Ever since I can remember I've heard the comment that there is "no difference" between Canadians and Americans. I respectfully beg to differ as there is a difference on so many levels! We have unique Canadian culture consisting of Canadianisms, a Canadian perspective on world events, Canadian cuisine as well as products and foods only available in Canada. This blog is dedicated to celebrating all things Canadian from "my perspective" as a Canadian. Please enjoy your visit and be sure to visit often.

Garden Gnome
Americans should never underestimate the constant pressure on Canada which the mere presence of the United States has produced. We're different people from you and we're different people because of you. Living next to you is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant. No matter how friendly and even-tempered is the beast, if I can call it that, one is effected by every twitch and grunt. It should not therefore be expected that this kind of nation, this Canada, should project itself as a mirror image of the United States.
- Pierre Trudeau

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Canadian Beaver

Canadian beaver
Canadian Beaver in the Wild
(Castor canadensis)
June 14, 2009

We live on the Great Lakes waterway where we not only enjoy the beautiful Great Lakes and supporting waterways. There are many smaller rivers and tributaries as well as cuts, small lakes, ponds and ditches all draining into the Great Lakes waterway. This makes the area rich in both flora and fauna some of which are found no where else in the world! Last Sunday we arrived home from a fun day of boating. As we were loading the car I spotted a beaver in the cut.

The beaver is a Canadian national emblem gaining this prestigious honourary honour bestowed on March 24, 1975 due to it's role in colonizing Canada through the fur trade. Europeans came to North America specifically to trap beavers and trade beaver pelts in the 1600s and early 1700s. The pelts were destined to make fur top hats that were popular in Europe at that time. The two fur trading companies operating in what was to be Canada were the Hudson Bay Company (English) with headquarter in London, England and the North West Company (French) with headquarters in Montréal. Both fur trading companies worked closely with the Native population. Out of that relationship arose a unique people, the Métis one of Canada's recognized Aboriginal peoples under the Canada Constitution Act 1982. [As an aside, many of my ancestors (French, Native) were active in the fur trade not only as trappers but as Coureur des bois and interpreters. I'll write more on that in later posts.]

The beaver appears on:
  1. the first North American Coat of Arms (created by Sir William Alexander)
  2. an 18th Century silver Canadian trading token valued at 10 beaver pelts was in the shape of a beaver
  3. the Hudson Bay Company shield
  4. the Canadian nickel (5¢ coin)
  5. the Three Penny Beaver stamp of 1851
  6. the masthead of Le Canadién, a newspaper published in Lower Canada
  7. the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) crest
  8. a special 3¢ coin issued by the Canadian Mint in 2001
  9. the Coat of Arms of: Manitoba, Newfoundland, Saskatchewan
Other Canadian beaver trivia:
  1. National Beaver Day has been celebrated since 1974 by the Nova Scotia Association of Architects
  2. the de Havilland Beaver is a single engine high-wing five seat bush airplane
  3. the youngest level of Scouts Canada is called Beavers
  4. a popular gas station in Canada is called Beaver
  5. several Canadian geographical locations have Beaver in their name
  6. Frank and Gordon (originally Jules et Bertand) were Bell Canada Inc. mascots from 2005 to Aug 1, 2008
  7. the beaver is used as mascot and symbol for Parks Canada
  8. the mascot of the 1976 Olympic Summer Games in Montréal was a beaver names Amik
  9. a wonderful, deep fried, oblong shaped, somewhat flattened doughnut with various toppings is called Beaver Tail
  10. the Canadian beaver is the largest rodent in North America1


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