To paraphrase the late great Canadian ice hockey radio broadcaster Foster Hewitt:
Hello, Canada, and Tapped Out fans in the United States and Newfoundland and rest of the world!
Today is Canada’s 150th Birthday! Huge celebrations are underway from coast-to-coast in commemoration of this big milestone birthday. Being that Canadians make up the second biggest demographic of this site, I thought I’d highlight some of Canada’s greatest contributions over the past 150 years!
Now I bet when I say Canada’s greatest contributions, your mind probably goes to…
· Dr. Frederick Banting and the discovery of insulin for diabetes, or to
· artist Joe Shuster who brought Superman to life, or maybe to
· Dr. James Naismith and the creation of basketball, or for comfort go to
· Louise Poirier who invented the Wonderbra, or for comfort on the inside go to
· John J. McLaughlin who formulated the refreshing Canada Dry Ginger Ale, or speaking of dry to
· Norman Breakey who invented the paint roller so you can watch paint dry, or so it’s not 6:30pm everywhere to
· Sir Sandford Fleming and the creation of standard time, or perhaps your hunger makes you think of
· Montreal pharmacist Marcellus Edson who patented peanut butter, or to
· Donald L. Hings who brought us walkie-talkies, or maybe to
· Dr. John Hopps who invented the cardiac pacemaker, or for space enthusiasts to
· the Canadarm used on the International Space Station, or to
· Lewis Urry who invented the alkaline battery, or perhaps to
· Helmut Lucas inventor of the prosthetic hand, or to
· Keith Downey who put the CANada in his creation CANola oil, or to
· Reginald Fessenden who invented AM radio as well as SONAR technology, or for the adventurous to
· Joseph-Armand Bombardier who brought us the snowmobile, or perhaps movie enthusiasts think to
· Roman Kroitor who co-invented IMAX technology, or to
· William Chalmers who invented plexiglass, or for sports enthusiasts to
· CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada that developed Instant Replay technology, or perhaps scientists think to
· J. Hillier, A. Prebus, and E.F. Burton from University of Toronto for developing the first electron microscope, or if you think this list is garbage to
· Harry Wasylyk who invented the garbage bag, or to
· Arthur Sicard and his snowblower, or to
· Henry Woodward who invented the first light bulb and then sold his patent to Thomas Edison, or if you play your game on a talking device to
· Sir Alexander Graham Bell who invented the telephone in Brantford Ontario, and of course
the world will never stop thanking us for
But these are not the contributions I am referring to. I want to talk about Canada’s contributions to The Simpsons. In fact, not just contributions but connections. So let’s celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday by reliving some of the connections and contributions between Canada and The Simpsons!
First of all, is Homer Simpson Canadian?
In Montreal for a performance of “The Simpsons: In the Flesh” stage show at the 2003 Just for Laughs comedy festival, the shows creator Matt Groening noted his dad was born in Canada. Homer being named after Groening’s father, what does this mean for Homer?
“That would make Homer Simpson a Canadian,” Groening said in an interview. “I hope Canadians won’t hold it against the show now that they know. ”
Not all too surprising, as one fan noted, “Homer eats foods commonly associated with Canada: donuts, beer, bacon, and has been know to have a glass of maple syrup for breakfast.”.
After Matt Groening stated his father, Homer Groening, was likely from Winnipeg, the city of Winnipeg declared Homer Simpsons an honorary Winnipegger on May 30, 2003. Although it has now been revealed the Homer Groening is more likely to hail from Main Centre, Saskatchewan it didn’t influence the 300 some people who attended the ceremony.
Creator Matt Groening insists he really loves Canada. In fact, Groening first sold the comic strip which evolved into The Simpsons to a Toronto weekly in 1982. “There were some of the first people to encourage me” Groening says.
Whether Homer Simpson is Canadian or not, there’s no denying Canada has had significant air time over the past 600 shows. Here are just a few memorable references to the Great White North:
– Our first reference to Canada comes from contestant Trong Van Din in “Mr. Lisa Goes To Washington” (S03, E02). In his prize winning essay, he states “Where else but in America, or possibly Canada, could our family find such opportunity?”
