Quintet of Curiosities: Five Interesting Facts about Canada

If you’re planning a virtual trivia night or simply have an insatiable curiosity about global trivia, consider this your treasure trove of Canadian tidbits. Here are five fascinating facts about Canada that may surprise you.

For starters, in an unconventional practice lasting until 1971, the Canadian government used to issue identification numbers to the indigenous Inuit people instead of recognising their surnames. Accompanied by a leather disc imprinted with the assigned number, the Inuit were required to either carry these identifiers constantly or sew them into their garments. A unique chapter in Canada’s history, this reflects the country’s efforts to assimilate its indigenous population into the western bureaucratic system.

Next up, did you know Canada wasn’t always destined to be called ‘Canada’? The nation’s christening could have seen it named anything from ‘Albertsland’ to ‘Borealia’, ‘Britannia’, or even the unique ‘Tuponia’. However, it was the aboriginal word ‘Kanata’, translating to village or settlement, which prevailed. The possibility of labelling it “The Kingdom of Canada” was also considered but dismissed by the British Government, concerned it might ruffle American feathers.

In an exemplary demonstration of polite diplomacy, Canada boasts a unique ‘Apology Act‘. This legislation means that expressing regret or apology after an incident cannot be used as a confession or admittance of guilt in court. Such a law serves to maintain Canada’s reputation as a nation that prizes kindness and humility.

World War II offers another surprising anecdote. German prisoners of war held in Canada reportedly found their treatment so benevolent that they were reluctant to leave upon their release. Many even made life-altering decisions to remain or return to Canada, with one ex-prisoner appreciatively describing his time in Canadian confinement as “the best thing that happened to me.”

Finally, did you know that Canada is a haven for forests and freshwater? Home to 347 million hectares of forest, the country boasts 9% of the world’s total forested area. In addition, Canada lays claim to a staggering one-fifth of the globe’s freshwater, making it a crucial player in preserving Earth’s vital ecosystems.

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