French navigator and explorer Jacques Cartier let 3 expeditions into what is called today Canada. He was sent in 1534 by King Francis I to the New World in search of treasures and a new route to Asia. Unfortunately, those expeditions failed the king who expected gold and diamond but he was given worthless tombac and quartz. The expeditions were suspended up to the 1604 when Samuel de Champlain, called also a „Father of New France”, was granted to explore those lands one more time. He established Acadia – the first permanent French settlement in New World. The settlers, however, moved to a more sheltered harbour because of severe winter experience. New place named Port Royal was situated in area which is called today Nova Scotia. By 1607 there was established one more French settlement called the St. Lawrence River which allowed France to lay claim to those lands. Then the old Haudenosaunee village was transformed into Quebec from Algonquian word „kebec” which meant „narrows”.
Since France and Great Britain were fighting ferociously over their colonies, snatching those lands from each other’s hands, the fact that French were Catholics and British were Protestants did not make their issues any less fierce. The Seven Years War broke out in 1756. British crushed French in 1759 in the famous battle on the Plains d’Abraham but the French influences have survived until the present day. Today, about 6.8 million people speaks French in Canada which is more than 20% of its population (source:www.statcan.gc.ca) After war they could also keep their law system and religious believes.
What places in Canada are worth seeing?
Of course Toronto which is even more populated than Ottawa – the capital city. Don’t get misled by overwhelming number of skyscrapers! Everybody says that it’s the most homely place they know. Toronto gives a big hug for traveller that manage to get there. Canadians are extremely polite and they are said to be the most apologetic nation of all. After a warm welcome check out the neighbourhood, for example an exotic Chinatown, vibrant and cosmopolitan Greektown or older and quieter Cabbagetown where you can admire well preserved Victorian housing. Craving a suntan? Toronto boasts of several marvellous beaches: Woodbine, Hanlan’s Point, Sunnyside and Sugar. If you won’t get tired of water, you can also visit Niagara Falls which is the natural international border between Canada and the States. Everybody who visits Toronto have to see CN Tower. It became some sort of tradition like visiting the Wawel Dragon in Cracow or the Sears Tower in Chicago.
What is Canada famous for?
Aside from such celebrities as Avril Lavigne, Jim Carrey and Pamela Anderson, Canadians are famous for their maple syrup. This most emblematic product goes perfectly with humble pancakes, waffles and porridge. In 1867 (which is also Canada’s birthday year!) the maple syrup love was so big that it was even crowned with „The Maple Leaf Forever” song written by A.Muir. The chorus goes:
„The maple leaf, our emblem dear, the maple leaf forever. God save our queen and heaven bless, the maple leaf forever.”
The golden liquid rush caused that in 1965 the red maple leaf was depicted on Canadian flag and the maple tree was proclaimed the national emblem in 1996.
Another Canada’s passion is hockey. This sport defines those people and bind them together like nothing else. It’s not enough to say that hockey love is overpowering there. Canadians simply live and breathe hockey. Why? Maybe because they invented the game? Maybe thanks to severe winter conditions they could practice more frequently than others and now they are genuine hockey stars, or maybe it shows best their strength and toughness? I guess a bit of all above mentioned plus the fact that there are not many disciplines where Canadians have as many chances to be the world champions. I wouldn’t be myself if I didn’t take my chance to mention the first NHL player born and trained in Poland – Mariusz Czerkawski, now retired, but one of the greatest at his time. In 2000 he participated in the historical 50th NHL All Star Game in Toronto.
What are the major differences between American and Canadian English?
Since Canada is a former British colony and a present member of the Commonwealth, there is nothing surprising about peculiar mixture of British and American vocabulary in Canadian English. The major differences occur in word spelling. In many cases it is British and in other American. Furthermore, there can be heard some French influences in phonetics or syntax. Nevertheless, it also has a number of individual Canadianisms. If you would like to speak like a real Canadian, you should learn some true Canadian lingo:
- Canuck: Canadian.
- Porch climber: a self-distilled alcoholic beverage or an extremely drunk person.
- Bunny hug: a sweatshirt without a zipper.
- Jam buster: a jam-filled doughnut.
- ABM: an Automated Bank Machine.
- Homo milk: a homogenized milk with a 3.25% fat content (not a whole milk!).
- Pop: a soda beverage/bubbly soft drink (like Pepsi or Dr. Pepper).
- Serviette: a napkin.
- Washroom: a toilette, bathroom.
- Hydro: an electricity.
- Toque: a winter hat with a pompom.
- Runners: a sneakers, running shoes.
- Poutine: french fries topped with cheese and hot gravy sauce.
- Farmer tan: developing only on somebody’s face, arms and neck which can be easily obtained by driving with the window open wearing a T-shirt.
- Spinnin’ an Freakin’: careless and dangerous driving.
- A dart: a cigarette. „Have you got a dart?”.
- Wheels: a car. „Where did you park your wheels?”.
- Bachelor Apartment: A flat without separate bedroom. (AmE = studio).
- Gasbar: gas station.
I hope you feel more Canuck now 😉