Darwinism At Work: Tourism In Canada

A word before we begin: I’ve taken grammar. I realize one only capitalizes “Moose” when it’s a person’s name, not when speaking of the animal. However, I’m writing this because too many people come to Canada in stupidity (because ignorance is too kind a word) and fail to respect that our nature can KILL you. Therefore, to give the animals their due respect, I’m flouting grammar laws and capitalizing. Deal with it.

***

Winnie the Pooh had a Canadian passport. He went off to war with Canadian troops in 1917 for training in London, and when they went off to fight the fight, Winnie was relocated to the London Zoo, discovered by AA Milne, and became the first real star of the Great Canadian Woods.

Thanks to the Disneyfication of the bear and his Hunny Pot, people think bears are friendly.

Like these asshat (reportedly) Chinese tourists who came to Banff National Park, rented a bus, and decided to throw raw beef to attract the bears. Really? They’re leading the industrialized world and yet can be THAT STUPID? Really?

Okay. If you are now, or EVER plan to be, a tourist in Canada, then we need to have a chat.

Canada — it’s big, it’s pretty, it’s full of nature, and the beer tastes great. Check, check, and check.

But those big, beautiful woods are full of things that can kill ya. We Canucks grow up respecting this, and we generally bristle, stop, and either BACK THE HELL UP, or just LOOK, if we’re ever blessed enough to cross with Mother Nature’s beings in the great wild. Because they can kill ya.

Funny enough, the Mascot-of-Canada animal people don’t think of as dangerous is actually the biggest killer up north: The Mighty Moose.

If there were any animal in the Canadian kingdom that should be sporting a t-shirt that reads, “I’m warning you, DO NOT FUCK WIT ME, CHUMP,” it’d be the moose. The warning road sign I included here? That’s about the right ratio for Moose vs Car. Don’t think your car will protect you, because those huge moose have massive stopping power. Just last week a Canadian cop died after his car struck a moose.

And Moose vs. Human ain’t any better. Moose kill more per year than Grizzly Bears do. No, really.

What are some other “These Are Not Made By Gund” animals you’ll find in Canada?

Well, the Wolverine. It’s not just an X-Men character. They’ve been known to drive bears away from the bear’s own kill. Pretty impressive for a little thing.

The cougar. About 40% of cougar attacks are where I live, here in BC, with most happening here on Vancouver Island, which some idiot Cougar-Fact writers think is called “Cougar Island.” While this place has the most cougars found in the world, it ain’t Cougar Island. Incidentally, 65% of cougar deaths before the mid-‘90s were small children. Between 1990 & 2005, cougar attacks had nearly doubled the previous century’s kill count. Yay for urban expansion.

A BC Cougar.

The bear. We have a few kinds. Black, Brown, Grizzly, and Polar. While the Grizzly and Polar are the most notorious for attacks, none of these will be adopted by Disney any time soon.

In fact, just now, a friend posted on Facebook that her home, just a half-hour from Downtown Vancouver, currently has a mama and her cubs wandering in the mountain behind the subdivision, and Mama Bears are responsible for 70% of Grizzly-inflicted death, and a similar majority of other attacks.

And that’s not even out in the wild, people.

Welcome to Canada.

But It Ain’t The Animals You Gotta Be Scared Of

That’s the problem.

Even tourists who come here respecting that these animals can kill you are likely to not be aware that a tourist is more likely to die in our pretty, serene nature than by being confronted by an animal.

Every year, tourists are killed by high waters, tough tides, rough oceans, fast rivers, steep cliffs, mountain falls, avalanches, and more.

In fact, a tourist in the Greater Vancouver Region is probably most likely to die in Capilano Canyon, where signs everywhere tell you about people who’ve died over the years. Fences, warnings, and signs are everywhere, and yet what happens?

People think, “Well, it’s so pretty. Maybe if I get a little closer I’ll get a better picture.” And they slip, they hit their head, they’re washed away.

I know two people personally who’ve died in such accidents, and they were both avid outdoorsmen who loved nature.

The fact is, Nature operates on her terms, and we’ll often not outwit her, and we’ll never know her plans. We’re just a part of the food chain, and when it comes to Nature, she’s not afraid to remind us of this.

Canada is an incredible place, filled with incredible sights, and it’s one of the last real places in the world where you’ll find vast stretches of untouched nature. I highly recommend seeing Canada in all her glory, and coast to coast to coast, but respect it like your life depends on it — because it does.

My home is the land where Robert Service once wrote that “silence bludgeons you dumb,” because it’s such vast and untamed wilderness. It’s where, even today, experienced outdoorsmen walk into the sunset and just vanish without a trace, like Tyler Wright, a popular Vancouver rugged outdoors guy who disappeared on a hike 2 years ago, and whose remains have still never been found.

People die here: Smart people who understand the risks, but more often those who don’t.

I’m lucky. I’ve seen Canada from the Yukon to Vancouver Island to Prince Edward Island, to everything in between. The only places I’ve yet to see are Nunavut, NWT, and Manitoba, and everything I have seen has left me feeling a blessed, blessed girl. It is wildly worth seeing, this land of mine.

Come to Canada. Enjoy our beer, love our land, see our wilderness, but respect it.

If you can’t respect our nature, its dangers, and how “on guard” you must be, then stay the fuck out. We spend enough of our money rescuing stupid tourists.

This has been a public service announcement from a fed-up Canadian.

(Oh. And pick up your garbage. It only looks amazing until you leave your fucking trash behind. We’re not your garbage can. Neither are our amazing spaces.)

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6 Comments

  1. Posted August 3, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    Did you know Tyler? I’m still saddened & disturbed by his disappearance. He was 1 of the first people I met when I moved to Vancouver and we were neighbours at one point.

    • Posted August 3, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

      I did not. I had never had a chance to meet him, and when he went missing I saw the clear mark he’d left on the community as everyone kept rallying to find him. Seemed very well-loved. Sad he was never found.

  2. Canadian Kelli
    Posted August 3, 2012 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

    There are no Grizzlies within a couple hours drive of downtown Vancouver

  3. Kristy
    Posted August 4, 2012 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    DH and I will be vacationing in BC in three weeks — both Vancouver and the Island. We shall consider ourselves “informed”. Just don’t ever come to Texas and expect it to be all dust, cactus, cowboys, and republicans, either. ;)

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