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Is Canada Even Real?    by J.C. Villamere order for
Is Canada Even Real?
by J.C. Villamere
Order:  USA  Can
Dundurn Press, 2017 (2017)
Softcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Celebrating Canada's 150th? Interested in learning more about Canadian culture, and laughing about it along the way? Then open up J.C. Villamere's Is Canada Even Real?: How a Nation Built on Hobos, Beavers, Weirdos, and Hip Hop Convinced the World to Beliebe.

Sections of the book address Hobos; Beavers; Hip Hop; Weirdos; and Mascots. Really. We're told that 'This book invites you to look past our past and see that Canada is no longer solely the icons in which we once saw ourselves' (which would include 'maple leaves, hockey, canoes, totem poles, and polar bears.' Trivia quizzes are interspersed to check readers' detailed knowledge of these newer icons.

I found that I've missed a lot of Canadian culture - never watched The Littlest Hobo, Parlez-Moi or Electric Circus. I enjoyed the part on Canada's witty (and alcoholic) Dad, Sir John A. Macdonald, and was surprised to read that 'Mackenzie King was really into spiritualism' and used it to contact his dogs! Also that Stephen Harper was 'the first prime minister of Canada to hire a full-time stylist.' And, of course, there's a discussion of Justin Trudeau's hair.

I learned here that 'Canada's first Olympic mascot was a beaver', called Amik which turns out to be Anishinaabe for beaver - who knew? Also that a bunch of hockey players became MPs - celebrity garners votes everywhere, it seems. But you'll find your own favourite Canadian trivia tidbits in this entertaining volume. Enjoy!

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