak, will literally blow your mind. Armed with this information, we can all be that little bit more prepared when we sit down with that friendly Canadian immigration officer to answer why we "want oot" of our own country and into his.

10 Incredible Canadian Facts That Will Literally Explode Your Mind

(after which a lovely Canadian will no doubt apologise for the inconvenience)

1. Canada is the 2nd largest country in the world
At 9,984,670 square kilometres, Canada is big - and we're talking really big; only Russia is bigger.
In fact, Canada is over twice the size of Britain and Ireland ... combined. Yup. It's just that damn big.

2. The capital of Canada is Ottawa
Despite being the world's second biggest country, there seems to be something oddly forgettable about its capital. Is it Montreal? Vancouver? Toronto?
Nope, it's Ottawa. And if you struggle to remember that, learning this simple mnemonic sentence will help: Ottawa is the capital of Canada. Easy.

3. The population of Canada is only 35,000,000
Only thirty-five million? Yes, considering its size, there just aren't very many Canadians. For comparison, the world's biggest country, Russia, has a population of 143 million, and the third biggest, the U.S, has 317 million. Also, relatively little countries like Poland, Spain, the UK and Italy all have populations bigger than that of Canada.

4. The biggest religion in Canada is Roman Catholicism
See Fact 3 on why this is surprising. Well it is. I'm just saying ...

5. Keanu Reeves, Justin Bieber, Jim Carey and Pamela Anderson are all Canadian
But, please, let's not hold this against the country as a whole.

6. Trivial Pursuit is a Canadian invention
Oh yeah! If you're gonna love Canada for no other reason, love it for this.

7. The name 'Canada' comes from an indigenous word meaning 'village'
Canada comes from the Iroquoian word kanata, meaning 'village' or 'settlement'. When the French explorer Jaques Cartier heard this,
he Latinised it and it was eventually applied it to the entire (exceptionally big) territory. Mon dieu!

8. Canada only officially became a country in 1982
Before the passing of The Canada Act 1982, those imperial rotters in Westminster still had the power to legislate in Canada. When Canada politely asked if they could govern themselves, however, Britain graciously ceded power. See? All they had to do was ask. So yes - Canada is a baby; a big, sprawling, maple-flavoured baby.

9. The national sports of Canada are lacrosse and hockey
Lacrosse is the summer sport and ice-hockey is the winter sport. No, it's not a particularly mind-blowing fact, but I originally thought only lacrosse had Canadian national sport status. But no - after I was so rudely corrected by Jingles (see comments below), I had to make this amendment. Anyway, if you're now rather underwhelmed by this fact, just wait until you see fact number 10 - it will blow your flippin' mind ... are you ready? ...

10. Alberta has 50% of the world's supply of bitumen
Some people (scandalously) claim that Canadians are a bit dull. So this fact is just to prove they're not. 50%? Wow. That's a lot of bitumen. Amazing.

A Canada Goose
Photographed by Steve Jurvetson

Armed with this vital information, you are now ready to apply for citzenship. Bonne chance, mon ami!

Are you Canadian?

Have you emigrated to Canada?

Do you know any other Canada-related trivia?

Do tell one and Montreal in the comment box below.


  1. #2 Proves you're really, really good at mnemonics, there, Mr. Lexicolatry.

    My cousin emigrated to Canada for a while, and his biggest complaint seemed to be that the money was "funny colored" (we take our monochrome dollars seriously in the good ol' US). This complaint, along with the weather, was actually enough to send him running back to the States. Who would have thought?

    Speaking of money, here's my Canadian trivia: the one-dollar coin has a picture of a loon (a waterbird for those who aren't enthusiasts). The coin is therefore referred to as a "loonie." In interest of consistency, the two-dollar coin is therefore referred to as a "toonie."

    And for that bit of Canadian randomness, you are most sincerely welcome.

    1. That mnemonic is guaranteed to work, Katie, just so long as you're willing to put the time in to learn it.

      And that was wonderfully random, Katie - just how I like my trivia.

    2. Keep up the instructional level and they'll probably invite you as a guest lecturer to Harvard. They seem to lack some memorization skills there:

      (You're welcome.)

