In honour of 2017 being Canada’s 150th birthday—it doesn’t look a day over 100—we at T8N will be giving our readers 150 little known facts about this great country. Now, 150 facts all in one sitting is a bit much, so from now until the end of July each issue of the newsletter will have “timbit-sized” chunks to illuminate, astonish and amuse you.
2. In 1857, a professor at McGill University invented the green ink used on American greenback money. Thomas S. Hunt was a chemist with the Canadian Geological Survey, and he suggested that the American banknote contain chromium trioxide (Cr2O3). It’s this chemical that makes counterfeiting American money tricky.
3. Narcisse Snake Dens Conservation Area, which is 130 kms north of Winnipeg, is the garter snake capital of the world. Every May, red-sided garter snakes—plus four other species—emerge from their winter dens and slither about under the warm sun. Each den or hibernaculum can contain approximately 10,000 garter snakes.
4. The creation of Alberta and Saskatchewan weren’t the only option the Canadian government was considering when dividing up the prairies. One plan called for the creation of one large prairie province called “Buffalo” with Regina as its capital. Another plan called for four prairie provinces: Alberta, Saskatchewan, Athabasca and Assiniboia.
5. While Canada has two official languages (English and French), it’s also home to over 60 indigenous languages that aren’t spoken anywhere else in the world. Of these 60-plus languages, most are in danger of being lost. Stats Canada estimates that only Cree, Ojibwa and Inuktitut have enough speakers for the languages to survive without outside aid.
6. Newfoundland was the final province to join confederation when it became a province in 1949. Before this, Newfoundland was considered a British dominion, but functioned as in independent nation. It was responsible for maintaining its own currency and military, and it even had its own flag and national anthem.