In all of human history, our world has never been as interconnected as it is today, but there are certain international connections that are far more important and long-standing than others. Both Canada and the United States call North America home, and the histories of both countries are so interwoven, that it is no wonder that they are still each other's biggest trading partners. It is true that political relations between the two countries have been a bit iffy lately, but that has not stopped the nations from also being each other's most important ally, and when you share a border with one another, it is very important to maintain that type of relationship.
It is true that Canada and the United States are similar in many ways, but those similarities have not stopped Canadians from noticing some of the U.S.'s strange characteristics, like its healthcare system, and its people's love of football. Canadians may find those two things to be strange, but they are actually quite well-known parts of US society. There are a few Canadians who would like to believe that they know every single strange thing about the U.S., mainly because of the things that get covered on the news, but given the size of the U.S. and its population, that is absolutely not the case. Like every other country in the world, the U.S. is home to a variety of strange things, many of which are lesser known than others, and this article will try to identify 25 strange things about the country that Canadians may not know about.
24 South Dakota’s Cow To Human Ratio
South Dakota became a state back in 1889, and seeing as most of the state is relatively flat, it makes sense that it is home to a lot of farms, and as we all know, farms tend to have cows. In terms of size, South Dakota is pretty big, but less than 900,000 people live in the state, which would be fine if the cow population was not 4 times higher than the human one. This situation is not unique to South Dakota though, as beef2live.com indicates that cows outnumber people in 8 other states.
23 There Is No Official Language
Whenever you visit a country, you will notice that most locals speak the same language, and that is usually the case when a country insists on having an official language. At this point in time, the English language is universal, and it is heavily associated with the U.S., but believe it or not, English is not the official language in America. As news organizations like CNN have pointed out, the U.S. has always been home to numerous languages, and when the country was officially founded, English has not named the official language in order to not offend the non-English speakers who helped during the fight for independence.
22 The Darth Vader Gargoyle
There is no denying the fact that the Star Wars franchise is one of the biggest movie franchises in history, and over the course of four decades, the series has embedded itself in society. Cathedrals can be found throughout Europe and North America, and most cathedrals have there outer walls decorated with grotesque carvings known as gargoyles, but in Washington D.C., that is not really the case. The Washington National Cathedral does sports gargoyles, but not in the traditional sense, as one of them is based on the iconic Star Wars villain, Darth Vader.
21 There Is A Goatee License
At some point in time, we all go through puberty, and it is usually during that time that we begin to grow facial hair, and although many people decide to shave off that hair, many people decide to keep it and style it to their liking. When it comes to beards, you can style them in a variety of ways, including a goatee, which is fairly small and sometimes pointed. In the state of Massachusetts, the law states that a person needs to have a license in order to have a goatee, and although it is not enforced, it is still surprising that the law itself has not been removed.
20 New York City’s Population Compared To The Rest Of The Country
New York City as we know it has been around since 1898, and since then, it has become one of the most well-known cities in the world, and aside from being an economic and cultural hub, it is also the most populated city in the United States. More than 8.5 million people call the city their home, which is insane for a modern city, but it is even more insane when you compare its population with the rest of the countries. Based on the numbers provided by worldatlas.com, more people live in New York City than in 38 of the 50 states.
19 Idaho’s New Years Celebration
December 31st marks the end of another year, and every country in the world marks it as a very special event, and in North America, we are used to bringing in the new year with the ball drop in Times Square. This event has been taking place since 1907, and it sees Times Square filled to the brim with people, but in the state of Idaho, they have their own unique spin on the event. Idaho is known for producing potatoes, and when it comes time to welcome the new year, the people of Boise, Idaho celebrate by dropping a giant potato.
18 Basketball’s Origin
The U.S. is home to the world’s 4 biggest professional sports leagues, including the NBA, which brings in roughly $7 billion in revenue every single year. The game of basketball is incredibly popular in the U.S., and because of its popularity, most people believe that it is 100% American made, but that is actually not the case. Basketball was invented in Massachusetts in 1891 by James Naismith, but what many Canadians do not know is the fact that Naismith was born in Almonte, Ontario, and spent most of his life in Canada.
