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12 things you probably didn’t know about Canada

On Thursday, 1 July, Canadians everywhere will celebrate Canada Day, commemorating the joining of Canada’s original three provinces, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and the provinces of Canada (now known as Ontario and Quebec) as the Dominion of Canada in 1867.


While borders remain closed at this time, the travel industry has invested billions in health and hygiene protocols, retraining staff and reconfiguring experiences to prepare for visitors. So, once restrictions are lifted, Canada’s friendly locals are ready to welcome visitors from all around the world, with Glowing Hearts.


But while we’re stuck in Australia, let’s learn a little more about our Canadian cousins:


  1. The remote northern town of Churchill stands on the migration route for polar bears. Troublesome polar bears are taken to the Polar Bear Jail – the only one of its kind in the world – before being relocated away from communities. 
  2. Peggy’s Cove, in eastern Nova Scotia, boasts one of the most photographed lighthouses in the world. Did you know that Nova Scotia is home to over 150 more? For centuries, Nova Scotia’s lighthouses have greeted those who have arrived by boat and have helped to protect those who make their living on the water.
  3. Lake Okanagan in British Columbia is said to be inhabited by the Ogopogo Lake Monster. As recently as 2019, sightings and video recordings of the Ogopogo have been captured by local residents.
  4. Canada really is the biggest and the best in every way! It boasts the longest bridge in the world spanning ice-covered water (Prince Edward Island’s Confederation Bridge), the longest recreational trail in the world (the Trans Canada Trail), the highest tides in the world (Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick), the largest naturally frozen ice-skating rink (Rideau Canal, Ottawa), and is home to the largest number of polar bears in the world.
  5. The magical Princess Royal Island in the Great Bear Rainforest, British Columbia, is not only home to a healthy population of grizzlies, but also the rare Kermode (Spirit) bear, a sub-species of black bear found only in this part of the world carrying a recessive gene that gives them a naturally white coat.
  6. Curling, Saskatchewan's official sport, was once called the "roaring game" because of the thunderous noise made by corn brooms used to sweep rocks down the ice.
  7. This is one club you can’t join anywhere else on Earth. For just $5 at the Downtown Hotel Saloon, in the Yukon, you’ll be given a shot of whiskey, complete with a severed toe. Nearly 70,000 people have joined the club since 1973 simply by following this rule: YOU CAN DRINK IT FAST, YOU CAN DRINK IT SLOW – BUT THE LIPS HAVE GOTTA TOUCH THE TOE. Be brave and earn yourself the official certificate, not to mention the respect of Dawson City locals and the ultimate bragging rights back home.
  8. On Prince Edward Island you can watch the longest running musical in the world, Anne of Green Gables - the musical. While you’re there, head into Avonlea Village, a real-life recreation of L.M. Montgomery’s fictional town, step back in time at Green Gables Heritage Place, the home that inspired the setting of Montgomery’s novel, stroll the ‘Haunted Woods’ and ‘Balsam Hollow’ trails described in the book.
  9. In Canada’s northern territories of Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut experience the natural phenomenon known as the Midnight Sun, where the sun shines for about 50 days during summer – without ever setting below the horizon.  
  10. Quebec City is North America’s only remaining walled city. At around 4.5 kilometres in length, the fortifications of Quebec are part of a defence system built between 1608 (when Samuel de Champlain founded the city) and 1871, by French then British and eventually Canadian forces. You can Follow the walls right to the Citadel, a star-shaped fortress built following the War of 1812.
  11. Newfoundland and Labrador has two official dog breeds: the Newfoundland Dog and the Labrador Retriever. The Newfoundland has a heavy coat and strong, webbed feet, perfect for swimming through icy waters. There are stories of brave Newfoundlands rescuing children from watery graves and carrying life-lines to stricken vessels on the sea. The Labrador Retriever (who also has webbed feet) has a sleek, waterproof coat that comes in black, yellow and chocolate.
  12. The Narcisse Snake Dens of Manitoba lays claim to the largest orgy of garter snakes in the world. Every spring tens of thousands of red-sided garter snakes emerge from their winter dens and begin their bizarre mating ritual.


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Published: 30 June 2021

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