– In the very next episode, “When Flanders Failed” (S03, E03), Homer is seen watching the Canadian Football League (CFL) draft.
– Canadian football makes another appearance in season 3, “Lisa the Greek” (S03, E14), as Lisa researching at the library reads out the cards “Let’s see . . . football . . . football, homoeroticism in, oddball Canadian rules, Phyllis George and…”
– In “Bart’s Friend Falls in Love” (S03, E23), Milhouse’s girlfriend Samantha Stankey is sent to Saint Sebastian’s School for Wicked Girls, which happens to be run by French Canadian nuns.
– In “Homer’s Triple Bypass” (S04, E11), Homer trying to reassure Marge about his upcoming operation says “Don’t worry, Marge. America’s health care system is second only to Japan, Canada, Sweden, Great Britain, well, all of Europe, but you can thank your lucky stars we don’t live in Paraguay!”
– In “Marge Gets a Job” (S04, E07), to stall Marge, Homer starts reading the newspaper headlines “Canada to hold referendum. Sorry, Marge, can’t talk now.”
– But Homer’s not the only one reading headlines. When Lisa calls the teen idol Cory’s 900 number from school in “Brother from the Same Planet” (S04, E14), she hears a taped Corey say “Now for the newspaper, Canada stalls on Free Trade Pact.”
– In “Homer vs. Patty and Selma (S06, E17)”, Marge’s most international coffee in the house is “Montreal Morn”.
– In “The PTA Disbands” (S06, E21), substitute teacher Marge complains to Homer “It took the children 40 minutes to locate Canada on the map.” But the Canadiana doesn’t end there as Homer responds “Marge, anyone could miss Canada. All tucked away down there.”
– Several things happen in “Bart on the Road” (S07, E20) when Bart, Milhouse, Martin, and Nelson take a road trip to Knoxville. Firstly, Bart, Milhouse, and Martin tell their parents they are staying at the Sheraton Hotel in Canada for a National Grammar Rodeo as a cover for their road trip. Meanwhile, Nelson just says bye. Secondly, while on their drive, the father of a family of fighting kids in a neighbouring car threatens to turn around if they don’t behave, Bart pulls up and Nelson hits the father in the back of the head. “That’s it!” the father yells. “Back to Winnipeg!”. Third, Martin wakes up and thinks he’s in the great cornfields of Canada. Lastly, the boys saw the Canadian film Naked Lunch. Afterwards, Nelson says ”I can think of at least two things wrong with that title”.
– Our next connection occurs in Cypress Creek from “You Only Move Twice” (S08, E02). Bart is moved to a remedial class where he meets Gordy. When Bart ask what he was in for he say “I moved here from Canada, and they think I am a little slow, eh?.”
– In “Burns, Baby Burns” (S08 E04), Homer is in a cider mill with Ned and Ned tells him that in Canada juice is cider and cider is juice. Not true by the way, just poking fun at our “oddball” Canadian ways.
– In “The Canine Mutiny” (S08, E20), Bart gets himself a credit card and buys Marge some Vancouver smoked salmon.
– Bart shouts our from the Statue of Liberty “Hey, immigrants! Beat It! Country’s full!” in “The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson” (S09 E01). The boat captain then says “Okay, folks. You hear the lady. Back into the hold. We’ll try Canada.” Followed by groaning of the immigrants.
– In “The Principal and the Pauper” (S09, E02), Principal Skinner gives Sergeant Skinner ten Canadian dollars he got as a souvenir from his trip to upstate New York.
– In “Das Bus” (S09, E14), Ralph Wiggum is the Canadian delegate at Lisa’s model U.N. As soon as a fight breaks out, Ralph starts singing “O Canada”. Though in this Canucks opinion, it’s not the best rendition of O Canada the show has had. Stay tuned for that later.
– Bart shows his knowledge of geography (or lack thereof) in “Girly Edition” (S09, E21) when doing a newscast about missing birds he says, “Some say the birds flew to Canada, others say Toronto.”
– In “Lisa Gets an “A”” (S10, E07), the comptroller says at an assembly, “What she [Lisa] just did took courage, and where I come from, Canada, we reward courage.”
