Facts Every American Should Know About Canada

Canada is a really amazing place, and there are many facts you may not know about our northern neighbors. Even though their national animal isn’t as cool as the bald eagle, the country has bragging rights to other pretty amazing things. You won’t believe which sports got their starts in Canada or the type of food that Canadians eat more than anyone else in the world…

Numerous Celebs Threatened To Move To Canada If Trump Was Elected

Several celebrities were so frightened of a Trump administration that many threatened to move to Canada if the former Apprentice star won the presidency. Most have stuck around nearly a year after he won the election. Former Daily Show host Jon Stewart promised he’d be “getting in a rocket and going to another planet, because clearly this planet’s gone bonkers.” Others who promised to move to Canada: singer Barbara Streisand, actor Bryan Cranston, author Stephen King, and actor and comedian Keegan-Michael Key. He told TMZ he would definitely move to Canada: “It’s like, 10 minutes from Detroit; that’s where I’m from. My mom lives there. It’d make her happy, too.”

The Prime Minister Doesn’t Have To Be Born In Canada

The head of the Canadian government is the Prime Minister (the equivalent to the President of the United States). To become Prime Minister, he or she must be the leader of the political party that wins the most seats in the House of Commons during a federal election. The Prime Minister is very strong and has long-reaching powers. He or she appoints the majority of the high-ranking officials in the government. The Prime Minister also controls the MPs in the House by telling them what bills to introduce and how to vote. The current Prime Minister of Canada is Justin Trudeau.

Canada Is The Reason Our White House Was Burned

Britain-ruled Canada beat the United States in the War of 1812, even though some Americans believe they won the war. The American objective during the war was to take over Canada, which back then was known as British North America. The British army’s goal was to stop America from doing so. The United States had the same amount of northern territory along the Canadian/United States border both before the war and afterward (not counting Alaska, which was purchased from Russia). Meanwhile, the British set fire to the White House in retaliation for American attacks against Ontario. The White House was then occupied by President James Madison and his wife Dolley.

Their Side Of Niagara Falls Is More Beautiful

When visiting Niagara Falls, it’s clear that the Canadian side is much more dramatic. They possess Horse Shoe Falls, which is photographed much more than the American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls and, let’s face it, is much more interesting. Niagara Falls is linked to the United States by the Rainbow Bridge. There are actually three waterfalls that border Ontario, Canada, and New York, United States. Horseshoe Falls is the most powerful waterfall in North America. Fun fact: During the day, over six million cubic feet of water travels over the crest of the falls every single minute.

Saint-Louis-Du-Ha! Ha! Is A Real City

The city is the only place in the world to have two exclamation points in its name. The municipality is located in Quebec near the south shore of the Saint Lawrence River. There are approximately 1,318 residents, and its economy is primarily based on agriculture. So what’s up with the strange name? The word “ha ha” in the 17th century meant unexpected obstacles. In this town, the obstacle was Lake Témiscouata. The Louis may refer to colonist Louis Marquis. The motto of Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha! is “Solidaire dans le labeur,” which mean, “Solidarity in work.” Its current mayor is Louiselle Ouellet.

Santa Claus Is A Canadian Citizen

Canada claims that Santa Claus is one of its citizens. Anyone who mails a letter to the North Pole, regardless of language, will receive a response. According to the Canada Post: “Postal elves are busy helping Santa reply to each and every letter that has a return address.” These elves will answer all 1.5 million letters that people write to Santa Claus each year (even in Braille). There has been some back-and-forth about which country actually owns the rights to the North Pole, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated in 2016: “Everybody knows the North Pole is in Canada.”

The Queen Of England Is Just A Figurehead

Canada has a queen — Queen Elizabeth II, the queen of England. But she’s not the country’s national leader, she’s a figurehead. Technically, she’s the Sovereign of the parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy of Canada. She is featured on some of their money, but she has absolutely no influence on the country’s politics. However, Canada’s ministers, legislators, military, public servants, and police officers swear allegiance to the Queen. She and her representatives, including other members of the royal family, visit the country on occasion and take part in various ceremonies and events. She and the the governor general can grant immunity and pardon any offenses against the Crown.

They Have Provinces, Not States

Canada has provinces instead of states, as well as three territories. There are 10 provinces: Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, and Saskatchewan (whereas the United States has 50 states). Some of the provinces were formerly British colonies, while Quebec (where French is spoken by the majority of residents) was a French colony. The three territories are Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Yukon. The provinces are governed by the federal government and provincial governments. The territories operate under the Parliament of Canada. Each province has a lieutenant governor, and each territory has a commissioner.

Manitoba Has The Highest Concentration Of Snakes In The World

The province of Manitoba has the highest concentration of snakes on Earth. Each spring, around 70,000 snakes, most of which are red-sided garter snakes, come of of hibernation. Thousands of them gather at the Narcisse Snake Dens. It’s the biggest gathering of snakes around the world. The climate and geology in Manitoba create perfect conditions for the garter snakes to live and breed. Amazingly, the area has turned into a tourist destination. After they mate, they spend the summer in nearby marshes. In 1999, thousands died when they were unable to reach their winter dens because they were killed after crossing Highway 17.

Canada Has Two Million Lakes

Canada has more lakes than the rest of the world does all together. Canada is the second largest country in the world, and 50 percent of Earth’s natural lakes are located there. About 9 percent of the country contains fresh water lakes. About 31,752 lakes are larger than three square kilometers, and 561 lakes (including the Great Lakes), contain surface areas that are larger than 100 square kilometers. It’s estimated that the country has a total of two million lakes. One of its most beautiful lakes is Joffre Lakes located in Pemberton, British Columbia. They are fed by glaciers and are a stunning blue color.

