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!

Monday, 31 July 2017

The Prairies

Primarily located in southern Saskatchewan but sprinkled into lower Alberta and Manitoba are the Canadian Prairies. The Canadian Prairies are the northernmost section of the Great Plains of North America. Once a thriving wild grassland the Canadian Prairies have since been converted into almost exclusive farmland. The growth patterns of certain plants are predictable here and yield excellent crops. Some notable crops are wheat, canola, flax, oats and barley.

Spectacular view of a farmers field in the prairies.
Photo credit: http://www.freeimages.com/photographer/swillems-56408

When you mention the prairies to a Canadian they most certainly think of the flat golden wheat fields contrasted to a rich blue sky that you can see for miles and miles. However the land is more diverse and includes, plains, valleys, hills and more. There is plenty to do and see including camping with Parks Canada, learning how to farm and visiting local landmarks. A famous Canadian television series Corner Gas, was also filmed and set in the prairies. We love Canada's diverse landscape and the prairies do not always get the attention they deserve. If you find yourself out there, a wheat field sunset will knock your socks off!

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

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Moose

Photo By Bell Ronald L,

Moose are the largest of all the deer species. Males are immediately recognizable by their huge antlers, which can spread 6 feet from end to end and are used to fight off other moose that try to steal his girl during mating season. Moose have long faces and muzzles that dangle over their chins. A flap of skin known as a bell sways beneath each moose's throat. 

Rutt and Tuke from the Disney movie Brother Bear, voiced by Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas
 or otherwise known as the Canadian comedy icons The Mckenzie Brothers.

Moose are at home in the water and, despite their staggering bulk, are good swimmers. They have been seen paddling several miles at a time, and will even submerge completely, staying under for 30 seconds or more. Moose are similarly nimble on land. They can run up to 35 miles an hour over short distances, and trot steadily at 20 miles an hour. If you have seen a moose in the wild, count yourself lucky some people wait 33 years to see the illusive moose. (at least that is how long I waited)


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



Saturday, 29 July 2017

Killbear Provincial Park

Killbear Provincial Park is immortalized in many Group of Seven paintings and a visit to the park feels like you are stepping into the canvas. Rocky shores jutting into Georgian Bay; clear, weedless water; weatherworn trees gripping for purchase on the rocks; and an array of earthy colours that change throughout the year define the area.

By Robert Swier from Osaka, Japan - Wind Tree Clouds, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7737263
It is a protected gem in the middle of Ontario’s burgeoning cottage country, one that many seek out to embrace the feeling of wild experienced by our ancestors.


It is also considered an exceptional boating destination with plenty of hidden bays in which to anchor for a day of swimming.  


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

Friday, 28 July 2017

Canadian Winter Festivals

We Canadians have learned to embrace what others typically hide away from. The frigid cold of winter is one of those things we cannot escape (until we are 65+ and become snowbirds) so we make the best of it by having a big party! All across Canada, cities, towns and communities host winter festivals as a way to celebrate their heritage and of course, beat away the winter blues. While there are many festivals that exist, some notable ones are:

Carnaval de Quebec, Quebec City QC

Carnaval de Quebec is the largest winter festival in the world. The festivals features parade’s both day and night led by the King of the Winter Festival, Bonhomme. There are also ice sculptures, dog races, select streets are closed down and filled with family activities, restaurant and bar patios open are for service and much, much more. I had the pleasure of visiting last winter and had a blast! Although I never go to meet Bonhomme, I did manage to find a sculpture of him and that will do until next time.
Me and a sculpture of Bonhomme, The King of the Winter Festival.

Winterlude, Ottawa ON

At this festival you better show up with ice skates because the Rideau Canal is frozen and offers up 8km of ice to freely skate on. There is plenty of food to be eaten (prix-fixe plans across 55 restaurants) and an annual bed race in support of Kiwanis Club of Ottawa community initiatives. There is plenty of family fun at Snowflake Kingdom and an ice sculpture competition.