– In “Wild Barts Can’t Be Broken” (S10, E11), Springfield’s baseball team the Isotopes threaten to move to Moose Jaw after lack of fan support.
– In “Homer to the Max” (S10, E13), at a meeting of Springfield’s elite President Clinton is rushed off after being told that Quebec has the bomb.
– In “The Old Man and the “C” Student” (S10, E20), Channel 6 sponsors a contest to find a Springfield Olympic Mascot. Where “the winner will join such other memorable mascots such as The Atlanta ‘Whatzit’ and the Montreal ‘Vampire'”.
– Canadians appear on a Japanese game show where they are covered in scorpions and the host laughs “Sting those Canucks!” in “Thirty Minutes over Tokyo” (S10, E23). Homer watching, laughs and yells “Take that, you stupid hosers!”. The Canadian man is shown wearing a Montreal Canadiens baseball cap.
– In “E-I-E-I-(Annoyed Grunt)” (S11, E05), the Simpsons go see a very bad Zorro movie. If you watch the credits carefully you can see that the National Film Board of Canada helped produce the movie.
– In “Saddlesore Galactica” (S11, E13), Bachman Turner Overdrive are warming up to play and Bart asks Homer who they are. “It’s BTO — they’re Canada’s answer to ELP. Their big hit was TCB.” [notices Bart staring at him, questioningly] …. that’s how we talked in the 70’s. We didn’t have a moment to spare.”
– In “Skinner’s Sense of Snow” (S12, E08), the Simpsons watch the circus “Cirque de Puree”. The pamphlet for the circus states: “As French-Canadians, they don’t believe in refunds or exploiting animals for entertainment”; much to the disappointment of Homer.
– In “Bye Bye Nerdie” (S12, E16), Janey comments on the new girl in school, “Those shoes look Canadian.”
– In “A Hunka Hunka Burns in Love” (S13 E04), an arcade machine called “Nuke Canada” is seen in the bowling alley.
– One of the most hyped episodes in Canada was “The Bart Wants What It Wants” (S13, E11) as Bart tries to win back his ex-girlfriend by having the Simpson family take a trip Toronto. Getting off the bus Marge proclaims, “it’s so clean and bland, I’m home!”. Homer, is unconcerned as he blindly jaywalks on a don’t walk sign, telling Lisa, “It doesn’t matter they have free healthcare!” Getting hit by a car he yells, “I’m rich!”. There is a montage of the family sightseeing the CN Tower, Skydome, the birthplace of Paul Shaffer (a bus station), Dodgers of Foreign Wars, and Paramountie Studios. Throughout the trip Bart remains unhappy because of the loss his girlfriend, “I am a ten year old boy in Toronto, I should be the happiest kid in the world”. The episode ends with Bart and Milhouse joining Canadian Olympic basketball team. Impressed by their skills (by almost making a shot) a player suggest Bart be the center.
– In “Bart vs. Lisa vs. the Third Grade” (S14, E03), Bart help’s Lisa with her homework on Canada with the mnemonic: Quiet Nerds Burp Only Near School. Which helps you remember the four founding provinces of Canada: Quebec, New Brunswick, Ontario, & Nova Scotia. He also gives her “Clowns love haircuts, so should Lee Marvin’s valle”, which gives you the last eight Governor Generals: Adrienne Clarkson, Roméo LeBlanc, Ray Hnatyshyn, Jeanne Sauvé, Edward Schreyer, Jules Léger, Roland Michener, and Georges Vanier. He also gives her “dogs eat barf only on Wednesday, Mable.”, for principle exports, however that is just nonsensical.
– In “I’m Spelling as Fast as I Can” (S14, E12), Lisa wins the state spelling bee and gets to go to the Spell-lympics in Calgary.
– In “C.E. D’oh” (S14, E15), when playing baseball, Bart proclaims that he is Tomokazu Ohka of the Montreal Expos.
– In “Old Yeller Belly” (S14, E19), the Canadian flag is seen on the International Space Station.
– In “The Bart of War” (S14, E21), after a fight breaks out at the baseball game, Sideshow Mel suggests they sing a song. The Sea Captain recommends, “Not a hymn to war like our national anthem, but a sweet soothing hymn like the national anthem of Canada”.
