Weird things I apparently taught my American friends about Canada

As I’ve mentioned, I recently moved to California from New York. As a goodbye gift, some of my New York friends compiled a document called “A List of the Things We Learned About Canada From Chris Tindal.” It was a really special and thoughtful gift, especially now that I am able to use it as a blog post during this extra busy time.

Some of this is grossly inaccurate due to misunderstanding, and there are a few items that I can’t even explain the origin of. It might also look like I complained about Canada all the time, but I hope not. Mostly I suspect I was just trying to impress my American friends with weird stuff and make Canada seem exotic.

What follows is the slightly edited document. Actual history to continue next week.

A List of the Things We Learned About Canada From Chris Tindal

Chris Tindal, a man we will have worked with until 3pm today, contains within him a wealth of knowledge about Canadian history and minutiae. Over the last two or so years we have had many conversations with him about this nonsense. We have treasured these talks though we have failed to accurately remember them. We will attempt to relay that information, in our best addled recollection, in this doc.

1. Canadian radio stations are required to play a certain number of Canadian artists per day, so there are a lot of Canadian musicians Americans have never heard of.

There is a board that manages this, but I don’t remember the name of it. I do remember that there is a point system for figuring out how canadian a musical act is called MAPL. I think it is an acronym though I have no idea what it stands for. As a band a Canadian band member will land you one MAPL point, and you need at least two to be considered officially Canadian enough for radio. Radio stations need to then play a certain number of officially Canadian artists. This system works per artist – having one extremely Canadian band, for example a 40 piece operatic indie folk act from Ontario – will not be enough to carry your radio station.

2. Canadian people love that it bothers Americans that they call beanies “touques”, and they will never stop talking about it.

They treat this like it’s America’s problem even when we are the ones who invented skateboarding. The two things might not seem connected but I assure you they really are. Also, a toque specifically has a pom-pom, and all canadians get really fucking mad when beanies don’t have pom-poms.

3. There is a complex beer registry system in Canada and that’s why Canada doesn’t get a lot of good beer.

Having some kind of irritatingly pleasant deeply entrenched regulatory board for a banal thing is deeply Canadian. [Editor’s note: I do not remember being this hard on Canadian beer, though I do get very mad at The Beer Store. Also I am sorry that pretty much this entire document mistakes either “Toronto” or “Ontario” for “Canada.”]

4. Despite every funny person being from Canada, Canadian TV doesn’t really have satire, and isn’t a lot of fun.

This might be related to the irritatingly pleasant deeply entrenched regulatory boards I mentioned before?

5. At one point a video surfaced of a political candidate peeing in a cup and it was a big political scandal.

Canadian politics are fun. [Editor’s note: I had forgotten about this! A great moment in Canadian history.]

6. Chris once met the lead singer from a band he liked who was bartending in Toronto or something.

It was a band I was totally unaware of (see #1) but this was a big deal to Chris and he brings it up from time to time. It is an anecdote about the unpredictability of life and finding humility in an idol’s failure, and growing old. [Editor’s note: I do not think Edwin is a failure, and enjoyed the evening I spent in his bar.]

7. Instead of Bloody Marys Canadians drink something called a “bloody Caesar”

It is a Bloody Mary guaranteed to contain Clamato and some kind of novelty garnish. That’s it. Somehow this is of great cultural significance.

8. Canadian Thanksgiving is in early October

And they all drink bloody Caesars

9. Santa lives in Canada, and New Zealand is Australia’s Canada

10. The Queen has many birthdays

The Queen of Canada’s birthday is May 24th.

11. Canada has its own kindle! It is called a Kobo!

[Editor’s note: I love, and would not shut up about, my Kobo.]

12. Canada also has a national font.

[Editor’s note: I think this is a reference to how the word Canada often appears in the same font in government material?]

13. Canada was not actually an independent country until, I want to say, 1986

[Editor’s note: Ha, ok.]

14. Oh Smarties! They are Canadian m&ms that Chris Tindal deems superior.

15. Canada has many fine treats such as: Maple Sandwich cookies, Coffee Crisp, All Dressed Chips, and Hickory Sticks

16. Famous Canadians, a list, from memory only, please. NO GOOGLING.

  • Chris Tindal
  • Cap Tindal (or whatever your brother’s name is)
  • Handsome Idiot Justin Trudeau
  • Former PM _____ Trudeau (related to the handsome one)
  • Kate Beaton
  • Alanis Morissette
  • The original Avril Lavigne (maybe not Avril Lavigne’s doppelganger)
  • Celine Dion
  • Drake
  • Leonard Cohen
  • Neil Young
  • Rick Moranis
  • Mike Myers
  • Jim Carrey
  • Pamela Anderson
  • John Candy
  • The rest of SCTV
  • Kids in the Hall
  • Norm Macdonald?
  • Nelly Furtado
  • J-Biebs
  • Snow, the white rapper who penned “Informer”, a licky boom boom down
  • Bryan Adams
  • The Weeknd
  • Margaret Atwood
  • Uhhh winnie the pooh (like the actual bear) i think
  • Michael Ondaatje? Maybe he was born somewhere else?
  • The band Rush
  • Leslie Feist
  • Grimes
  • Carl Newman
  • Many many hockey players
  • Bret “The Hitman” Hart
  • Tommy Chong (from Cheech &)
  • Late Former Toronto Mayor Rob “Crack-smokin’” Ford
  • Troy Hurtubise, inventor of the “Bear-proof Suit”
  • Everyone named “Gordon”
  • There are definitely some TV anchors that are from Canada.
  • Steve Nash

18. Chris can name everyone on a Canadian coin from memory, as well as identify a respectable number of figures on American coins.

More people should know this:

One Reply to “Weird things I apparently taught my American friends about Canada”

  1. I enjoy all your blogs, but I have to admit that I enjoyed this one the most. It tells us a lot about what you talk about but more importantly about how much people around you actually listen & retain, which is impressive (for Americans). And how much they loved & appreciated and will miss you.

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