150 Years of Stats Canada!
A Guide to Canada's Greatest CountryBook - 2017
From Library Staff
SPL_Robyn Jul 12, 2017
reviewed in the Stratford Gazette July 2017. See review under Summary.
From the critics
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The topic of statistics might normally be yawn-inducing, but be warned - this particular Sesquicentennial book is hugely entertaining. From its wonky subtitle and statement that @stats_canada is a veritable Twitter sensation, this is a truly Canadian look at our country – since self-parody is how Canadians like to roll.
To be clear, Andrew Bondy and his team of writers do not work for the Governmental agency that collects census data. That would be @StatCan_eng (on Twitter). Thus, under what seems to be an essential list of things you need to know about living in Canada, i.e. Learning about Canadian Currency and Hosting a Canadian Dinner Party, you are not provided with a list of monetary denominations, oh no. You instead get a plethora of self-deprecating ‘information’ to guide readers, such as seating Oilers and Flames fans separately at said dinner party, including a ‘MiniStick’ with your place settings, and conversation starters like “Ian Hanomansing: total dreamboat, right?”
It all looks completely legit: there are even Boolean diagrams – i.e. knowing your Gordies, or place names of Newfoundland - but the few historical facts are mixed with whimsical outcomes: “1928: Canadians win first Olympic gold medal; from now on anything less will cause national crisis”. There are notes on how to avoid hypothermia when visiting Canada’s three territories (yes, three, did you forget?), knowing the best weatherman in the Maritimes (goes by “Boomer”, apparently), and a list of appropriate Canadian Halloween costumes (I’m going with Eileen Tallman, organizer of the first Canadian bank strike this year). No province, population or pop culture icon escapes the @stats_can satirical pen.
I’d like to say that the “facts” and figures contained in this book are clearly organized in some kind of order, but they are not. This is not a ‘read it from front to back cover’, kind of book, but a “pick up and randomly pick a page for perusing and laugh” kind of book instead. Clearly meant to be fun, not factual, laughed at, not taken seriously, and chuckled over alone or while reading aloud to friends and family, 150 Years of Stats Canada! is exactly the kind of Canadian satire in the tradition of This Hour has 22 Minutes and the Royal Canadian Air Farce.
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