Canada is so close, yet it’s embarrassing that Canadians know more about us than we do about them. So I’m giving myself a crash course. Lets see: Ten provinces; three territories; world’s second largest country; named for Iroquois word for village; largest land border; 36 million Canucks; capital is Ottawa; proud of civil liberties, hockey, multiculturalism … lots of natural resources; officially bilingual due to colorful French and English history.
PERSPECTIVE: What I learned about the world from my neighbors.
It's a parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy with Queen Elizabeth II as head of state. Still has a Governor General representing the queen (albeit independent of UK's parliament since 1982); in practice the prime minister or premier ministre (currently Justin Trudeau) is chief executive; the two major parties are liberal and conservative. Canada Day is coming up July 1st, originally commemorating the British North America Act of 1867 which united the colonies Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Canada to create the Dominion of Canada.
I think I’m getting it.
Away from the populated border, a massive unspoiled Canadian wilderness stretches across a broad range of topography and climate. If our U.S. southwest deserts continue expanding, and our southeast lowlands keep getting inundated, and our Sunshine State grows intolerably humid and hot, then the gradually warming vast Canadian wilderness and its now-navigatable Northwest Passage will start looking good.
With now-required passports in order, and a basic knowledge of and appreciation for what we’re about to encounter, we’re ready for our visit. O, Canada!
David Shumway is one of our regular community contributors.