There’s yet another reason to rejoice this long weekend: Friday is Canada Day, or La Fête du Canada. That’s right, our upstairs neighbors’ birthday is July 1, and roughly 38 million Canucks will be saying cheers to 155 years as a unified country.
With thousands of Canadian snowbirds flocking to the Sunshine State every year (in October 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic, Sarasota saw almost 5,000), you probably know and love a Canadian. And if you don’t, you're still welcome to celebrate.
But don’t pour maple syrup on your burger. Bet your bottom Loonie (Canadian term for a dollar–a golden coin with a loon on it), there are better ways to say happy birthday, eh? Here’s how:
Dieting this weekend is out, and poutine is in at 1592 Woodfired Kitchen & Cocktails. For $10, enjoy the gooey goodness that makes this dish the great white north’s go-to comfort food. It's made of fries topped with cheese curds that melt under a hot waterfall of homemade gravy.
Why the random menu item amid otherwise Middle Eastern and Mediterranean fare? The restaurant owners hail from Montreal, Canada, where falafel is as common as apple pie. With backgrounds from Portugal, Egypt and Greece, it's a multicultural mash that's pretty standard in the Quebecois city. Mila Aguiar, one of the owners, says she makes a point of going back north every few months "to get my fix.”
1592 also makes a Montréal dessert: Pouding chômeur, which translates to "poor man's pudding," Aguiar says. It was invented by a female factory worker during the Depression. "Back in the day, it was stale bread and brown sugar," she says. A play on bread pudding, 1592 has added maple syrup too.
If you're headed to the beach this weekend instead, check out The Doctor's Office in Holmes Beach. It's owned by Nova Scotian Sean Murphy (former owner of the beloved Beach Bistro). The maritime peninsula's famous smoked salmon is a menu mainstay.
Pick up some trivia.
Learn some handy facts about the largest country in North America that you can use at your next party. After all, Alex Trebek came from the country's capital (it’s Ottawa, not Toronto) and Trivial Pursuit was invented by Montréalers.
Here are some fun factoids:
It's as cold as Mars! A temperature of -81.4 Fahrenheit was recorded in the village of Snag on Feb. 3, 1947. That’s roughly the same temperature as the surface of Mars.
Basketball was invented by a Canadian, as was insulin and the snowmobile.
Cold weather makes for funny folk. Mike Myers, John Hartman, Eugene Levy, John Candy, Seth Rogen and Dan Aykroyd all hail from up north. And the comedy troupe that formed the show Kids in the Hall, which owned the country's laughs in the early '90s. Also, although it’s "live from New York," Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels is also Canadian.
"Eh" usage isn't willy-nilly. It demands careful placement. When you mock Canadians, do it right. Use "eh" as a synonym for a question mark. "Pretty hot out, eh?" "Indeed it is."
Go on a virtual tour.
Canada has stellar museums, parks and landmarks. Take a virtual tour and see where you may take your next vacation. From ski trips to urban adventures, you’ll find it all:
- The Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21
- Canadian Museum of History
- Canadian Museum of Nature
- The Royal Ontario Museum
- Art Gallery of Ontario
- The National Gallery of Canada
- Banff National Park
- Jasper National Park Of Canada
- Yoho National Park Of Canada
During the winter, Canada's capital boasts the longest outdoor skating rink in the world. The Rideau Canal Skateway winds its way through the heart of Ottawa for more than 7.8 kilometers, attracting thousands of locals and tourists.
To experience Florida's version of that, go ice skating at the Ellenton Ice and Sports Complex. Tomorrow, it’s open to the public from 1:30 to 5:45 p.m. and from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m.
Order a bottle of La Fin du Monde (French for "the end of the world") at Knick's Tavern & Grill. Or stop by your local ABC Fine Wine & Sprits store and grab a case of Labatt Blue. It's the answer to Budweiser in the States. While not the country's best beer, it's the most consumed. Other options include Moosehead beer and anything from Québec-based craft brewery Unibroue—a cut above.
Park on the couch.
Watch Letterkenny, Schitt's Creek or Kim's Convenience on Netflix. Kids in the Hall is on Amazon Prime Video but Youtube has tons of clips too.
Wear red and white and apologize to strangers for no reason. But most of all, enjoy the long weekend and wish your northerly neighbors a Happy Canada Day.