Real Man Travels Presents: 150 of Our Favourite Canadian Things

Follow along as we list off our favourite 150 Canadian things over 150 days to celebrate Canada Day!

Tuesday, 25 July 2017


In a small town in rural Quebec in the 1950's a hero was made. With the simple act of adding cheese curds to their french fries and gravy, this mysterious person created an entire food group for future Canadians.

Glorious Poutine
By Yuri Long from Arlington, VA, USA - road_trip-9349.jpg, CC BY 2.0,

While several have laid claim to being the creator, the one thing we can all agree on is it was an excellent idea. Just make sure they use gravy hot enough to melt your cheese curds or you will experience the real Canadian struggle.

What is 150 of our favourite Canadian things? Read about it here

Monday, 24 July 2017

Trans-Canada Highway

The Trans-Canada Highway connects all ten provinces of Canada from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean. The main stretch of the highway runs 8,030 km, and in total, about 12,800 km of road are classified as the Trans-Canada Highway, making it one of the longest road systems in the world.
Those travelling across this giant and impressive nation couldn’t do so without driving along this designated stretch of road. And it’s not all asphalt; there are three ferries designated as part of the road system, connecting Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island to Nova Scotia, and another in Nanaimo, BC.

The open road never felt so patriotic and free. I have been lucky enoughto travel many stretches of the Trans-Canada Highway. Driving from British Columbia towards Banff National Park is one of the most beautiful stretches of road I’ve ever taken. The incredible vistas of the road opening through Rogers Pass in B.C. into the Rockies are like no other.

The sunrise drive along Northern Ontario over Lake Superior from Thunder Bay to Wawa was highlighted by a family of moose grazing on the side of the road. Nature plays a big part of our experience across the nation

The federal government maintains stretches of the highway that run though National Parks, but having those roads can pose as a risk to the wildlife found within. To address this problem in Banff National Park, they have built six natural wildlife overpasses and 38 underpasses in the park.

The Trans-Canada Highway may connect all Canadians, but we share this amazing country with and abundance of wildlife. The surrounding habitats in which they live must be protected.

Trivia tidbit: The officially opening ceremony in 1962 never had O Canada play at the event. The band of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry took a wrong turn out of Calgary. It arrived in time to play the end of the ceremony.

What is 150 of our favourite Canadian things? Read about it here

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Quebec Swear Words

I have often laughed at actors in movies portraying a frustrated French Canadian yelling out a loud "Tabernak!!" I laughed, but I never really understood the meaning behind the french curse words. This post is for those who have ever wondered why Quebec swear words have a religious tone to them.

photo from MTL Blog

Swear words are words that are meant to stick it to the man, whether it be the government or your boss, or in the case of early Quebec, the Catholic church. In Quebec's case, the church was in the driver's seat. The clergy governed nearly every aspect of society in 19th century Quebec, which naturally pissed off a lot of people. Quebecers converted these words that were deemed sacred by the church, turning the untouchable sayings into harsh profanities. Such as Tabarnak (the tabernacle) , calice (the chalice) or esti (the bread).  

What is 150 of our favourite Canadian things? Read about it here

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Elijah McCoy

Ever wonder where the saying "The real McCoy" comes from? Canadian inventor Elijah McCoy's automatic lubricating system out preformed the competition by such a large margin that railroad engineers would be sure to avoid imitators by requesting "The real McCoy" system.

By Rights Held by: Ypsilanti Historical Society - Copyright: Creative Commons (Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-alike), CC BY-SA 4.0,

Born free in Ontario to parents who escaped slavery by way of the Underground Railroad. McCoy would go on to hold 57 patents, including the folding ironing board and the lawn sprinkler.

What is 150 of our favourite Canadian things? Read about it here

Friday, 21 July 2017

The Montreal Bagel

The Montreal bagel, is a extraordinary variety of handmade and wood-fired baked bagel. In contrast to the New York-style bagel, the Montreal bagel is smaller, thinner, sweeter and denser, with a larger hole, and is always baked in a wood-fired oven. It contains maltegg, and no salt and is boiled in honey-sweetened water before being baked. There are two predominant varieties: poppy seed, or sesame seed. In some Montreal establishments like St.Viateur Bagel Shop and Fairmount Bagel, bagels are still produced by hand and baked in full view of the patrons hungry onlooking eyes. 

By Photo by M. Rehemtulla -, CC BY 2.0,

Like the similarly shaped New York bagel, it was brought to North America by Jewish immigrants from Poland and other Eastern European countries; the differences in texture and taste reflect the style of the particular area in Poland in which the immigrant bakers learned their trade.

