Dictionary of Canadian Quotations©winnie caw 2004
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The Dictionary of Canadian Quotations - John Robert Columbo

Is compulsory pregnancy ever justifiable?
W. Clifford Jones, physician, On Being A Woman (1971)

At times we may be mistaken. But if we are to err, let it be on the side of life; for if we, instead, embrace death as our cause, we will debase our humanity and burden our souls.
Perrin Beatty, MP, Speaking against an abortion bill, House Of Commons, 28 Jan 1975

Obviously the justice of society is well defined in terms of how it treats the weak. And there is nothing human which is weaker than the foetus.
George Grant, philosopher "Abortion and Rights" (1976) Technology and Justice (1986)

I am not pro-abortion any more than I am pro-appendectomy.
Henry Morgentaler, MD, quoted in Weekend Magazine, 14 Sept 1974

I want to make my contribution to humanity so that there will be no more Auschwitzes.
Children who are born wanted and are given love and attention will not build concentration camps.
Henry Morgentaler, MD, quoted in Macleans 8 Feb 1988

What a dog begets is canine; what we beget is human.
George Grant, quoted in The Globe And Mail, 24 Nov 1989

When the camera starts to roll, there is something of death about it.
Donald Sutherland, actor, Macleans 2 March 1981

When you're a short actor you stand on apple boxes, you walk on a ramp. When you're
a short star everybody else walks in a ditch.
Michael J. Fox, actor 5'5", Toronto Star 1 March 1991

Ads are the cave art of the twentieth century.
Marshall McLuhan, media philosopher, Culture Is Our Business 1970.

Doing business without advertising is like winking at a pretty girl in the dark - you know what you're doing, but nobody else does.
Murray Koffler, pharmacist, Qu in F Rasky "Just a Simple Pharmacist The Story of Murray Koffler, Builder of the Shoppers Drug Mart Empire (1988)

It's just amazing how many companies suddenly want you to hold up their products
after you've held up the Stanley Cup.
Wayne Gretzy, Gretzky: An Autobiography (1990) w/ Rick Reilly

Of late I have searched diligently to discover the advantages of age, and there is, I have concluded, only one. It is that lovely women treat your approaches with understanding rather than with disdain.
John Kenneth Galbraith, economist, "Recessional" 1975

I am a prohibitionist. What I propose to prohibit is the reckless use of water.
Bob Edwards, Publisher, The Eye Opener, 17 March 1904

Milk of the elderly.
Descriptive epithet for alcohol used by physician Sir William Oslerm, Noted in
The Globe and Mail, 13 Dec 1988

A few of our Year arranged to have a "night out." This began by sampling Canadian rye whisky which, to me, tasted like a mixture of molasses, sienna and fire! I therefore handled it with Scots caution, otherwise I should not now be able to recollect the proceedings.
J. Menzies Campbell, dental historian, Dentistry Then and Now (1958)

The British humorist A. P. Herbert came to Toronto to address the Medico-Legal Society. On checking into the Royal York after a long journey, Herbert called room
service and ordered up a scotch and soda, only to learn that Ontario then banned the sale of liquor by the glass in hotel rooms. Fortunately someone from the society soon
arrived with a 26 of whisky. Assured of its legality, Herbert had several drinks, all the while puzzling over a system that denied him one belt of spirits but not a full
bottle. As he observed in his subsequent speech, "The parallel would seem to be that you cannot have an egg, I suppose unless you buy a hen."
David MacDonald, "Anecdotes" The Toronto Star, 10 Dec 1988

We were rather surprised that in Ontario we had to register at the local liquor store as alcoholics.
Alec Guinness, actor, referring to the requirement that all purchases at the LCBO
be registered. Blessings in Disguise (1985)

The Frenchman loves his native wine;
The German loves his beer;
The Englishman loves his 'alf and 'alf;
Because it brings good cheer.
The Irishman loves his "whiskey straight,"
Because it gives him dizziness.
The Canadian has no choice at all,
So he drinks the whole damned business.
Kenneth P Kirkwood. author & diplomat, The Diplomat at table:... (1974)

Americans are plagued with organized crime. We have provincial liquor boards.
Dave Broadfoot, comedian, Address Empire Club Of Canada, Toronto, 9 March 1978

It is absurd that throughout Canada no independent liquor stores are permitted. Consequently, prices are high and choice is poor.... Perhaps
eventually the Canadians will treat their citizens as adults.
Stephen Brook, English travel writer, Maple Leaf Rag: Travels across Canada, 1987

Credit cards enable you to buy Alka-Seltzer in Alberta, quiche in Quebec, suits in Saskatchewan and tires in Toronto - but you absolutely must pay cash to buy a five dollar bottle of plonk at a liquor store three blocks from your home in any province in Canada.
Tom Davey, editor & Columnist, Env. Science & Eng. Oct 1988

At the Toronto film festival you're greeted by a warm welcome and a cold beer, which is the exact opposite of Cannes.
Iain Johnstone, Brit journalist, The Toronto Star, 15 Sept 1990

People ask me if I'm an artist or an architect. But I think they're the same.
Frank Gehry, designer-architect Toronto Star 4 Sept 1987

To me the most important thing in a piece of art is the thought. Technique is totally
Robert Bateman, wildlife artist, Empire Club of Canada address, Toronto, 13 Nov 1986

... Because art is salvation, a great thing, like religion and law. Because art is the
best, most challenging medicine for the mind.
Carmen Lamanna, art dealer, The Globe and Mail, 5 Sept 1987

My new work is a very Canadian form of self portrait - me describing myself in terms of what I am not.
Greg Curnoe, artist, in NOW, 2 Nov 1989

The purpose of art is the lifelong construction of a state of wonder.
Glenn Gould, qu by L Monk, Commencement address, York Univ. 6 Nov 1982

Perhaps the hardest question of all that we must face is whether, given the state of the world, there can be a future for the automobile.
Anita Gordon and David Suzuki, It's A Matter Of Survival, 1990

Exquisite in appearance, magnificent in design, but it won't fly.
John G. Diefenbaker, describing the Avro Arrow in 1959.
Acc. to S. O'Sullivan Both My Houses, 1986

