Crazy About Canada!
Amazing Things Kids Want to Know, 2006
Maple Tree Press, 2006 Distributed by Raincoast
Does Canada have the
Yes, indeed! Monster, blood-sucking varmints! The biggest, blood-suckingest
mosquito in the world is probably Psorophora ciliata,
also known as the feather-legged gallinipper. According to an expert
on mosquitoes, a gallinipper bite is truly painful! (Note to self:
remember not to become an expert on mosquitoes.) We do indeed have
these nasty critters in Canada. But the swarms of mosquitoes that
can make our lives miserable in Canada’s north are actually
a smaller species. There are over 2500 different species of mosquitoes
throughout the world.
How did moose get on the island of Newfoundland?
Like most folks, they arrived by boat. It’s too far for a
moose to swim! A hundred years ago, two pairs (four moose) were
brought to the island. Those moose had calves. Then those calves
grew up and had more calves. There are no wolves on Newfoundland
to keep moose numbers under control. So there are now multitudinous
moosies, all descendants of those first two pairs.
How far can an iceberg travel before it melts?
In 1926, an iceberg was sighted as far south as Bermuda! But most
icebergs stay closer to home in cold, Arctic waters. Most of our
icebergs come from Greenland, the huge island north of Canada.
A small number escape and are carried south by the Labrador current.
Iceberg Alley (where the Titanic struck an iceberg in
1912) is the route bergs take as they drift south along the eastern
coast of Newfoundland down to the Grand Bank. Once the bergs meet
the warmer waters of the Gulf Stream current, you can guess what
happens. Within a few months the once mighty icebergs are no more.
Morton’s Irresistible Detour
How do you stop a 10-million-tonne iceberg from ploughing through
an offshore oil drilling platform? You lasso it! A ship dragging
a floating tow line circles the iceberg. The ends of the tow
line are joined together. Then VERY carefully (you don’t want
it to tip over), the iceberg is towed away from its chosen path.
What is the name of the school that’s closest
to the North Pole? How many children go there?
Umimmak School, in Nunavut, is the most northerly school in Canada.
It’s in Grise Fiord, on Ellesmere Island, the Arctic island
that’s on the very “top” of Canada. There are
55 students, almost all Inuit. From kindergarten to grade 5, classes
are taught in Inuktitut, the language of the Inuit. Students in
grades 6 to 12 do most of their work in English.
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