Heritage Minutes: History by the Minute (plus parodies)
October 22, 2013 10:39 AM   Subscribe

Got a minute for Canadian history and some CanCon (prev: 1, 2, 3)? Great! Because Heritage Minutes are just that - 60 seconds of history from Canada's past. To date, there have been over 70 short segments produced, and you can watch them online at Historica Canada, and read about people and events below the videos. If you don't know where to start, here are the top 5 minutes according to a poll from 2012, and the top 10 from Macleans. But if that's all too serious for you, there are also parodies, plus more in this YouTube playlist.
posted by filthy light thief (44 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'm not even Canadian but I found myself sad that "I smell burnt toast" didn't make either the top 5 OR the top 10 list.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:44 AM on October 22, 2013 [9 favorites]


In before "I smell toa..." aw dammit.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:45 AM on October 22, 2013


My personal favorite.


Also, how is Jacques Plante not on any of the top 5/10 lists?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:49 AM on October 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


My favourite was the "Finishing just out of the medals. A Canadian tradition" spoof.
posted by srboisvert at 10:58 AM on October 22, 2013


I was also hoping to make the first 'burnt toast' comment but I see I'm too late.

Heritage Minutes are one of the best ways to determine who is Canadian. Especially if people put on a weird voice when saying the words. Like you can't just say 'Now they will know we were here' or 'I think he means that village over there', you have to repeat the exact cadences of the short.

My personal favourites - Valour Road (gah), Halifax Explosion (oh god), women in med school (ripping off that fig leaf), the naming of Canada, Irish names in Quebec (partially because my best friend and I would name all our characters 'Patrick, Patrick O'Neil').

I never understood the one where two men were blindfolded and led out of/into a town?
posted by hydrobatidae at 10:59 AM on October 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


And I see I've picked three of the top episodes.
posted by hydrobatidae at 11:01 AM on October 22, 2013


It's no Hinterland Who's Who, but it'll do.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:04 AM on October 22, 2013 [9 favorites]


Both of ye know I canna read a word.
posted by yellowbinder at 11:04 AM on October 22, 2013 [11 favorites]


My personal favorite.

I concur. I think that you can arrive at a good first estimate of the differences between Canadian and American culture merely by knowing that the iconic US lawman of the booming Old West is Wyatt Earp, temporarily deputized gunfighter and vigilante, while the iconic Canadian lawman of the booming Old West is Sam Steele, RCMP officer who served 27 years never drawing his pistol.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 11:05 AM on October 22, 2013 [8 favorites]


No matter what, I get teary over every single one of these. And I will use that prospector's confiscated pistols on anyfuckingone who tries the obvious response to this disclosure.
posted by maudlin at 11:13 AM on October 22, 2013


I like the one where Marshall McLuhan paces back and forth while discovering that the medium is the message.
posted by Copronymus at 11:13 AM on October 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


These are great, eh.
I like the Bluenose one.
And second the Hinterland Who's Who.
posted by islander at 11:14 AM on October 22, 2013


Oh, wait, Steele confiscated the gambling gear and probably left him with the pistols. Stupid tears in ears.
posted by maudlin at 11:15 AM on October 22, 2013


Marshall Mcluhan? Lawmen? The Vestibules!
posted by frimble at 11:15 AM on October 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


now
the people will know
we were here
posted by beau jackson at 11:16 AM on October 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


I also love the swashbuckling Gouverneur Frontenac episode.


"I will reply from the mouth of my cannon!" See- Canadian history can be exciting!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:17 AM on October 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I always liked this one as it portrays Queen Victoria as awfully flouncy AND contains a subtle Toronto dig which I always chuckled at even as a lifelong and proud Torontonian.
posted by yellowbinder at 11:20 AM on October 22, 2013


I always liked some of the others better than burnt toast.

Also, yeah, The Vestibules are great.
posted by jeather at 11:29 AM on October 22, 2013


And, wow, the "buying clothes in the US when the dollar is strong then wearing them all across the border while lying to the immigration people who don't really care: part of our heritage" minute is so very, very accurate.
posted by jeather at 11:35 AM on October 22, 2013


Thanks for the Gouverneur Frontenac Moment--with the immediately recognizeable voice of the late, and very much lamented, Peter Gzowski.
posted by angiep at 11:36 AM on October 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


TheWhiteSkull: I was recently told this story by a great uncle so I have no idea of it's veracity. It seems one of his brothers was brought to Montreal by Franke Selke in the early 1950's to tryout as a goalie (sadly an automobile accident cut his career short). Anyways, this great uncle and Jacques Plante where approached by a hockey equipment company (CCM possibly?) to test a prototype mask during practices. They apparantly were able to wear it for about 5 minutes before the thing would fog over and they couldn't see anything.
posted by smcniven at 11:56 AM on October 22, 2013


A terrestrial day-active animal,
The woodchuck hibernates
In snowy climes.
 
posted by Herodios at 11:58 AM on October 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


a part of our haiku-based heritage
posted by oulipian at 12:03 PM on October 22, 2013


Looking at the parodies, the Degrassi one gave me a bit of a chuckle.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:13 PM on October 22, 2013


"I don't know, just: Winnie. The. Pooh."
That kid annoyed the fuck out of me, the way he said that, with that fake pageboy wig thing.