Winterlude Ice Sculpture.
Photo Credit: By Andrew Plumb from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada - Winterlude/Bal de neige, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=48520039
Toonik Tyme, Iqaluit NU

Celebrating the arrival of spring, this festival showcases the traditions and heritage of the Inuit people. The goal here is to celebrate and preserve the Inuit culture as well as showcase it to non-Inuit tourists. Here you can witness igloo building competitions, ski-doo races, learn about sled dog teams and their importance in the north, try your hand at Skijoring (I tried with my Siberian Husky here in Ontario and failed miserably), watch Inuit games and much more offered by the community.

World Ski and Snowboard Festival, Whistler BC

Thrill seekers and party goers this a festival for you. Skiing, snowboarding, music and art all in one jam packed festival in April. Here you can take in a wide variety of ski and snowboard competitions, enjoy the slopes of Whistler-Blackcomb yourself, enjoy a variety of free and paid concerts, take in a comedy show or check out many galleries and art shows.

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

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Cirque du Soleil

The word circus was once synonymous with kitsch and frivolity. While it was always about spectacle, the word for many conjures up visions of caged animals, questionable workers and greedy schemes to give people little entertainment for maximum profit.

Photo by TBWABusted 

Cirque du Soleil has glamourized the concept of circus while bringing it back to glory in terms of grand spectacle; bringing people jaw-dropping talent combined with intense art.

Founded in 1984 by two street performers, the “Circus of the Sun” has gone on to perform in front of over 90 million people in over 270 countries.


Shows combine sublime choreography, powerful music and artful sets with often death-defying acrobatics, incredibly trained animals and other art forms including dance, puppetry and song, all while maintaining the feel of being “under the big top.”   


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

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Toques

We Canadian’s have weird words for normal things. Some examples include: a 3 seater sofa being called a chesterfield, the great folk in Saskatchewan call hooded sweatshirts bunnyhugs and a 24 count case of beer is called a two four.
                       
A collection of my girlfriend's gray toques 

One article of clothing that that helps us stay warm in the frigid Canadian winters also has a unique name. Of course I am talking about the toque! A toque is simply a knitted hat meant to be worn in the winter to keep your head warm. Across the globe these are called, beanies, knits, tophues and bobble hats.

While a toque can be any knitted hat, I personally only associate those with a pom-pom on the top of them to be a true toque. But that’s just me. Or is it? What do you consider a toque? Let us know in the comments below.

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

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Poutine

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, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19029778

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


A POST BY MIKE CIUFFINI
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, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=55717775

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 - http://www.flickr.com/photos/quoimedia/5219448319/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12732073

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, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=25732258


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, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19905905
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

Saturday, 15 July 2017

The Honda Indy Toronto


Going fast is a lot of fun, there is no doubt, but the best place to go fast is on the track and it's probably best to leave it to the professionals, like the ones that drive at the Honda Indy. 

A few years back I enjoyed two laps in a ride along as part of the Honda Indy Experience on the Honda Indy track in Toronto. The adrenaline and the smile I had that day will often creep up on me when I think about the quick shifts and hairpin turns and the 150 MPH straightaways It truly is the fastest seat in sports. (Check out the video of my Indy ride-along at the end of this post)



The Honda Indy hasn't always been called the Honda Indy. In fact from 1986 to 2006 the race was called the Molson Indy Toronto and in 2006 it changed to the Molson Grand Prix of Toronto after it was purchased by the Champ Car World Series. In 2007, after Molson dropped their title sponsorship, Steelback Brewery signed a multi-year, multimillion-dollar deal to become the event’s title sponsor, renaming it the Steelback Grand Prix of Toronto

The unification of Champ Car and the Indy Racing League was announced on February 22, 2008, and the Grand Prix of Toronto's future was left in doubt. After attempts were made to preserve the race for 2008, it was confirmed on March, 2008, that the race had been cancelled. Later in May, 2008, Andretti Green Racing purchased the assets of the former Grand Prix of Toronto and on July 30, 2008, it was confirmed that the race would return to Toronto the following year. With more good news at the doorstep in September, 2008, Andretti Green Racing announced that it had signed a multi-year agreement with Honda Canada Inc. for the title sponsorship of the race, and since that sweet September day in 2009 the race was called the Honda Indy Toronto.






