By Pique Staff
The year 1867 was unremarkable in a lot of ways. The U.S. bought Alaska for about two cents an acre, which at the time was criticized as a waste of money. The first ship passed through the Suez Canal, although it would remain under construction for two more years. Nebraska was admitted as the 37 th U.S. State, greatly increasing that nation’s surplus of corn.
And in a frigid backwater previously known on the nautical maps as British North America, a group of politicians got together on a sunny day on the first of July (or so I imagine it in my mind) to create an awesome new country. The BNA Act declared that the three provinces, Canada, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, would form a federation with a constitution similar to, but separate from, the United Kingdom. The Act allowed for the creation of four provinces, breaking the province Canada into Ontario and Quebec, as well as for the creation of a justice system, the House of Commons, a system of checks and balances, and rights of taxation (boo!), while also entrenching ties to the British Monarchy. It was all very boring and proper, but all very pertinent today to the creation of Canada as we know it.
To honour the occasion it’s become customary for Canadians to celebrate Canada Day with parades and fireworks, listening to copious amounts of The Tragically Hip and Rush, and patriotically sun burning our bare arms red, like the borders of our flag, and blistering our faces like the tri-corner of the Maple Leaf. Alcohol is usually involved.
It’s also become a tradition for the Pique to run a Canada Day quiz. Your citizenship doesn’t depend on answering the questions right (at least not if you were born here and don’t have to take the test), but your pride just might.
1. What longest serving Prime Minister attended séances to contact the spirits of his pet Irish Setters, his mother, and even Leonardo da Vinci?
2. Greater Toronto, Canada’s largest urban centre, now has a population of 4.6 million. In 1867 roughly how many citizens did Toronto officially have?
3. What is Newfoundland’s infamous alcoholic drink?
4. When did Nunavut become a territory?
5. What useful plant, oil and feedstock was invented in Canada?