June 30, 2014 6:37 pm
Updated: June 30, 2014 6:39 pm

Sexy and we know it, but less sure about Canada’s history


Watch live: Minna Rhee asks Canadians about Canada – find out what they said. 

TORONTO – O Canada lyrics may be hard to remember for some of us, but a new poll suggests that won’t stop Canadians from feeling significant pride in our home and native land and the people who live in it.

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True, 11 per cent seems a bit high for the number of residents who can’t pick out the opening lines of “O Canada,” but not as bad as 44 per cent who couldn’t name 2017 as the date of Canada’s 150th anniversary. (Though who said being a patriot meant having a good memory?)

Take the quiz: How well do you know Canadiana?

If you don’t love our reputation as “polite,” you may be in the minority: Ninety-two per cent of the 1,001 online respondents who answered the Ipsos Reid poll on behalf of Historica Canada embraced our good manners. (It seems all the explicit comments from the mayor of our largest city didn’t sway opinion on this—we have more than enough politeness at home).

Watch below: Toronto Mayor Rob Ford makes sexually explicit comments while denying allegations of lewd comments in the past. Discretion is advised.

And in the first poll* to ask about the date of Confederation as well as how sexy you feel as a Canadian, three quarters of respondents perceive those north of the border as sexy. (Mr. Scott, perhaps it’s thy sons who helped get us in the mood? People magazine’s most recent list of sexiest men alive included Canada’s ‘Property Brothers’ Jonathan and Drew Scott).

Drew and Jonathan Scott of ‘Property Brothers’ represent Canada on People magazine”s Sexiest Men Alive list for 2013.


They may not go so far as to command it, but 80 per cent of those polled said citizens ought to show more patriotism. And with 86 per cent glowing in a sense of uniquely Canadian identity, 89 per cent had hearts full of pride for our heritage.

If that’s at odds with the somewhat fuzzy memory for important dates, Historica Canada president Anthony Wilson-Smith said not to worry.

“It’s not that Canadians are saying, ‘We don’t care about our country,’” Wilson-Smith told The Canadian Press, emphasizing the need to see thee** big picture.

“What they’re saying is, ‘We feel great about where we are…and let’s not worry about the details too much.’ Obviously our preference is people should know more about the details, but it would be a bigger issue if Canadians were disdainful of our country, if there was a lesser sense of who we are collectively.”

And the above finding means pride in Canada is on the rise; it’s a 10 per cent increase since 2010. (Maybe people were feeling down in the days leading to July 1, 2010, after the hundreds of arrests during Toronto’s protests of the G20 summit that’s since resulted in assault charges for police officers).

Turns out a large majority also feel that we live in the true north strong and free, with 93 per cent of respondents feeling they are free to express who they are within our borders. And nothing says express yourself like WorldPride in Toronto (or Madonna): Watch how it all ended during Sunday’s crowded parade below.

Survey participants also said that Canada is glad to receive those who come from far and wide: Ninety-three per cent felt the country was welcoming towards minority cultural groups.

But other groups like temporary foreign workers might be out o’luck: Canada is trying to reduce the number of foreign workers so they’re used only as a “last, limited resort” according to Employment Minister Jason Kenney.

We also stand on firm footing when it comes to pride in population diversity, suggested the poll, at 86 per cent of respondents feeling proud. Perhaps at the forefront is the newly elected guard of Ontario: Kathleen Wynne is Canada’s first openly gay premier, and early June saw the most female MPPs elected in the province’s history. Provincial liberals also have the lead for visible minorities—check out the diversity breakdown here.

And if you thought Canada was America’s nerdy neighbour, get thee updated: A large majority of respondents (89 per cent) think Canadians are cool. Americans may put their trust in God, but they’re known to keep our flag sewn to their backpacks when travelling to another land. Nothing says cool like backpack embroidery.

So if you’re thinking about what it means to be Canadian this July 1, rest assured in the glorious knowledge that many fellow citizens are proud to call Canada home, and feel free to be their own polite, sexy and cool selves.

And in the final words of our national anthem: O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

*The author of this article did not check to see if this was the first poll to ask about the date of Canada’s Confederation as well as the perceived sexiness of Canadians.

**This is not a spelling error, it’s an easy way to get thee lyrics in.

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