Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Something Wonderful

In today’s headlines I saw a fun little story about the CBC encouraging Canadians to vote on the top 50 nominees for the “Seven Wonders of Canada”. I perused the options, and after some thought regarding what a wonder really is, I voted for the following:

  1. Bay of Fundy
  2. Niagara Falls
  3. The Rockies
  4. Northern Lights
  5. Cabot Trail
  6. Rideau Canal
  7. CN Tower

I should mention that I didn't look at the criteria until after I voted, but when I read it afterwards, it certainly fit with what I had thought.

I suppose I grouped my choices by categories: numbers 1 through 4 fall into the “natural” wonder category, but are nevertheless widely-known Canadian marvels. Being "widely-known" was one of my personal criteria for selection. Many of the nominees may be regionally known, and perhaps that is good enough for some people, but I think that a Wonder of Canada should have enough attraction to have garnered significant attention already. I am quite partial to the Bay of Fundy - I've been to Moncton a couple times and have seen the (somewhat unimpressive) Tidal Bore and I've seen the (somewhat slightly-more impressive) Reversing Falls in Saint John. I've wandered around the flower pot islands during low tide. I've also ridden a ferry straight across the Bay from Saint John, NB to Digby, NS. But the most exciting time I've spent in the Bay of Fundy was on a whale watching tour based off Grand Manan Island in which Keith and I actually witnessed a right whale breach. Breathtaking.

Hmmm. Niagara Falls - it really is rather impressive. I'll give them that. I've been there once. I think I might have a couple pictures. Yes yes, we share Niagara with the US, but it is well known that the Canadian side is better. (Or is the view from Canada that is better?)

The Canadian Rockies. I've only ever seen them from above, but I live next to the American Rockies, and I hear the Canadian ones are even more beautiful. There are certainly less people in the Canadian Rockies. Being "uniquely Canadian" was one of my slightly less-vital criteria, but here I'm willing to cede that the Rockies are so vast that we can call them a Canadian wonder and still share them with the US.

The Northern Lights. I can probably count on my fingers the number of times I've seen this fascinating phenomenon, but at least I can say that I've seen them. For at least three of those, I was near Peterborough, and the other occasions were from no more than a three-hours' drive north of Toronto. The thought of the Northern Lights immediately makes me think of my friend Pete's recitation of Robert Service's The Cremation of Sam McGee back in grade 5. You can't get much more Canadian than this.

Numbers 5 and 6 are man-made wonders that contribute to our culture, while being rather uniquely Canadian. I don't have a lot to say about the Rideau Canal, except that I enjoyed watching Rick Mercer and Belinda Stronach skating on it back when she crossed the floor. The Cabot Trail, however, was certainly a highlight from our road trip to the Maritimes.

Finally, I picked the CN Tower because it is one of the most internationally recognizable man-made Canadian structure, and well, it is pretty amazing, don't you think?

Runners-up:

Asides:
  • Confederation Bridge. This is just more of a convenience than a wonder.
  • The Canoe. Also a wonderful piece of Canadian culture, but I just don't think a small, human-powered boat qualifies as a wonder. For the same reason, I also didn't spend much time considering the "Montreal Bagel."
  • The Cup. Sorry... I love hockey, I really do. But I don't think a trophy should qualify as a wonder, either. Even though a part of me agrees that it is pretty awe-inspiring...
  • (Prairie) Skies and (Saugeen Shores) Sunsets. While I realize that this might seem to be in the same category as the Northern Lights, there is something inherently mystic about the Aurora Borealis that befits its mythology for our First Nations people. The Northern Lights are also somewhat rare in Southern Ontario, which makes them more special in my opinion.

In the “you’ve got to be kidding me” category:

So that's my take on the wonders. What about you? Have you voted? Do you take exception to my view of the badlands or the snake pits? Leave a comment and tell me what you would vote for and why.

Finally, here's a little contest: my blog entry title is from a favourite movie of mine. Can you guess which one?

3 comments:

Andy McCullough said...

What about Butchart Gardens? Robin and I honeymooned in Victoria.

meg said...

I've been listening to the Wonders of Canada on CBC...listening to people calling in and giving there reasons for their choices. Very entertaining.

Keithbeats said...

it is a hard choice, there are so many wonders that canada has from sea to sea to sea. i would say that any of the national parks and the Tuktoyaktuk Pingos and the Inukshuk at Rankin Inlet should be on the list.