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Upside Down Under

By Marvin Baker, a new weekly column in The Kenmare News

 

Know your geography

Posted 11/01/16 (Tue)

Here’s a little geography quiz for you. See how many you can get correct.

1.) Where is the nation’s capital in Canada located?

2.) Can you name the three Canadian territories?

3.) What is Canada’s largest city?

4.) Which province doesn’t observe Daylight Savings Time?

5.) Who is the prime minister?

6.) How many ports of entry are there between North Dakota and Canada?

7.) Where does Bismarck native Weston Dressler play football?

8.) What province joined the country in 1949?

9.) Where is Grand Forks located?

10.) What U.S. state does the St. Lawrence River border?

• Answers next week

Ask any school kid what the capitol of Malaysia is and they can tell you. Ask any kid what the main export is from Russia and they can tell you, ask them what the population of Italy might be and they’ll tell you.

Yet most kids don’t know what the capital of Canada is, they don’t know Saskatchewan’s main export, which comes to North Dakota by the way, and they don’t know the population of Canada, which is larger than the state of California.

Despite bordering North Dakota, Canada doesn’t get studied in depth in high schools, at least not in North Dakota. Perhaps it should because our almost daily interactions with Canadians.

Instead, schools will beat a dead horse by teaching Japan, China and Egypt, and not pay attention to our nearest neighbor and main trading partner.

It’s the same in college. With nearly 300 Canadian students attending UND, professors decide to teach about Iran and Ecuador.

It’s hard to imagine that we basically ignore a country next to us with a common, 4,000-mile border, is our first line of defense against Russian aggression, is a Christian and democratic nation and has 12 major cities, one just an hour away from a North Dakota port of entry.

Winnipeg, a city of nearly 800,000 people, is only 60 miles from the border at Pembina. It is a major cultural center with a strong French influence, has numerous downtown skyscrapers and officially recognizes North Dakota in many ways.

Several years ago the Winnipeg Art Gallery had an authentic Gutenberg Bible, Eskimo carvings and Ukrainian artwork brought with the immigrants when they landed in Manitoba in the 1860s.

How many people of Ukrainian descent in the Dickinson area are aware of those incredible paintings in that Winnipeg gallery?

Regina is also a major city that kind of loosely connects and is 250 miles from Minot. Queen Elizabeth was there in 2005 to open the Saskatchewan Centennial.

Farmers in North Dakota know Regina for Agribition, a major agricultural show held there every November.

Most people don’t realize you can drive to Calgary in less than a day, depending on where you live in North Dakota.

That city is 1 million plus and thrives like Denver and is actually closer to us than Denver. Numerous people in this area have talked about the Calgary Stampede, a major rodeo that gets worldwide attention in July.

So why aren’t people more aware of our neighbors? Why don’t we see more in the media? How many people remember it was the Canadian Embassy in Iran that snuck six Americans out of the country during the hostage crisis in 1979?

Some of us are aware of what’s going on across the border and a lot of that comes from Canadian radio, TV and Internet sites.

There’s a slew of AM and FM radio stations from Winnipeg, Brandon, Estevan, Weyburn, Moose Jaw and Regina that are loud and clear in a large portion of North Dakota.

How many Blue Jays fans are there in North Dakota? AM stations in Winnipeg, Winkler and Weyburn have been broadcasting their games since the Blue Jays joined the American League on April 7, 1977.

For those us living within miles of the border, we have television but most people in North Dakota don’t get Canadian TV. The biggest mistake the Canadian Radio and Telecommunications Commission ever made was not allowing broadcasts across North Dakota.

Canada wants to showcase its country, yet doesn’t allow the media to purposely target American audiences. It’s quite the irony.

TV is a powerful medium and three additional networks could teach us a lot about our neighbor.