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



Friday, 14 July 2017

The North American Beaver

Photo from CBC article

The Beaver (castor canadensis) was key to our country's creation. Beavers topped the wildlife most wanted list in the 1600s and early 1700s when fur hats became ''So hot right now'' in the world of European fashion. Because North America had an impressive beaver population to exploit, soon both English and French traders would deal in the pelts at 20 times their original purchase price from North American aboriginals. This profitable fur trade was the basis of the North American colonies, and in due course, the image of the beaver popped up a few times over the years: on the Hudson's Bay Company's coat of arms in 1678, on the armourial bearings of Quebec City and Montreal and on Canada's first stamp in 1851. Later in 1937 the beaver became a part of Canadian royalty when it was placed on a Canadian 5 cent coin.





Depending on your thoughts of the beaver, it's either a buck-toothed rat or it's a cuddly, cartoon character. Along the way pop culture has had an effect on the name of the beaver to make, giving us endless silly innuendos.


One of the best examples of this and maybe the most memorable film quote involving the furry rodent happens between beloved late Canadian comedian Leslie Nielsen and Priscilla Presley in 'The Naked Gun': “Nice beaver,” says Nielson as Frank Drebin. “Thanks, I've just had it stuffed,” replies Presley as she comes down a ladder, the taxidermied animal in her hands. The euphemism caused Canada's second-oldest magazine named “The Beaver,” to change its name to “Canada's History” in 2010 because its name was confusing visitors to its website and newsletters were getting caught in Internet filters.




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


Thursday, 13 July 2017

BeaverTails

Photo from Wikipedia


I will take ''Delicious fried Canadian treats'' for $800 Alex. That's right fellow Canadians, ''What is a BeaverTail'' was once an answer on the TV game show Jeopardy. They are a pretty big deal in Canada.

The BeaverTails pastry is fried dough individually hand stretched to resemble a beaver’s tail, topped with a choice of sweet condiments and confections, such as whipped cream, banana slices, crumbled oreos, cinnamon sugar, and chocolate hazelnut.




BeaverTails pastries began when Grant and Pam Hooker decided to turn their family recipe for fried dough into a family business. They sold their first pastries at the KillaloeCraft and Community Fair in Killaloe, Ontario in 1978. Two years later, the Hookers opened up the first BeaverTails stand in the Byward Market in Ottawa. By early 2017 it had 119 franchise and license locations in five countries: Canada, the United States, Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, South Korea, and Japan.

Fun Fact: In 2009, President Obama made a stop by the pastry shop and picked up an ObamaTail, a flavour that was made in honour of his first official trip to Canada.


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

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Thousand Islands National Park


Imagine windswept white pines and picturesque granite islands intertwined along the Saint Lawrence River where you can explore secluded bays by kayak or powerboat. Enjoy your time by the river or spend the night in one of the waterfront oTENTik's (One part cabin, one part tent). Thousand Islands National Park, offers world class fishing and a chance to discover rare species of turtles, birdlife and a few of the baddest raccoons you've ever seen on Gordon Island.


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

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Montreal Smoked Meat

Photo from Serious Eats

While it's true origins are as hazy as the hot smoke that brings this kosher brisket to completion, Montreal Smoked Meat (or just smoked meat if you are in Montreal) has been popular in Montreal delis since the 19th Century.

Served with mustard on a couple of slices of rye bread and you can take a Quebec field trip for your mouth from wherever you find yourself.


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

Monday, 10 July 2017

Mr. Dressup

Photo from CBC article

Mr. Dressup is a children's television show that aired every weekday morning on Canadian television sets across the country from 1967 - 1996, and if you missed it you would be so mad at yourself because you missed out on all of the songs, stories, arts, crafts, and imagination games. And you also missed hangin' with Casey and Finnegan, a child and a dog (puppets) who lived in a treehouse in Mr. Dressup's backyard.
Mr. Dressup (Played by actor Ernie Coombs) would get a costume from the Tickle Trunk, such as an animal, policeman, or fireman. The trunk appeared to be magic as it always had the right costumes, in the right sizes, neatly folded at the top of the piles of costumes. Occasionally Mr. Dressup would need to make an accessory for his costume, such as a hat, which would lead to a craft and then he would sing a song with the puppets, such as my personal favourite ''Down by the bay''


