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How do you describe Canadians? The following jokes might help you out.

Why did the Canadian cross the road? He saw some American do it on TV.

How many Canadians does it take to change a light bulb? None. They don’t change light bulbs, they accept them the way they are.

A Canadian called the RCMP and said, “I think my neighbor Fred is hiding drugs in his firewood.”
The RCMP went to Fred’s house, searched the shed and bust open every piece of firewood, but didn’t find any drugs. They apologized to Fred and left.Fred’s neighbor calls and asks, “Did the RCMP come to your house and chop your firewood?”
“Yup” says Fred.
“Happy Birthday, Buddy!”

And finally, Canada is the only country where someone in a department store, who doesn’t work there, will offer you assistance.

To summarize, most Canadians spend a lot of time watching life in America, are generally accepting of others, are innovative, helpful and courteous. Which may help to explain why Canada was a peaceful haven during the Second World War.

A woman from Saskatoon wasn’t even aware of the part she played in the war effort by encouraging the troops during World War II. In 1943 she married her sweetheart, who then joined the navy. The following year she decided to do her part as well and was sent to Ontario for training. She was invited, along with a group of girls, to a swimming party where an officer took pictures of each of the girls. This girl’s picture was published in a Canadian Army newspaper, and the young woman soon became the pin-up poster girl of the Second World War.

She didn’t make this discovery until more than five decades later, although she always wondered why she had received letters from soldiers during those war years, soldiers she had never known. Her new groom wasn’t too happy about those letters either.

Back in 1943 there was a familiar voice coming over the air waves, as Lorne Green was the news anchor who read the war time news broadcasts for the CBC National News. He was called the “voice of doom”.

A Vancouver resident recalls piloting a spitfire on photographic missions in India during the Second World War. Twenty-two thousand of these planes were manufactured, but only a dozen were recovered. But forty years after the war, the very Spitfire this pilot had flown was discovered in India and brought back to Canada to be restored. It was brought back on the exact date this pilot had used the plane on a mission forty years earlier.

There were numerous prisoner of war camps in Canada during the Second World War. One of those was called the Gravenhurst Camp, which had previously been a sanatorium for tuberculosis patients. It was not a typical prisoner of war camp, having its own small zoo, which included a monkey and a black bear that the prisoners would often wrestle with for exercise. The prisoners grew their own vegetables, made German pastries and smoked their own sausages. A fence was set up around the camp including a partially submerged portion of the lake so prisoners could go swimming. An ex-prisoner of war later said he spent six years behind barbed wire at that camp and never had a minute of boredom. Many POW’s in Canada worked as farm hands or in the lumber industry.

The Canadian government explained that the camps were made as comfortable as possible so the captives wouldn’t try to escape. Not only were there few attempts to escape, but a decade after the war some of those same captives made their way back to Canada, enduring an extensive screening process. They were given financial assistance from the government, on the condition they pay it back at a later date.

The largest camps in North America were located in Alberta. The camps in Lethbridge and Medicine Hat each held up to 12,500 prisoners and cost more than $2 million to build. Some of the prisoners recalled becoming friends with the guards, who were veterans from the First World War.

Also of interest – between 1944 and 1945, Japan launched over 9,000 balloon bombs in parts of the Pacific northwest. Some of these bombs landed in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, the Northwest Territories and the Yukon. However the only Canadian casualty was a farmer’s fence.

Canada remains a safe haven, which is why we take time to remember our heritage and proudly stand and sing our national anthem.

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