Ballard, Harold
I'm going now.
Dying words at Wellesley Hospital, Toronto, 11 April 1990

The easiest way to steal from a bank is to own one.
Robert Korthals, President of TD Bank

There's an old trapper's tale that says the best way to defend yourself against a polar bear attack is to shoot your buddy and run like hell.
recalled by Jeff MacInnis in Polar Passage: The Historic First Sail Through the Northwest Passage, 1989

The trouble with photographing beautiful women is that you never get into the dark room until after they've gone.
Yousuf Karsh, photographer, New York Daily Mirror, 2 May 1963

If you faced a long hungry period with nothing between you and starvation but a bit of barley and a pig, you'd be better off turning the barley into beer and letting the pig starve.
Jim Cameron, brewmaster, O'Keefe Brewery, Ottawa, The Ottawa Journal 14 Dec 1968

And it occurs to me that if I were aboard a rowboat floating in the middle of all the beer I've drunk in a lifetime, I'd never be able to see the shore.
Al Purdy, poet, Preface The Collected Poems of Al Purdy, 1986

All pro athletes are bilingual. They speak English and profanity.
Gordie Howe, hockey player, The Toronto Star, 27 May 1975

You say bilingual to an American and he thinks you're talking about a man who likes to wear women's clothing.
Dave Broadfoot, comedian, Address Empire Club Of Canada, Toronto, 9 March 1978

Birth Control
It is not birth control which needs to be taught to people at large, whether high or low, but individual self control.
E. Cora Hind, journalist, letter dated 28 April, 1923

I'm a Roman Catholic and I take a dim view of 2,500 celibates shuffling back and forth to
Rome to discuss birth control and not one woman to raise a voice.
Laura Sabia, Chairperson Ontario Advisory Council on the Status of Women,
Quoted in The Toronto Star, 22 Aug 1975

Broadcasting is fleeting - once you utter it, it's gone. In ten minutes it's winging its
way around Mars.
Rex Loring, CBC Radio announce retiring, The Globe and Mail, 17 Aug 1990

I believe wanting is the most important quality a person can bring to business.
Jimmy Pattison, Company founder, Jimmy: An Autobiography

The city of Calgary has more college educated citizens per capita than any other Canadian
Linda Frum, journalist, Linda Frum's Guide to Canadian Universities (1987)

There are 600,000 Canadians living in southern California. I now know why they moved here - they all hate hockey.
Jack Kent Cooker, owner of the then disastrous Los Angeles Kings hockey club,
Macleans 7 Nov 1988

Everybody in Canada seemed to listen to what they enjoyed, and nobody could tell them what to like, or what was the popular, or what was the In thing.
Even today, it is very hard to brainwash a Canadian.
Duke Ellington, US jazz performer, Music Is My Mistress 1973

When I'm in Canada, I feel like this is what the world should be like.
Jane Fonda, actress, Saturday Night, Dec 1987

When I think of Canada I think of tonic water.
Dudley Moore, comedian, Saturday Night, Dec 1987

It's going to be a great country when they finish unpacking it.
Andrew H. Malcolm, Canadian Correspondent for The NY Times,
Quoted in The Toronto Star 5 Nov 1989

Canada & The United States
The only thing we are really sure of is that we are not Americans.
Pierre Burton, author, "My Country" Canada: Pictures of a Great Land 1976

For some reason, a glaze passes over people's faces when you say Canada.
Sondra Gotlieb, columnist, wife of Canada's Ambassador in Washington
Quoted in The NY Times, 8 July 1982

When I would get worried is when the Americans do become interested in us. And I think of the countries they have become interested in, I think of Chile, I think of Iran, I think of Vietnam, It think of Grenada, I think of Nicaragua, and I think of Libya, so I say, Let's keep that ignorance flying.
Allan Fotheringham, Columnist and author, address, Empire Club of Canada, Toronto 16 Oct 1986

Canada join the United States? Where would young Canadians run off to for adventure? Where would Americans run to escape?
Peter Jennings, Toronto born ABC anchorman, Maclean's 25 June 1990

Canada Goose
It is said that Canada Geese, unlike wild duck and most other birds, usually mate for life. Their marriage is a contract entered into and faithfully preserved "until death do us part." It is even claimed that the partnership,
in effect, remains binding beyond death and that when either member of it dies the survivor does not pair again.
Malcolm MacDonald, British High Commissioner in Ottawa, The Birds Of Brewery Creek (1947)

Canadian Armed Forces
The military as always been more loyal to Canada than the Canadian government has been loyal to its military.
Peter Worthington, journalist who fought in WW2, and whose father was a general in the army, address, Empire Club of Canada, Toronto, 11 Oct 1984

The CBC spends more than a billion dollars a year, mostly taxpayers' money. That works out to about nine cents a day per Canadian, around one-third the cost of a daily newspaper and certainly much cheaper than bus fare.
Knowlton Nash, television executive, Prime Time at Ten: Behind the Camera Battles of Canadian TV Journalism

In today's world, only one person in every 200 is Canadian.
Margaret Catley-Carlson, President of CIDA, "Aid: A Canadian Vocation" Fall 1988

In the welter of statistics about selected ethnic origins (singular or multiple) in the last census, one finding was often overlooked. Of the 25,309,330 people living in Canada in 1986, only 69,065 declared themselves as Canadians.
Charlotte Gray, journalist, "Speaking in Tongues" Saturday Night, Dec 1989

He told the story of the Maritime fisherman carrying a pail of lobsters up from the wharf.
Another fisherman warns him that the lobsters might escape because there's no lid on the pail. "Oh no," says the first fisherman. "These are Canadian lobsters, boys. As soon as one makes it to the top, the others will drag him down."
Derek Burney, Canadian US Ambassador, address, Empire Club Of Canada, Toronto, 30 Nov 1989

I want to cause what an Inuit acquaintance of mine once described as "constructive damage to the status quo."
Gerard Veilleux, CBC President, Toronto Star 11 Oct 1990

Character, like a photograph, develops in darkness.
Yousof Karsh, Parade 3 Dec 1978

