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65 signs that you might be an Albertan

Crackmacs, prairie oysters, Stampede, rat genocide, caesars, and weird small town kitsch are just a few of the signs that you might be an Albertan.

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Albertans are a special breed. There’s no one quite like us anywhere else in the world.

What makes us unique as a people? That’s the question the Western Standard Editorial Board has been contemplating since going to a bar after work is illegal.

We spent some time on the project, and with the help of some brilliant friends across the country, came up with a still-growing list of some of the things that make us just a wee bit different.

“Crackmacs” in Calgary

65 – Crackmacs

You should avoid going there.

Prairie oysters

64 – Prairie Oysters

You have to try them before you can become one of us.

63 – Newcomers

You are a more fanatical Alberta patriot if you weren’t born here.

62 – Quebec

You don’t know why, but you really don’t like it.

61 – Saskatchewan

You don’t know why, but you like it.

60 – Newfies

They might talk funny, but they’re the best Albertans around. 

Toronto

59 – Toronto

You may not like Quebec, but you hate Toronto. 

58 – Vancouver 

You both love and hate Vancouver.

57 – Ottawa

A place your money goes to be spent somewhere else.

56 – Getup

You wear a decent pair of cowboy boots, a Stetson, and a pair of Wranglers on at least one day during Calgary Stampede or whatever Klondike days is calling itself these days. 

Cowboy boots


55 – Boots

You can pull off cowboy boots at a downtown office any time of the year. 

54 – Rodeo

It’s not your first one.

53 – Cowboys

You think you’re one because you dressed up for Stampede and have been to the Last Chance Saloon outside Drumheller. 

52 – Calgary Stampede 

It’s redneck Oktoberfest.

51 – K-Days

Something Edmonton does because it doesn’t have Stampede.

A “Rat Patrol” propoganda poster

50 – Rat Genocide

You live in the only place on earth (other than Antarctica) with zero rats because your government has an actual department called the Rat Patrol. Killing them is a civil duty, and you don’t think this is weird at all. 

Main characters of the Trailer Park Boys

49 – Trailer Park Boys

What you think the East coast is really like.

48 – Hail Caesar 

You drink caesars, not bloody Marys. And you drink them with pride knowing they were invented in Calgary by Walter Chell, at the Owl’s Nest in the Westin Hotel.

47 – The Metric System 

You’re still not completely sold on it.

Ginger fried beef

46 – Prairie Chinese food

You’re proud that the best Chinese food in the world comes from the other side of the planet from China: prairie ginger beef.

45 – Chinese and Western

You don’t think there’s anything strange about a small village’s only eatery being a ‘Chinese and Western’ restaurant that serves ginger beef alongside hamburgers and fries. 

44 – Breakfast beer

You don’t see anything wrong with pouring some Clamato in your beer to take the hair off the dog. 

Ian Tyson

43 – Four Strong Winds

You tear up when listening to Four Strong Winds, by Ian Tyson.

42 – Four Strong Winds (II)

You burst into rage after listening to Four Strong Winds, by Neil Young.

41 – Alberta Bound

You’re unable to remain composed or resist singing it at the top of your lungs whenever it comes on. 

Big Sugar frontman Gordie Johnson (photo credit: Big Sugar)

40 – All Hell for a Basement

You stand up proud at attention as Big Sugar’s Alberta national anthem plays on the radio.

39 – Nickelback

You either want to forget about it, or think that it’s our greatest cultural export. 

kd lang

38 – k.d. lang

When she belted out Hallelujah during the 2010 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremonies in Vancouver, you were sure she’s Alberta’s patron saint. 

37 –Cal-gree”

You know when someone isn’t originally from here, because they pronounce it ‘Cal-ga-ree’ not the proper ‘Cal-gree’.

Banff National Park

36 – Banff

The reason Calgary thinks it’s better than Edmonton.

35 – Jasper

Where Edmontonians go to pretend they’re in Banff.

34 – The River Valley

The reason Edmontonians think their city is better than Calgary. 

33 – Red Deer

It’s neutral meeting ground for Calgarians and Edmontonians. 

Head smashed in buffalo jump

32 Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump

An actual place.

