Recent demonstrations of “why it’s good to be Canadian:”
In Windsor in late October I ended up at dinner in an Italian Restaurant with a three library types, two of whom were from America and one from Toronto. My fellow Canadian and I had to first explain why a $1 Canadian coin is called a “loonie,” and then, further, why a $2 Canadian coin is called a “toonie.”
I’m sure other countries have their nicknames for coinage; I’m fairly confident that only in Canada could we have a naming scheme like this, where the name of one coin ($2) only makes sense if you know the name of the other (Note to non-Canadians: the $1 coin in Canada has a loon on the back). In Canada, as nowhere else, everything truly is relative. (By the way, I’ve noticed an increasing tendency in the U.S. to call $1 bills “singles.” Perhaps this has always been the case and I’ve just missed this until now?)
On another front entirely: you really can sent a letter to Santa Clause, North Pole, Canada, HOH OHO. And it really will get answered, if not by Santa herself, at least by her colleagues at the post office. Only in Canada, I think, can we have the combination of (a) witty postal code usage, (b) public servants donating their time to a novel project and (c) their employers and the community supporting their efforts.
When I was working in the Composing Room of the Examiner in Peterborough, one of our tasks during late November and early December was to work on a related (but more commercial) project, which was a “Santa Letter page” surrounded by advertising. While in other months when the work was done and we were sitting around waiting for the presses to start we could browse the classified ads or clean out the film developer, during Christmas all hands on deck were dedicated to the seemingly endless task of typing in the seemingly endless pile of letters to Santa that arrived at the paper. I never want to type “Dear Santa” again.