Child Abuse
How we as a society respond to these deaths is a measure of our humanity.
Cyril Greenland, psychiatric social worker, Preventing CAN Deaths:... 1987

The foetus can see, hear, experience, taste and, on a primitive level, even learn in utero (that is, in the uterus -
before birth). Most importantly, he can feel - not with an adult's sophistication, but feel nonetheless.
Thomas Verny, psychiatrist, The Secret Life of the Unborn Child (1981) written W. John Kelly

Clark, Joe
Certainly he's living proof that power is not always an aphrodisiac.
Charlotte Gray, Journalist, Saturday Night, July 1989

No one needs a word processor if he has an efficient secretary.
Robertson Davies, address Ontario Science Centre, Toronto, 26 Nov 1989

The Western world's desire for beef has doubled the cattle population in the past 40 years. There is now one cow for every four humans on the planet.
Anita Gordon and David Suzuki, It's A Matter Of Survival, 1990

Am I a criminal because I violate a law which people do not want?
Rocco Perri, Hamilton bootlegger, 1922
Quoted in King & The Mob 1988

That the violent crime rate of the Canadian metropolis is only 10 to 20 percent of that of the American... is more than a matter of strict gun control on Canada and the lack of it in the United States. It is a matter of the two societies differing in their attitudes toward authority.
William Kilbourn, Daedalus:... "In Search Of Canada" Fall 1988

So you amass $3 millions from crime, and can keep it out of the clutches of the authorities, you can be fined up to $4 million. You won't pay the fine? Off to jail you go, for no more than ten years. If you keep your nose clean in jail, you will be a free man in about three years.
Quite an attractive proposition.
Douglas Gair, essayist "Crime Pays"
The Idler Jan-Feb 1990

Davies, Robertson
And I say to you that if you bring curiosity to your work it will cease to be merely a job and become a door through which you enter the best that life has to give you.
Robertson Davies, acceptance speech, Trent University, Peterborough, Ont, Qu in Toronto Star, 9 Nov 1974

Canada has one great novelist (Robertson Davies), which means it has one for every twenty-five million citizens - the world's highest ratio.
George F Will, columnist, The Toronto Star 14 Jan 1988

Democracy pits the power of the many against the power of the moneyed.
Philippe Deane Gigantes, author & senator, The Road Ahead 1990

The Greeks idealized the human body; we treat it as little better than an animated garbage can.
Robert G Jackson MD, The Fattening Regime: A Manual for the Too-Thin (1928)

Most people I know feel that life would be complete if they could just lose ten pounds.
Betty Jane Wylie, author, 1990

Dinosaurs are a touchstone that separates the mentality of children from that of adults.
Dale A Russell, paleontologist, An Odyssey In Time:... 1989

My disability is that I cannot use my legs. My handicap is your negative perception of that disability, and thus of me.
Rick Hansen, wheelchair athlete & fundraiser, Rick Hansen: Man In Motion, 1987

Multiple sclerosis is disease which has neither the common courtesy to be curable nor the common decency to be terminal.
David Jorgenson, MS Sufferer, The Toronto Star 15 June 1988

You cannot harm me
you cannot harm
one who has dreamed a dream like mine.
Ojibwa Chant, 18th Century

This country is made up of small towns and big dreams.
Brin Mulroney, PM, Toronto Star 17 Sept 1988

We never get to keep our dreams. But some of us are lucky enough to have the chance to chase them.
Stuart McLean, Radio commentator, CBC Morningside, 27 Nov 1989

Most Canadians still think drinking is the stuff of comedy.
Edward Philips, novelist, Sunday Best, 1990

The ceremonial and religious uses of psychedelics are much older than their recreational uses and abuses. For most of their history, they have been mysterious, dangerous substances and must be treated respectfully.
Humphry Osmond, Psychiatrist "The Birth of 'Psychedelic'" 1981

The fashionable Canadian drug habit, instead of cocaine, is to sniff real snow.
Eric Nicol and Dave More, humorists,
The U.S. or Us: What's the difference, Eh? 1986

Dying Words
Perhaps darkness is another kind of light. I hope so.
Claude Jutra, filmmaker and Alzheimer's victim 29 Oct 1986 11 days before he killed himself in Montreal.

There's an old saying which goes: Once the last tree is cut and the last river poisoned, you will find you cannot eat your money.
Joyce McLean, The Globe and Mail, 1 Nov 1989

Education is not something to make a man a lawyer, a doctor, an engineer or a priest. The true education is not to give a man a standard of living, but a standard of life.
Grattan O'Leary, publisher and Senator, Qu by N Smith in The Journal Of Men 1974

It's not how many degrees you have that counts. What really matters is how many good books you are reading during your lifetime.
Joel Bonn, reading specialist, 3 Feb 1990

Toronto's Sky Dome stadium uses enough electricity to light Prince Edward Island.
CP news item "Social Studies" The Globe And Mail 13 July 1990

You learn more from failure, because failure hurts.
John Trent, director, 18 March 1974

Short stories are not about events but the people that events happen to.
W D Valgardson, writer, Qu by WP Kinsella in an interview Strong Voices:... 1988

Florida can be explained, defined, encapsulated, summarized, characterized, wrung out and hung up to dry in one short sentence: The only thing Florida has going for it is the Canadian winter.
Joey Slinger, columnist, The Saturday Night Traveller, 1990

"A loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and thou" -
add cheese, and you've got me for life.
Betty Jane Wylie, BJW's Cheese Cookbook 1984

In the land of the musk-ox, the beaver, and the moose, there is no musk-ox or beaver or moose meat to be had. The man behind the counter at the meat store is little more than a butcher. The remains of cows and sheep and pigs are all he has to sell.
Bruce McCall, satirist "In the New Canada, Living Is a Way of Life" The New Yorker, 20 May 1985

Anyway, as statistics show, coffee is a beverage of enormous centrality to the concept of Canadian consciousness. Indeed it's arguable that coffee is the one thing that keeps us conscious as people at all.
Erika Ritter, humorist, Ritter in Residence: A Comic Collection 1987