– In “The Regina Monologues” (S15, E04), Homer, who is talking to the Queen, makes the analogy of the United States being England’s child. “I know we don’t call as often as we should, and we aren’t as well behaved as our goody two shoes brother Canada, who by the way has never had a girlfriend… I’m just saying.”
– In “’Tis the Fifteenth Season” (S15, E07), the talking astrolabe that Homer bought unexpectedly announced the current time for Montreal.
– In “Milhouse Doesn’t Live Here Anymore” (S15, E12), Milhouse rode a dummy of Canadian actor Michael Ironside, sitting on the wheelchair, at the Museum of Television and TV and crashed it into the “Things That Shouldn’t Talk, But Do section”.
– In “The Ziff Who Came to Dinner” (S15, E14), Lisa is too scared to sleep after Homer takes her and Bart see the horror movie The Redeadening. She tries to reassure herself, “It is only a movie – filmed in Vancouver – with Donald Sutherland as the priest who stopped believing.”
– Homer and Marge are about to go over the edge of Niagara Falls in “Catch ‘Em If You Can” (S15, E18). Canadian and United States Coast Guard are fighting over who should help them, which leads to some great banter. American Coast Guard: “Back off Canadians we got them. ” Canadian Coast Guard: “You back off hosers, they are in Canadian waters, eh’. ” American Coast Guard: “Beat it you puck smacking maple suckers! ” Canadian Coast Guard: “Take a hike you Shatner stealing Mexico touchers!”
– In “Bart-Mangled Banner” (S15, E21), when Lisa speaks out about the ‘climate of fear and repression’ in the United States, the Simpsons are arrested under the Government Knows Best Act. They are sent to jail with a bunch of left wing celebrities, President Bill Clinton, and a man who drove a trucks full explosives from Canada, to which Marge wonders why they mix the real criminals with the joke ones.
– In “Sleeping with the Enemy” (S16, E03), when asked to draw a picture of President Eisenhower, Martin quickly finishes and then exuberantly explains his work, “I drew him with Canadian Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent. Their relationship was frosty at best!”
– In “She Used to Be My Girl” (S16E04) – Homer tries to reassure Marge, who is jealous of a successful friend from high school, tells her how good her life is, “You’ve got three kids, a TV tray from Expo 67 and you’re married to King Stink!”
– In “Midnight Rx” (S16, E06), Homer and Grandpa start smuggling drugs in from Canada when drug costs get to high in the United States. In Canada they meet up with Grandpa’s contact who gives them a Health Care card and says “take that to any pharmacy and you’ll get enough drugs to make Regina look like Saskatoon”. After several runs they finally get arrested at the border. In jail, they are visited by a lawyer with a French translator. Lawyer: “We have confiscated your car and all its contents.” Translator: “Nous avons confisqué votre voiture et tout son contenu.” Lawyer: “You may leave Canada but never return.” Translator: “Vous pouvez quitter le Canada mais ne jamais retourner.” Lawyer: “I am a big fat French idiot.” Translator: “Je suis un grand gros … hey!”
– In “There’s Something About Marrying” (S16, E10), Homer becomes an ordained minister to perform gay marriages. Homer giving the vows says, “And do you, Julio, take Thad to be your lawful wedded life partner, in Massachusetts and Vermont, maybe Canada, stay out of Texas, for as long as you both are gay?”
– On their trip to Italy in “The Italian Bob” (S17, E08), Bart asks Lisa about the Canadian flag on her back pack; to which Lisa responds “Well, some people in Europe have the impression that America has made some stupid choices in the past o’ five years… so for the next week I am from Canada.”
– In “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bangalore” (S17, E17), Patty and Selma show Richard Dean Anderson slides from their trip to the Alberta Canada Carriage Museum in an effort to drive him out of their home.
– In “Marge and Homer Turn a Couple Play” (S17, E22), the closing credits for the TV show Hutch reveal scenes in New York City were filmed in the city of Lethbridge, Alberta.