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


Sunday, 9 July 2017

The Canadian Patch

Used under creative commons. Creator: meddygarnet

A POST BY MIKE CIUFFINI

Around the world Canadians are thought to be polite, happy-go-lucky and generous. When people hear you are from Canada, they seem to treat you the same way we would treat them.
For Canadian travellers backpacking through Europe, Asia or Australia, there is a simple way to tell the world they are Canadian before someone even asks: the proverbial Canadian flag patch embroidered onto their packs.
A simple concept that demonstrates national pride, but more importantly, also symbolizes that you may be one of those polite Canadians looking for generosity in return. It’s something people around the world have come to expect from Canadians.
The origin of the popularity of the Canadian patch seems to go back to the 70’s when the Vietnam War turned many against our neighbours to the south. Wanting to ensure we weren’t compared to our dangerous neighbours, backpacking baby boomers started wearing the Maple Leaf on their luggage and it caught on.
Even though there have been cases of Americans wearing the Canadian flags themselves, maybe we should drop the idea of sporting a flag altogether.  I mean, isn’t the point of travelling is to learn new influences and experience life and culture? It’s not like you’re gonna start singing O Canada and take a swig from a bottle of maple syrup.
So start a conversation with a local, break the ice by telling them you are Canadian and you consider yourself lucky to be from one of the best countries on earth.


Saturday, 8 July 2017

Wayne Gretzky

Wayne Gretzky scores his first NHL goal, a weak dribbler between the legs of Vancouver Canucks goaltender Glen Hanlon, in a 4-4 tie at Pacific Coliseum. Photo from Vancouver Courier

Wayne Douglas Gretzky  born January 26, 1961  played twenty seasons in the National Hockey League for four teams from 1979 to 1999. Nicknamed "The Great One", he has been called "the greatest hockey player ever" by many sportswriters, players, and the league itself. He is the leading scorer in NHL history, with more goals and assists than any other player, and is the only NHL player to total over 200 points in one season – a feat he accomplished four times. In addition, he tallied over 100 points in 16 professional seasons, 14 of them consecutive. At the time of his retirement in 1999, he held 61 NHL records.
Born and raised in Brantford, Ontario, Canada, Gretzky honed his skills at a backyard rink and regularly played minor hockey at a level far above his peers. Despite his unimpressive stature, strength and speed, Gretzky's intelligence and reading of the game were unrivaled. He was adept at dodging checks from opposing players, and consistently anticipated where the puck was going to be and executed the right move at the right time. Gretzky became known for setting up behind his opponent's net, an area that was nicknamed "Gretzky's office".
In 1978, Gretzky signed with the Indianapolis Racers of the World Hockey Association, where he briefly played before being traded to the Edmonton Oilers. When the WHA folded, the Oilers joined the NHL, where he established many scoring records and led his team to four Stanley Cup championships. His trade to the Los Angeles Kings on August 9, 1988, had an immediate impact on the team's performance, eventually leading them to the 1993 Stanley Cup Finals, and he is credited with popularizing hockey in California. Gretzky played briefly for the St. Louis Blues before finishing his career with the New York Rangers.
After his retirement in 1999, Gretzky was immediately inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, making him the most recent player to have the waiting period waived. The NHL retired his jersey number 99 league-wide, making him the only player to receive this honour. 