Food banks
We've got so much food in this country that soup kitchens in Montreal and Toronto can actually operate on the food that city restaurants throw into the garbage every day.
Arthur Black, broadcaster, That Old Black Magic 1989

Where else but Canada would you find a city like Toronto where 72,000 kids must turn to food banks each day for their meals yet city council spends four hours debating - before turning down the notion 9-8 - whether the city should be twinned with the Soviet city of Volgograd?
Roy MacGregor, The Ottawa Citizen 10 April 1989

There are 625 McDonald's outlets nationwide; there are over 1,100 food banks and soup kitchens.
Carolyn Jack "Children in Poverty" The Canadian Forum Sept 1990

in Japan, I was amazed to find that over 50% of their solid waste is recycled: as our Federal Minister of the Environment recently pointed out, if we recycled paper at the same rate as the Japanese, we could save 80 million trees a year - an amount that equals the total annual logging production of Ontario.
Dave Nichol, Summit on the Environment, Toronto, 11 Sept 1989

Party researchers have gone through all the Acts of Parliament, the Acts of all the provincial legislatures, and the Bylaws of every city, town, and hamlet across Canada. We have found that nowhere in any law passed since 1867 has the word "fun" ever been used. A Part Rhinoceros government would rectify this without delay.
Platform (no 8) of the Rhinoceros Party, The Ottawa Citizen 20 March 1988

Science fiction is the only genre I've discovered that assumes there's going to be a future.
Spider Robinson, author, speaking at the Calgary Olympics, The Calgary Herald 2 March 1988

We must reinvent a future free of blinders so that we can choose from real options.
David Suzuki, Inventing the Future 1989

I might never have another chance to interview God. I would like to know how you...
Roy Bonsiteel, host of CBC's Man Alive, addressing the Dalai Lama in a filmed interview in Toronto in 1980. "That is as far as I got. His holiness began to giggle..." Man Alive: The Human Journey 1983

The phrase "God created man in His own image" does not make one particularly eager to meet Him.
George Faludy, poet, Notes From the Rainforest 1988

Never stare at a man in tears, or turn away from a weeping woman.
Robin Skelton, aphorism, May 1990

Guilt has the power to extract merciless sacrifices.
Carol Shields, novelist, Swann 1987

It is one of the functions of heroic people to remind us that the happenstances of fate, however harsh, need not result in despair and demoralization.
Humphry Osmond, Psychiatrist, "Inspiration", Predicting the Past:... 1981

Most of us, if we are being honest, would prefer to get through the day without being confronted by the mentally handicapped. The vision of a human frame devoid of sensible consciousness strikes at primitive fears. It seems a form of living death.
John Fraser, author and editor, "Diary" Saturday Night Nov 1988

Happiness is a by-product which sneaks up on you, unsought, when you're busy at something else.
Betty Jane Wylie, author, Beginnings: A Book For Widows, 1977

History teaches us that men behave wisely once they have exhausted all the alternatives.
Frank McKenna, NB Premier, The Globe And Mail's Report On Business Magazine, Dec 1990

I still say the history of Canada is in shoeboxes under people's beds.
Joyce Beaton, social historian and publisher, Qu in The Muskoka Advance 28 Jan 1990

The biggest difference between L.A. and Edmonton was that instead of people looking at me, I was looking at them.
Wayne Gretzy, Gretzky: An Autobiography 1990

I get between two thousand and five thousand fan letters a month and we answer them all. Being famous runs me about $25,000 a year in stamps, coloured photos and a secretary to answer it all... Coca-Cola give us all the pictures and envelopes for free or it would be twice that.
Wayne Gretzky, Gretzky: An Autobiography 1990

Practise your backhand.
Gordie Howes advice to Wayne Gretzky, then aged eleven, 1972 Qu by Al Strachan The Globe and Mail 16 Oct 1989

Dreams really do come true, I thought to myself as I sat in the stands of Maple Leaf Gardens on that September day in 1973 when I first reported to the Toronto Maple Leafs. The building was dark, and I wanted to be alone, just to have time to think. It was an unbelievable feeling sitting there. I'd finally made it. There I was at the Gardens, about to begin playing for the Maple Leafs, the team I had cheered for like crazy as a kid. I sat there, realizing that everything I had dreamed about had come true.
Lanny McDonald, hockey player, "Lanny" 1987

For any God-fearing young Canadian the ultimate reward is to be chosen for the NHL All-Star game. If he later goes to Heaven, that is so much gravy.
Eric Nicol and Dave More, humorists, The Joy of Hockey. 1978

How would you like a job where, every time you make a mistake, a big red light goes on and 18,000 people boo?
~ attributed to Jacques Plante in 1985

Who wants to be Prime Minister if he can be Maple Leaf captain?
Dick Beddoes, hockey personality Pal Hal:...Harold Ballard 1989

You know, I've held women and babies and jewels and money, but nothing will ever feel as good as holding that Cup.
Wayne Gretzky, Gretzky: An Autobiography 1990

The Canadians were the inventors of the body check, the penalty bench, and the widespread view of fans that athletes who shirk bodily contact are pansies.
Karl Adolf Scherer, European Hockey Historian Qu in Hometown Heroes:... 1988

Queen Elizabeth
What the hell, she doesn't pay me, I pay her. Besides, what the hell position can a Queen play?
Harold Ballard, justifying removing the Queens portrait from the Gardens. W Houston in Ballard 1984

I wandered through the city wondering what to do. There is a romantic feeling about being unemployed in Hollywood. It is among the few places in the world where idleness can be construed as a temporary condition preceding greatness.
Danielle Crittenden, "Typist to the stars" The Idler No 14, Sept-Oct 1987

Howe, CD
"Gentleman," he said in a room almost pulsing with animosity, " we all must realise that neither side has a monopoly on sons of bitches." Everyone burst out laughing, and the issue was soon settled.
CD HOWE "minister of everything" on a shipping dispute in Washington Noted in "Anecdotes" by D MacDonald 17 Dec 1988

A sense of humour is one of the sexiest things there is.
Merle Shain, author, interview CBC Radio, 14 Feb 1989

When I give bread to the poor they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor are hungry, they call me a communist.
Remi J De Roo, Bishop of Victoria, observation made in 1976, The Globe And Mail 20 Nov 1987

Americans have only one reason to visit Canada: to enjoy the great outdoors - by killing something.
Eric Nicol and Dave More, humorists, The U.S. or Us: What's the difference, Eh? 1986

Ice is meant, first, for hockey and, second, for keeping meat.
~ attributed to Roch Carrier, novelist

"Letters from Damn Fools"
Heading on a file folder used by Stephen Leacock

Christopher Columbus fell on his knees when his boat touched shore and then fell on the Indians. How can you say you are discovering a place when there are people greeting you from the shore?
Lennox Farrel, addressing forum on the 500th anniversary of Columbus' discovery of America, 13 Oct 1989

Intelligent life may turn out to be a short-term evolutionary dead end. It has already had a cataclysmic effect on the rest of the biosphere.

