What is it about July that makes countries want to claim their Independence? Yes, we're definitely blaming the month here. It must be the summer heat that puts people in a revolutionary mood. In North America, this is certainly the month of freedom, with Canada Day being on the 1st of July, and the United States of America celebrating their independence day on the 4th. With that, we thought we'd incite a bit of friendly rivalry by pitting them against each other, though hopefully with less riots like when the American teams play the Canadians in Stanley Cup. Who will come out on top?
America is off to a strong start. There is the Grand Canyon, one of the world's most famous natural wonders. There is Yellowstone, which is as beautiful as it is terrifying when you really think about it. There are the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, which transform an otherwise completely flat state into a dramatic area of fantastic panoramas.
But, in a controversial opinion, it is Canada that clinches it. Though the Rocky Mountains in Colorado are spectacular, they pale in comparison to Banff National Park, with its glorious glacial lakes, craggy snow-capped peaks, and miles upon miles of pristine, untouched glory. The main thing about Canada is that it is continuous stretches of beauty. From coast to coast, it is stuffed full of breathtaking wilderness (like the Canadian Shield), awe-inspiring mountains (like the Rockies), and impossibly blue lakes (like Lake Louise). In America, though there are pockets of unbelievable beauty, they are separated by stretches of just average landscape. Sorry America, but Canada wins round one.
Canada has it all. It has the modern metropolis of Toronto, the architecturally stunning Quebec, and the beautiful seaside city of Vancouver. There is something so calming and wonderful about these cities, and they are all visited by hundreds of thousands every year to enjoy, and to visit the incredible natural beauty just outside their bounds.
But, to scoop the win, the only way is the U.S.A. We shouldn't really judge how amazing a country's cities are by how many songs are named after them, but New York New York (a city so nice you have to say it twice), Viva Las Vegas, and San Francisco (where I have not personally left my heart, but I believe Tony Bennett has) are cities that have earned their places in music history. Bustling, busy, and beautiful, nearly every city in America is larger than life, with incredible histories, magnificent buildings, and streets where you can quite happily lose yourself for days on end. The main focus in an American city is the city itself, and that is why the U.S.A. wins this round.
Those native to the North of England would love Canada for their food, or rather, one specific dish in particular: poutine. A delicious dish made up of chips, cheese curds, and gravy, we can all imagine eating it after a relaxing evening at the pub. For those with a sweet tooth, there can be nothing like the iconic maple syrup, and you have a pretty compelling argument from the Canadian corner.
However, and we are sorry Canada, it has to be America that wins this one. American cuisine is far from the stereotypical burgers and fries. It is rich, varied, and inspired by numerous countries from which millions of immigrants came from. In the south, you have delicious Creole inspired food, like gumbo, a savoury seafood stew, and beignets, puffy nuggets of deep fried deliciousness. Up north, you have the Italian, Irish, and German inspired dishes, like the pizzas of Chicago and New York, and mounds of pretzels and apple pies.
Ask anyone who's been to America, and they will tell you, the hospitality is utterly outstanding. The service is impeccable, most of the people are welcoming, and (in my personal experience), you'll always find a friendly face to help you get through the subway which you've been lost on for half an hour already.
Let's be realistic though, Canada is famous for its friendly and polite people. One of the biggest stereotypes of Canadians is the overly apologetic and polite population that is loved throughout the world. Perhaps we, as Brits, like them so much because we, too, will apologise to a lamppost if we walk into it. One of the most famous examples of Canadian hospitality has to come from one of the most horrific events in world history. On 9/11, many planes were diverted, and a fair few were diverted to the tiny town of Gander in Newfoundland and Labrador. So welcoming, helpful, and altogether loving were the people, the award winning Broadway musical 'Come from Away' was written about the event.
THE OVERALL WINNER
Let's be honest, we can't choose. They're both Great Britain's rebellious children (even though America did throw our tea into a harbour). So yes, we're taking the coward's way out: congratulations Canada and America, you're both the winners in our hearts, and happy independence days to you both.