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

Friday, 7 July 2017

Canadian Soccer


A POST BY MIKE CIUFFINI
A more distinctive Canadian identity for soccer is beginning to take shape. The success of Canadian teams in North America’s top professional league, Major League Soccer (MLS), the rise of our women's national team into fourth place in FIFA rankings and having the men’s national team being competitive for bigger tournaments have allowed the world to take notice.
In a country as multicultural as Canada is, the identity of the world’s most beautiful game tends to be very insular to an individual’s country of origin. When the World Cup comes around every four years, neighbourhoods across the country are divided and support and pride is defined by the flags attached to car windows and hung from porches and garage doors.
But that love of the game has turned into opportunity for Canadian city markets in the MLS. Professional football clubs exist in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal all with world-class stadiums and support from die-hard fans.
The Toronto Football Club (TFC) won the Eastern Conference and played in the MLS Cup Final in 2016 and is currently sitting first place in the league this year.
They play out of BMO Field in Toronto, which FIFA considers Canada’s National Stadium. It’s located on the Exhibition grounds and is quick walk from many bars and restaurants in the town known as Liberty Village. A quick walk in the tunnel under the train tracks brings you down the laneway leading up to the impressive building.
To experience a game there is enthralling. Soccer fans create a unique atmosphere that begin in the streets, chanting, playing drums, waving flags and releasing coloured smoke into the sky. It’s a religion more than a sport.
The TFC and the Montreal Impact have established a rivalry over the past few years. They played in the conference finals last year that went the distance and had fans on both sides on the edge of their seats. In the end, the TFC prevailed, setting the stage for heated matches this season already.
Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto compete every year for the Canadian Championship, which allows the club to compete in the North American Champions League for professional soccer clubs. Now in it’s tenth year, Toronto defeated Montreal to add to that intense rivalry.
The Canadian Women’s National Team has had incredible success. They won Olympic bronze in London in 2012 against France and in 2016 against host Brazil. They have qualified for the Women’s World Cup every year since 1995 and came in fourth place in 2003.
The state of the world’s most beautiful game is growing in Canada. So let’s wear our red scarves and scream O Canada at the beginning of each match, loud and proud! 


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

Thursday, 6 July 2017

All Dressed Chips


In 2015 the USA became the First country besides Canada to offer up the delicious taste blend that is, All Dressed. Combining the flavours of the 4 pillars of Canadian potato chips world, Barbarcue,  Sour Cream and Onion, Ketchup, and Salt and Vinegar, All Dressed has been a Canadian favourite chip flavour for decades.


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


Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Paint Roller

The Paint Roller, invented by Norman Breakey.

Could you imagine having to paint an entire room, or house with only a brush!? That’d be a nightmare of a task to complete. We can thank Canada yet again for making our lives a little easier, specifically Norman Breakey. Breakey is credited with inventing the paint roller; a device used to paint walls quicker and with smoother coats than a brush. Unfortunately Breakey didn’t patent his invention and imitations from larger companies flooded the market and squeezed him out. While he was never able to reap the financial rewards of his invention, anyone who has ever painted since 1940 can thank him for making their lives much easier.

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

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Sault Sainte Marie, Ontario


Sault Sainte Marie is home to a great mix of things that I love, wilderness, fresh air and pizza. There is a population of around 75,000 people, but it doesn't feel like it at all. Thanks to its quiet streets and kind people, The Sault (pronounced "Soo") is a city with a small town feel.

The Wildfires exhibit at the Canadian Bush Plane Museum is great fun for kids of all ages.  And to top it all off, the Soo is home to and surrounded by some of the best fly and bait fishing found on this earth.  With so many spots to fish you will need some help to find the best spots. We were very happy with the guide services of the Soo North Fly Shop, they find the fish, all you have to do is catch them.





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

Monday, 3 July 2017

5 Pin Bowling

If you’ve ever bowled in Canada you are probably used to seeing a few of the lanes only having 5 pins and using smaller balls with no finger holes. That’s because 5 pin bowling is unique to Canada. The game was created in 1909 by Thomas F. Ryan after many of his customers complained that 10 pin bowling was too strenuous. Since then most bowling alleys in Canada have dedicated 5 pin lanes.

http://www.freeimages.com/photographer/CWMGary-51046

In traditional 10 pin bowling, each pin is worth a single point and knocking all of them over yields 10 points but with 5 pin bowling, each pin has a different value (the furthest two are worth 2 points, the middle two are worth 3 points and the center pin is worth 5 points) and knocking them all over yields 15 points. Another difference is in 10 pin you have only two chances to knock down all the pins whereas with 5 pin you have three chances.


Truthfully though, as an adult, 5 pin isn’t much fun. It is definitely geared for the younger crowd who would have trouble with 10 pin and the elderly who still want to be active on the lanes. I have fond memories growing up and having birthday parties on the 5 pin lanes, and somewhere out there is embarrassing videos of said parties, so the game will always have a special place in my heart. 


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