I'd like to say it's pleasure to meet you, but I won't know that until I read what you write.
Stomping'' Tom Connors, singer, addressing an interviewer, Qu in The Toronto Star 27 May 1990

I love libraries, but I will be damned if I will ever walk into a "Resource Centre."
Richard Needham, columnist, The Wit and Wisdom of RN 1977

"They say" is the biggest liar in Canada or any other country.
Bob Edwards, publisher, The Eye Opener, 22 Aug 1903

If you're not annoying somebody, you're not really alive.
Margaret Atwood, author, in Maclean's 3 Oct 1988

Science fiction gives you a huge canvas: all of space, all of time, all forms of life.
Robert L Sawyer, writer, Books in Canada April 1988

I believe that for friendship there should be similarity; but for love there must be dissimilarity.
LM Montgomery, letter of 1 April 1907, My Dear Dr. M:... 1980

I LOVE LOVE (Except between 6 and 9 p.m., when I'm studying, and Wednesdays and Fridays, when I'm ironing or doing my hair)
Sign seen in Rochdale College Toronto, 1960s

In the 19th century, philosophers believed that the human being was infinitely perfectible and therefore worthy of democracy. On the basis of the 20th century, I believe that the human being is infinitely corruptible and therefore in need of democracy.
A. Alan Borovoy, General Counsel, Can. Civil Liberties Ass. , When Freedoms Collide:... 1988

Maple Leaf
The very symbol of Canada - the maple leaf - is being strangled by airborne pollution spewing from industry and car exhausts on both sides of the border.
Anita Gordon and David Suzuki, It's A Matter Of Survival, 1990

Marriage is a framework to preserve friendship. It is valuable because it gives much more room to develop than just living together. It provides a base from which a person can work at understanding himself and another person.
Robertson Davies, interview by J M Harvard, 1984, Conversations with RD, 1989

I'm still searching for an answer to the questions: What are people for?
Jack Webster, journalist, Webster! 1990

Viewing or listening to television, radio, or videos is shared experience carried out in private.
Ursula Franklin, scientist, The Real World of Technology, 1990

Human beings are the only creatures that kill from a distance.
Robin Skelton, aphorism, May 1990

Music, Popular
The cows don't treat me any different.
George Fox, singer, on is growing success as a singer. The Winnipeg Free Press, 14 May 1990

Today, our species alone has the power to affect the rest of the 30 million species on the planet.
Anita Gordon and David Suzuki, It's A Matter Of Survival, 1990

Painting is an experience that has been given form.
Jack Shadbolt, painter, The Toronto Star 17 Feb 1990

Having no Hollywood, our politicians are our stars. Without soap operas, Parliament has become our pitiful drama. Lacking sitcoms, Question period has become the national laugh track.
Roy MacGregor, columnist, The Ottawa Citizen 30 March 1998

The past is still, for us, a place that is not yet safely settled.
Michael Ondaatje, editor, Preface The Faber Book Of Contempt. Can. Stories 1990

For every philosopher, in every age, the first question must be: just what is philosophy?
Francis Sparshott, philosopher, "Speculation and Reflection", Looking For Philosophy 1972

There is no greater pleasure in photography than achieving the image you set out to capture or create... The joy of photography is the joy of self discovery.
Freeman Patterson, Photography For the Joy of It 1977

Great portraits are given, not taken.
John Reeves Qu in Danson Unofficial Portraits 1987

Once we figure out how the dice are made, we may be able to figure out who is throwing them.
Graeme Ross, correspondent, defining "particle physics", Qu by Stephen Strauss in The Globe and Mail, 12 May 1990

Kingston, Ont.:
The people of this Canadian paradise are more contented in their situation of life, than is common to observe in most places.
Michael Smith, traveller and writer, A Geo. View of the Prov of Upper Canada, 1813

Port Sydney, Ont.
Welcome to Port Sydney! The Home of.. 1500 Nice People and one Old Grouch
Sign on the highway outside Port Sydney , The Globe And Mail 10 Oct 1990

Sault St Marie
The last place I wanted to start out my professional hockey career was in Sault Ste. Marie.. Naturally, I was drafted by Sault Ste. Marie. It was 1977.
Wayne Gretzy, Gretzky: An Autobiography (1990) w/ Rick Reilly

Windsor, Ont.
The other problem with Windsor is more topographical then spiritual: the city lies immediately to the south of Detroit, a fact that has utterly confused its Canadian population over the years.
Allan Gould, satirist, The Great Wiped Out North:... 1988

Every man for himself, as the elephant said while dancing among the chickens.
Tommy Douglas, NDP leader, referring to free enterprise and socialism, Qu in Canadian Labour in Politics (1968)

None dare call us Sheep.
Slogan of the Rhinoceros Party,1963

Politics in Canada has always been the art of making the necessary possible.
Peter C. Newman, author, Sometimes a Great Nation:...1988

New York spends on garbage collection more than the whole world spends on the United Nations.
Attributed to Diplomat Hugh Keenleyside in 1989 by Osborne in The Little Pink Book:....1990

What is wrong with pornography is that it is a successful attempt to sell sex for more than it is worth.
Quentin Crisp and John Hofsess, Manners from Heaven: A Divine Guide to Good Behavior 1984