31 – Tar Sands

You’ll murder anyone in cold blood who calls them that.

30 – Fracking

Something you do to extract oil and gas, or with your significant other. 

29 – Separatism

You want to separate from Canada when you’re 10 beers deep, but sing O’Canada when you sober up. 

28 – Canada Day

A day off to get ready for the Calgary Stampede

27 – MPs

People we send to Ottawa to forget about.

Courtesy dailiyxtra.com

26 – Anyone named Trudeau

You, your parents, and grandparents hate everyone with the name.

25 – National Energy Program

You will never forget. 

24 – Petro Canada

You remember when for decades the Petro Canada Tower was the largest building in Calgary, and you hated everything it represented. 

23 – The government

You worked for four years to vote out the NDP, and still hate the government.

22 – Federal elections

You, your parents, and grandparents federal voting history is a straight line. 

21 – Your provincial vote

You don’t care that you voted for the Conservatives federally and voted Wildrose or NDP provincially.

Spring camping in Alberta

20 – Spring blizzard camping

You’re so sick of winter that you don’t care if there’s a snow storm when you go camping on the May long weekend. 

19 – Patio season

You take the patio furniture out of the garage and hit the local bar patio as soon as the temperature soars to a high of 10C.

Summer in Calgary. Courtesy CBC

18 – Summer

There is no such thing. Only construction season.

17 – Labour Day

You know Labour Day has been set aside as a CFL Battle of Alberta. And winter starts tomorrow.

16 – Winter BBQ

You don’t think there’s anything strange about firing up the BBQ to grill some steaks when it’s -30C. 

15 – Cabins

You go away for the weekend to a cabin, not a cottage.

Image Credit: CBC

14 – Gun Control

You think ‘gun control’ means being able to shoot a moose at 100 yards with iron sights. 

13 – Lindsay Park

You refuse to call it the Talisman Centre.

The Big Beaver in Beaver Lodge, AB

12 – Weird, giant small-town kitsch 

Your idea of a romantic first date is to drive to Beaver Lodge to see the big beaver. 

11 – Ukrainians

You don’t really know why the Ukrainians in Alberta are the word leaders of weird small-town kitsch, with the giant pysanka (Easter egg) in Vegreville, the World’s largest kielbasa sausage in Mundare, or the massive perogy in Glendon. 

Bow Island Pinto Bean

10 – Pinto Beans

You’ve seen the Bow Island Pinto Bean, and it scared the hell out of you as a child.

The USS Enterprise in Vulcan, Alberta (Image Credit: Travel Alberta)

9 – Vulcans

You don’t have to be a Trekie to make pilgrimage to Vulcan and take in the small town’s fanatical devotion to Commander Spock, and its own weird, giant small-town kitsch: a massive model of the USS Enterprise.

8– More Aliens

You know that there’s an actual UFO Landing Pad in St. Paul, and you don’t think there’s anything weird about that. 

UFO Landing Site in St. Paul, AB

7 – French

‘Poutine’ is the extent of it.

6 – The Great Ones

You know who Gretz, Mess, Lanny, Iggy and Kipper are.

The Greatest One

5 – Vegetables

Your potato salad on the side of your beef-on-a-bun is sufficient. 

4 – Brooks

A place where cattle go to die.

3Valhalla 

A place where the glorious dead feast, and a few guys farm wheat. 

T-Rex in downtown Drumheller

2 – Dinosaurs

You think you know all about them because you went to the Drumheller.

1 – Deerfoot Trail

You agree that it is one of the worst-designed roads in the history of Western civilization.

So that’s a less-than-scientific rundown on what makes Albertans. But have we missed any? Let us know at dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com and we will run a list of some reader-inspired “You know you’re from Alberta when …?”

Western Standard Editorial Board

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Sunrae

    June 25, 2021 at 6:47 am

    What a great list of credentials…!!! Love ’em all. I may be living in
    Manitoba, but I am an Albertan at heart..!

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Features

Timeline of Kenney’s seesaw COVID-19 protocols

Kenney announces Alberta returns to a state of emergency. After many promises from the premier that Alberta will not introduce a vaccine passport, proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test will now be mandatory for participating businesses and social events.

