Monday, February 22, 2010

Know your history before the Olympics are history

Not what the fur traders had in mind!

It warms my heart to see Oprah hawk the HBC Canadian Olympic mitts on her show. Wow: the Bay producing something that people actually want?! Amazing! Meet you there on Saturday for a malt and hot dog in the basement.

I also love watching one of our own own the podium at the winter games. Hey, that dude from Russell won something? Maybe I could win something too. Like a pair of mitts on Oprah!

But you can really tell that I'm Canadian by the fact that just when I start feeling really patriotic in my heart, something hits me in the cerebellum: my lack of knowledge about Canadian history.

Don't know much about (Canadian) history

I don't recall learning much about Canadian history at any level of school and I retained even less than I learned, which means that my knowledge on the topic is as piss poor as the next Canadian guy's. And the next Canadian guy is wearing a toque, eating poutine, and suggesting that the secret to the Canadian men's hockey team is, "Da boys gotta get into da corners, eh?"

In fact, the only thing I remember from grade school at all is finding an elastic band on the floor, shooting it randomly, and accidentally hitting my teacher square in the eyeball. Really, how can Louis-Joseph Papineau compare with something like that?

I've known this for a while, so I've been compiling a list of Canadian history topics that I will one day look up, so I can shame everyone I know with my knowledge of the fur trade, Samuel de Champlain, the Loyalists, the Northwest Rebellion, and - mostly - our many famous Mackenzies: Bob, Doug, and William Lyon.

The Globe & Mail has also helped me out by publishing lists of Canadian history makers and facts over the years, mostly on Canada Day.

And, so, here's the shortlist of the things we should've learned in grade school but didn't.

Cue that cruddy "believe" music!

The list
  • The Europeans come to the Prairies (1870 to 1914 - no links that I can recommend. Boo.)
  • The Industrial Revolution and urbanization (1880s to 1920s - no links that I can recommend. Double boo.)
Ahhh, I feel better already. Now get into da corners, boys, and kick dose udder guys' arses, eh?


  1. I can't believe Oprah handed the Canadian mittens out. That's hilarious...

    I gave my girlfriend some of the HBC mittens to show off at her school in Minneapolis.

    Thank you Oprah for making my gift look that much cooler.

  2. The HBC mittens... which are, I'm told, made in China.


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