    3. Ha! Brilliant video! And, yes, there is something satisfying about watching Harvard students squirm. They need my mnemonic!

      *Harvard* - call me. We'll work out the details of my two-week, moderately-exorbitant training programme and I'll have those Canada-shy boffins up to speed in no time (well, in two weeks). And it's not just the Ottawa mnemonic I'm offering - there are plenty more where that came from.

  2. I'm starting o see Canda's allure as I hear how good their healthcare system is compared to the one here. Also, I never hear of horrid crimes taking place in Canada. Also, they use the metric system. Also,... Ah well you get the point!

    1. See? Everyone wants to move there! It's the incredible Canadian mystique ...

  3. I have a dream... A dream of the first day of time itself, the first time the sun started glowing warmly on the mountain tops, valleys and stream of yes, Canada.
    It is not because of the People or that they speak The Queens.. It is Purely, (satisfying smile right now) because , and that is the word...Purely or pure... I'm not even going to look it up ( you can Ed and let me know, I'm going to explain from the heart my definition) and see what it means,
    In my mind and heart I have the thoughts and feelings of....... Something Clean, Untouched by Man, without Defilement or infected by US ( I mean us, and not The U.S) kind of. Anyway, yes I have never been, but dream of going...aaahhhhh

    I love Nature and Wildlife, and people too, maybe that's why Canadians are well liked, because they seem to have a real pride in their up keep and maintenance of their beautiful Country.

    1 day I will go to this awe inspiring Land and hopefully give it the Respect it Demands


    1. Yes, Mr T! This is the kind of passion that Canada evokes. And I think you touched on a very pertinent point about the Canadian people - yes, they are a proud people, and they do have a pride in their land, but it's not an in-your-face, we're-better-than-everyone-else kind of pride. It's somehow more inclusive, more accepting, more balanced, and less irksome than other types of more extreme national pride.

      I haven't ever been either, but I will.

    2. It's a date so.....
      You ever want a Buddy, Chum, Pal, Mate to go with, I'm your man.
      Call me!

  4. I emigrated to Canada in the early 1980's.
    It is a wonderful place to live, but like a lot of other countries, it's not perfect!
    That includes our healthcare system.
    Waiting lists are horrendous - I personally had to wait 7 months for an MRI!
    I have also come across many unpleasant Canucks (Canadians)! But on the whole, they're good people!

    It was delightful to see you featuring "Canada" Eddie, but I do have to correct you on #9!
    As of 1994, the national sport has been shared by both lacrosse and ice hockey.
    Hockey is our National Winter Sport, and Lacrosse our National Summer Sport.

    Just a wee bit more trivia!
    - About 90% of Canada’s population is concentrated within 160 kilometers (100 miles) of the Canada/US border. I'm one of the 10% north of that!
    - We like to finish a sentence with the word eh!

    And this one - I have no idea where they the figures are from, but -
    - 32% percent of Canadians are very happy, 55% are quite happy. Not bad, eh! :)

    1. Yeah, waiting lists suck - I was put on a 9 month waiting list for an MRI, but fortunately (or unfortunately?) I was bumped up to the elite emergency list and so got it within a month.

      And (sighs) - yes, you're right - hockey *is* apparently one of the national sports (that's the last time I trust *that* source). The fact has been updated, although it's no longer particularly interesting, but thanks for pointing that out : o )

      And that is interesting about the population - I suppose it's a bit like Australia in that regard: enormous country, but relatively little living (or lived-in) space.

  5. As a Canadian, this post made me lol.

    I left Canada to come to Ireland and would be one of the first to say it's not perfect. I know a lot of Canadians who are jerks (mostly Torontonians), but it's great that everyone has this view of us as nice people - makes it very easy to travel :)

    I think the Irish are viewed in a similar light. Probably why my husband and I get along so well.

    OK a bit of Canadian trivia: a Canadian invented basketball, poutine is our unofficial national dish and Alberta is known as the Texas of Canada.

    Great post!

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it, Janinel!

      And thank you for the extra trivia ...poutine (having checked its Wikipedia entry) looks ... umm ... different, and I promise if I ever make it to Canada I'll give it try!

      And I say that Texas is the Alberta of the US ... just to ... y'know ... mix it up a bit.