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On the heels of new lockdown measures in Alberta, The Western Standard reviews Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s seesaw approach to dealing with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

March 20, 2020 – Four days after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic, Alberta cities including Calgary declared local states of emergency and shut down most non-essential businesses and serviced. Alberta also declared a provincial public state of emergency and closed all schools.

May 13, 2020 – Alberta enters a Stage 1 re-opening plan allowing businesses, like restaurants and retailers, to reopen with social distancing restrictions.

June 12, 2020 – Stage 2 is introduced earlier than expected, allowing theatres, massage therapists and hair salons as well as libraries to open. Alberta’s state of emergency ends after nearly three months.

August 4, 2020 – The province mandates back-to-school mask use for students in grades four to 12.

October 26, 2020 – Alberta introduces a limit of no more than 15 people for social gatherings.

November 12, 2020 – Tighter restrictions are introduced in restaurants and bars, including an earlier last call for alcohol.

November 24, 2020 – The province announces new and even tighter restrictions banning social gatherings, limits attendance numbers in churches and funerals and closes Alberta high schools.

November 25, 2020 – A Facebook post from Kenney states “We decided not to proceed with a lockdown because of the profound damage it would cause to Albertans, thereby deepening the mental health crisis and leaving many to despair. We will not let political pressure or ideological approaches cause indiscriminate damage to people’s lives and livelihoods.”

December 8, 2020 – Despite Kenney’s announcement less than two weeks earlier, the province is plunged into another full lockdown. All indoor and outdoor social gatherings are banned and non-essential businesses are forced to close including restaurants.

January 14, 2021 – Restrictions on outdoor gatherings are eased and personal service businesses, including massage and hair salons, are allowed to reopen.

January 29, 2021 – Premier Jason Kenney announces “The Path Forward” framework, allowing for an incremental easing of restrictions over three stages. Benchmark metrics were set based on hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients and a minimum wait period of three weeks between each phase.

February 8, 2021 – “Step 1” of The Path Forward plan begins with Alberta easing some restrictions on restaurants, kids sports and indoor fitness.

March 1, 2021 – Kenney announces “Step 2” phasing in low-intensity fitness classes; however, earlier benchmarks were ignored and the remainder of Phase 2 was delayed until March 8 when libraries, retailers, banquets, etc. were permitted to resume at varied levels of capacity. Sports programs were also allowed to resume with limits on participants and social-distancing measures.

March 22, 2021 – Again ignoring previously-set benchmarks, the province announces, due to a surge in COVID cases brought on by variants of concern, “Step 3” would be paused until COVID patients are under 300 and declining.

April 6, 2021 – Premier Kenney rolls Alberta back to “Step 1” until further notice moving the goalposts yet again, stating restaurants in the province were only allowed to offer outdoor dining service.

April 29, 2021 – Kenney announces targeted heath measures specific to regions where there were higher numbers of COVID cases. Schools in those regions were to switch to online learning, indoor gyms were to close and all indoor sports activity were to be suspended. This would last for two weeks.

May 4, 2021 – New restrictions are announced again province-wide. All schools including post-secondary institutions were moved to online learning, indoor recreation activities were shut down and in-person dining was prohibited as of May 10. In those areas with high case counts, gatherings were limited to 5, retail stores went to 10% capacity, personal care services were closed and outdoor gatherings were limited to immediate family members only. 

May 25, 2021 – Students were permitted to return to in-person learning. The next day, Kenney announced he was replacing his “Plan Forward” strategy with the “Open for Summer” plan, based on vaccination progress and hospitalization numbers.

June 18, 2021 – Kenney announces “Step 3” would be implemented July 1.

July 1, 2021 – Kenney announces Alberta is “Open for Summer” and nearly all remaining public heath orders are lifted including mask mandates, self-isolation requirements, scaled back testing and contact tracing.

July, 2021 – Kenney, while attending a Calgary Stampede pancake breakfast, is recorded saying he swears to God the province is “open for good.”

July 29, 2021 – The province announces major changes to the COVID-19 protocols on testing, self-isolation and contact tracing. Testing would now only be for the symptomatic; self-isolating is no longer mandatory and AHS would stop close-contact contact tracing.

