Yesterday, 1 July, was Canada Day! I know that 150 years isn’t that old for a country in the grand scheme of the world but I still happen to think that it’s a pretty big celebration. Yes, people will make fun of us for being overly nice and apologetic but we are proud of who we are as a nation! Today’s post is all about sharing my favourite pieces of Canadian culture and recommendations, in case you also want to take some Canadian time for yourself.
Looking the Part
While some of these companies aren’t Canadian owned anymore, they were started in Canada and still embody our style. Of course, the classic stripes from the Hudson’s Bay Company is undoutedly one of the most recognisably Canadian looks out there. Yes, the Bay is not the cheapest company out there but the quality on the HBC line (including those famous point blankets) is still high. The knit sweaters are gorgeous in person and certainly say “Canada”!… Roots is our major Canadian apparel retailer, and their Canada 150 is fantastic- the “Nice” t-shirts sum us up as a country pretty freaking well I think. At $34 it also fits a reasonable price point and is fairly easy to get a hold of! (Both companies have designed our Olympic wear for the last two to three decades, so both are well-versed in Canadiana….)
Pages and Pictures
I could go on and on about which authors, actors, directors, and musicians are Canadian, but I’m going to give you my best recommendations on how to immerse yourself in Canada through book and screen instead! This first book recommendation may seem to come a little out of left field, but stick with me- the Screech Owls mysteries are a series aimed at what we now call tweens that follow a young hockey team on various adventures and mysteries. Written by Canadian Roy MacGregor, these quintessentially Canadian books are perfect for younger kids (and even adults looking for an easy read) who want more of that Canadian feeling…. Stuart MacLean is possibly the best “entry way” author into Canadiana for adults if you ask me. A radio host on CBC, his Stories From the Vinyl Cafe series brings you into the home of Dave and Morley and their two kids and numerous other characters showing the quiet lives of Canadians. These are some of the best audiobooks out there, nominated by Stuart himself… This may be controversial due to the two new adaptations that are on the scene, but the original Anne of Green Gables 1985 film with Meagan Follows in the titular role is the best Canadian film out there. All little girls have been Anne Shirley at some point, and if the story doesn’t tug at your heart strings, the sweeping shots of Prince Edward Island will certainly draw you in. (Also, read the books because Lucy Maud Montgomery will steal you away!!)
Eat Like a Canadian
If you really want to be instantly Canadian, find yourself some All-Dressed or Ketchup chips, a Coffee Crisp chocolate bar, and drink a beverage of your choosing from Tim Hortons. However, if you would like to take a few hours and make some of our more famous dishes, these would be my top recommendations! Firstly, the Cesar. This is not my favourite beverage; actually, I won’t drink them. BUT they are incredibly popular and ubiquitous across the nation- vodka, Clamato juice, Worcestershire sauce, celery salt, and hot sauce. Similar to a bloody Mary but more Canadian… Secondly, poutine! Very simple- only french fries, white cheddar cheese curds, and poutine gravy. It can’t be chips, it has to be fries. It can’t be shredded cheese, it has to be curds. And most importantly, it has to be poutine gravy, not random brown gravy. (You can purchase a Clubhouse Mix for it!)… And last but certainly not least, butter tarts! The country argues about where it originated and if it should include raisins or nuts (no to both) but we all consume these by the pound whenever given the opportunity. If you want to maximise efficiency, use a shortbread base and make it into a bar! I will fight you for a butter tart here and now if I had the chance…
What’s your favourite “thing” from Canada? And happy 150th birthday Canada!