The funny thing about Canadians is that we like to think that we're more cultured than we probably are.
Keeping things positive for a second, to live in the Great White North is to spend all of your disposable income walking the magical sands of Long Beach in Tofino by day, and stuffing one's face with goma eggplant and tuna tataki at Kuma at night.
Or to lounge by the lake in Ontario's Muskokas sipping Royal DeMaria Meritage Icewine while a mixtape featuring the best of Leonard Cohen, Neil Young, and the Tragically Hip plays on the brushed chrome Beonsound 2 stereo system. Or to spend fall weekends dining on house-made lobster thermidor while enjoying the insanely perfect view from the Quirpon Lighthouse Inn on Newfoundland's Iceberg Alley.
Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of Tourism Canada, the rest of the world still tends to see us differently. To those on the outside looking in, we're a country where Black Label is the national drink, mack jackets are issued at birth, and every home has a snowmobile parked in the garage.
It's no suprise then that England's Daily Mail has been whipping up Britain's common rabble ever since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced that they plan to spend large chunks of their next few years in Canada.
This morning the London-based tabloid ran a story under the headline:
"Welcome to Canad-argh! Psychopathic bears, vampire flies, and gut-busting cuisine... these are just some of the perils Harry and Meghan will face in their new home, says the ex-editor of the paper that told them to stay away."
After praising our fabled natural beauty, writer Richard Addis (who once lived in Toronto) paints a picture of a country that will leave those who live north of the 49th parallel wondering if it's time to move to a more civilized place. Like Alabama. Or Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.
According to Addis, Canada is a place where Harry and Meghan are going to have to exercise extreme caution because:
- Even fleet-of-foot Olympic athletes are frequently run down as killed by bloodthirsty, psychopathic bears with no moral compass
- A walk to the corner store for milk outside of any place not named Montreal, Toronto, or Vancouver is to be set upon by swarming hordes of "vampire flies". Those stupid enough to not be wearing a beekeeping outfit are inevitably reminded that blackflies have "razor sharp jaws which puncture the skin. Blood streams out", and that after returning with your three-litre jug of homo milk, "If you are foolish enough to venture out for a walk without your protective head net, your family will run away screaming the moment they catch sight of you. That is because you will have no face left."
- Everyone walks around like they are in their trimester, this having everything to do with the fact that the entire country lives on a diet of nothing but poutine and beaver tails. ("Poutine disappears into thousands of Canadian bellies every day where it creates a characteristic bulge.")
- No one drives. Because the country is so big, Canadians find it easier to make their way around in small aeroplanes
- Temperatures typically hover around the -20 celsius mark, which makes any outdoors sojourn foolhardy unless you've slathered yourself in "frostbite cream"
Making this doubly hilarious is that news reports have Harry and Meghan settling in pleasantly temperate, sea-level Victoria, BC--a place where the average temperature in January is well above freezing, at 8 degrees Celsius, and where the city is so famously bug-free that most houses don't even have screens on their windows. And that the only bear-spotting done in the city is at the Vicious Poodle.
And there's more, eh, from Addis musing on everything from the way "Eh" is used in every sentence, to how ice-fishing is both a means of a survival and an unofficial national sport.
To be fair, the article is not all entirely innacurate, with the piece nailing our national mindset with this observation: "They are moving to a country where you must never pull rank. Any attempt to do so by using title, status or simply sheer arrogance will be a failure."
After you've booked the U-Haul, you can read the whole article here.