Sept 4, 2021 – Alberta brings back mandatory masking for all indoor public spaces and work places. Restaurants are ordered to end alcohol service at 10 p.m.

Sept 15, 2021 – Kenney announces Alberta returns to a state of emergency. After many promises from the premier Alberta will not introduce a vaccine passport, proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test will now be mandatory for participating businesses and social events. As of September 20, restaurants will have to shut their dining rooms and only provide service on their patios or take-out meals until they have a vaccine passport system in place which will then offer them exemptions. The province will also continue a curfew of 10 p.m. for liquor sales. Forced social distancing returns and it will be illegal for unvaccinated people to attend social functions in homes. Vaccinated families can have friends come over from one other vaccinated house to a total of 10 people. Along with other restrictions, mandatory work from home orders are also back in place.

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Features

MAKICHUK: TOP SECRET – Meet the real-life James Bonds

“We haven’t had a female Bond in the films, but there are already lots in real life.”

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Like James Bond, they cross borders with fake identities and passports.

They operate in small isolated teams and have access to the full array of 007 gadgets designed by the spies’ Q section.

Its members are famed for not always looking like soldiers. Some speak different languages and can pass as foreign nationals.

The standing joke is that they could fit in at an embassy party or a whorehouse in Istanbul.

And just like Bond, they are all highly trained in firearms and hand-to-hand combat.

In fact, their training is considered “amazing even by SAS standards.”

But unlike the fictional 007 character, these assets don’t work for MI6, the famed British Secret Intelligence Service.

They are an elite section of the SAS, known as “The Increment.”

According to a report in the UK’s The Sun, the existence of the secret unit, “E Squadron,” was inadvertently confirmed this week when bungling Army top brass leaked the personal details of more than 70 Special Forces troops.

Buried deep in a spreadsheet of 1,200 soldiers’ names, trades and military units was a single reference to “22 SAS E SQN.”

It was the first written proof that the unit exists.

E Squadron is the fifth and newest limb of 22 SAS, the world’s most famous Special Forces regiment, whose motto is Who Dares Wins.

But its work is so secret that its troops are kept apart from the other four Sabre Squadrons, A, B, D and G, at their headquarters in Hereford, the Sun report said.

The squadron’s main task is to work with MI6 on top missions all over the globe.

SAS legend Andy McNab spent three years with the unit from 1991 to 1993, after his patrol in the first Gulf War which he wrote about in his book Bravo Two Zero.

He said the unit — which was hand-picked from the SAS — was “the closest to what James Bond does” of any British secret service.

But almost 30 years after he left, he said his work was still too secret to reveal, the Sun report said.

Another former member, who asked not to be named, said: “We were moving in and out of countries on different passports. Always in civvies, overseas all the time. It was busy.

“It was the James Bond stuff — use your imagination.”

The ex-member added: “You had to be able to blend in. People were picked for their ability to do undercover work.”

While some MI6 officers are firearms trained, it is never to the same level as their counterparts in E Squadron.

The former soldier said: “MI6 and MI5 are always distancing themselves from James Bond, saying they aren’t really like that. It’s true — spies aren’t like James Bond, they’re eggheads. Give them a gun, they wouldn’t know what to do with it.

“E Squadron solves that problem but they do a lot more as well.”

The places where they often have to work, using civilian cover identities, make it impossible to be armed, so they are all trained in deadly hand-to-hand combat, the Sun report said.

SAS author Chris Ryan served with Andy McNab on the 1991 Bravo Two Zero mission, in which a SAS patrol was deployed into Iraq during the first Gulf War to destabilize Saddam Hussein’s war strategy.

Says Ryan: “To be in the Increment is to be the best of the best.”

According to SOFREP.com, The Increment are strictly black ops — deniable missions that would be disavowed by the British government if compromised.

These could include:

  • Secret military assistance to foreign powers
  • Clandestine insertion and extraction of intelligence agents
  • Covert reconnaissance/intelligence gathering

Today E Squadron’s members are drawn from the three Tier One Special Forces units — the SAS, the SBS and the Special Reconnaissance Regiment, the Sun report said.

The SBS provides specialist frogmen and mini-submersibles which can be used to insert teams undetected on foreign shores.

