Happy sesquicentennial, Canada!
Here are some suggested July activities, as you drape yourself in red and white, and soak up all available Canadianity.
LEARN HOW TO PADDLE A CANOE
Noted Canadian Pierre Berton said that a Canadian is “someone who knows how to have sex in a canoe.” That’s probably ill-advised, but a good first step is getting some lessons. The Newfoundland Kayak Company is offering a two-day course on kayaking on July 15-16 (NFkayak.com). You can also reach out to Paddle NL, the provincial club for canoeing and kayaking (paddleNL.ca). They hold regular outings, weekly paddles for members, and other opportunities to connect with your fellow waterdogs. The Outfitters offers rentals out of their paddlesports store at 1091 Topsail Road in Mount Pearl (the former Army-Navy store).
The unofficial official Canadian dish, originating in Quebec, has its regional variations (or bastardizations, depending on who you ask). But what makes a poutine reign supreme? “Firstly, you have to have cheese curds on it. That’s a must,” says Chef Adam Blanchard of Five Brothers Artisan Cheese. “Bring the curds to room temperature before using for ultimate flavour and squeak. None of that shredded cheese. Secondly, the gravy should be piping hot. This helps the curds melt.” About that sauce: heavy beef- or pork-based brown gravies are rarely used for a proper poutine. Traditionally, it’s a light and thin chicken or turkey gravy, containing vinegar to balance the richness of the cheese and fries.
SEE A BIG BOAT
Going down to the harbour to look at a big boat is a summer staple. On July 11, Canadian-flagged research icebreaker C3 will cruise into St. John’s harbour as part of their epic 150-day sailing journey from Toronto to Victoria via the Northwest Passage, with stops along the Atlantic coast. The 67-metre vessel will have a cross-section of Canadian society on board, including scientists, artists, Indigenous Elders, historians, youth, journalists and educators. They’ll be connecting with communities, conducting research, and creating art together to celebrate our home.
LISTEN TO A CANADIAN PODCAST
Stop Podcasting Yourself —Graham Clark and Dave Shumka (along with possible guests) host a free-wheeling afternoon chat where the topics often gravitate to Canadian culture, like the value of Eat-More bars, the “Avril Lavine is dead” conspiracy, or discussions of commercials for Rainbow Chips Ahoy! featuring Kevin, the animated character who gave the chocolate chips their color.
Taggart and Torrens – Jeremy Taggart (formerly of Our Lady Peace) and Jonathan Torrens (formerly of Street Cents) goof around and share real life and showbiz stories, playing games like “Frew or False” (Jono reads facts, Jeremy determines whether or not it’s Alan Frew, lead singer of Glass Tiger). Their book (Canadianity: Tales from the True North Strong and Freezing) is due in stores this fall.
WATCH EVERY CANADIAN HERITAGE MINUTE
“But I need these baskets back!” – Whether it’s nostalgia or patriotism, Canadian Heritage Minutes unite us all. Watch every Canadian Heritage Minute (85 in all!) online at historicacanada.ca.
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