Whack A Canadian


A weekly treat is reading through each new issue of The New Yorker, one of my all-time favorite magazines because it is so consistently excellent.  Its cartoons are an indispensable hallmark of the magazine’s style and, over the years, its cartoonists occasionally have focused their good-natured humor at Canadians or Americans’ general (mis)perception of Canada.

In keeping with that tradition, the most recent issue of The New Yorker includes the above cartoon by P.C. Vey playing on the notion of Canadian politeness.  It’s funny but probably goes a bit too far — yes, Canadians are generally polite but certainly not pushovers.  Of course, it’s all in good fun and not to be taken too seriously.  As previous commenters about such cartoons have noted, if you have to have a reputation, that of being overly polite isn’t a bad one to have.

Image Credit: P.C. Vey, The New Yorker

Related posts on O’ Canada:

More American Cartoons on Canada

Another Amusing Take on Canadian Politeness

“You First. I Insist”:  A Canadian Standoff

Cheeky Humor of Vintage Canadian Tire Catalogues



Wherever you go in Canada, you’re probably not far from a Canadian Tire location, a retailer that carries auto parts, sporting goods, hardware and some appliances, clothing and all manner of other goods.  Canadian Tire is so popular it even has its own pseudo-currency — Canadian Tire Dollars — that are both usable and collectible.  Many of the retailer’s older advertisements featured humorous bits — some slightly suggestive — as illustrated by these Spring and Summer catalogs across the years. (I’ll post later some others from Fall and Winter editions of the C.T. catalogs.)














More American Cartoons On Canada

I enjoy the diversion of witty cartoons (especially those in The New Yorker magazine), and I’ve posted previously about funny cartoons that comment on American perceptions and stereotypes about Canada (for example, here and here).  Below are a few others that may provide for some amusement.


This one deals with the general lack of knowledge about Canada by many Americans:

What part of Canada . . .


Americans know they share many similarities with Canadians and might be happy to think that’s true in all respects but every now and then something will remind otherwise — such as the finishing of a sentence with an “eh?” or a different pronunciation of a common word (like “about” pronounced as “aboot”) — even if they can’t put their finger on it:



Of course, there’s the widely held perception of Canadians as being polite to a fault:

Canadian Mob


This one, while showing two Canadian politicians, plays on the notion held by many Americans of U.S. “exceptionalism” and the idea that Canada doesn’t often register with many Americans:



And . . . there’s the word “about” again:

Canadian CSI

(Image credits to the various cartoonists: Liam Walsh, D. Reilly, P.C. Vey, Paul Noth, Dan Piraro)

Halloween Haunts: Joe’s Scarecrow Village



Several years ago, while winding through the gorgeous scenery that graces Cape Breton, Nova Scotia’s Cabot Trail we came across a head-turning collection of freaky scarecrows begging to be photographed.  This was Joe’s Scarecrow Village, a homegrown roadside attraction in Cap LeMoine with great character that was originally created by local Joe Delaney to ward animals away from his planting field. Halloween seems a fitting time to share these colorful oddities.  Sadly, this piece of rustic Canadiana has since been closed.

More info on Joe’s Scarecrow Village can be found here.

Another Amusing Take on Canadian Politeness



Similar to the “Canadian Standoff” cartoon by Roz Chast in an issue of the New Yorker from this past January, the above illustration by Robert Leighton in the August 5, 2013 issue of that magazine pokes good-natured fun at the Canadian penchant for politeness.  Not really a bad reputation to have though.

Amusing Twitter Posts from December

Twitter Logo White

Some random Twitter posts from December connected to Canada:

@nora_z_93 on Dec. 3:  One of the most dreadful experiences in life is waiting for the bus in canada during the winter. Trust me on this.

@YaBoiDave on Dec. 7: I have to go to canada this weekend. My goals: 1: complain about the bacon 2: overuse the term “ey” 3: befriend and or conquer a moose

@silasagna on Dec. 10: why do i hear goose outside of my window i don’t remember moving to canada

@robroche on Dec. 11: I know I should know better, but I still think it’s winter 365 days a year in Canada — After Maine ends: Polar Bears and Snow Mobiles.