The SRR, whose soldiers specialize in plain-clothes surveillance operations around the world, provides a large number of women.

The unit was formed out of 14 Intelligence Company, which was known as the Det, and operated undercover in Northern Ireland at the height of the Troubles.

A source said: “Women are often the best at this sort of work. If a group of blokes turns up, it always looks suspicious.

“We haven’t had a female Bond in the films, but there are already lots in real life.”

The Increment’s troops were among the first British soldiers in Afghanistan, ahead of the US invasion in 2001.

They were also involved in the 2011 uprising in Libya which toppled Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, the Sun said.

A former E Squadron soldier said the unit was heavily involved in Iraq in the run-up to the 2003 invasion.

He said: “E Squadron are military people. They have rules of engagement.

“Is it a licence to kill? It is certainly not carte blanche. But the nature of soldiering means it’s sometimes necessary to take life. Everyone is trained in deadly force.”

Dave Makichuk is a Western Standard contributor
He has worked in the media for decades, including as an editor for the Calgary Herald. He is also the military editor for the Asia Times.
makichukd@gmail.com

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Features

Why does this BC area have the rudest postal code in Canada?

The area of Canada that easily takes the title for most unfortunate postcode has to be a street in Delta East Central: V4G1N4 (VAGINA). 

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A U.K. online business — apparently with buckets of time on its hands — has researched and unveiled what it calls “Canada’s rudest” postal codes.

Research by Money.co.uk shows the most unusual and awkward postal codes (the wacky Brits called it a “postcode”) in Canada and the UK and looked at the potential it can have on house prices.

As every maple-syrup blooded Canuck knows, Canadian postal codes contain a six-digit string of numbers and letters to create the final outcome, if one ignores the hyphen that splits the codes 

Using numeronyms —words where a number is used to form an abbreviation — the Brits discovered some odd pairings.

For example, in Timmins, Ont. you’ll find the postcode P4N-1C5. Nothing too eye-popping there until you dissolve the hyphen and are left with P4N1C5 (PANICS).

M4X1M5  (MAXIM) is more associated with a mens’ mag, not a vibrant area of downtown Toronto.

In another example, one area of Winnipeg sports the R3L1C5 (RELICS) code. 

However, the area of Canada that easily takes the title for most unfortunate postcode has to be a street in Delta East Central: V4G1N4 (VAGINA). 

The Brit release noted with the average Canadian house price currently around $716,828, living in a postcode such as V4G1N4 may actually effect your house price. However, no proof of the claim was offered.

Here are the top 21 most unusual/amusing postcodes in Canada:
• B3G1N5 (begins) Eastern Passage, NS;

• B4N4N4 (banana) Kentville, NS;

• L1V1N6 (living) Pickering Southwest, ON:

• L3C3L5 (levels) Orilla, ON:

• L4G3R5 (lagers) Aurora, ON;

• M4G1C5 (magics) East York (Leaside), ON;

• M4L1C3 (malice) East Toronto (India Bazaar / The Beaches West), ON;

• M4R1N3 (marine) Central Toronto (North Toronto West), ON;

• P3N1L3 (penile) Greater Sudbury (Val Caron), ON;

• P4N1C5 (panics) Timmins Southeast, ON;

• R3J3C7 (reject) Winnipeg (St. James-Assiniboia SE), MB;

• R3L1C5 (relics) Winnipeg (River Heights East), MB;

• R3M0V3 (remove) Winnipeg (River Heights Central), MB;

• R3T1R3 (retire) Winnipeg (Fort Garry NE / University of Manitoba), MB;

• S3N1L3 (senile) Yorkton, SK;

• S7R0K3 (stroke) Saskatoon Northwest, SK;

• T1R1N6 (tiring) Brooks, AB;

• V1C4R5 (vicars) Cranbrook, BC;

• V1K1N6 (Viking) Merritt, BC;

• V1X3N5 (vixens) Kelowna East Central, BC;

V4G1N4 (vagina) Delta East Central, BC.

Mike D’Amour is the British Columbia Bureau Chief for the Western Standard.
mdamour@westernstandardonline.com

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We the undersigned call on the Canadian government to immediately cease all payouts to media companies.

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