17 The World’s Smallest Park
In North America, there are plenty of parks, most of which are open to the public, and when the weather is really nice, many of them get filled with people, especially energetic children. Parks come in all shapes and sizes, and logically speaking, a park is meant to accommodate a certain number of people, but there is one U.S. park that can barely fit a single person. Portland, Oregon is home to Mill Ends Park, which has the honor of being the world’s smallest park, at just 2 feet wide, which begs the question, why even consider it to be a park.
16 Highway 550 In Colorado
Wherever you go in the world, you will find people traveling on some kind of road, and thanks to the road system in the U.S., anyone can drive from one end of the country to the other. When we think about roads, we tend to visualize roads of the dirt and asphalt variety, but there is actually one road in the U.S. that is made up of something much more valuable. The Million Dollar Highway can be found in Colorado, and the 25-mile-long highway got its name because it was initially paved with low-grade gold ore.
15 You Cannot Buy Ketchup Chips
Millions of potato chips are consumed every year in North America, and that makes a lot of sense seeing as you can eat them straight out of the bag and because they come in so many different flavors. In Canada, ketchup flavored chips are very popular, but what many Canadians realize when they first visit the U.S., is the fact that they cannot buy ketchup chips once they cross the border. According to the CBC, the reason for this is because Lays attempted to release some fruit-flavored chips into the U.S. in the 70s, but the campaign failed miserably, which is why you cannot find ketchup chips in any American stores.
14 You Can Get A Unicorn Hunting License
History is filled with many mythological creatures, including the unicorn, a horse-like creature with a large, spiraling horn protruding from its forehead. Canadians are well aware of unicorns, and they also know that many Americans enjoy hunting, but what Canadians may not know is the fact that the U.S. is home to legitimate unicorn hunters. These hunters have been around since the 1970s, and believe it or not, you can actually go to Michigan and acquire a unicorn hunting license from Lake Superior State University.
13 Minors Are Not To Play Pinball In South Carolina
Earlier we talked about a law in Massachusetts that deals with a person’s ability to wear a goatee in public, but that is not the strangest law that still exists in the United States. Modern-day pinball machines have been around since 1947, and if you were to visit South Carolina with your family, you would need to make sure that the children do not use one of the machines. According to South Carolina law, it is illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to use a pinball machine, and that would be because they are believed to encourage gambling.
12 The Number Of People Who have Worked At McDonald’s
The fast-food industry is popular because it provides food quickly and at relatively low prices, and amongst all the brands, McDonald’s reigns supreme. McDonald’s is so popular that there are over 14,000 restaurants in the U.S. alone, and many Canadians will be surprised to know that many Americans know the inner workings of the fast food giant. According to businessinsider.com, 1 in 8 Americans have worked for McDonald’s, in fact, the company hires roughly 1 million Americans every year.
11 The 8,000-Year-Old Civilization In Florida
The state of Florida has a reputation for making the news for all kinds of strange reasons, in fact, this happens so often that people have no idea how archaeologically important the state is. Florida may have the Everglades and beautiful beaches, but what many people do not know is the fact that the state is home to the ruins of an 8,000-year-old civilization. The Windover Archaeological Site was discovered in 1982 after construction workers found human remains in their buckets, and upon further investigation, they also discovered well-preserved artifacts.
10 Alaska Is A State Because Of Russia
As a state, Alaska has one of lowest populations in the U.S., but it is also the largest state in terms of total area, and when you see it on a map, it looks like it should actually be a part of Canada. Alaska is a beautiful place, but it never belonged to Canada, as prior to becoming part of the U.S., the area actually belonged to the Russian Empire. In 1867, Russia was kind enough to sell the land to the U.S. for $7.2 million, which turned out to be a complete steal considering all of its natural resources.