– In “Jazzy and the Pussycats” (S18, E02), Homer uses a white noise machine to cover Bart’s loud drumming. Homer to Marge, “Transport yourself to the shores of Nova Scotia, where cod and halibut frolic in…”
– At Krusty’s Kristmas on Ice in “Kill Gil, Volumes I & II” (S18, E09), Moe insists to Patty and Selma that all male figure skaters are ‘twinkly in the lutz’. Elvis Stojko, who is performing, attempts to correct Moe by saying “That is a common misconception, I have a girlfriend in Vancouver”, to which Moe retorts “Made up girlfriend, made up city”.
– Canada was one of the nations represented at Springfield Elementary’s Multicultural Day fair in “Little Big Girl” (S18, E12).
– In “You Kent Always Say What You Want” (S18, E22), Ludia-Crest is angered that dental hygiene video he made for a one time showing in Canada was being shown at the Springfield dental clinic.
– In “He Loves to Fly and He D’ohs” (S19, E01), Mr. Burns flys Homer on his private jet to Chicago, or as he calls it, “The Miami of Canada”.
– In “Funeral for a Fiend” (S19, E08), Sideshow Bob travels back into the United States in a Canadian Pacific Railway car with undocumented Canadian comedy writers for the Jimmy Kimmel show, who are seen wearing Toronto Maple Leafs jerseys.
– In “The Debarted” (S19, E13), the Simpsons get a brand new loaner car from the mechanic. After using the cars on-board feature to contribute directly to NPR, Lisa comments, “I never dreamed an American car, designed in Germany, assembled in Mexico, from parts made in Canada could be so amazing.”
– Canada makes a rare THOH appearance in “Treehouse of Horror XIX” (S20, E04) when Bart rummages through a 99 cent bin looking for a last minute Christmas gift for Lisa. The bin contains, among other disappointing gifts, a Montreal Expos jersey.
– In “Wedding for Disaster” (S20, E15), Reverend Lovejoy explains to the Parson why his credit card was declined. “Oooh yeah the bank put on a security hold after they saw a charge from and off shore poker club, Helen had bought a fire place poker from Nova Scotia, she says it shifts logs better than American pokers but disagree, we’ll get through it, we always do.”
– In “Waverly Hills 9-0-2-1-D’oh” (S20, E19), a poster in Lisa’s new classroom shows the flags of the United States, Japan, France, Canada, and a sickle and star flag from an unknown country.
– Homer holds up both a Canadian and an American flag at an MMA fight in “The Great Wife Hope” (S21, E03).
– In “Thursdays with Abie” (S21, E09), the Simpsons go to Wet ‘N’ Wacky World aquatic park, where Marge fills up her camera with photos of the parking including one of a Manitoba license plate.
– Another reading newspaper headlines bit occurs in “Once Upon a Time in Springfield” (S21, E10) when the television network adds a new character in Princess Penelope to the Krusty the Clown Show. With Krusty’s role in the show declining, he delivers his opening monologue, “Let’s see what’s in the news. I see we reached a soft timber agreement with Canada…”
– The Simpsons take another trip north of the 49th in “Boy Meets Curl” (S21, E12) when Homer and Marge go to the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics as part of the United States mixed curling team. The opening ceremonies are written by Canadian director Ivan Reitman of Ghostbusters, and all countries are introduced with “Who are you going to call…”. Bart’s new Canadian friend, Milhoose asks, “Your sister is hotter than a Calgary brushfire, mind if I ask her oot?”, but after seeing her obsession with Olympic pins he comments, “She is as loonie as a one dollar coin.” And when Skinner breaks his broom during the finals, a man with a fleur-de-lis flag yells “sacre bleu” and the man with a Canadian flag next to him says “sacred blue”.
– In a story about the family’s history from “The Color Yellow” (S21, E13), Mable Simpson helps Virgil, a black salve, escape into Canada. Mable, “Now let’s take you to a place where a black man can blend in… Canada.” It is revealed that Mable and Virgil, are Homer’s great-great grandparents, and their son Abraham was born in Canada.
– While on vacation in Israel in “The Greatest Story Ever D’ohed” (S21, E16), the Simpsons tour guide states, “I’m pushy? Please. You, stay there, surrounded by your great enemy, Canada. Try Syria for two months, then we see who’s pushy.”
