If, like so many professional procrastinators in this town, you didn't bother picking up a Pique promptly on Thursday, dithered about on Friday, went for a long bike ride on Saturday and finally got around to grabbing one on your way to Sunday eggs Benny, you're probably thinking, "What a nice sentiment; and how timely."
Well, not so fast.
In the normal course of business, you'd be right. Sunday is July 1st. July 1st is generally considered Canada Day. Canada Day is generally considered the national day of Canada, the day we celebrate, well, Canadian-ness, and/or the anniversary of the British North America Act of 1867 which magically united the three British colonies into — ta-da — Canada.
But you'd be wrong.
I'll explain in a moment. But now, it's question time. There is a long tradition in Canada's print media — Pique being no exception — of running How Canadian Are You, Eh?, questionnaires in the Canada Day edition. I've never stooped to... er, taking part in that sort of thing but I feel as though I should. So I will.
Question 1: What were the three colonies that "united" to form Canada in 1867?
a) Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Quebec
b) Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Ontario
c) Nova Scotia, Quebec and Ontario
d) None of the above
Answer: d; None of the above.
As you might suspect, this was a trick question. The three British North American colonies were Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the Province of Canada. No, seriously; that's what the colony was called, the Province of Canada. It was divided into the provinces of Ontario and Quebec. So if you wanted to weasel you way into half credit for this question you might argue Canada was formed out of four provinces but there's really no room to argue in a multiple choice test so suck it up, buttercup, and give yourself no points for that question.
Now, you might be wondering exactly why this most revered national holiday is called Canada Day, that being, shall we say, a bit prosaic. Well, let's remember, especially since we're in British Columbia, this is a country of prosaic names. In this province alone we had so little imagination when it came to place names that we have a whole string of towns called things like 100 Mile House, which is, as you may guess, 30 miles up the road from 70 Mile House and 50 miles south of 150 Mile House. If you're an American tourist reading this, I'm not make it up and, yes, Canada did switch to metric but didn't have the heart to let the various Mile House towns in on the joke.