The Quebec Municipality With A Name To Exclaim

Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha!: a voyager’s gasp and a toponymist’s delight. While driving in eastern Quebec near the south shore of the Saint Lawrence River, you might come across road signs directing you to a community whose name will make you exclaim or laugh – or both. The small community of Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha!, population of 1,318, was…

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A Brief History (And Sampling) Of Ketchup Chips

They leave your fingers as red as our maple leaf flag. Cover art by: Megan Hunt, an Inuk artist and animator based in Iqaluit, Nunavut. Find more of her work on Instagram: @mutecutes Just like their sweet and sour flavour powder’s propensity for staining fingertips, the precise origin of ketchup chips is a little messy.…

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Bunkers Of Canada, Then And Now

A history of fallout shelters – top secrets, amateur bus bunkers, criminal bids and escape rooms. When the Soviet Union tested its first atomic bomb in 1949, the tension could be felt throughout Canada. Since our northern airspace was considered the most convenient route for the Soviet Union to attack the United States, many defensive…

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The First Photo Taken In Canada Was A Tourist Selfie

Popular tourist attraction, Niagara Falls, was the subject of the oldest surviving photograph taken of Canada. It could be the image of a postcard. The 1840 daguerreotype taken by British industrial chemist Hugh Lee Pattinson on a trip to Niagara Falls is the oldest known photograph of Canada. However, in 1840, Canada did not yet…

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The World Feels Better After Being With The Birds

Finding hawk parallax at Ontario’s Falconry Centre. Every week or so during the summer months, I drive my nine-year-old son Joseph to a woodlot an hour away, near a conservation trail in Newcastle, Ontario. There, Sam Trentadue, his falconry mentor and the force behind the Ontario Falconry Centre (OFC), shows him how to offer a…

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The First Sunglasses Were Not Made For Beaches

Inuit, Yup’ik and other Arctic-living Indigenous peoples have been handcrafting sunglasses for at least 2,000 years. /// Cover art by: Megan Hunt, Nunavut artist currently based in Iqaluit. Follow her on Instagram: @mutecutes /// They go by many names. “Ilgaak” in the Nunavut Kivalliq dialect, “iggaak” in the North Baffin dialect, “nikaugek” to Central Yup’ik…

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Where Do Poutines Come From?

A brief compendium of potatoes, gravy and cheese curds. These days you can find poutine at some of the finest restaurants all over the world. Even though it has been a significant francophone and Quebecois cultural dish since the late 1950s, finding the simple fast food dish outside of Canada or even the province of…

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You Can Thank The Metric System For The Milk Bag

They look like plastic pillows or squishy rectangular balloons. Lined up in grocery store refrigerator rows, they can sometimes seem like a sci-fi space product to tourists (or even to Canadians from more westerly provinces). But to many folks in Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes, the squishy white sacs are a symbol of comfort and…

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The Ontario Small Town That Feasted On A Circus Giant

PT Barnum’s traveling circus shows were a well-known attraction in North America in the 1800s. Once you joined, fame, fortune or at least notoriety was sure to follow. However, in the case of Jumbo, the most famous elephant of all time, he didn’t need Barnum to be a star. He was born a star. Jumbo…

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Chicken Bones: The 135-Year-Old East Coast Candy (And Now You Can Drink It)

If you know – or have – a Maritimer grandma, you have probably seen chicken bones in her candy bowl. No, I don’t mean the actual skeletons of poultry. Ganong brand “Chicken Bones” are hot-pink hard candy sticks filled with bittersweet chocolate in little inch-long nubs. The cinnamon-flavoured confection sticks have been a New Brunswick…

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