I’ve already reviewed the first issue of We Stand On Guard by Brian K Vaughan and Steve Skroce but part of the fun of a book set in Canada is picking out the Canadian references. I call these Canadianisms and in my duty as the official representative of Canadians here on WWAC, I thought I’d help the non-Canadians navigate these phrases, terms, and delicious food establishments (Mmm…Tim Hortons) with ease.
So kick back and enjoy the fun, eh.
- We Stand On Guard: The title of the series itself comes from the Canadian national anthem: “O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.” Our national anthem is extremely short which makes remembering it easy. The American national anthem is almost four times the length.
- Canadian Broadcasting Company (aka CBC): The White House gets bombed in the opening page and who’s reporting the breaking news to Canadians? CBC News! The CBC is a public broadcasting company funded by the government of Canada. It is as Canadian as the BBC is British, eh.
- Ottawa: The capital city of Canada but NOT of Ontario which is the province it resides in (my hometown of Toronto is the capital of Ontario and the home of Drake). It’s also the home of Parliament Hill (or The Hill) and the Ottawa Senators.
- Amber’s Dad Looks Like A Lumberjack: 100 years from now, Lumbersexual appears to still be a thing! The “lumberjack” refers to someone in the logging industry and it’s often linked to the stereotypical image of Canadians along with maple syrup, hockey and Celine Dion.
- 7/17: This is referred to as a domestic terrorist group in the fictional United States but it could also refer to Revelations 7:17. You find out in this issue that the reason for the invasion is to go after Canada’s freshwater which makes up 7% of the world’s renewable supply. The concern that the U.S. will come after our water one day is very real and that last line seems to allude to water troubles that the U.S. must have been dealing with in the series pre-invasion.
“For the Lamb at the center of the throne
will be their shepherd;
‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’
‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’”
- Yellowknife, Northwest Territories: Yellowknife is the capital of the Northwest Territories and I often confuse it with Whitehorse which is the capital of Yukon. The colours throw me off.
- Snow: A big thing in Canada. I hate it.
- The Outlander by Gil Adamson: Little Tommy is most likely showing us the cover of Canadian author Gil Adamson’s The Outlander. It’s about a 19 year old woman on the run who encounters fellow outlanders (“outsiders”) on her journey. The synopsis sounds similar to what Vaughan and Skroce have introduced to us so far in the first issue.
- War of 1812: Also known as the war where we burned down the White House! Yes, Canada has gone head to head with the U.S. before, although some would say it wasn’t Canada since we weren’t a country yet but whatever. The British fought to keep this land from the Americans + this land became Canada = Canadians torched the White House. End of discussion.
- French: English and French are Canada’s two official languages. So an American robot giving commands in both French and English makes sense.
- Tim Hortons: Duh. Of course, Jim and the fam could see Tim Hortons from their window. There are more Tim Hortons than there are Stanley Cup wins by the Toronto Maple Leafs.
- Manitoba: A Canadian province that shares a border with North Dakota and Minnesota.
- Stanley Cup ’11: Dunn asks Amber to tell him “who took home the last Cup in ’11” in order to prove she’s Canadian. The Cup is in reference to the Stanley Cup which you win at the end of the NHL playoffs (National Hockey League). Since the invasion happened in 2112, he could mean the 2111 playoffs which is still in the future for us in the real world. If he means 2011, the Boston Bruins won against the Vancouver Canucks which was the loss that sparked the Vancouver riot. Hey, we take hockey seriously.
- C.A.F: Canadian Armed Forces
- Great White North: Canada’s nickname
- Territories: There are ten provinces and three territories (Yukon, Northwest Terroritories and Nunavut) in Canada. What’s the difference? The provinces get their power from the 1867 Constitution Act while the territories have theirs delegated by the federal government. One needs a constitutional amendment; the other needs the parliamentary vote.
- A “Two-Four”: a 24 pack of beer.
- Canadian Tire: A retail chain that sells automotive parts and services, sports gear and home products. Whenever Canadians make fun of our own money, we compare it to Canadian Tire’s “money” which is just cash bonus coupons.
- Superman: Joe Shuster is the artist and co-creator of Superman. He was also born in Toronto which he based Metropolis on (Fun Fact: The Daily Planet was inspired by The Toronto Star). So yeah. We had a hand in your superhero too.