Friday, March 28, 2008

87 reasons to love Canada

1. Polar bears. Big, white, beautiful.
2. The anti-gun rack. In which our pickup trucks carry umbrellas, not automatic weapons.
3. McIntosh apple. That sweet crunch was brought to you by Ontario's Johnny (Appleseed) McIntosh, in 1796.
4. Salmon. Our iconic survivor.
5. Greenpeace. For raising global environmental consciousness, and for saving whales.
6. Agnes McPhail. Here's to the leader of the pack: The first woman elected to Parliament, in 1921.
7. Bill Reid. World-renowned Haida artist and touchstone of a vibrant, cherished native culture.
8. Perogies. Smothered with butter, fried onions and sour cream. Thank you, old country.
9. The Canadian Shield. Impenetrable and massive, this central Canadian layer of igneous rock and coniferous forest is our protective shell.
10. Snow. Because we can't control it. And can't stop talking about it.
11. The Maple Leaf. Our flag, bold and graphically spare, makes the heart swell.
12. Arthur Erickson. He lives in a backyard Eden, but his buildings are all business, stark and purposeful.
13. Melting pot. Our ethnic soup does not always make for a smooth multicultural mix, but mostly it works.
14. Bay Street. Because Wall Street needs an evil twin.
15. Cougar. King of the Canadian jungle.
16. Howie Mandel. Obsessive-compulsive, bald, funny. The real deal.
17. The Carmanah Giant. Because no one grows trees like we do.
18. Canola. Good for us, and good for the Prairies.
19. Canadian bacon. Make fun if you will, as long as you serve it crisp.
20. Bonnie Fuller. Exclusive! The globe's No. 1 tabloid trash queen.
21. Quiet pride. We wear patriotism on our backpacks, where it should be.
22. Hudson's Bay point blanket. Warm, fuzzy symbolism for 226 years.
23. Beer. There are just some things we do better.
24. Michael Smith. He's gone, but the legacy of his biotechnical UBC work and his Nobel Prize for chemistry live on.
25. The Laurentians. Our coat of many colours.
26. Red serge. Our cops, from the musical ride to that sexy uniform, are standouts.
27. Newfoundland. Cod, screech, seal pups, that third official language. We love the Rock.
28. Narwhal. Think about it. A unicorn. In the ocean. Awesome.
29. William and Harry. Because they are real royalty, and hotties to boot.
30. Kim Campbell. Our first and only female prime minister. Swished her hips and took no prisoners.
31. Prairie wheat. The staff of life. Picturesque cash crop. For miles and miles.
32. Conrad Black. For marrying smart, and loving newspapers.
33. Maple syrup. Without which pancakes would just be a stack of fried flour.
34. Rideau Canal. Ice, skates, twinkle lights, hot chocolate. Norman Rockwell lives.
35. Bushes and boulders. Deserts, glaciers, sea shores, tropical forests, rivers, mountains, lakes, plains. Talk about having it all under one roof.
36. Todd McFarlane. He illustrated Spider-Man, spawned Spawn and bought that Mark McGwire baseball.
37. Giant pumpkins. Nova Scotia's Howard Dill had an idea. It grew to 1,446 pounds.
38. Canada Dry Ginger Ale. Invented by Toronto chemist John A. McLaughlin in 1907.
39. Manners. Some call us conservative. We call us polite.
40. Terry Fox. For still giving cancer a run for the money, 25 years on.
41. Water. We have it. Crisp, clean, cold. Lots of it.
42. 32 Million. Because we could all move to California, and there'd still be room to roam.
43. Grey Owl. The controversial self-adopted native Indian redeemed himself with a devotion to conservation.
44. Niagara Falls. Spectacular doesn't begin to describe them.
45. Alex Trebek. Who is that sophisticated, stalwart Jeopardy wrangler?
46. Trivial Pursuit. In which two Canadian journalists turn question-asking into early retirement.
47. William Shatner. Earth to Captain Kirk: you rock our world.
48. Eh. Say it loud. Say it proud.
49. Francophones. There'd be no Canada without them.
50. Pysanka. Vegreville's giant roadside Ukrainian Easter egg, proof positive that we have a sense of humour.
51. Paul Watson. Modern-day pirate. For making environmental waves.
52. Toronto Blue Jays. For putting world in the World Series.
53. Spotted owl. For shining a light on the creatures in the trees. And because we think Jack Munro once ate one for breakfast.
54. The border. An 8,891-kilometre room divider.
55. Lake of the Woods. 14,542 islands, 65,000 miles of shoreline. Now that's cottage country.
56. Peter Gzowski. Proof that a journalist can attract more flies with honey than vinegar.
57. Sour toe cocktail. And you think it was gold that put the Yukon on the map.
58. Mike Holmes: For those biceps and for teaching us the meaning of home renovation caveat emptor.
59. The Friendly Giant. Before Bert and Ernie, there was Jerome and Rusty and that little chair to rock in.
60. Grizzly bear. Big, brown and beautiful.
61. Farley Mowat. The Dog Who Wouldn't Be. Never Cry Wolf. The Boat Who Wouldn't Float. A Whale For The Killing. 'Nuff said.
62. The Rockies. Because every country needs a backbone.
63. Ken Read. For carving the path to Olympic downhill dominance, and for putting the crazy in Canuck.
64. Steve Nash. Here's to the little guy who made it in the basketball bigs.
65. Winnipeg. Mosquitoes, wind, sub-zero winters and pancake horizon, yet 700,000 of us seem to like it.
66. Canadian brain: From plastic garbage bags to goalie masks, from basketball to the Jolly Jumper, we have given the world more than one million inventions.
67. Blue $5, purple $10. No monochromatic greenbacks for us. Our money is funny.
68. Blame Canada. Terrorists. Blackouts. Social liberalism. Thanks, South Park. It's fun to be the scapegoat.
69. Sturgeon. That last of the living dinosaurs.
70. Que Pasa. North of the border, these Vancouver-made tortilla chips are simply the best.
71. Newt Suit. When you're safe and dry, 1,000 feet under the sea, tip your tank to Vancouver's Phil Nuytten.
72. Four Seasons. From sea to shining sea, a lovely ever-changing national mood swing.
73. Democracy. One free vote. Priceless.
74. Simon Fraser. For charting our borders, and taking on those rapids.
75. Beaver. Because, as a national symbol, the eagle is just so obvious.
76. Moose. Improbable forest titan. With quite the rack.
77. Ken Taylor. His Canadian caper while ambassador in Iran -- securing the release of six U.S. hostages from Tehran in 1979 -- still carries bragging rights.
78. Highway signs. Green and white and read all over. Easily.
79. Brent Carver. For his Broadway turn, and his Tony, in Kiss of the Spider Woman.
80. Dinosaurs. No, not Ralph Klein, but the paleontological pile of bones in Drumheller's Royal Tyrrell Museum.
81. Ken Thomson. For his business smarts, and for donating $300-plus million worth of art to our museums.
82. Jim Carrey. Must be something in the water, because we breed the funniest comedians. Ever.
83. Canada. It's easy to spell. It means village. What's not to like?
84. 139 candles. Because our future is so bright we should be wearing shades.
85. Three Days Grace
86. Finger Eleven
87. Hot singers like Adam Gontier of Three Days Grace, born in Norwood, Ontario, Canada on May 21, 1979.

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