Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Putting Canada on the Map

In 2013, Canadian magazine MacLean's released a series of maps detailing various aspects of Canadian culture, most stereotypical, some more serious than others. Naturally, it got started by asking which of hockey or church is more popular on Twitter - as someone who has spent most of my time in Canada in either Toronto or Edmonton, the stats indicate I've been exposed to both. Edmonton is the hockey city, if you were wondering.

Other particularly fun takeaways:

-Latitude in North America has always been... I can't really say a curiosity of mine, but I've always found the stats interesting. For all the reputation Canada has as the Great White North, a significant portion of its population lives well below the hallowed 49th parallel that separates Canada and the United States in the West. Even a city like Sault Ste. Marie, ostensibly in Northern Ontario, is technically south of Seattle. It gets even stranger when making European comparisons; living in Edmonton has been an experience in finally being north of Berlin (Saskatoon). Whether Edmonton is north of Rostock, I won't bother checking.

-The word map of clich├ęs is amusing, especially when the same words appear multiple times in a province or territory. I'll admit I'd never heard of Albertans being pinkos, though, or Manitoba being "where Bay Street executives come from".

-My home province (Ontario) received the award for "most thunderstorms". Enough summers spent in Toronto confirms this hypothesis, at least anecdotally. Summer 2008, for one, felt like a thunderstorm almost every day. As a child, I loved thunderstorms, and even had an attraction to power outages, which invited peaceful reading by candlelight or a bath in complete darkness. Now, I'm too glued to electronics to really appreciate everything being switched off.

-Whenever I meet a Canadian born in 2013, I can apparently call that person Liam or Ethan (if a boy) or Emma (if a girl), and there appears to be a decent chance I'll be right. Could this be an updated version of the carnival Guess Your Weight games?

-Could inviting a few PEI residents to move to Saskatchewan even out Canada's population density lopsidedness? Well, probably not. The provincial population density map verges on useless when making within-group comparisons like the difference in population density between Toronto and the approximately ten thousand mile radius around Kenora, which is vast.

-The one male centenarian in the Northwest Territories really should have attempted to become a celebrity by now. Additionally wacky about the NWT's centenarians is that they all live so far apart. There couldn't have been two in Yellowknife? As this map is a year and a half old, it's quite possible some then-99-year olds or even then-98-year olds could be added to the list.

-The "What if all of Canada lived in one city?" map curiously omits Montreal, likely due to the necessity of it being engulfed by Ottawa in such a scenario. Socking all of Canada into Whitehorse feels oddly efficient and pretty until you consider the impact it would have on agriculture, secondary industries and border security.

Nothing like old news for a cold February day... right?

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