Why don't the poor elect different governments? Because most of them aren't old enough to vote.
Carolyn Jack, "Children in Poverty" The Canadian Forum, Sept 1990

Expecting Ontario Hydro, one of the worlds most efficient and dedicated producers of power in the world, to teach us restraint in the use of power is like putting the liquor control board in charge of Alcoholics Anonymous.
David Lees, journalist, "Living in the Nuclear Shadow" Toronto Life, Nov 1989

Praying is a chance to come to terms with the good and evil inside yourself. It's not just trying to get what you want.
Robertson Davies, interview by J M Harvard, 1984, Conversations with RD, 1989

I don't ask employers, for example, to like blacks or Jews or native people; I ask employers to hire the qualified members of these groups whether they like them or not.
A. Alan Norovoy, Can. Civil Liberties Ass., When Freedoms Collide:... 1988

Prince Edward Island
I have never been to Prince Edward Island, but I understand they have potatoes. I've never met a potato I didn't love.
Allan Fotheringham, Macleans Feb 1978

The smallest province, Prince Edward Island, is still almost twice as large as the smallest state, Rhode Island.
Allan Fotheringham, Capitol Offences: Dr. Foth Meets Uncle Sam 1986


A lady afterwards said that Europeans might dream of sleeping with their mothers but Canadians were different. Canadians, she said, respected their mothers even when they were asleep.
Anthony Burgess, novelist, The End Of The World News 1983, referring to a reaction to an address in Winnipeg on the Oedipus Complex by Freud's disciple Ernst Jones.

For a person who does not want to be locked up, it hurts no less if it is done by a psychiatrist who smiles than by a constable who growls.
A. Alan Borovoy , General Counsel, Can. Civil Liberties Ass. , When Freedoms Collide:... 1988

As a verse in the Bible says, "The wicked flee when no man pursueth," to which an older preacher used to add, "But they make better time if someone is after them."
F.R. Scott, lawyer and poet, Letter written 13 Nov 1973 Qu By Roy Macgregor in Chief:... 1989

The next-best thing to having uttered something memorable is to have been the person who recorded it for posterity.
Andrew McFarlane, newspaperman, "Somewhere South of Suburbia" 1963

"I have a theory," he said, "that if we gave every kid in Canada a free ride coast-to-coast on this train at a given age - say 12 or 13 - we would change the nature of this country. As it is, half the people in Canada don't know anything and don't want to know anything and never will know anything about this country except their own province."
William Oscar Johnson, US travel and sports writer, quoting an unnamed conductor aboard The Canadian, west of Winnipeg, "Trans-Canada" Sports Illustrated, 27 Jan 1988

On a cold, wet Canadian winter night, there's nothing like crawling into bed with your laptop and curling up with a good disc.
Frank Ogden, futurologist, characteristic observation, 1980s.

The clerisy are those who seek, and find, delight and enlargement of life in books. The clerisy are those for whom reading is a personal art.
Robertson Davies, material issued by the Folio Society, June 1990.

A sermon, in my own definition, is "a bridge that a preacher constructs between the Word of God in Scripture and the human situation in the personal and corporate lives of his people."
Leonard Griffith, preacher, From Sunday To Sunday: Fifty Years in the Pulpit 1987

In a real world, the one outside the rarified atmosphere where Popes meet Archbishops of Canterbury, people no longer care whether somebody is an Anglican or a Roman Catholic. They already take it for granted that being a "believer" is more important than having a denominational name-tag any day of the week.
Tom Harpur, religion columnist, The Toronto Star, 15 Oct 1989

The University of Toronto is a greater threat to Christianity than Bay Street, because Bay Street has sinners while the University of Toronto tends to produce agnostics.
Aloysius Ambrozic, Coadjutor Archbishop of Toronto, Ron Graham God's Dominion: A Sceptics Quest 1990

Rhinoceros Party
We cannot fool all of the people some of the time, or even some of the people all of the time - but if we can fool the majority of the people at election time, that's the time we need.
Charlie McKenzie, "concierge" Rhinoceros Party, press conference, Montreal, The Globe and Mail 30 Sept 1988

As an experience madness is terrific and in its lava I still find most of the things I write about.
Humphry Osmond, psychiatrist, "A Good Man" Predicting The Past:... 1981

Canada has one of the highest rates of insanity in any civilized country and one reason might be that life in many places is so desperately dull.
Robertson Davies, Conversations with Robertson Davies 1989


I am told that the Inuit have some sixty words for snow... for different kinds of snow. That does not surprise me. They see a lot of it. I live considerably south of the tree line, but even I have seventeen words for snow - none of them usable in public.
Arthur Black, broadcaster, "Winter" Basic Black:... 1981

Under the BNA act, the Senate was envisioned as a house of sober second thought. It has become a house of Frankenstein, with indexed pensions.
Laura Sabia, journalist, address, Empire Club, Toronto, 19 Oct 1978.

The position of the native people is that the province belongs to the native people. Quebec cannot go out on its own and be separate. What Quebec should be talking about when it talks about separating is only the Montreal and Quebec City area and that's it.
Billy Diamond, Cree chief, The Winnipeg Free Press, 28 July 1990

A Canadian is someone who talks sex but plays sports.
Circa 1968.