– When Lisa is worried about getting accepted into an Ivy League school in “MoneyBART” (S22, E03), Marge tries to reassure her. Marge: “Sweetie, you could still go to McGill. The Harvard of Canada.” Lisa: “Anything that’s the Something of the Something isn’t really the Anything of Anything.”
– In “The Great Simpsina” (S22, E18), after magician Cregg Demon is unable to perform Houdini’s Milk Can Escape, he decides to quit magic and to move back to Canada and run for Parliament.
– In “Havana Wild Weekend” (S28, E07), when Marge suggests they go to Canada instead of Cuba, Grampa replies “I don’t want to go there, now that the commie Trudeau is in charge. We’re going to Cuba.”.
– In “The Nightmare After Krustmas” (S28, E10), Maggie is transported to the North Pole where legendary Canadian ice hockey player Wayne Gretzky appears to save her from a haunted spooky Christmas toy.
– The main highway that runs through Springfield is Highway 401. The real highway 401 is a 828km (514.5 mi) highway that runs in Ontario from the Detroit-Windsor border on the West end to the Ontario-Quebec border on the East end. A stretch of Highway 401 that runs through Toronto is the busiest and widest highway in all of North America.
References like these should not come as a surprise, especially when you consider The Simpsons writing staff has included the likes of:
– Joel Cohen
Born and raised in Calgary, Alberta. Cohen attended the University of Alberta. He got his start writing for the Brooke Shields sitcom Suddenly Susan.
– Tim Long
Born in Exeter, Ontario. Tim attended the University of Toronto. He also was formerly Letterman’s head writer.
– Rob Cohen
Brother of Joel, is the author of the famous “Flaming Moe” episode.
– Jeff Poliquin
Born in Saskatchewan.
Recurring voice guest stars of The Simpsons include the late Phil Hartman (who voiced Troy McClure, Lionel Hutz, and Lyle Lanley amongst others) and Maurice LaMarche (who voiced Milo, Orson Welles, and the City Inspector amongst others).
Other Canadian guest stars include singer Robert Goulet as himself, the late voice actor Henry Corden reprising his famous Fred Flinstone character, singer Paul Anka as himself, actor Donald Sutherland as Hollis Hurlbut, actor Dave Thomas as Rex Banner and later Bob Hope, wrestler Bret “the Hitman” Hart as himself, Jeopardy host Alex Trebek as himself, singer Randy Bachman of The Guess Who as himself, actor Joshua Jackson as Jesse Grass, comedian Scott Thompson as Grady, architect Frank Gehry as himself, figure skater Elvis Stojko as himself, actress Ellen Page as Alaska Nebraska, actor Seth Rogen as Lyle McCarthy (in an episode he also wrote), actress Neve Campbell as Cassandra, actor Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer, late actor Cory Monteith as himself, actor Tommy Chong as himself, singer Justin Bieber as himself, and the greatest ice hockey player of all time Wayne Gretzky as himself.
Other Canadians that have been seen, mentioned, or spoofed on The Simpsons include William Shatner (aka Captain Kirk from Star Trek), James Doohan (aka Scotty from Star Trek), legendary ice hockey player Gordie Howe, actor Jim Carrey, SNL exec Lorne Michaels, actor Dan Aykroyd, actor Alan Thicke, and 60 Minutes Morley Safer.
One last important Canadian connection is the TSTO Addicts community. So to all the Canucks out there, I want to wish you a very Happy Canada Day!!! And to all non-Canucks, I invite you to come visit our country. Be sure to stop by coast-to-coast, as you visit Vancouver and partake in some mixed curling, Winnipeg and get some cheap medicine, Toronto and explore CN Tower and Roger’s Centre, and while not shown in the show, be sure to stop by Cape Breton like I did last summer and visit this cottage:
So what are your plans for Canada Day? If you’re not Canadian, have you ever visited Canada, and if so where? Have you ever had Poutine? Did you earn something new about The Simpsons or Canada? Sound off below. You know we love hearing from you.
But before you go sound off in the comments or go celebrate Canada’s big 150th birthday, I leave you with a sweet soothing hymn:
HAPPY CANADA DAY!!!