The capital of Canada is?
A survey commissioned by the Montreal-based Association for Canadian Studies found that only 48 percent of Americans said they knew the name of Canada’s capital. Vancouver Sun
And that’s a shame, isn’t it? Canada has been described as the United States’ attic or United States North, insinuating that it’s just an extension, a wing of the U.S. By the way, the capital is Ottawa. Now, for extra bonus points, name Canada’s prime minister. Last year, all three Jeopardy contestants were stumped by a question asking the name of Canada’s prime minister. OK, Joe Public’s not knowing is allowable. But don’t we expect more from Jeopardy contestants?
When asked that question at yahoo.com last year, there was this response–Why would anyone need to know the name of the prime minster of every little country? Its not like canada (sic) is important, like Britain, China, France or Russia.
Well, first off, capitalize the ‘C’, please. And, Canada isn’t little. In land mass, it’s the second largest country in the world, second only to Russia. The U.S. is third. The gross national product per capita shows Canada is better off than Britain, France, Spain, or Austrailia. But Canadians readily admit they are affected by everything the U.S. does.
Former Canadian prime minister Pierre Trudeau once said–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 affected by every twitch and grunt.
Canada is so close, so beautiful and so friendly that it’s almost embarrassing how little Americans know about our friends up north.
Canadians are famous for being friendly. Courteous. Kind. Thrifty. Brave. They are like a few million Boy Scouts.
And that’s where the world’s largest tulip festival comes in. During World War II, the Nazis were about to invade The Netherlands and the royal family escaped and moved to Canada. For the duration of the war, the Dutch royal family resided safely there. Princess Margriet was born in Ottawa, and Canada temporarily declared the Ottawa hospital extraterritorial, to ensure the princess would hold exclusively Dutch, rather than dual nationality.
As a gracious ‘thank you’, The Netherlands donated 100,000 tulip bulbs ot Ottawa at the end of the war, and today more than one million flowers decorate the parks, bike paths and lakesides of the city.
Exploring the city can be done by traditional tourist methods, like buses. But bike/hike/jog paths might be the best way. Ottawa claims more than 100 miles of paved paths in the city, and maps even point out where bikers will find hills. Bikers and walkers are everywhere, and drivers yield to both when they meet. Bike paths wind along the Rideau Canal, which was built to move military supplies against the American threat in 1826.
Because it is the national capital, Ottawa boasts Washington D.C.-like museums and attractions. Parliment is a grand European style building with its back against the Ottawa River–and a grand view. On the opposite shore is Gatineau and French-speaking Quebec.