I have quite a few new writer friends on Twitter and Facebook and as we interacted over the past few days it became abundantly clear that, while I was no walking encyclopedia on American culture, that there were quite a few things that my friends south of the border were oblivious to when it came to my home and native land. So, on the day in which the CFL will award the 100th Grey Cup I present to you…
Canadian Stuff! (Eh?)
There are tons of better links for this stuff, but for simplicity I’m pointing to Wikipedia. I’ve skimmed each article at a minimum for authenticity and it’s all more or less right. We’re not handing this in to be marked so we’ll call it good enough.
Canada’s national anthem is O Canada, from which I pilfered a line for my intro:
Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command.
You can hear this anthem played most often at the Winter Olympics (the most gold medals won by any Winter Olympics host country ever) and before just about every sporting event played across the country. It’s also played every morning in schools and before other ceremonies and events.
The Grey Cup
This beauty is being handed out for the 100th time today and is the trophy awarded to the championship team of the Canadian Football League (CFL). Along with the Stanley Cup it is made of silver and has engravings of all the teams and player names to whom it has been awarded. At one time there were American teams in the CFL but this lasted only a few years. It was long enough for the Baltimore Stallions to become the only non-Canadian team to every win the trophy. Interestingly enough, the front page of Wikipedia has the Grey Cup as its featured article today.
|Wikipedia Main Page on November 25, 2012|
|Canada and Its Provinces & Territories|
These are knit or otherwise warm hats to wear on your head, mostly because from November to March many parts of Canada are freaking cold. In what has become an iconic image, Jose Theodore of the Montreal Canadiens donned a tuque during an outdoor NHL game.
|Hockey Player Wearing a Tuque During and Outdoor NHL Game|
Serviettes & Chesterfields & Verandas
I just like to use these words to screw with my American friends. They are less common now and likely have British etymology but you can still hear them when you’re out and about (oot and aboot) on the mean (i.e. cold) streets of Canada (for the record these things are napkins, couches, and porches).
There’s not much to be said about poutine that hasn’t already been said. It’s a traditional Quebec fast food made with french fries and cheese curds and topped with brown gravy. It’s a heart attack on a plate and it’s freaking amazing.
A “hoser” is a derogatory term coined by the comedy duo of Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas during their segment “Great White North” on SCTV. Another common stereotypical catch phrase they used was “Take off, eh?” Bob & Doug Mackenzie were the personas on the show and the two made a full length feature film in 1983 called Strange Brew. They have also recorded several songs, most notably “Take Off” featuring Geddy Lee of RUSH and “The 12 Days of Christmas“.
So there you have it, some good old fashioned Canadiana to get you ready for the Grey Cup. For some more really interesting tidbits of information our good man Coupland did a couple coffee table books on the subject: Souviner of Canada and Souvineer of Canada 2.
Oh, and speaking of tidbits, that reminds me of Timbits and our (unofficial) national coffee shop Tim Horton’s. You can find these scattered all across the country in more than locations than any other food services company, more than doubling McDonald’s. A coffee with two sugars and two cream is affectionately referred to as a “Double Double”.
|Tim Horton’s in Stratford, Ontario (home of Justin Bieber)|
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to sit on my chesterfield eating poutine and drinking a double double, after which I will wipe my face with my serviette, sweep off my veranda (located in Ontario) while wearing a tuque and singing O Canada, before I watch the Grey Cup with a bunch of hosers I met during the Terry Fox Run, eh?