....the twenty minute gap, the abyss between the sexes.
Stephen Vizincey, novelist, An Innocent Millionaire 1983

Sex that is not evidence of a strong human tie is just like blowing your nose; it's not a celebration of a splendid relationship.
Robertson Davies. Conversations with Robertson Davies 1989

A Canadian scandal is a hand in the till, not on the thigh.
Roy MacGregor, The Ottawa Citizen 29 March 1989

People aren't ashamed of the sex, they're ashamed of the fantasies.
Character in the play Dreaming and Duelling by John Lazarus

Cross country skiing is basically jogging while wearing lumber.
Arthur Black, "Cross Country Skiing" Basic Black:... 1981

I can't quite twist my mind around the logic of a society that persecutes people who smoke a legal product from which the government derives considerable tax revenue.
Barbara Amiel, Maclean's 12 Dec 1988

When it comes to the quality of life, not to mention longevity, I am not at all certain that cigarettes are deadlier on the whole than cars.
George Faludy, Hungarian-born poet, Notes from the Rainforest 1988

You have no idea how wonderful it is for Americans to hear Canadian socialists debate how to defend something we can hardly dream of having in the States.
Michael Harrington, American author and socialist, Quoted in his obituary by Bob Rae, The Toronto Star 7 Aug 1989

Saidye Bronfman: You've come a long way for a St. Urbain boy.
Mordecai Richler: And you've come a long way for a bootlegger's wife.
Conversation at the Montreal premiere in 1973 of the movie of "The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz"

Marc Garneau (in French): There is no one here to take your call. If you leave a message we will call you back.
Mission Control: Parlez Anglais.
Conversation between the bilingual astronaut and the unilingual ground control concerning answering a morning wake-up call aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger, 11 Oct 1984, Qu in Macleans 22 Oct 1984

We live on a tiny planet orbiting an ordinary star on the periphery of a typical galaxy.
Character in the film Jesus of Montreal 1989

Ladies and Gentleman: I am the obvious person to be speaking, I have looked up the word "obvious" in the dictionary and the definition is: "goes without saying." So that is what I propose to do.
Sir Julian Byng, Gov General "Whereupon he left," according to J Raymond

Canadians can't play baseball because baseball is a summer game and Canada has no summer. Canadians should stick to their native sports, namely, hockey and pelt trapping.
Jimmy Breslin, US Sports columnist commenting on the fact that the singer didn't know the words to O Canada at the NY-Blue Jays game in NY.
Qu by Stephen Brook in Maple Leaf Rag:... 1987

For me, a game is first and last a contest with myself and it always has been.
Ken Dryden, Home Game 1989

Style, National
While I was not present at any of their moments of triumph, I am reasonably certain that where a Greek would have said "Eureka!" or an American "Hot Damn!", a Canadian would say only, "Not bad eh"
Peter Gzowski, radio host, The Private Voice:... 1988

I'd rather work with crippled kids than coach an Olympic champion.
Gus Ryder, swim coach of Marilyn Bell and instructor of handicapped children. Qu in Canada's Sporting Heroes 1974

Why should Ontario pay for Quebec's fucking?
George Drew, Ontario Premier, objecting to the proposed family allowance Qu in Saturday Night Dec 1975

Television is today as much a receptacle for the projection of people's imagery as the moon used to be; it is seen as an instrument for the incitement of violence just as the moon, a celestial and "lunatic" scapegoat, was formerly believed to cause mankind's mental aberrations.
Irvine Schiffer

Watching TV ads is sitting in the corner watching all the lies go by.  The medium is no more the message than the Chivas Regal bottle is the whiskey.
Patrick O'Flaherty, literary critic, characteristic remark, Jan 1988

I don't consider it entertainment when you have to pay attention to find out what's going on.
Letter to Toronto's Factory by an irate patron, The Toronto Star 31 Dec 1988

Third World
For the first time in history, we fortunate 20 percent of the world, we who use 80 percent of the planet's resources in pursuit of the good life, are being forced to face the fact that the Third World is part of an equation that will determine our survival on the Earth.
Anita Gordon and David Suzuki, It's A Matter Of Survival, 1990

Reporter: Why is the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq more problematic than the invasion of Tibet by China?
Dalai Lama: Because we have no oil.
Press conference in Toronto Sept-Oct 1990. Qu by Alice Klein in Now 4 Oct 1990

The beginning of the long dash, followed by 10 seconds of silence, indicates exactly one o'clock...
"The National Research Council Time Signal" on CBC Radio. Noted by R McNeill in the Toronto Star 17 Feb 1991 "It may be Canada's longest-running if shortest radio program (as little as 15 seconds)."

Never rely on those who trust your judgment.
Robin Skelton, aphorism, May 1990.

Truth I have no trouble with, it's the facts I get all screwed up.
Farley Mowat, interviewed n CFRB, Toronto, 14 Dec 1975

Truth is not necessarily stranger than fiction, but coincidence can sometimes be.
Edward Philips, Sunday Best 1990

United States of America
A Canadian never feels more Canadian than when he is in the United States.
John Gray, playwright, preface to Billy Bishop Goes to War 1981

Q: What is the secret of American foreign policy?
A: Why did it never occur to Lucy to learn Spanish instead of mocking Ricky's accent?
Douglas Fetherling, "Pop Culture: The Politics of Nostalgia" The Whig Standard Magazine 6 Feb 1988

The real utopia is a world not to see but to see by.
Northrop Frye, Qu in L Vardey Belonging: A Book... 1988

A vice is merely a pleasure to which somebody has objected.
Robin Skelton, aphorism, May 1990

Vietnam War
If we learned nothing from Vietnam we should have learned how little helicopters, armies, weapons and those walls count if they are not backed by the spirit of determination and a belief among the people that they are fighting for a worthwhile cause.
Barbara Amiel, Empire Club

Missiles create budget deficits, but satellites are generators of economic wealth.
Frank Feather, futurologist, G-Forces: Reinventing... 1989

Canadians are careful. We have two railways, two airlines, two languages, and two temperatures.
Barry Mather, journalist, letter 1 July 1979

I wouldn't say it's cold, but every year Winnipeg's athlete of the year is an ice fisherman.
Dale Tallon, US Journalist covering Winnipeg-Chicago game in Winnipeg, Sports Illustrated 22 Dec 1986

It is hard for some newcomers, for instance, to understand that the concept of space is very important to Canadians. We have a need for space and for wilderness uncontaminated by human settlements, and when you destroy that, you are destroying a myth.
R. Murray Schafer, composer, interviewed by U Colgrass in For the Love of Music 1988

Canadian wines? You're kidding. Look at any map; it is white above the border, which means there is snow in Canada. All they have is beer and whiskey.
William E. Mases, oenologist and author of Wines of America 1974 Qu by T Aspler in Vintage Canada

My glass has been politicized. When I drink from a decent bottle of French red, I get a nagging twinge, telling me that every sip is souring the fortunes of the Ontario grape grower, that his livelihood is now as irretrievably lost as a cork pushed into the bottle.
John Nuggeridge Jr. Journalist "The Wines of Ontario, The Idler No 18 July-Aug 1988

It's fun when you're winning.
Jacques Plant, The Toronto Star 3 Nov 1989

A sportswriter learns early that the best stories are often told on the losers' side of the dressing room, where former victories lose their shine, and recent defeats turn rotten.
Dick Beddoes, Greatest Hockey Stories 1990.

