Dear American tourists: Happy Fourth of July to you, and thank you for choosing to spend it here in Victoria.
As visitors unfamiliar with life in Canada (or, as you call it, the U.S. of Eh) we thought you might appreciate answers to some Frequently Asked Questions. Here goes:
Q: How long will we be in Victoria before someone mentions Donald Trump?
A: Six minutes. That’s because we know what you really, really want on your vacation is to have some smug foreigner remind you of what a ridiculous embarrassment you have elected. Just in case no one has ever mentioned this to you before. You’re welcome.
Q: Last week, an international study found Canada to be the most-reputable country in the world, thanks largely to its image as a safe, ethical country with effective governance.
The U.S., on the other hand, plunged to 38th place in the annual Reputation Institute rankings, the most drastic drop suffered by any country.
Will you mention this, too?
A: Yes, within seven minutes.
Q: Is this part of the famous Canadian modesty that you always brag about?
Q: When we pulled into the harbour on the Coho, we noticed a figure standing atop the dome of the legislative building? Who is it?
A: Her name is Christy Clark. She won’t come down.
Q: We understand B.C. just got a new governor, er, premier. How did that come about?
A: First we had an election. Then we spent 52 days trying to do the math. Then an unelected woman who is like the Queen, only different, flung open the front door of Government House and yelled “It’s Gryffindor!” as orange and green smoke belched from the chimney. Or something like that.
Q: Your new pinko governor John Horgan and his global-warming hippie frenemy Andrew Weaver are both from Victoria, meaning the government will be led by natives of the capital for the first time in 60 years. Will this make a difference?
A: Yes. New for B.C. Ferries: $1.49 Tuesdays. Free White Spot burger as compensation for all two-sailing waits. The Galloping Goose monorail will be built next Thursday, the Mill Bay-North Saanich bridge on Friday. Scotch broom will replace the dogwood as the provincial emblem. The province will finally agree to chip in for the $63-million, er, $98-million, er, $105-million Johnson Street Bridge.
At least, these are the expectations.
Q: It has taken more than six years to build the $105-million, 100-metre-long Johnson Street Bridge. Sorry, but we’re unfamiliar with the metric system. A metre is equal to what, a mile?
A: Um, yes.
Q: When is the bridge scheduled to open?
A: March 2018.
Q: When will Victoria city council ban internal-combustion vehicles?
A: April 2018.
Q: Walking down Douglas Street, I came across a shirtless man surrounded by police officers. Aggressive panhandler?
A: Prime minister.
Q: Gas in Washington state is $2.80 US a gallon. What does it cost in Victoria?
A: $6 a gram. Low monthly payments OAC.
Q: The median price for homes listed for sale in Port Angeles, Washington, is $288,000 US. What will that buy in Victoria?
A: Half a tank of gas.
Q: On July 1, Tim Hortons restaurants in the U.S. sold a “Canadian-inspired” concoction: a honey dip doughnut smothered in something called “poutine.” Where does the name poutine come from?
A: It’s French for “heart attack in a cup.”
Q: Can Canadians buy an “American-inspired” treat on the Fourth of July?
A: Yes. The McHandgun.
Q: Recreational marijuana is legal in Washington state. Is it legal in Victoria, too?
A: No. That’s why we only have five times as many pot shops as Starbucks.
Q: Speaking of Starbucks, we found all the comfy seats being hogged by blacktail deer, who seem at ease in an urban environment. We hear other wildlife — bears, cougar — have followed them to town. Which furry critter is of greatest concern to Americans?
A: Mr. Floatie.
Q: Is there a way to know which businesses cater to tourists?
A: Yes, a sign in the window that reads: “U.S. dollar taken at par.”