Ross Murray's Border Report
Ross Murray
Ross Murray
is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at
Posted 07.01.06
Stanstead, Quebec


Get to know your Canada, eh?

Newfoundland joined Confederation in 1949 in exchange for two right-fielders and a territory to be named later. Its chief exports are fish, twine, satire, and Newfoundlanders. In recent years, the once-burgeoning Newfie-joke industry has taken severe hits due to cheap Asian imports.

Prince Edward Island is known as "The Birthplace of Confederation," mainly because of all the screaming mothers and crying babies. This Maritime province is so small that, folded just so, it can fit into an average man's wallet. The other provinces tend to pat PEI on the head condescendingly and say, "Aren't you just the cutest!" Not surprisingly, residents of PEI have a lot of bottled-up rage, so beware.

Nova Scotia began its career as a child star in its parents' vaudeville act. It achieved international fame in the early moving pictures and is one of the few provinces to make a successful transition from silent film to the talkies. Despite numerous torrid love affairs and the famous Joseph Howe Scandal, Nova Scotia continues to play character roles and remains one of Hollywood's most beloved provinces, thanks in great part to its work with UNICEF and the annual "Tickle the Puffin" telethon.

New Brunswick's motto is "Spem reduxit," which means, "Place to drive through as quickly as possible." New Brunswick fun fact: By law, all first-born males must be named "Phineas."

Much has been said about Quebec's place in Confederation, most of it mumbled and incomprehensible, which helps explain why the debate has gone on so long. A little-known fact is that the first known Quebec separatist was the province's "Father of Confederation" George-Étienne Cartier who woke up with a hangover on July 2, 1867 and said to himself, "Oh my God! What have I done!"

Ontario is responsible for producing 47 percent of Canada's cultural stereotypes, along with 72 percent of Don Cherry's ridiculously oversized collars. Population: 500 gazillion. Life expectancy: male 73; female 143. Stanley Cup playoffs: Senators 1; Buffalo 4. Centre of the universe: Toronto (scientifically verified in 1989). Official sport: weed-whacking. Favourite colour: puce.

Manitoba is a bit of a puzzle because, contrary to popular belief, no one has ever actually visited it. Sure, people live in Manitoba but they were born there and they never leave. In fact, if it weren't for video and audio evidence and the occasional letter to the Globe and Mail, there would be scant forensic evidence that Manitoba existed at all. Even at this, there are many who believe that "Winnipeg" is a hoax.

Saskatchewan is "the feel-good hit of the summer," says the National Post. "A must-see," raves the Toronto Sun. "Saskatoon is a comic genius! I loved it!" croons Mcleans Magazine. "This one has Oscar written all over it," gushes the Halifax Daily News. "All over it? You mean like graffiti?" queries the Ottawa Citizen. "I was speaking metaphorically," clarifies the Halifax Daily News. "Oh," says the Ottawa Citizen, retreating sheepishly.

Alberta with milk and a glass of fruit juice is an essential part of this complete country, containing 32 percent of your daily recommended amount of thiamine, riboflavin, and rodeos.

Jupiter is in Capricorn this week, British Columbia, resulting in a series of frustrations on the personal front but steady-as-she-goes at work. Virgos and Quebec play a prominent role in constitutional talks. Don't be sucked in by negativity (yes, I'm talking to you, New Brunswick). A good opportunity to assess your place in Confederation and throw out that dated wardrobe (goodbye Birkenstocks!) Lucky number: 47.

Yukon Territories:Top left, Whitehorse

Northwest Territories: Top centre, Yellowknife

Nunavut: Top right, Purplesweater