How can I explain the shock of being a little kid and one day realizing you are alive, which is nice, but on the downside you are in the middle of a fucking Winnipeg winter, and no one is going to come to rescue you and take you away to a habitable part of the world. You could be trapped here until you died, if you weren't careful.
Robert Hunter, author, "Better in the Bahamas" On The Sky: Zen... 1988

We are the only people who are still judged by the standards of Mother Goose and Walt Disney.
Jean Kozocari, witch, qu by K Marron in Witches, Pagans, & Magic in the New Age 1989

There is no authentic report of wolves ever having killed a human being in the Canadian North; although there must have been times when the temptation was well-nigh irresistible.
Farley Mowat, author and naturalist, Never Cry Wolf 1963

I can never understand why women want to be equal. Why would they willingly accept a demotion?
Allan Fotheringham, Maclean's 4 Sept 1978

Woman's place is in the house, and that's where she should go just as soon as she leaves the office.
Shelia Copps, politician and feminist, Nobody's Baby:... 1986

A smile, a sexual experience, or an athletic achievement may give us a transcendent experience. With a sense of wonder, something in our environment uplifts our whole being, and we are more whole than before.
Dorothy Maclean, medium, To Hear the Angels Sing:... 1980

Poor is the man who can't spell a word more than one way.
Clarke Wallace, writer, scriptwriter, and poor speller, characteristic remark, 18 Oct 1990.

We the Unwilling / Led by the Unqualified / Have Been Doing the Unbelievable / For So Long With So Little / That We Now Attempt /The Impossible /With Nothing.
Photocopy lore, Centennial College Scarborough Ont Sept 1990

There are people who say we should forget the war and cut out these "crazy military parades" and put an end to such nonsense.. but I wonder how far it is wise for us to forget. Who made this nation? Who died? If these are things we must forget in the history of Canada, what are the things we should remember?
Sir Arthur Currie, General during WW1, one of his last interviews, The Toronto Star 25 June 1988

If any shooting is to be done the first people who should face the firing squad are those who have made money out of the war.
J.S. Woodsworth, CCF leader, why he cast the sole vote against Can. participation in WW2, Qu in Socialism in Canada: A Study... 1978

What we face now is not merely slaughter or genocide, but "omnicide," the obliteration of all humans and all living species.
Penney Kome and Patrick Crean, foreword, Peace: A Dream Unfolding 1986

There may be survivors from a nuclear war, but there will be no winners.
Gordon Shrum, engineer and educator, An Autobiography 1986

Much of the misery of my life - just as much of the pleasure - has been caused by my habit of living everything over beforehand. It is never half as bad - or half as delightful - when it really comes.
LM Montgomery, author, diary 4 June 1920, The Selected Journals of LM Montgomerey: Vol II 1910-1921, 1987

Write out of your own experience; write simply. This is the law and the prophets for an author who hopes to be read in the centuries to come.
William Arthur Deacon, lit critic, "On Literary Immortality" Pens and Pirates 1923

Always hire drunks, they don't last long but they're grateful for the work and don't ask for much money.
~ attrib to Jack Kent Cooke, publisher, Qu by Paul Stuewein The Storms Below: The Turbulent Life and Times of Hugh Garner 1988

The glamour, romance, and respect that writers supposedly enjoy seem entirely mythical when you have to stand on the street with a sign around your neck and peddle books that you published yourself.
Crad Kilodney, fiction writer who sells his work Toronto Streets "How I Write Such Great Stories" alternate intro to Malignant Humours 1988

Canada is a country where the serious writers are hockey fans and readers of comic books. They don't play chess.
Louis Dudek, poet, "Can. Lit Notes' The Bumper Book 1986

If the pen is mightier than the sword, why isn't it a felony to carry a ball-point in your jacket pocket?
Michael Coren, biographer, "Canadian Satire" The Toronto Star 25 Aug 1990

Man's dominion over the beasts of the earth includes a responsibility to preserve them in their own habitat.
Don Hepworth, Chief Inspector, Ontario Humane Society, Gorilla in the Garage.. and other Stories 1987

...and 'In Praise of Canadians'

The Temperature Comparison Guide (degrees are in Fahrenheit):
· 50 above - New Yorkers turn off the heat. Canadians plant gardens.
· 40 above - Californians shiver uncontrollably. Canadians sunbathe.
· 35 above - Italian cars won't start. Canadians drive with the windows down.
· 32 above - Distilled water freezes. Canadian water gets thicker.
· 20 above - Floridians wear coats, gloves & wool hats. Canadians throw on a t-shirt.
· 15 above - Californians begin to evacuate the state. Canadians go swimming.
· Zero     - New York landlords finally turn up the heat. Canadians have the last cook-out before it gets cold.
· 10 below - People in Miami cease to exist. Canadians lick flag poles.
· 20 below - Californians fly away to Mexico. Canadians throw on a light jacket.
· 40 below - Hollywood disintegrates. Canadians rent videos.
· 60 below - Mt. St. Helens freezes. Canadian Girl Scouts begin selling cookies door to door.
· 80 below - Polar bears begin to evacuate the Arctic. Canadian Boy Scouts postpone "Winter Survival" classes until it gets cold enough.
· 100 below - Santa Claus abandons the North Pole. Canadians pull down their ear flaps.
· 173 below - Ethyl alcohol freezes. Canadians get frustrated when they can't thaw their kegs.
· 297 below - Microbial life survives on dairy products. Canadian cows complain of farmers with cold hands.
· 460 below - ALL atomic motion stops. Canadians start saying "Cold'nuff for ya, eh?"
· 500 below - Hell freezes over. The Maple Leafs win the Stanley Cup.

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