The Captain Canuck
Are YOU someone who has used the words “Canada”, “history”, “unspeakably” and “boring” in the same sentence? In roughly that order, with some extra words in there also?
Is YOUR country a nation not founded as the result of a war of independence, an invasion by a foreign power only to result in a globe-spanning empire, or on a spiritual-cultural movement with influences lasting to this very day?
Does YOUR country’s constitution include a clause that allows YOUR government to pass illegal legislation, notwithstanding your human rights, on the basis that you can probably trust that it won’t be abused so just relax already?
Then YOU’RE PROBABLY A CANADIAN!
If this is your first time realizing that you’re a Canadian, don’t worry! It’s easy to get started! When defining yourself, be sure to follow these simple guidelines:
- Nobody from outside of Canada fully appreciates the complexity, intricacy and excitement of its national identity.
- Canadians cannot actually, under most circumstances, define being Canadian without comparing it to other cultures. Be sure to use as many as you can! (e.g. “Not as uptight as the British, way more polite than Americans, nowhere nearly as stylish as Italians; but we can drink nearly as hard as Koreans!”)
- As a Canadian, you are required to be the first to tell the world how much you love your country.
- As a Canadian, you are required to be the first to complain bitterly to your countrymen about your country.
- Metric is kind of optional. You’ll figure that one out as you go.
But most importantly, don’t actually get hung up on the basic stereotypes you will be asked to embrace as a Canadian — the self-loathing, the passion for winter sports, the acute sensitivity to the actions of the United States, the intimate knowledge of every single tax being levied against you at all times. They are merely the shorthand of our nation, one pieced together with people from every single part of the world, where a suburb can feature a place called The Pacific Mall and yet have the intersection of New Delhi St. and Karachi Ave. only a few kilometers away.
Let me put this another way. When you’re sitting at the lunch table with someone from every country on the Asian continent, what are you going to talk about? What happened at Church on Sunday?
Exactly. You’re going to find the things that bind everyone together, the common links that everyone in this country can enjoy: the game that’s on every Saturday night, whether anyone cares about it or not; the even-handedness with which the government can screw people, regardless of race or religion; the way that the CBC, for supposedly being our national broadcaster, doesn’t seem to have anything that anyone actually watches.
And you’re going to talk about booze.
Every year, Canada celebrates its heritage through the sacred gift of a nation-wide long weekend right in the middle of the summer. Comparable to the 4th of July in the US, or Bastille Day in France, Canada Day is our opportunity to get together, set some food on fire, set some explosives on an even bigger fire, and generally just enjoy ourselves.
Generally this works out well for Canada, since the First of July falls close enough to a weekend that our citizens can really make a go of it. Whether it’s planning a series of BBQs, rotating around everyone’s back yards, or even masochistically engaging in a home improvement project, we are infinitely imaginative in our uses of that extra day off.
Unless, like this year, it’s on a Wednesday. I mean, come on. Why the government isn’t doing something about this, I don’t know.
But still we persist, and while it means that the nation will return to work tomorrow hung over and decidedly un-focused on the task at-hand, there is nothing that will keep us from our brief flowering of pride, before we descend back into comfortable, passive-aggressive self-criticism.
To that end, I propose a toast with the most stereotypically Canadian, horn-tooting, cottage-owning, hockey-loving, moderately-conservative voting, tax tolerating, social healthcare enjoying beverage that we could come up with:
The Captain Canuck!
For most of you — including people who’ve lived in the country your entire lives — Captain Canuck is going to be a little unfamiliar. I mean, aside from the fact that he’s clearly a Captain America knock-off, with a costume Marvel comics later ripped off for a Canadian superhero that Wolverine would routinely humiliate. His premise is that he’s a government agent in a time where Canada has become the most powerful nation in the world. Having gained superhuman powers from aliens, he fights for freedom in the far-flung future of 1993.
Is there anything more Canadian than the pure optimism on display there? I daresay not. So to pay tribute to this national treasure, and the values he represents, I direct you to:
- Take one shaker, cooled and filled with two or three ice cubes.
- To the ice, add 2 ounces of Canadian Club rye whiskey
- To the whiskey on ice, add a generous dollop (no more than a teaspoon, unless you want heart murmurs) of good ol’ Canadian maple syrup
- To that mixture, add another 2 ounces of unsweetened cranberry juice, both for the glorious red and the Canadian content
- Shake vigorously, mostly to distribute to the maple syrup
- Pour into a highball or tumbler glass, including the ice cubes
- Top off the glass with Canada Dry ginger ale
Let’s see if I can visualize that for you:
Does it get any more patriotic than that? I can’t imagine that it does, but let’s go to the authority on the subject. Captain?
Happy Canada Day, everyone!