O Canada, Wacky Canada


January 10, 1993|By DAVE BARRY

It's time for Those Amazing Canadians, the popular feature wherein we examine the activities of our friendly neighbors to the north and secretly wonder if they are mixing their prescription medications again.

As you may recall, when last we checked in on the Canadians, some of them were in a court of law in Ottawa, trying to induce a python to crawl into a toilet. At the time we thought this was unusual, but we now realize that luring snakes into commodes during judicial proceedings is fairly normal, by Canadian standards. We base this statement on several news items we received from alert reader Marylu Walters, who lives in Alberta, which is one of Canada's provinces (the other one is "Bernice").

These news items, from the Edmonton Journal, concern the small Alberta town of Glendon, where there is a local food item called the pyrogy, which is a kind of dumpling that can be stuffed with various foods such as cheese or sauerkraut. Pyrogys are very popular in Glendon, a fact that gave the mayor, Johnnie Doonanco, an idea. See if you can guess what his idea was.

(Pause while you think up a pyrogy-related idea.)

OK. Did you guess that Mr. Doonanco wanted to market an electric pyrogy-maker? Or hold a pageant to crown the Pyrogy Queen? Wrong. That kind of limited thinking shows why you're stuck with whatever dead-end hairball job you have, while Johnnie Doonanco is mayor of Glendon.

His idea was -- we are not making this up -- to build the world's largest fiberglass pyrogy. And he did it, too, by raising 62,000 Canadian dollars via private donations and a grant from the province government, which knows a shrewd investment opportunity when it sees one.

According to the Journal, the giant pyrogy is "almost nine metres high" and "weighs roughly 2,700 kilograms." There's a color photograph of it in the Journal: It looks sort of like a mammoth white leech, except that the designers put it on the tines of a huge upthrust steel fork, so that onlookers would realize that it is in fact a tasty food item.

The purpose of the pyrogy, of course, is to attract tourists. "Hey, Marge!" potential tourists as far away as Mobile, Ala., are probably remarking at this very moment. "There's a giant fiberglass dumpling up in rural Canada! Pack your suitcase!" Such is the power of this type of attraction.

And that explains another Journal news item that Marylu Walters sent us. This one concerns the small Canadian town of Andrew, which recently, with the help of a provincial tourism grant, installed -- get ready -- the world's largest fiberglass duck. The Journal says it has a wingspan of 7.2 meters and weighs "one tonne," which is how you spell "one ton" in metric. The story quotes town manager Albert Holubowich as saying that the residents chose the duck as their symbol because Andrew is near a duck sanctuary.

"It was either the duck or a chicken," he says, "but a chicken has no connection or bearing to the village."

We certainly agree with that. A giant chicken would be ridiculous.

And there's another recent Canadian development we feel you should know about. Many alert readers have sent us an Associated Press report that begins as follows (we are still not making this up):

"VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Female snails in certain polluted coastal harbors have been turning into males and growing penises, a researcher says. Snails undergoing the change, which some scientists think is caused by tin-based contaminants in the water, have been found almost everywhere University of Victoria biologist Derek Ellis and his colleagues looked for them."

We're sure this alarming development is wreaking havoc in the ** snail community. We hope the Canadian authorities are doing something about this. Their most likely move, of course, would be to build the world's largest fiberglass snail organ. You'd go up to see it, right? We thought so. Don't drink the water.

:. Next week: Results of the Bad Song Survey.

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