Canada Technically Held The First Game Of Baseball In 1838

About three weeks before Alexander Doubleday was credited with playing the first game of baseball, a similar game was played just outside of Toronto, Ontario. The game was played in Beachville on June 4, 1838. This fact is supported by many Canadians as well as the staff at the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in St. Marys, Ontario. They claim the first documented game of modern baseball took place in Beachville. However, it’s unclear whether the rules of that particular game were later incorporated by other regions. The first recorded rules were set for a team called the Knickerbockers, based in NYC.

Their National Animal Is A Rodent

Canada’s national animal is the beaver, which is a nocturnal rodent that builds lodges, canals and dams. The beaver is the second largest rodent in the world, but its presence in North America has dropped over the years due to hunting. It was designated the country’s national animal because it was very important during the fur trade and Canada’s economy. It appeared on its first postage stamp in 1849. The beaver is also a symbol for many groups in the country, including the Toronto Police Services and Canadian Military Engineers. It is featured on five-cent coins, and represents Canada’s colonial roots.

The Country Has The World’s Only Polar Bear Prison

About 15,500 of the world’s 25,000 polar bears live in Canada. The town of Churchill in Manitoba sometimes has more polar bears than people and boasts the only polar bear prison in the world. The bears enter the town in droves during certain times of the year because it’s in the midst of their winter migration route towards Hudson Bay. Animals who keep returning to the town are put in the jail, which contains 28 cells. During winter, around 20 bears a day can be spotted in Churchill, the “polar bear capital of the world.” About 800 people live there year round.

They Celebrate Thanksgiving In October

In Canada, they celebrate Thanksgiving on the second Monday in October (compared to the United States, which is the fourth Thursday in November). Thanksgiving has been an annual holiday since 1879. While the date is different than their neighbors to the south, Canadians celebrate the holiday much like Americans. They often dine on turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, squash, and pumpkin pie. They also feast on baked ham and apple pie as well as numerous regional dishes, including wild game and salmon. The Canadian Football League also holds a game during the holiday. The Canadian Thanksgiving coincides with Columbus Day in the United States.

Not Everyone Speaks French

Some Canadians speak French, but not all of them do. Only about 30 percent of Canadians have working knowledge of French. Conversely, over 85 percent have a working knowledge of English. About 20 percent of the population in Canada considers French to be their mother tongue. Most of these native speakers, i.e., francophones, live in Quebec, where French is the official language. Ninety-five percent of Quebec’s population speak French as either their first or second language. New Brunswick is officially a bilingual province, and other regions such as Manitoba and Ontario have a small number of french-speaking residents.

One Of Its National Parks Is Larger Than Switzerland

Some of Canada’s national parks are huge. In fact, a few of them are larger than countries. For example, Wood Buffalo National Park in Alberta is bigger Switzerland and is the second largest national park in the world. The park is the biggest in Canada and is located in northeastern Alberta in the southern Northwest Territories. The government established the park in 1922 to protect bison. There are approximately 5,000 bison living their today. The park is also one of only two known areas that contain whooping crane nesting sites. The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada designated it a dark-sky preserve in 2013.

They Have Significantly Fewer Homicides

In 2015, there were 15,696 murders in the United States. Compare that to Canada, which had only 604 homicides. In fact, Baltimore, Maryland, alone had 344 homicides that year. According to the FBI, the number of murders rose 10.8 percent across the United States in 2015. Richard Rosenfeld, a criminology professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, and an expert on crime trends, told the New York Times, “We are facing a one-year rise in murders that is quite substantial — the largest in about half a century.” Of course, Canada has a population of just of 36 million compared to the United States, which has 323 million.

They Spell Words Differently

Canadians often use British English to spell words, adding the letter “U” to words such as: honour, valour, neighbour and colour. Other examples of British spelling include substituting a “C” for in “S,” such as in the word defence. As for the alphabet, they pronounce the final letter as “zed” not “zee.” Essentially, American English tends to focus on simple, pronunciation-based words, while British English prefers to spell words as they originally appeared. For example, Americans will write “check” while the British and Canadians will write “cheque.” Other examples include the words apologise, organise, recognise, which in American English would replace the “S” with a “Z.”

Their National Sport Is Lacrosse, Not Hockey

Believe it or not, many Canadians have never played hockey. Some don’t even like it. While Canada is well known for hockey, the country’s national sport is actually lacrosse. The sport originated in North America and was played by Aboriginals. In 1859, the country declared it the National Game of Canada. It was invented in the 1850s and adopted by middle-class people in Montreal after observing Aboriginal people playing “baggataway,” which involved hundreds of players. The sport became popular nationwide by the 1880s. A decade later, it was the most popular summer game in Canada. Pro leagues were established in the 1900s.

They Eat A Lot Of Doughnuts

Canadians are obsessed with doughnuts, and Canada has more doughnut shops per capita than any other country in the world. One of their most famous brands is the 50-year-old coffee-and-doughnut chain called Tim Hortons. They started selling hamburgers before transitioning to doughnuts, selling them for 10 cents in 1964. The shop is huge in Canada, making up 75 percent of the baked goods and coffee market and 25 percent of all fast food. They have over 4,500 locations. About 15 percent of all Canadians (5.3 million) visit Tim Hortons each day. The first U.S. Tim Hortons opened in 1985 in Amherst, New York.