@noahcgrove on Dec. 17:  Going to see the nutcracker tonight, hope the Alberta ballet isn’t a whole bunch of old men in cowboy boots on their tip toes.

@psysal on Dec. 18:  True Sounds of Canada: The gentle warble of a Loon ‘pon break of day.  The unmistakable clik of some weirdo clipping their nails on the bus.

@laurenonizzle  on Dec. 18: Newfoundland consumes about 30% of the bologna produced in Canada, despite having just 2% of the population.

@archiemc on Dec. 18:  BREAKING: Yellowknife, Iqaluit and Whitehorse all have a 100% chance of a white Christmas.

@NarikaXo on Dec. 26:  Everytime I do something odd or just random and funny everyone blames it on me being Canadian.

@austinc00per on Dec. 29: alsask.  what a clever name for a town on the alberta-sask border

Amusing Twitter Posts from November

Some random Canada-related posts from the Twittersphere over the past month:

@RolfMargeit on Nov. 29:  I love getting the odd nice quebec bus driver

@HeyitsMauri on Nov. 28:  I’d move to Canada but they don’t have black Friday’s over there.  :/

@jpadamson on Nov. 27:  The fact that we don’t have mulled wine carts on our streets in Vancouver is a travesty.

@homieschapels on Nov. 26:  tbh i didn’t know canada and the U.S were separate countries until like the 6th grade don’t laugh at me

@cjbeltowski on Nov. 25:  People in Canada think I’m weird for putting ketchup on my poutine, people in the US think I’m weird for eating poutine

@ddale8 on Nov. 24:  There is just a crazy amount of Canadian-ness going on in Toronto right now, aw ya yup I seen it on the subway I’m tellin’ ya.

@VickyMeunier on Nov. 19: Oh man, the new mayor of Montreal is so funny when he speaks french!!!! xD

@iseestarsmusic on Nov. 18:  Let’s get wild Calgary!! First time here!!! Don’t let us down 😉 open it up!!! <3@TulipFootsteps on Nov. 17: Canada has crazy drivers.

@3provincecanoe on Nov. 17:  Fishing licenses in Saskatchewan – $80.  Nunavut? $40.  Remind me to never take a date out to SK, what a ripoff that place is

@roryledbetter on Nov. 17:  Canadian money is crazy! It looks like Monopoly Bucks! & I’ve been here 3 hours and somehow I already have $20 worth of coins in my pocket!

WireTap’s Wry Perspective on Life


Into the third month now of my trial subscription of Sirius XM radio and I’m gaining a greater appreciation for the varied programming offered on CBC Radio One.  The closest thing we have in the States is National Public Radio.   However, my sense is that a richer variety  of offerings is to be found on CBC Radio.  Not sure if that’s because of the limited funding that NPR receives here or the different traditions out of which these two public radio services developed, but there’s certainly a notable difference. Continue reading

Donald Sutherland on Tommy Douglas


The March 2011 issue of Esquire magazine just arrived and its “What I’ve Learned” interview column features the wry observations of the actor Donald Sutherland, including this one:

“There was this politician in Canada, his name was Tommy Douglas.  While he was campaigning, someone yelled at him, “Tell us all you know, Tommy.  It won’t take very long.”  And Tommy yelled back, “I’ll tell you what we both know, it won’t take any longer.”

The cleverness of the comment struck me as a witticism worthy of Mark Twain.  My ignorance about Douglas sent me in search of a little more information about him.  After a quick search of the Internet, I learned that this fellow, as many Canadians likely already know, achieved quite a bit during his time in the public arena, so much so that he was voted the greatest Canadian of all time in a 2004 BBC television contest.  Turns out as well that he is Sutherland’s former father-in-law and the grandfather of Kiefer Sutherland, the elder Sutherland’s son.  Donald Sutherland is Canadian to boot!  Who knew?  (I didn’t.)

