Monday, January 12, 2009

10 Things To Do When You're Crazy in Canada

When people think of Canada, they generally think of three things: Mounties (they always get their man, wink, wink, nudge, nudge), snow and terminally polite people. I think Voltaire said that Canada was a "few yards of snow", actually it's a few gazillion yards of snow, give or take a gazillion here or there, in the winter anyway. And all that snow can drive one crazy. So to lighten the load of insanity while in Canada in the winter, you can try the following things:
  1. Go up to a Mountie, grab his stetson hat and try to run away with it (this could get you arrested but remember, you are crazy now)
  2. Go the the Governor General's official residence in Ottawa (and having a Governor General who represents a foreign Head of State, the British Queen, is crazy in and of itself). The residence is guarded by guys in red outfits (I'm pretty sure they're mounties) who are like the Queen's guards - they don't move a fraction, don't react to anything. Go up to one and try to tickle one. See if there's any reaction. (still you might be arrested, but your mantra is "I am crazy in Canada now").
  3. Refuse to speak anything other than French in the province of Alberta (of course, you might not survive the experience)
  4. Give your inner dork full rein to say "eh" after every sentence. Go to the Ottawa Valley to get the "authentic" Canadian accent used by Bob and Doug Mackenzie from the Great White North. Funny, this is the only place in Canada with a Canadian accent. Most of the rest of us speak normally.
  5. Elect a government only to have it overthrown in a bloodless, constitutionally-backed coup because the political system is whacked. 
  6. Be a true polar bear. When the snow is five feet deep and you happen to have an open body of water nearby, take a refreshing dip in the water. Ensure you have those electric paddle things to bring you back to life on hand.
  7. Drive on the 401 Highway (busiest highway in North America) through Toronto in a snowstorm. Watch the bug-eyed people leaning forward in their seats so far their teeth marks decorate the steering wheel. Canadians afraid of the snow - who knew??
  8. Throw yourself down a triple black diamond ski run in the Rocky Mountains, preferably with no experience in skiing. See how fast you can go before you hit a huge mogul and go flying off into the wild blue yonder. That or be a member of the Canadian National Super G ski team aka The Crazy Canucks.
  9. Even though the temperature is 40 degrees below zero on the Fahrenheit scale (about the same as -40 degrees Celsius), go about your daily routine wearing jeans, a jean jacket, t-shirt and sneakers. Cold? There is no cold!! Bah, crazy Canucks spit in the face of cold! P-too! Sorry, I didn't hit you, did I??
  10. If you happen to be a mayor of a large Canadian city (cough, c...Toronto, cough. Did you hear anything?? Not me.) and your city gets under four feet of snow (119 cm), then call the Army to clear the streets of snow. Really, the sheer nerve of Mother Nature.
So now you have some idea of what you can do in Canada in varying situations. 

Fun, eh? Okay, okay, stop rolling your eyes.


Sun Singer said...

On my last trip to Alberta, I never once heard anyone say "eh."

Kind of discouraging, I thought.


Brooke London said...

Well, Malcolm, using 'eh' is a bit of a stereotype. In Alberta, they don't tend to use the word 'eh'. In my experience, it's more of an Eastern Canada thing (ie. Ontario (province where Toronto is located) and points further east.
So if you want to hear "eh" in Canada, you will need to visit Ontario, Quebec or the Maritime provinces. The use of "eh" can happen anywhere in Canada, but mostly in the Eastern half.
Sorry to disappoint. You'll just need to make another trip up here sometime (preferably in the summer) and someone is bound to say "eh".

Anonymous said...

I regret not making sure I convinced someone in my tour group to take a photo of myself with a Mountie while travelling in Canada in '96. I had a 'a Ned Flanders moment'(years before I encountered Ned in the Simpsons): was just about to go to next feature on itinerary, the Mountie had humoured several requests in a row and I was "too darned nice" to pester him for one more. D'oh! :)