Heritage Minutes are one of the best ways to determine who is Canadian. Especially if people put on a weird voice when saying the words.

Yes. It's not just "I smell burnt toast," it's "DOK-TOR PENFIELD I CAN SMELL BURNT TOAST!" with a bad accent.
posted by chococat at 12:18 PM on October 22, 2013


"IS THIS NORMAL?!"
posted by ghost dance beat at 12:24 PM on October 22, 2013 [2 favorites]




This one dates me, but:

"For God's sake man, don't fire! I've a wife and family!"
posted by Ahriman at 12:36 PM on October 22, 2013


I'm Canadian, but don't remember the burnt toast one, although I always have had a vague idea that smelling burnt toast = seizure. I guess that's where that comes from. Huh.

- This comment posted from really near that village over there.
posted by urbanlenny at 12:41 PM on October 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I always remember the "Madame Speaker, take it from me: nice men don't want the vote!" one.
posted by urbanlenny at 12:49 PM on October 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


A piece of paper cost me a lot. Twenty dollars? That's a working man's pay for a month. We have to keep our Irish names. Ma mere me la dit, avant de sa mort. Is this normal? I will greet them wearing this. My tools are not for sale. Hey, I can pay. Nice women don't want the vote. How are we going to get a decent shot at the, uh, peach basket? He shot my brother! You know what I think this is? Why didn't I shoot him? Through the air, across the ocean. The first time, ever. Maybe today's technology is the problem. If you're not fast you're gonna miss your train. We even had to drink our own...you know. Why 'Pooh', son? It's quite a difficult passage, it's from the Bible. Well, you're here aren't cha?

To my shame and delight, this is what came out of some dark corner of my brain. I'm pretty sure most are word-for-word correct. They're not only a way, as hydrobatidae said above, to test for Canadians. They can also tell you who watched way, way too much TV in the 90's.
posted by beau jackson at 12:59 PM on October 22, 2013 [9 favorites]


Ma Mere me la dit. I always liked that one.
posted by smcniven at 1:03 PM on October 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Now on my personal shit-list: beau jackson. /buys more kleenex
posted by maudlin at 1:35 PM on October 22, 2013


True story: If you're in a bar in any foreign land, you can suss out the Canadians by shouting: "I smell burnt toast!"

Also, Jackie Robinson is actually my personal hero, but no way is he the top Heritage Minute.

I always liked the Underground Railroad one.
posted by dry white toast at 2:19 PM on October 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Not just CanCon: Federalist Propaganda CanCon, the best kind of CanCon.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 2:32 PM on October 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


…while the iconic Canadian lawman of the booming Old West is Sam Steele, RCMP officer who served 27 years never drawing his pistol.

I'm surprised the Harper Government hasn't been rewriting our Heritage Minutes to be more wild West.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:39 PM on October 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


"Agnes MacPhail!" "IS THIS NORMAL?! HIYAA!!"

heritage minute + Kate Beaton = peak Canadiana
posted by erlking at 3:14 PM on October 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


But I need these baskets back!
posted by Space Coyote at 3:45 PM on October 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


Hrm, apparently I've been conflating these and some old beer commercials for quite some time.

"I haven't told you about the GST yet."
posted by hearthpig at 4:50 PM on October 22, 2013


Hrm, apparently I've been conflating these and some old beer commercials for quite some time.

"We drink Carling Red Cap, All across the Lannd..."
posted by ovvl at 5:57 PM on October 22, 2013


I get my username from one of these. As soon as I paid up I rued that I didn't choose ismellburnttoast instead.
posted by kanata at 7:34 PM on October 22, 2013


now
the people will know
we were here


It's funny, but apparently that short is single handedly responsible for popularizing the inuksuk as a national symbol. There are good arguments to be made against cultural appropriation (and the fact that now every roadside rock cut in this country is littered with them), but I still feel a real sense of patriotism when I see an inuksuk in an unexpected location.
posted by Popular Ethics at 8:12 PM on October 22, 2013


"Why pooh, son?"
posted by Sys Rq at 8:20 PM on October 22, 2013


are we all going to the same party?
posted by obscure simpsons reference at 8:58 PM on October 22, 2013


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