Roxanne Tellier: Canada, Eh?

rox lolas May 2014 3

Canada: America’s hat.  51st staters. Canuckleheads. Pile it on, we can take it. The true north proud and free feels no shame.  At least, not on July 1, when we celebrate yet another birthday … she’ll be 147 this year, but like most of a certain age, keeps claiming she’s 29.

Canada map

We have had a love/hate relationship with the United States forever. Understandably; we’re younger. AND we’re prettier. But let me just set one little thing straight – we did not burn down your White House in 1814. The White House WAS burned down in the War of 1812 (the fire actually happened in August of 1814.) but no Canadians were present in the battle; the arsonists were British regulars who crossed the Atlantic and landed in Maryland.  There! Happy now? Can we move past this?

We’re a feisty people. We’re as patriotic of our country and provinces as Americans, we’re just more laid back about it, most of the time. It’s hard to wave a flag when you have a beer in your hand, your arm around a hot Canadian babe, and the Northern Lights as your ceiling.

But it’s possible to get us riled, oh my goodness, yes! In fact, I myself almost wrote a strongly worded letter to the TTC (Toronto Transit Corporation) just the other day! It was touch and go, but a walk through the wooded forests of Scarborough, humming a song from fellow Scarberian Mark Ripp, calmed me right down.

Long, cold winter nights make us less prone to knee-jerk decisions, you see. Heck, we didn’t even officially get our own national flag until February 15, 1965, almost 100 years after we became a country in 1867. No rush, baby, eventually we’ll git ‘er done.

We’ve got little towns and big cities, spread from Cape St Charles, Labrador to Boundary Peak, at the Yukon/Alaska border, and from Cape Columbia, Ellesmere Island, Nunavit to Point Pelee, Ontario. “The furthest straight-line distance that can be travelled to Canadian points of land is between the northwest tip of Ivvavik National Park (at Clarence Lagoon)) and Cripple Cove, NL (near Cape Race) at a distance of 2,785.13 nautical miles (5,158.06 km; 3,205.07 mi).” (wiki)

We’re dreamers, too. Got our own version of the Loch Ness Monster, “Ogopogo,” in British Columbia. Got a secret laboratory in Sudbury, Ontario, where we search for new forces and forms of matter, and it’s the deepest clean laboratory in the world dedicated to this type of work. We built the world’s first UFO Landing Pad in St. Paul, Alberta in 1967. We race bathtubs in Nanaimo, send kids around the world answers to their letters and emails to Santa each year from the postal code HOH OHO, and have the world’s safest highways (for animals) since we built million-dollar highway overpasses in Banff National Park.

nanaimo bathtub

Canadians invented everything from the McIntosh Red apple (1811,) to Pablum (1930;) Standard Time (1878) to the 56K modem (1996;) and the Snowmobile (1937) to the Canadarm (1981.) You can also thank us for the gas mask (1915,) Lacrosse (1860,) and Easy-Off Oven Cleaner (1932,) just to name a few.


And ok, we also brought the world Tourtiere, Beaver Tails, TimBits, Screech, Nanaimo Bars, Labatt Cinquante and Poutine. How New York City invented the CroNut before us, I’ll never know. Life is tough, but we’ve got our sweeties, our sweets and carbs to keep us strong.


We have a disproportionately large amount of successful musicians, comedians and actors, and some of the best entertainment, overall, in the world, although we usually like to make them go someplace else first to make it. Like William Shatner – the Shat – Captain James Tiberius Kirk, commander of the Federation starship USS Enterprise, born in Montreal, Quebec in 1931, still kicking butt and naming names.

People in Montreal think that they live in the centre of the universe, but we Torontonians know that they’re mistaken.

canada as seen by Toronto

We have our language wars, and every now and again, Quebec tells us they’ve had it with our uptight ways and are outta here. We yell and stamp our feet, and say we’d be better off without them, but in the end, we kiss and make up.

just because you are mad you don't stop loving

We battle for sports supremacy within our provinces, cheering on our lacrosse, baseball, basketball, hockey, and two football teams that both call themselves Rough Riders (Saskatchewan and Ontario.) We follow the Olympics, world cups and grey cups and assorted sports bowls. We root for our towns and our cities and our provinces and our country, and wherever we like to think our ancestry lies, but in the end, it’s always about Canada.

Our winters are long and cold, our summers hot and humid, but whether we’re cuddled together in front of a roaring fireplace or on the shores of one of our many lakes, we love sex. Yes we do. Sex of every kind. And we’re not above putting our own religious ideals aside, in order to bring sexual equality to men and women of every persuasion. Our sexual rights are protected under Section Fifteen of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Our LGBT (Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) are some of the most advanced in the Americas and in the world. “There’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation,” said Pierre Trudeau in 1967 (then Justice Minister and Attorney of General of Canada, later our 15th Prime Minister,) and same-sex sexual activity was decriminalized in 1969.

Canada became the first country in the Americas and the fourth country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide on July 20, 2005, after the enactment of the Civil Marriage Act. We are considered one of the most gay friendly countries in the world, right up there with San Francisco. London and Berlin.

In 1969, Trudeau’s Liberal government also decriminalized contraception and allowed abortion under certain circumstances, which lead to abortion activist Dr. Henry Morgentaler opening an abortion clinic in Montreal that same year. And in 1988, The Supreme Court of Canada struck down Canada’s previous abortion law as unconstitutional, and infringing upon a woman’s right to “life, liberty and security of person.”  Oh, we’ve had our share of controversy and sabre rattling, clinics firebombed and abortion doctors shot, but when it comes to our Freedoms and Rights, we are protected under the law.

mounties for queen

For all our beefs and moans, our ‘strongly written letters,’ and marches on Parliament Hill, Canadians love their country. And rightfully so. We’ve a lot to be proud of, from our rough and tumble beginnings to our befuddled political present, and hopefully into our bright future.


“One thing I know about the rest of my life, I know that I’ll be living it in Canada …” Sing it, Sloan!

= RT =

Roxanne’s column appears here every Sunday 

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DBAWIS ButtonRoxanne Tellier has been singing since she was 10 months old … no, really. Not like she’s telling anyone else how to live their lives, because she’s not judgmental, and most 10 month olds need a little more time to figure out how to hold a microphone. After years of doing things she didn’t want to do, she’s found herself working with a bunch of crazy people who are as batshit crazy and devoted to music as she is, and so she can be found every Monday at Cherry Cola’s, completely unable to think of anything funny to say, as the co-host of Bob Segarini’s The Bobcast. Come and mock her. She’s good with that. And she laughs. A lot. But not at you.

4 Responses to “Roxanne Tellier: Canada, Eh?”

  1. Excellent as usual, Roxeh! Alas, there is no longer an Ottawa Roughriders – that team became the Ottawa Red Blacks last year (I kid you not).

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