Canadian Optimism

A recent poll says that Canadians feel like they're on top of the world.

This week’s soup is a feel-good mix of Canadian pride, commemorative stamps, a snow-less winter, and a puffin who was lost, then found. Happy holidays!

The first day of winter, also the shortest day of the year, known as winter solstice, was celebrated all over the world this week on December 21. Wiccans celebrated Yule; Druids gathered at Stonehenge, and in Macedonia, people gathered at the Kokino megaobservatory to see ancient stone marks that track the sun and moon’s movements. So, winter is officially upon us! [CBC]

In the new year, Chief Tecumseh will get a commemorative stamp from Canada Post. During the War of 1812, the Shawnee chief led natives to an alliance with the British and played a central role in capturing Fort Detroit. [Windsor Star]

Satirical news outlet, The Onion, delivers deadpan holiday news: Medieval mummers are making a comeback. A fake correspondent reports, “These mummers have been going door-to-door in their homemade costumes and masks, performing a show full of dancing, poem recitals, even lute playing.” To which another reporter exclaims: “Oh, I love lute!” So do we. We can only wish this piece of news were true. Still, it’s nice that mumming gets a shout-out. [The Onion]

While the world sinks lower into economic turmoil, Canadians feel more optimistic than ever. According to a recent poll:

“Forty-two per cent of us think Canada’s best days lie in the future rather than the past. By contrast, only 36 per cent of Americans are that optimistic, and fully 58 per cent of Britons believe their day in the sun has been and gone. And where once a vague sense of inferiority defined us, the online Angus Reid survey now shows most Canadians—86 per cent, in fact—agree with the idea that their country is ‘the greatest in the world.’”

The greatest in the world? How uncharacteristic! The times they are a-changin’ [Maclean’s]

Canadians won’t be getting a white Christmas this year, the largest number to go snow-less since Environment Canada began measuring white Christmases (defined as at least two centimetres of snow) in 1955. Maybe our resident winter hater has something to do with it? [Globe & Mail]

Editors and news directors across the country have chosen the late Jack Layton as Canada’s Newsmaker of the Year. He won by a landslide, capturing 90% of the votes in an annual Canadian Press survey. The second biggest newsmaker: Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who received just five percent of the vote. [CBC]

What would a holiday roundup be without a heartwarming animal tale? Enter the stranded puffin. The Atlantic bird is said to have landed on a ship heading up the St. Lawrence River, winding up on the streets of Montreal. The puffin was taken in by a worker at the Le Nichoir bird rehabilitation centre where he lived in a bathtub for several days, gaining national attention. On Thursday, the wayward puffin was flown from Montreal to St. Johns aboard an Air Canada jet, reclining on a “hammock-like bed.” He arrived safely and is expected to be back at sea in early January. The CBC is now running a poll where readers can vote on the puffin’s name. We suggest Puffy! [CBC]