Ah, Canada. Situated north of the US border, it’s the northernmost country in the Americas. Technically, Greenland is further north, but that’s politically and socially more commonly associated with Denmark and Europe, so it doesn’t count. Canada’s population is around 37 million, which puts it far, far below that of the United Kingdom despite the massive difference in landmass area. Its capital is Ottawa, and its currency is Canadian dollars.
If you already knew all of that, then this list is for you. We present to you today 8 fun, off-the-beaten-path facts about Canada which you may not already know. Why not play a little game with us? For every fact you already knew on this list, give yourself a point, and see how many you’ve got at the end. Ready? Here we go.
- Canada is a federal country, sort of like the US
We’re starting out easy and giving you a guaranteed point. Canada’s governmental system is federal, almost like the United States. What this effectively means is that, although there is a national government which decides matters of national significance, government is also partially devolved to regional (or federal) authorities.
This federal system means that several financial and legal functions are unregulated at a national level, instead being delegated to individual provinces to decide. Foreign exchange trading brokers, for example, are subject to federal governmental regulation rather than national scrutiny. Forex trading is still totally legal in Canada, though, and there are plenty of local and international brokers who accept Canadians to choose from.
- The Apology Act
Canada is a former British colony, and its monarch is still Queen Elizabeth II. That might be a little fact you weren’t aware of in itself, eh? Mark yourself half a point if you did know that, and don’t say we’re not generous. One thing Canadians share in common with Brits is their love of the profuse and unprovoked apology. Has someone walked into you in the street? Apologise. Do you exist? Apologise.
This got so bad that in 2009, Canada passed the “Apology Act” at a national level to make apologies inadmissible in court. This is likely because lawyers could use the fact that someone apologised at the scene of a crime to indicate guilt, where in reality it’s more just a national expression of sorrow or regret (usually with no wrongdoing to precede it).
- Crime doesn’t pay…for comic book writers
Many of the world’s most iconic superheroes foil dastardly crimes on a daily basis. Not in Canada they don’t, though. Canada has a law in place which makes depicting crime in comic books illegal. That means that Batman can’t stop a mugging in progress, Superman can’t foil Lex Luthor’s evil plans for world domination, and Venom can’t hold up a random store clerk with his symbiotic tentacles.
This despite the fact that Joe Shuster, the artist responsible for drawing Superman back in the 40s, was Canadian. Never mind, eh? Apparently it’s not a law that’s regularly upheld; many stores sell comic books unbound by legal obligations, and reporting the sale of a comic with crime in it to the police is likely to yield a mighty “we don’t care”.
- Welcoming our extraterrestrial friends
During the 1960s, the world was gripped by space fever as the United States and Russia competed to become the first countries to send a human being into space. We’re not saying that the UFO landing pad in St. Paul, Alberta is a direct response to this, but we’re not ruling it out, either. After all, if we can send humans into space, space can send aliens back to us, right?
The structure weighs around 130 tons, and is constructed from concrete. There’s also a time capsule within the landing pad, which is to be opened in 2067, 100 years after the original opening of the pad. Maybe someday our alien cousins will use it. We can but hope.
- Write me back, Santa
Have you ever wanted to know whether you’re on Santa Claus’ naughty or nice list? Ever write to him as a child only to be cruelly rebuffed without a reply? Now’s your chance to settle the score. It’s possible to write a letter to Santa Claus, and his official address is in Canada. It’s as follows:
H0H 0H0 (get it?)
If you write Santa Claus a letter from literally anywhere in Canada, you will receive a response. The kicker is that it has to be written from Canada (sorry, internationals). Still, that’s a great way to get on his good side, right?
- Canadian music for Canadian people
In response to what must seem like a British and American pop music invasion, Canada’s CRTC (Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission) has decreed that 35-50% of all music content played on Canadian radio must be of Canadian origin.
For English and French-language commercial stations, 35% of musical content broadcast each week must be Canadian music, while CBC and Radio Canada stations must ensure at least 50% of their popular music is Canadian. Arcade Fire fans, rejoice (if you’re not one, you should be).
- Donut be so hasty to judge
Quick – what’s the donut capital of the world? We all know what your answer is, and unfortunately, you’re wrong (which you probably guessed by the fact that this is on our Canada list). It’s actually Canada. There are more donut shops in Canada per capita than anywhere else in the world, so if you were thinking the United States, you’re sadly mistaken.
Another quick point – Canadians actually spell it “doughnut”, the same as the Brits, which makes some sense given their former colony status. Due to the popularity of this sweet treat, many Canadians actually swap their wedding cake for donuts (or doughnuts). Crazy, eh?
- Polar bear prison
The town of Churchill in Manitoba must have a serious polar bear crime epidemic, because the town has a prison for polar bears. It’s a very popular site for the animals, sitting dead in the center of their migration route for the winter.
Don’t worry, though – conditions in the polar bear prison aren’t too harsh. It’s only a holding facility; polar bears can be pretty vicious, and it’s a good safety measure to keep the townspeople of Churchill protected from potential attacks.
We hope this list of Canada facts has enlightened you at least a little. How many points did you score in the end? We didn’t know any of these going into writing this, so we’ve learned something new. How about you?