(Photo credit:  National Archives of Canada)

Barenaked Ladies Postcard Prank

Last night the Barenaked Ladies performed at Chastain Park Amphitheatre, an outdoor venue here in Atlanta at which it is difficult not to enjoy oneself, especially with a band as infectious as these lads from Canada.  While I wasn’t able to attend the concert, knowing that the group was here reminded me of a prank I played on my youngest son that centered on one of the band’s hits, “Another Postcard.”

A few summers ago, my two sons, then 13 and 16, and I took a week-long road trip through the Southeastern U.S. to camp and tackle about a half-dozen whitewater rivers in this part of the country that we had not yet rafted or kayaked.  Along the way, we listened to mixtapes, mostly rock, that each of us had made for the trip.  On one of my sons’ CDs was the Barenaked Ladies song “Another Postcard”.  Although I had heard it before, it is a piece to which I had never really given a good listen.  When I focused on the lyrics, I enjoyed the good-natured humor expressed in the song about the band receiving anonymous chimp-themed postcards.  So much did I enjoy it, that the song was played over and over to the point that my kids may actually have regretted bringing it along.    Along the way, we also predictably shared a fair number of chimp-related jokes.

Shortly after we arrived home from our outdoors adventure, I proceeded to locate postcards or greetings cards that I could convert to a post card and that featured images of chimps, usually in some silly pose.  I jotted short nonsensical notes, ostensibly from “Chimpie”, on each card and over a week and a half sent one card a day to my youngest son.  Fortunately, my sons are possessed with a natural good sense of humor (like their dad!), and throughout the week my youngest seemed to take note of the cards without much remark.  Then one Saturday as his brother and I were chatting in one of their bedrooms, my youngest son walks in from getting the mail and says with slight annoyance and in an almost perfectly scripted moment, ” I don’t get it.  I just got another stupid postcard of a chimpanzee!”  Up to that point, I had not let either of my sons  in on my sophomoric joke but at that moment each of them, hearing me chuckle and seeing the smile on my face, knew that it was a prank from their dad and they too could not help but join in the laughter (although my youngest vowed to pay me back!).

Thus, in the way that music has a way of conjuring up memories, whenever I hear “Another Postcard” it brings me back to that enjoyable summer road trip and its mirthful endnote.

Sounding Canadian

Thanks to a friend who just called my attention to a recent tongue-in-cheek article that I missed from the February 7, 2010 Atlanta Journal-Constitution by Jill Vejnoska on “How to Sound Canadian”.    Among the finer points offered is this one on the proper usage of the much-used expression “eh”:

Eh? So, this one deserves its own category, eh? It’s got to be an exaggeration, eh? But Canadians really do say it a lot, eh? Pronounced like “hey,” without the h, it’s tacked onto the end of sentences to pose a real or rhetorical question, emphasize a key point or just to make Canadians sound more articulate than us “y’know?”-ing Americans. Extra style points awarded from the judges if the sentence starts with “So.” As in: “So, trying to be more Canadian is difficult, but rewarding, eh?”

So, now you’re speaking Canadian, eh?

Full article may be accessed at www.ajc.com (no direct link).

Like Minnesota — Only Bigger?

Down here below the 49th parallel (north) we’re likely to learn a whole lot more about Canada this month as an incidental effect of the attention focused on the Vancouver Winter Olympics.  And to truly appreciate the country, you have to get a sense of the affable Canadian sense of humor.  In that spirit Bruce Headlam, a Canadian who is the Media Editor of The New York Times penned a humorous piece appearing in today’s Times entitled “Crib Notes on Canada, From a Canadian”, which pokes good-natured fun at his fellow countryman.  Among his observations that prompt a hearty chuckle, Headlam offers a list of notable dates in Canadian history, including this one:

“1867: Almost a century after America declares its independence from Great Britain through the bloody crucible of revolution, Canada declares its sovereignty after filling out the necessary paperwork.”

Enjoy the rest of the article here:  http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/14/weekinreview/14headlam.html

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