LIFE IN THESE UNITED PROVINCES AND TERRITORIES

ONTARIO

Largest City (by Population): Toronto (Population: 5,113,149)

Largest City (by Length of Name): North Upper Nipissinghampton (Population: 28)

Interesting Fact: Before Confederation, Ontario was known as Upper Canada, despite clearly being on the bottom. Did they not have maps in the 19th century?

Ontario was founded by the Loyalists, who fled from the terrible liberty of the American Revolution in order to continue living under the blissful oppression of the British Empire. Despite their best efforts, they attained their independence 83 years later, and chose to commit mass suicide rather than suffer under the tyrannical rule of themselves. To prevent such an incident from happening again, the province was repopulated with people who had never heard of Great Britain.

QUEBEC

Alternate Spelling: Québec (The accent is for good luck.)

Motto: Je me souviens

Translation of Motto by Somebody Who Doesn't Really Speak French: "I me... souvenirs?"

Quebec had a distinct and thriving French Canadian culture until 1987, when the federal government deemed it to be "too cultural" and replaced it with a watered-down version of American culture. The new culture was much less interesting, but it did produce more entertaining television. Quebec is now the 13th-largest watcher of American Idol in the Western Hemisphere.

NOVA SCOTIA

Nickname: The Lone Star Province

Origin of Nickname: Named because it only has one celebrity: Gordon Finn, who delights local audiences with his somewhat impressive "speed whittlin'."

Best Selling Album: The Sound of A Knife Cutting A Stick: Gordon Finn Live in Halifax

There is no province more beautiful than Nova Scotia, provided that Nova Scotia is the only province in the country. Under normal circumstances, it's ranked among the ugliest. Specifically, it's ranked first among the ugliest. Basically, you should never go to Nova Scotia unless you are blind (or wish to become blind.)

NEW BRUNSWICK

Official Languages: French, English, French and English, French and then English, English with a French Accent, "Fringish"

National Anthem: Same as in the rest of Canada, I guess?

New Brunswick (or "The Brunswick" for short) has more trees per capita than any other province (save for Saskatchewan, whose population consists entirely of twelve crazy vagrants living in a forest.) In recent years, the traditional logging industry has been replaced by an online "blogging" industry, where people download pictures of trees and then rotate their monitors to make it look like the trees have fallen down. As you've probably guessed, there's not a lot to do in New Brunswick.

OLD BRUNSWICK

Location: Germany

Language: German

Part of Canada?: Probably not.

I would imagine this is an error on our part.

MANITOBA

Flag: On a red field, some stuff. (With some other stuff also on a red field.)

Location: Between Octoba and Decemba.

Manitoba is romantically known as the "Land of 100 Malls" because of the numerous shopping centres that dot its landscape. In reality, Manitoba has only 68 malls, and one of those is just an abandoned building where an Eaton's used to be.

BRITISH COLUMBIA

Capital: Vancouver

Actual Capital: Victoria (but who cares?)

Notable Alumni: "The Doc", hip-hop artist/philanthropist/millionaire; Gus Colby, who can count to ten in eleven different languages; and Roberta Bondar, astronaut/murderer.

British Columbia produces the most potent wine in the country: Château du Whitsler Special No. 8. A thimbleful of this foul-smelling vintage is strong enough to kill an adult grizzly bear. Unfortunately for the human race, bears do not drink wine, so there is still no way to kill an adult Grizzly Bear.

PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND

Capital/Largest City/Only City/The Entire Island: Charlottetown

Chief Export: Pamphlets about Prince Edward Island

Principal Adjective: Cramped

Prince Edward Island is popularly known as "Salt Island", and that nickname is well deserved. Restaurants on Prince Edward Island will typically provide you with free salt at every meal – even dinner! Pepper costs 50¢ extra.

SASKATCHEWAN

Highest Elevation: Tie between a small field outside of Saskatoon and the entire rest of the province.

Local Delicacies: None.

When one thinks of romance, one thinks of Saskatchewan. There is a complex psychological reason for this, but I do not know what it is.

ALBERTA

Capital: A

Sales Tax: -7%. The government actually gives you a nice gift every time you buy something. The gift is also tax deductible.

You know those old Disney cartoons where Scrooge McDuck would jump into the swimming pool full of coins? Alberta is just like that except the duck is a human and the swimming pool is full of oil. Also, the human usually drowns because oil is sticky and difficult to swim in.

NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR

History Corner: The first European to discover Newfoundland was Leif Ericson, who called it Vinland. He was incorrect. The name of the island is Newfoundland.

History Corner (Labrador Edition): In the 17th century, Labrador invented the dog. Shortly thereafter, Labrador invented the vast expanse of desolate wilderness.

Newfoundland was once home to the largest population of monkeys in all of North America. It was said that you could just dip your net into the jungle once and it would come up overflowing with monkeys. In the 20th century, monkey stocks sharply declined due to over-monkeying, and the monkey-based economy of the province almost collapsed. Monkey populations are now slowly on the rebound, thanks to monkey farming and other new ecologically-friendly monkeying techniques.

ST. PIERRE AND MIQUELON

Location: Off the coast of Newfoundland.

You know it's still a part of France, right?: What, seriously?

Yeah. Isn't that weird?: I know. What the hell.

In 1763, France was forced to surrender Canada to the British, but it managed to hold on to the tiny islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon by hiding them under what was then the world's largest tarpaulin. (The current record holder is the tarpaulin that was used to hide Hong Kong from the Chinese, now kept in storage.)

NORTHWEST TERRITORIES

Origin of Name: Unknown

The Northwest Territories is home to the Northwest Passage, which is Northwest of the Regular Passage and even further Northwest of the Southeast Passage. The famed explorer Henry Hudson sought out the Northwest Passage in 1610, but failed to find it. The next year, Hudson again failed to find the Northwest Passage, but this time it was because he was dead. In recognition of his accomplishments, Canada's largest bay was named Seriously Where Is That God Damn Passage Already Bay.

YUKON

Motto: Statistically speaking, you probably don't live here.

Did You Know?: The Yukon Territory was founded during the Klondike Gold Rush of 1898. Did you know this? Please send us your answer along with a self-addressed stamped envelope.

The hit soap opera Beverly Hills 90210 was filmed entirely in the Yukon during its first season, in order to save money. Unfortunately, American audiences found it difficult to relate to people who were cold or who looked like they were in cold places, and the ratings suffered as a result. The show was moved to L.A. for its second season, which really made much more sense, given its title.

NUNAVUT

Coldness: Considerable

Threat of Malaria Outbreak: Slight

Nunavut is Canada's youngest territory, having been created only five minutes ago. It is very difficult to get to by car due to a lack of roads and also due to a lack of a lack of snow.


Brendan Patrick Hennessy, 21 November 2007