Ah, Canada Day. God save the Queen … and after Brexit, maybe the whole damn United Kingdom.
There’ll be parades today, hot dogs, kids on bikes, a shrill seven notes from an overabundance of bagpipers marching slowly, steadily toward you, like the Scottish Walking Dead, and bright red maple leaves flying everywhere.
In American backyards, on their July holiday, people light up a couple thousand dollars’ worth of high-octane fireworks happily sold to them by American Indians. Ironic?
But at 149 years old, Canadians deserve to celebrate. Here’s my list of the Top Ten most unique things about Canada.
10 — 5-pin bowling
A truly Canadian sport. Balls without holes. Pins on string. And three rolls. A less dramatic version of real bowling, which involves 10 pins and an adult ball. If the Coen Brothers had made the movie “The Big Lebowski” in Canada, it would have been called “Little Lebowski.”
9. — Quantum Computing
Canada leads the world in the use of subatomic particles to process complex calculations more quickly. If you want to know more about quantum computing, ask our Prime Minister
8 — Dinosaur bones
When archeologists get together, it’s never in Hilda, Alberta. But that’s where you’ll find the world’s largest bed of horned dinosaur bones. Thousands of bones clumped together suggests several horned dino herds drowned in the fast rising waters of a tropical storm.
As an aside, a super-majority of Canadians accept the concept of evolution. Even more of us believe Bigfoot is real.
7 — Legalized same-sex marriage
While other nations floundered with the most important civil rights struggle of this century — same-sex marriage — Canada figured it out in 2005. It took the U.S. another decade.
6 — Caesars
Canadians are not boring and we will not abide a blah-meh Bloody Mary. We add Worcestershire and tabasco, maybe lime and a stalk of celery, or, if you’re lucky, a fat dill pickle.
5 — Mike Myers
We could name a long list of famous Canadian comedians, but why not single out Myers, the mastermind behind the Austin Powers vs. Dr. Evil trilogy of movies? Scottie, Noooo. On the other hand, we also gave Justin Bieber to the world.
4 — Election spending limits
When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Citizens United, it opened a Pandora’s Box of shady campaign financing practices south of the border. But Canada has spending limits on federal elections that restrict political donations and third party advertisements. Thank goodness.
3 — Neptune
Not the planet. But the University of Victoria research project hailed as one of humankind’s most ambitious scientific endeavors. With Ocean Networks Canada in 2007, UVic created a large-scale underwater observatory. More than 800 km of power cables and fibre optics span the northern region of the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate, collecting data down to 2,660m, allowing ocean scientists around the world to do long-term research via the Internet.
2 — Variable gravity
Forget the latest fad diet. There’s only one sure way to lose weight in this life: move to Hudson Bay. Due to the Bay area’s unique geology, gravity exerts less force here. A 150-pound person willing to put up with extreme cold and sleep year-round with those colorful blankets will enjoy about a one-tenth of an ounce more spring in their step.
Scientists don’t all agree why a part of Canada has less gravity, but it’s likely either due to mantle rocks flowing down toward the Earth’s core, or because glaciers pushed them aside during the Ice Age. Or maybe it’s magic.
1 — Ketchup Chips
You can’t get them anywhere else. And they turn your finger tips red. And that reminds us of the big maple leaf in our flag.
Happy birthday, Canada