Only in Canada


I startle awake to find myself still in my seat. What happened? Is something wrong?


Ah. It’s not a wail of despair that has pierced my slumbers. Melancholy tone notwithstanding, it’s a cheer.

After a week at the Brier — Canad’s national curling championship for men — getting to bed past my bedtime every night is beginning to wear, a bit. The week’s draws are a blur of missed shots, great shots, and dagnabbed impossible shots. And over it all, a mournful rain of quintessentially Canadian rallying cries.


You have time to think about other things while you’re watching curling games. Like, if there’s a curler named Flasch (and there is), why isn’t there one named Hitandstick?


Like, why haven’t the venue’s risk managers insisted on putting hand rails down the steps? Our crowd is a little more mobility challenged than the usual hockey crowd, I’m sure, but those steep risers of varying heights look like an accident waiting to happen.

brier stairs


Like, who approved the sponsor logo on the ice on either side of the centre line, just where you might like to place a corner guard if you were, say, an elite curler? Yellow-handled rocks are just barely visible, but the red-handled ones virtually disappear on that background, causing several sweepers to trip.

brier logo


Like, why does that curler — Yes, yes, that guy over there with the shaved head! — have a red squirrel wrapped around his lower face?


From another corner of the arena, someone graciously finishes the first caller’s incomplete thought. (Who says Confederation doesn’t work?)

But the ponderable looming over them all is this: Is it really too late to change our province names to ones that can be successfully bellowed by people with weak voices in cavernous places with poor acoustics? Bellowed with enthusiasm. Bellowed in unison.

In a world of You Ess Eh! You Ess Eh! or even Go Sens go! chants, it’s pathetic listening to fans trying to cheer on their teams, while burdened by polysyllabic provincial names.

Right on cue, a choppy, nasal Bee-Cee! Bee-Cee! ricochets off the rafters.

But not everyone has the option of going with a recognizable two-letter abbreviation. Eh-Bee, anyone? Enn-tee? Ess-kay?

No, these are not chants to live by.


After a week of listening to people do as well as they can with the hand they were dealt, I say that it’s time to deal again. I say, “Enough.” Or maybe, “Ee-nuuufff!”

Let’ rectify this oversight by the Fathers of Confederation and take back our province names.

I mean, how hard can it be?




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9 Responses to Only in Canada

  1. Jim Taylor says:

    You’ve heard the old joke about the tourists from the Yes-Ess-Eh who did a long day’s drive north from the southern border, and finally got to a fairly large city. They stopped at a gas station, and the guy went in to ask where they were.
    “Sas-ka-toon, Sas-ka-chu-wan,” said the attendant. The guy went back to his car. “It’s just what I was afraid of,” he told his wife. “They don’t speak English here.”
    Or American, for that matter.
    Jim T

  2. Jim Taylor says:

    That should be Yew-Ess-Eh, of course. Damn spell-checker!

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Jim – Yes, I have a love/hate relationship with the AI helpers. I think my “I” is adequate without any “A” support – except, of course, when it ain’t!

  3. Tom Watson says:

    So now that it’s down to “Noo-fund-laaaand” and “Al-buurrrr-daaaaa” what’s your call?

  4. Tom Watson says:

    I’m thinkin’ “Noo-fund-laaaand” but I suspect it will be very close. I don’t particularly care for Jacobs, but I was surprised to see that Northern Ontario lost to both NF and AB in the playoffs after being undefeated during the round robin. One missed shot here or there can tell the entire game.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Tom – Well, by now I can look real smart and put my money on Al-buurr-da, can’t I? Gushue didn’t have his best game, but he faced hard shots almost every end. We, too, were surprised at Northern Ontario – when they can play the game they prefer (hitting) and when they’re on, they’re almost unstoppable. But when someone changes the game and they’re not at their best, they can lose, too.

  5. Tom Watson says:

    You called it, Isabel. Alberta it was! Koe and team was sharp.

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