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Top 10 Symbols of Canada

VO: Rebecca Brayton
It’s the True North, strong and free! Canada is a vast country known for its cultural diversity, politeness and – well – its cold. But there’s much more to the nation that just that: Canadians are also huge hockey fans, and they sure love their Tim Hortons double doubles – not to stereotype or anything. In honor of Canada adopting the Maple Leaf as the country’s official flag on December 15th, 1964 (and later inaugurating it on February 15th the following year), counts down ten of the most iconic symbols associated with Canada. For this list, we've chosen to stick with things and not people.

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Top 10 Canadian Symbols

It’s the True North, strong and free. Welcome to, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top ten symbols of Canada. For this list, we’ve decided to stick with things, and not people.

#10 – The Loon

Kicking off our list is a symbol of the Canadian wilderness. Many Canucks spend their summers at cottages or camping, and that’s where most hear the loon’s iconic call. It was a toss-up between the loon and the Canada Goose to see which would make our list, but their one dollar coin is called a Loonie so that’s gotta be worth something.

#9 – Maple Syrup

One benefit to six months of winter is maple syrup. Not Mrs. Butterworth’s, Aunt Jemima or some other imposter – real maple syrup from maple trees. Over 80 percent of the world’s maple syrup comes from Canada, so that’s why it’s such a hot commodity in souvenir shops. Plus, they put that shit on everything: pancakes, Canadian bacon – or as they call it, back bacon – beans, even snow. It’s really good on snow.

#8 – Wilderness

Contrary to popular belief, most Canadians don’t live in igloos. But it can be cold. We’re talking minus -40 in the dead of winter cold, and yes that’s Celsius. What makes living in Canada worth it, among other things, is the striking natural scenery. Aside from the fact that the Canadian side of Niagara Falls is way better, the landscape’s got everything: mountains, valleys, prairies, forests, glaciers, beaches. Hey, they don’t call it the Great White North for nothin’.

#7 – Beer

With a drinking age of either 18 or 19, Canucks get a leg up on their American counterparts when it comes to boozin’. Beer may not be the most sophisticated beverage on the market, but Canadians love making it and they love drinking it even more. Grab a two-four of Molson or Labatt’s, tuck in to heckle Coach’s Corner – now that’s a Saturday night! Take off, hoser.

#6 – Moose

This Canadian icon is a brunette beauty with nice legs and a great rack – sorry guys, we’re talking about the moose. The moose is a symbol of honor, durability and determination, plus they’re absolutely everywhere in the Canadian wilderness. They also make great mascots, mementos and money. Okay, technically that’s a caribou on the quarter, but you get it.

#5 – The Beaver

No, not Bieber, beaver. Another important animal, the beaver was historically at the center of Canada’s hunting and fur trade. It even became a symbol for the iconic Hudson’s Bay Company as early as 1678. It’s on stamps, it’s on the nickel, it’s been the national animal since 1975 – Canadians really love their beavers. Get your mind outta the gutter.

#4 – Tim Hortons

If you’ve ever visited the Great White North, you may have ordered a double double and some Timbits, or at least seen how pervasive Timmies is. Think of it this way: Starbuck’s has just over 30 percent of the U.S. coffee market. Tim Hortons has over 60 percent of Canada’s – that’s like more than one on every corner. Plus, only Canadians would name a coffee chain after a hockey player, eh?

#3 – The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)

Coming in just ahead of the lumberjack as a representation of Canadian brawn is the RCMP. According to the stereotype, a Mountie is polite, stoic and always gets his man. So yeah, Dudley Do-Right. Whether or not that’s true, the RCMP is a symbol of Canada, and the uniform of a Red Serge, Stetson and jodhpurs is iconic. You know how firemen are hot? It’s kinda like that.

#2 – Hockey

Canadians spend their childhoods playing it on frozen ponds, their Saturday nights watching it on the CBC, and their summers waiting for it to start again. Hockey is the true national sport of Canada – what is lacrosse, anyway? – and it props up another Canuck icon: the beer industry. Canadians take their hockey seriously. Like “riot” seriously. And they practically worship their Holy Grail, Lord Stanley’s Cup.

#1 – The Maple Leaf

Taking the top spot on our list is the definitive symbol of Canada – and no, we’re not talking about Toronto’s hockey team. The maple is the king of the Canadian forest, and its leaf is on the penny and the flag. Ahead of beer, beavers and Timmies, the maple leaf is the symbol peace, unity and tolerance that Canadians identify with most.

Canada’s a great country, eh? Tell us which symbols you think we’ve missed by subscribing to

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