What is 150 of our favourite Canadian things? Read about it here

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mont Royal

In 1904, Saint André Bessette (Brother Andre), began the construction of St. Joseph, a small chapel on the slopes of Mont Royal near Notre Dame College. Soon the growing number of the congregation made it too small. In 1917 a larger church was completed that had a seating capacity of 1,000. In 1924, the construction of the basilica of Saint Joseph's Oratory was commenced; it was finally completed in 1967, becoming Canada's largest church and welcoming over 2 million visitors annually.
The basilica is dedicated to Saint Joseph, to whom Brother André credited all his reported miracles. These were mostly related to some kind of healing power, and many pilgrims flooded into his Basilica, including many non-Catholics. On display in the basilica is a wall covered with thousands of crutches from those who came to the basilica and were believably healed. In 1982, Pope John Paul II deemed the miracles to be authentic and beatified Brother André and In October 2010 Pope Benedict XVI canonized him as a saint.

What is 150 of our favourite Canadian things? Read about it here

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Bay of Fundy

The Bay of Fundy stretches out over 320 km across Canada's epic East Coast. Separating Nova Scotia and New Brunswick it is home to the highest tides on earth, the rarest whales in the world, you can even find dinosaur fossils; convincing an international panel of well respected experts in 2014 to choose the Bay of Fundy as one of the natural wonders of the world. Some would say a visit to Nova Scotia would not be complete without seeing the remarkable seascape that has been created.

Hopewell Rocks at low tide.
By Benson Kua from Toronto, Canada - Hopewell Rocks Uploaded by tm, CC BY-SA 2.0,

Fun Fact: Did you know that over 160 billion tonnes of water move in and out of the Bay of Fundy, every day, twice a day?  That’s more than the combined flow of all the freshwater rivers on our planet!

What is 150 of our favourite Canadian things? Read about it here

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

The Red Green Show

Red Green DVD Home Screen

The Red Green show is about a handyman who tries to find shortcuts to most of his projects, trusting most of his work to duct tape, which he calls "the handyman's secret weapon." In one episode, he tried to duct tape the Ontario-Quebec border as a potential solution to Quebec separatism. The show's basic concept was that of a cable TV show, taped in part on a hand-held camera by Red's nephew Harold.

The Red Green Show Promo 

Red attempted to demonstrate creative and often humorous ways to tackle relatively common tasks in Handyman Corner, such as taking out the trash or making use of derelict cars, or to create something extravagant out of whatever he could get his hands on. Memorable examples include a jetpack made from two propane tanks, a hybrid car from recycled golf carts and satellite dishes, and a kiddie ride made from a bar stool attached to the agitator of a washing machine.The segment customarily concluded with the aphorism: "If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy'' or "Remember, I'm pulling for you. We're all in this together."
The show usually concluded with Red giving a message to his wife, Bernice (usually a double entendre), and delivering his signature piece of life advice in the form of a hockey metaphor: "Keep your stick on the ice." 

What is 150 of our favourite Canadian things? Read about it here

Monday, 17 July 2017

Kraft Dinner

No Canadian Childhood is complete without the delicious bright orange cheese sauce of KD also known as Kraft Dinner. When it comes to the consumption of boxed mac and cheese, Canadians eat a whopping 55 per cent more of it a year than Americans do. Out of the 7 million boxes sold weekly around the world, Canadians purchase 1.7 million of them!

What is 150 of our favourite Canadian things? Read about it here

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Canada's Wonderland

Located in Vaughan, Ontario (about 20 mins north of downtown Toronto on a good traffic day) is Canada's largest theme park, Canada's Wonderland. The park has over 65 rides, 16 of those being high thrill, pure adrenaline roller coasters. Interestingly enough, Canada's Wonderland is ranked second in the world by number of roller coasters, beneath Six Flags Magic Mountain and tied with Cedar Point; go Canada!

Flight Deck at Canada's Wonderland.
Photo Credit: This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license. 

For the majority of my childhood/teen years the park was owned and operated by Paramount...yes, the movie company. The rides were named after movies, like Top Gun, Italian Job, Tomb Raider and the kid's zone, Hanna Barbera Land with tons of references to the cartoon characters of that world. When Cedar Fair took over as the owner/operator many of the ride names changed due to legal rights, but us old timers still call Flight Deck, Top Gun, Backlot Stunt Coaster, Italian Job and the Drop Tower, Drop Zone. Very similar to how we treat the Rogers Centre, we still call it Skydome!

Canada's Wonderland also offers an escape to the hot days of summer with it's Splash Works water amusement center. Here you can relax on a lazy river, induldge in more thrills on water slides, catch a wave in the wave pool or simply soak up some sun in the lounge areas.

Lazy River
Photo Credit: By Svetlana Grechkina - Flickr: Canada's Wonderland, CC BY-SA 2.0,
One of the unique and probably coolest things the park offers is the Halloween Haunt (formerly known as Fearfest). On weekends in October the park opens at 7:00pm and is transformed to scare its guests with live shows, horror mazes, scare zones and of course big thrills on the rides in the dark of night. It's actually quite entertaining, especially if you have friends that scare easy.

Quick Tip: If you go, invest in the Fast Pass Plus ticket. You can basically skip the lines on pretty much all the rides. I was able to ride Drop Zone and Leviathan twice within 10 minutes while others waited up to an hour to ride Leviathan once.

What is 150 of our favourite Canadian things? Read about it here