Canada is a country of immigrants. Our families may have immigrated in this century, before Confederation, or during the last ice age, but we all came from somewhere else. Still, it does not take long for this vast, rugged country to make its mark upon a person.
Those who call the North home are no expectation. But, to be a true Northerner, it is not enough just to be a Canadian. We have our own style. The mosquitoes, 30 degree celsius temperature variations, twisting highways, black spruce, rocks and more rocks, and multitude of lakes make a unique mark upon inhabitants.
Whether your family came from another country, another province, or a southern city makes no never mind. If you can say yes to twelve or more of the following statements, you are a true northerner.
- You suppress a laugh when American (or Southern Ontario) news broadcasts say their city was paralyzed by three inches of snow and the temperature dropping to twenty below.
- You can button, snap and zip while wearing down-filled mittens.
- You can blow your nose on a tissue used on two previous outings.
- Your yellow wax has nothing to do with floors.
- Rock salt and antifreeze are on your weekly shopping list.
- You learned to drive a snowmachine before you learned to drive a car.
- You can hold your own in an argument over who has the most frostbite scars.
- You’ve brewed your own beer and your own wine at least once.
- You’ve never owned a car without a block heater.
- You call both a two room shanty with an outdoor biffy and a ten room bi-level with two baths “camps.”
- There’s more salt on your car than passes through your kitchen in a year.
- You have your own opinion about whether beer or tomato juice gets the smell of skunk out of dog fur.
- Swerving your car to miss a moose triggers either a hunting story or your favourite recipe.
- You don’t know why American’s think we speak differently. Youse guys know that’s pretty dumb, eh?
- You know how to remove porcupine quills, fish hooks, leeches and ticks.
- You can explain the entire process of ice filtering beer.
- You’ve had Chinese fried rice, lasagne, sushi, pizza, pierogies, and wild partridge all at the same meal.
- You wear a baseball cap to a hockey game (peak to the front).
- You call your spouse “the wife”, “the little woman”, or “the old man.”
- You know more than one pizza delivery telephone number by heart and no matter where you live, there’s a donut shop within walking distance.
- You’ve camped in rain, hail, lightning, and snow… all on the Labour Day weekend.
If you scored 5 or less, welcome to the north. There’s hope for you yet. Start digging up a part of your backyard for rhubarb.
If you scored 6 to 10, stop dancing on the fringe and go ice fishing. Be sure to wear both sunscreen and a snowsuit. You’ll understand later.
If you scored 11 to 15, you’re a full-fledged northerner. I’ll tell you my best blueberry picking place if you’ll tell me where you get your Saskatoons.
If you scored 16 or higher, you should be running a tourist lodge. Nobody knows the north like you do. You can probably change the oil in your truck when it’s thirty below without getting frostbite. One recommendation, most baseball caps are washable.
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Published Sunday, JANUARY 30, 1994 in the Chronicle-Journal/Times-News.