What seems strange in one place on the Earth, may be completely natural to another. Yet, there always is an objective way of looking at things and judging them for what they really are. Canada is a huge place where one can safely say that many weird things are going on. Here are ten of the weirdest facts about Canada.
10. St.-Louis-du-Ha!-Ha!, Quebec
I'm sure, there are many places with strange names on this planet, but I am almost certain that none of them can surpass the exaggeration that Saint Luis Du Ha! Ha! exhibits. Located in eastern Quebec, its name is supposed to be based on the archaic French word ‘ha-ha’ referring to an obstacle that preserves views. Adding those exclamation marks though makes me think that this has certainly something to do with Quebec's loose alcohol laws.
9. Multiple Religions and Languages
Canadians are one of the worlds’ most undecided people. Their religious and linguistic preferences are as spread and colourful as a peacocks’ tail. Almost 39% of the population are Roman Catholics, 29% Protestants, 3% are Muslims, 2% Christian Orthodox, 1.5% Hindu, 1% Buddhist and 1% Jewish (the rest are non-religious).
Spoken language realm is confusing too as approximately 67% of Canadians speak English, while 22% speak French! Quebec and New Brunswick have declared French as their official languages, while Montreal is the second largest French-speaking city after Paris. To make things even more complicated, if you live in the north you will also get hear various indigenous languages.
8. UFO Landing Pad
Whatever you choose to believe about UFOs one thing is sure; their existence hasn't been officially confirmed yet, so building a landing pod for them to park their ship instead of letting them burn some Canadian dirt ground is at least weird. Ok, I know that this is mostly built as a tourist attraction, but still; a UFO landing pad? Maybe a Harrier Jet could bring this some use until the great day finally comes.
7. Pekwachnamaykoskwaskwaypinwanik Lake
What would a native answer to you if you asked him where the nearest lake is? He would most probably throw 31 letters in your face letting you wonder if he means to somehow insult you, or if he's actually trying to help you get there. Pekwachnamaykoskwaskwaypinwanik Lake, located in Manitoba, is not a joke at all, though. It means "where the wild trout are caught by fishing with hooks" and it is almost certainly the most descriptive name in the history of mankind.
Basketball is one of the world's most popular, cool, manly, and spectacular sports. It is played in almost all countries in the world from very young ages, found in many variations and not even wheelchairs can stop people from enjoying this amazing sport.
...And it was all started by a Canadian when Dr. James Naismith was trying to keep his class active during rainy days in Springfield, Massachusetts. So, is this Canada's most popular sport? No it's not! Canada's two official sports are Ice Hockey and Lacrosse. Basketball is only expressed through some successful university teams and the Toronto Raptors who participate in the NBA madness.
5. Resource Exclusivity
There are very few countries in the world that can claim to have some kind of exclusivity and Canada is one of them. Being one of the world's richest countries in all kinds of minerals and metals, Canada is (almost) the sole provider of caesium, a rare chemical element used in the oil industry, electric power generation, and electronic systems, as well as for medical purposes. It all comes from one place, the Tanco Mine in Manitoba. Another product that the whole world can enjoy, and which comes from one place, is the maple syrup that is heavily produced in the province of Quebec. Don’t try to tell a Quebecer that Ontario or Vermont produce better syrup.
4. Criminalized Crime Comics
Crimes by Women [Public Domain]
Comics are almost always following a certain trope that includes some kind of criminal terrorizing the people of a certain place (or threatening to destroy the whole world) and a superhero coming to save the day. The weird thing here is that these kinds of comics are forbidden in Canada, as is any kind of literature that is depicting actions of criminality. This most probably includes almost 99% of your comic collection and 100% of comics worth reading. Fortunately, though the law is still on the books, it hasn’t been enforced since 1966.
3. Broadcasted Music
There's a law in Canada that forces radio stations to keep the rate of Canadian vs Rest of the World music at 40-60. So did you just listen to a song by the Beatles and then one from Rammstein? Be prepared to get hit by some Justin Bieber, followed by strange Inuit recordings soon, as the producer needs to keep that ratio intact.
2. Bathtub Races
Bathtubs are made for people to get clean, or to spend some time relaxing in the warm water after a killer day in the work. Several artists have used them for their creations, while others like to put them in their gardens as decorative objects. Canadians, though, go a step further by fitting a monster engine at the back and hitting the waves for a crazy bathtub race! The event takes place in Nanaimo, British Colombia every year since 1967, and is beginning to spread to other places outside Canada, but Nanaimo remains the king of the kind.
1. The World's Smallest Jail?
If you failed to follow Ontario’s unique interpretation of the law in the Kawarthas back at the beginning of the last century, you most probably ended up in a Canadian cell waiting for the kind people of the Great White North to forgive you for this ignorance of yours. If all this happened in Coboconk, you were extra unlucky as there stands one of the world's smallest jails, with two cells and a warden's office fitting in 26m2. The jail was built in 1884 and after it stayed empty for over 50 years, it was turned into a museum.
Ten More Weird Facts About Canada
This article was commissed by George Laczko. Originally published in 2014. Updated for 2019.