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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

TRANS-CANADA: Day 1--Honolulu to Canada

Checked into United and the computer indicated I first needed to get a VISA for Canada.  What?  So I had to go to another line, where the staffer was also confused.  Turned out that the USA is the only country where you don't need a Canadian visa.  Check in went smoothly, except that my regional upgrade to San Francisco did not go through...and there were 14 IK flyers ahead of me.  Incredible.  At least my SFO to Vancouver leg is in first class.

Canada is up there and cold, but largely obscure to most.  For example, did you know the following about  Canada:
  • larger than the USA, but only barely, with six time zones 
  • second largest country in the world, next to Russia
  • slightly smaller population than California:  36 million vs 39 million
  • highest tidal change at the Bay of Fundy
  • longest coastline at 126,000 miles
  • longest freshwater beach (Wasaga)
  • almost 10% of the renewable freshwater supply and 10% of the forests (cover half the country)
  • is 150 years old
  • Blackberry Smartphone was developed in Ontario, and so was the baseball glove in 1883
  • longest highway, Trans-Canada Highway, 4725 miles
  • invaded twice by the U.S., in 1775 and 1812
  • border with the USA 5525 miles long, with not a mention of a wall
  • 14 Gold Medals at the 2010 Winter Olympics, the most ever won at this event  (The next one is three months away in PyeongChang, South Korea.)
  • misnamed, in that French explorer Jaques Cartier (right) met with local natives who invited him to their village (kanata), which mistakenly was taken to be the country Canada
  • he claimed Canada for France
  • in 1763 New France and Florida were ceded to the British and the French got control of Louisiana
  • The Royal Canadian Mounted Police has almost 29,000 employees
  • famous celebrities include Justin Bieber, Michael Buble, James Cameron, Jim Carrey, Celine Dion, Ryan Gosling Mike Myers, William Shatner, Paul Anka, Steppenwold, The Barenaked Ladies (think Big Bang), David Foster and Alex Trebek
  • fourth lowest population density
  • 90% live within 100 miles of the border
  • half of citizens born in other countries
  • dog food is tax-deductible
  • people finish a sentence with the world EH
  • for one American dollar, you get 1.27 Canadian
  • a $1 Canadian is a loonie
  • a lot have a TV set in the bathroom (128,000)
  • the Royal Montreal Golf Club, founded in 1873, is the oldest golf club in North America
  • has two official languages, English and French
Oh Canada is one of my favorite national anthems.  Here are a few  memorable versions;

Celine Dion's first hit was in 1990.  Hear her sing Oh Canada in 1984.  Again in this same year before a Montreal Expo's home opener, including the Star Spangled Banner.  She was 16 years old.  Eight years later after becoming famous, she sings the French version.

This is William Shatner attempting Oh Canada.  The worst?  Maybe by an American at a Canadian Football League game. 

Mark Donnelly is famous for singing this song at hockey matches.  Another NHL pregame, by Sarah McLachlan.

Tomorrow:  Vancouver.

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