9 The Issue With Pennsylvania’s Spelling
Pennsylvania is one of the original 13 states, which means that it has some of the country’s oldest and most important landmarks, including the Liberty Bell. Seeing as Pennsylvania is an original state, it means that it is mentioned by name in the U.S. Constitution, and it is there that we have an interesting little mistake. If you were to look at the original Constitution, you will notice that it is spelled “Pensylvania”, and as it turns out, it is misspelled in the same way on the Liberty Bell as well.
8 Monowi, Nebraska’s Population
The world has become a heavily populated place, but just because there are more than 7 billion of us does not mean that every pocket of land is populated by a lot of people, as evidenced by the fact that there are many small towns spread throughout the United States. The smallest of these small towns are without a doubt Monowi, Nebraska, which currently has a total population of 1. Elsie Eiler is the town’s sole resident, and although she lives alone, she benefits from being the town’s librarian, bartender, and mayor.
7 There Is A City That Is Constantly On Fire
Fires have always been devastating, especially in small towns, and it is thanks to a fire, that the town of Centralia, Pennsylvania is now essentially a ghost town. Normally, a fire is supposed to eventually burn itself out, but what makes this fire unique is the fact that it has been burning beneath the town for nearly 60 years. The fire started in 1962, and it started as a result of garbage being burned in an old mine, which set off a coal seam-fire that has since destroyed most of the town’s buildings.
6 California’s Flag
Every single state prides itself on having its own sense of individuality, which is why every state has its own flag, as well as its own state animal. As far as California is concerned, the grizzly bear serves as its state animal, which is why you can see a grizzly on the state’s official flag, but if you were to visit California, you will likely never see one of the animals out in the wild. Despite the honors bestowed upon the species, no one has actually seen a California grizzly since 1922.
5 Independence Day Is Celebrated On The Wrong Day
There are always a lot of parties during the summer, which is not all that surprising considering the warm weather and the fact that most young people are on break from school. The biggest party in the U.S. is without a doubt Independence Day, which occurs every 4th of July, but most Canadians, as well as many Americans, have no idea that the U.S. celebrates their independence day on the wrong date. According to archives.gov, the Declaration of Independence was dated on July 4, 1776, but the Continental Congress officially voted to become independent on July 2.
4 South Carolina Has Its Own Monkey Island
There are plenty of places in the U.S. that are off-limits to people, either for safety purposes, or because it is private land, and Morgan Island is one of those places that is off limits. The island is one of South Carolina’s sea islands, and despite it having no people on it, it is still very much inhabited. No one has been allowed to set foot on Morgan Island since 1979, and that is because it is home to a colony of free-ranging rhesus monkeys, which is why it is more commonly known as Monkey Island.
3 A Town Elected A Cat Mayor
Every single city and town in the United States is run by a mayor, and to many people, the highest municipal seat actually means something, unless you lived in Talkeetna, Alaska from 1997 to 2017. Anyone can run for public office in the U.S., and apparently, you do not even need to be human to do so, because the people of the Alaskan town elected an actual cat as their mayor. As CNN reported last year, Stubbs the Cat served as Talkeetna’s honorary mayor for the entirety of his 20-year life, which means that he was a truly dedicated politician.
2 Smarties Look Different
Canadians are able to enjoy several chocolate bars and candies that are not available in the U.S., and Smarties would be one of them. Smarties have been around since 1937, and they come in a variety of different colors, in fact, they are essentially bigger M&M’s. You may not be able to buy traditional Smarties in America, but that has not stopped the U.S. from developing its own Smarties brand, except those candies are called Rockets in Canada, and they come in tablet form.
1 The Amount Of Wheat In Kansas
You can find Kansas right in the middle of the U.S., and just like South Dakota, its largely flat terrain is perfect for farms, in fact, most of the state’s economy is driven by agriculture. The state’s main export is wheat, which we use to make bread and virtually all baked goods, and Kansas produces an obscene amount of it. To understand just how much wheat Kansas produces, wheatworld.org states that if you were to take the state's entire annual yield, the world’s entire population could be fed for 2 weeks.
References: cntraveler.com, list25.com, cheatsheet.com