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Friday, June 08, 2007

Oh, Canada!

(The title of this post should be read in a frustrated voice, like this: "Oh, Canada! Stop farting during dinner.")

You've probably been on the edge of your seat, waiting for CBC to unveil the Seven Wonders Of Canada. I know you can't wait, because CBC says it's the talk of the town. I'm not entirely sure which town they're talking about, but it's definitely not Name of Town Withheld.

Anyway, the contest is over. People have voted, and in the end none of it mattered -- the "wonder" that got the most votes did not make the list. In fact, only two of the voters' picks made the list.

And this list...well, let's just say that it is very Canadian. The judges first wanted us to know that it was a very difficult choice. This is the sort of nice thing you say whenever you're a judge, but these guys went on to say that cutting the list was agonizing and that each person who lives here is a wonder of Canada. Yeah, you'd think it was kindergarten or something. You can't celebrate one thing without crushing the self-esteem of another. (This is a joke for Cute with Chris, but a rallying cry for Canadians.)

The top audience selections were all wonders of nature, like Niagara Falls and the Sleeping Giant. The final list is:

  • The Canoe: The judges explained that they liked this one because of its ties to aboriginal culture. Then they interviewed a white guy about it.
  • Niagara Falls: I agree with them on this one.
  • Pier 21: This is the Ellis Island of Canada. It was the entry point for untold numbers of immigrants during the last century.
  • The Rocky Mountains: I know Americans have them too, but I think ours are nicer.
  • Prairie Skies: I really don't get this one. They went on and on about the Saskatchewan license plate and how all parts of the province have the sky. I am not sure if I should break it to the CBC that we have a sky here in Name of Town Withheld, too. It is not just a Saskatchewan thing.
  • Old Quebec City: Because you can't forget Quebec or they'll threaten to leave. Being a Canadian is like being in a dysfunctional marriage: "I hate you! I'm leaving!" "But --" *SLAM*
  • And finally: The igloo.
The judges provided an insightful explanation for the last item. They picked out seven wonders and marked them on a map. Then they realised that they did not have any wonders in the north. So they suddenly changed their minds and decided that the igloo should be a wonder, too. Because here in the north, we love being an afterthought, and we love it when you tell us that you're only including us because you think you have to.

You might be wondering which wonder got the axe (or ulu, in this case) to make room for the igloo. It was Haida Gwaii, of course. If CBC is going to celebrate one aboriginal culture, another aboriginal culture is just going to have to move out of the way. Don't worry.

That was a tasteless joke. Sorry about that.

What I meant to say was that you can't get much more Canadian than this pathetic list. Around here, we pick our wonders by looking at the map to make sure we don't offend anyone. We don't want to include too many wonders that one group of people would disproportionately identify with, and the Haida and Inuit are exactly the same, so it's only fair to kick the BC hippies off the list to make room for houses made of snow. Pass me a latte. Does this miniskirt make my butt look big?


Stacey and Trevor said...

Exactly! Seven Wonders had okay intentions but failed miserably. I'm glad this is over. Give me 10 more minutes of news than this junk.

Ben Holsapple said...

I'm curious as to why any list of the Seven Wonders of Canada would not contain the tallest freestanding structure on the planet. The CN Tower is usually counted among the Seven Wonders of the World...I'd be surprised if it were not the most publicly recognized feature of Canada. The canoe is not exactly a source of national pride.

I don't know about you, but I think having the world's highest publicly accessible toilets is something any nation should be proud of.

Steve & Megan said...

The CN Tower received almost 27,000 votes from the public. As a comparison, the canoe got 17,000 votes. Canoes are very nice, but I suspect that the judges immediately rejected the CN Tower because it is basically a symbol of Toronto.

The list of voter favourites included a disproportionate number of northern "wonders", including Dawson City, the Dempster Highway, ice roads, igloos, L'Anse Amour, Auyittuq National Park, Nahanni National Park, the northern lights, the Northwest Passage, the Porcupine caribou herd, the inuksuk and the Tuktoyaktuk pingos. I'm not sure if this represented a concerted effort on northerners' part to get on the list, or if people in Canada really think that ice roads are a "wonder" (they ARE pretty neat).

This is a distinctly Canadian list. And I'm saying that with a sneer. We need something that represents immigration, French culture and aboriginal culture. We can't have too many "wonders" from the same region.

Dad said...

Megan, you are living a dangerous life. It's great fun to watch - - from this safe distance.

Of course, I could never contribute to a list like this - - though I love Canada.
When the professional Canadians draft their list, they take care to only include items that the smelly fascists to the south would never consider.

gifted typist said...

Snorted out loud (SOL?) at your list on the CBC insider blog.

Why do Canadians always make excuses for banality and lack of creativity by saying "it's so Canadian." I think it's a CBC disease, not a Canadian disease. CBC has its uberPC mandate which takes the edge of everything it touches. (The list, for eg) Because Canadians have so little else to connect each other, they start believing the bland notion of The Canadian fed to them by the CBC. Canadians don't have to be "nice" or "so Canadian" in order to justify themselves. We have much more going for us than that.