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#AsCanadianAs 'making love in a canoe'? Not so fast

Categories: Canada, Community

What's the most Canadian way to get around?

Our ongoing contest to complete the phrase "As Canadian as..." have inspired many to choose modes of transportation, suggesting everything from a Quebec City cal├Ęche to the Avro Arrow

The snowmobile is a Canadian invention, but so is the hydrofoil boat. Alexander Graham Bell's HD-4, built in Cape Breton, was the fastest watercraft anywhere in the world for 20 years in the early 20th century. 

But there's always one vehicle that comes to mind when you think of our country...
Members of the CBC Community has proven their fondness for the canoe in the photos they've sent us from every part of the country. 

Pat O sent us this stunning photo taken on Isaac Lake in the canoe circuit of B.C.'s Bowron Lakes Provincial Park. 

Isaac Lake

Laura Bentley shot this on Kananaskis Lake in Alberta. 

Early To Rise

Amanda Holowachuk of Melfort, Sask., sent in a whole gallery of photos of her dogs, including this one of Haida, "the best canoe companion."

Haida, the best canoe companion

Chas Cochand sent us this photo taken in the Haliburton Highlands in Central Ontario. 

an early morning canoe

And Markus Mueller of Halifax sent in this photo with a story that couldn't be more Canadian: 

"Each year my family takes a winter camping trip. This year the lake froze over and we couldn't get my father's birch bark canoe (which he built himself) through the ice! Already! It shouldn't be cold enough yet!"

Camping trip gone wrong.

But whenever you hear of canoes and Canadians and what makes a Canadian a Canadian, this always comes up: 

This, of course, is a reference to Pierre Berton's famous aphorism: "A Canadian is somebody who knows how to make love in a canoe." 

It's a great line, although it does raise certain questions. "You couldn't wait until you got ashore? Didn't you bring a tent? What about the black flies?!"

It might be one of Berton's most well known quotes. There's just one problem with it: he never said it. 

This is from Peter Gzowski's collection of journal entries, The Private Voice

Pierre says he didn't say it, or if he did he took it from someone else, but whoever the authority is, if that's the test, I fail. I do know how to gunwale a canoe..., portage it, right it without getting out of the water, and sail it home with my hockey sweater tied to a paddle. But make love? You got me. 

Still, Berton is given as the author in many reference books. Gzowski mentions John Robert Colombo's Canadian Quotations as his source, but it's also in Robert Hamilton's Dictionary of Canadian Quotations and Phrases

So if Berton didn't say it, who did? We may never know, but an earlier edition of Colombo's book (without the above witticism) did contain this off-colour limerick, attributed to Anonymous. 

One night a young amorous Sioux
Had a date with a maiden he knioux; 
The coroner found
The couple had drowned
Making love in a leaky canioux. 

Tags: Callout, Canada, Community, Photos

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