Happy Birthday, Canada.
Canada turns 150 July 1 and what better way to celebrate it then with books.
C is for Canada, A Canuck ABC Primer by Trish Madson ($17.99, Raincoast Books, Familius) offers a alphabetized field trip of the true north in board-book style. While the typical M is for Maple Syrup is in there (did you know 75 per cent of the world’s maple syrup is produced in Quebec, according to the book Now You Know Canada by Doug Lennox, Dundurn, #nowyouknowCanada, $16.99), there is also O for Ogopogo, a lake monster reported to live in Okanagan Lake as well as U for UFO Landing Pad in St. Paul, Alberta. While the book kindly pointed out the UFO Landing Pad was in that Alberta town, I had to look up what an Ogopogo was.
Canada Year by Year by Elizabeth MacLeod ($21.95, Kids Can Press) features interesting facts about each year from Confederation in 1867 to Canada’s 150th birthday. Facts include 1910 when the first chocolate bar was created in North American at the Ganong chocolate factory in St. Stephen, New Brunswick. It was created by James and Gilbert Ganong as a quick snack for fishermen. The pair, who opened a grocery store, realized they had to create something special to stay in business and began making sweets including their signature Chicken Bones, cinnamon candy on the outside and chocolate in the inside.
Today, St. Stephen is know as Canada’s chocolate town and has a chocolate museum, which I went to last year while we were in this east coast province. It was worth the admission charge as you not only get to learn about chocolate, and the company that puts employees, first, but you could eat all the chocolate you wanted. There were literally buckets of chocolate for you to eat including my absolute favourite (which I want right now) the Chicken Bones, the reverse of the candy. It is chocolate on the outside with a cinnamon inside. Delicious.
Now You Know Canada 150 Years of Fascinating Facts by Doug Lennox shows me I don’t know as much about my country as I thought.
The words True North, found in our national anthem, for example, was actually taken from an Alfred, Lord Tennyson poem in which he refers to Canada as “That True North whereof we lately heard”, written in reference to the country’s loyalty to Queen Victoria whereas Canuck, a common slang term for a Canadian, was first used around 1835 by Americans in reference to Dutch or French Canadians, although it was spelt with a K at the time. There are various chapters from heroes and legends to entertainers with short facts about various parts of our history. It’s a really interesting book with enough information to answers your questions, but short enough you can flip through the book really quickly.
A Happy Birthday to our interesting nation, and continued peace, happiness and security to the people who call it home.
Copies of these books were provided by Raincoast Books, Kids Can Press and Dundurn for honest reviews.