How To Throw A Canada-Themed Party

Happy 150th Birthday, Canada! The true, north, strong and free marks a century and a half this week with #Canada150, and it’s not just Canada that’s celebrating. The whole world – and especially the rest of North America – owes Canada a debt of gratitude for its strong yet kind example: Canada cares for its citizens, welcomes refugees, expands human rights and learns from its mistakes. Although I’m an American, I’ve always been proud of my Canadian ancestry (my grandmother’s family was in Quebec since the 1500s) and have been grateful to live near the border of such a fantastic neighbo(u)r. If you love Canada too, maybe you’d like to celebrate Canada on its sesquicentennial anniversary  … or get a jump start on your Canada Day planning. Like our American-Themed Party, these ideas aren’t intended to replicate a “typical” Canadian party. Instead, they’re some fun ways to boost Canadian pride, celebrate a beautiful country, and maybe even learn a bit of trivia.

Games

Polite Water Balloon Relay

This is basically a normal balloon relay. Each team forms two lines and players toss a water balloon back and forth to each other to reach the end of the line. If you break a water balloon, you have to start back at the beginning. The first team to send three water balloons successfully down the line wins.

Here’s the twist: each team member needs to say thank you before passing the balloon off. Each player must also say sorry if they drop the balloon AND if the person before or after them drops it, even if it’s not your fault. If a player forgets to say thank you or sorry, you have to start over (sorry).

Duck Duck Canada Goose

Here’s one for the kiddos. This is just like Duck Duck Goose, but when a player is chosen as “Canada Goose” it either goes apeshit or stands directly in the pathway of whoever is trying to catch them without moving. If you really wanted to be accurate, the Canada Goose would also drop improbably large poops absolutely everywhere, but let’s not. The Canada Goose is the one Canadian export I could do without.

Money Mix-Up!

To really recreate the life of the millions of Canadians who live near the U.S. border, bring a piggy bank of Canadian coins and mix them up in everyone’s wallet (riddle me this: if Canada got rid of pennies in 2013, why do I have SO MANY CANADIAN PENNIES in my wallet always?).

The real games happens after the party when you find out which machines will and won’t accept your currency.

Cottage Invite Blitz

Please correct me if I’m wrong – and maybe this is totally just my experience – but I feel like everyone I’ve met from Ontario has a cottage, has a friend with a cottage, or just generally loves cottages.  But what to do if you haven’t nailed down a summer cottage invite?

In Cottage Invite Blitz, half of the players have a card that says I Have A Cottage and half say I Need A Cottage. The card is on your forehead and there is no peeking to see what you got. By talking to each other, players have to pair up – one player who has a cottage with one who needs one. The tricky part is rather than explicitly telling another player that they have a cottage or need one, you have to sort of indirectly work out the invitation in a friendly and polite way. Is the other player being nice to you because you have a cottage, or are they being nice to you because they are Canadian?

Canadian Or Not Canadian

You can either make a set of flashcards or use photos on your phone. Players must guess whether the celebrity pictured is Canadian or Not Canadian. A lot of modern celebrities may prove challenging: Ryans Reynolds and Gosling, Keanu Reeves, Seth Rogan, Joshua Jackson, Michael Cera… it’s a very, VERY long list, but you can make the game tricky by including Americans who seem kind of Canadian.

Canadian Spelling/ Vocab Bee

Canadian spelling: not really British, not really American. Have a fun spelling bee with the following words:

grey, travelling, colour, honour, neighbour,  axe, lincence, moustache, eh, anything with a ‘z’ in it because you’re out if you say zee instead of zed.

Or, have players provide the definitions to the following words in a vocab bee:

toque, chesterfield, loonie, toonie, poutine, double-double, and eh again (because it can mean so many things!)

Fill In Map Of Canada

Inspired by our map game in the American-themed party, have guests fill in the names of the provinces and territories on a blank map of Canada.

I thought I had it on lock because there are only 13, but I swear nobody ever told me there was a thing just called Northwest Territories. Sorry, Northwest Territories. Sorry that I called you The North Place.

Can You Say That In French?

In this elimination game, you make conversation as normal – but you have to repeat everything you say in French. The last person standing wins.

Dans ce jeu d’élimination, vous parlez normalement – sauf que vous devez répéter tout en français. La dernière personne qui reste gagne.

[I CLEARLY would not be the last person remaining. My apologies to the French language for that.]

Winter Wear Bonanza

In this pairs relay, the first player must run to the station, put on a selection of winter outerwear (scarf, hat, gloves, coat, earmuffs, etc), then run back to their partner, change out of the winter clothes and have their partner put them on. The partner then runs to the station and back. First team to finish wins.

 


Entertainment

On The Screen

My first thought was to just play all of the Anne Of Green Gables movies – and while I liked the new series, you know I mean the Megan Follows ones. Then I realized I was remiss in excluding Canadian fav Degrassi, both the O.G. ’80s series and the reboot staring Drake.

It’s also never wrong to air a hockey game, particularly a Hockey Night In Canada broadcast.

Particularly if you don’t speak French, it could be fun to play a soap opera from Quebec and fill in the dialogue yourself, a la that classic scene from Friends with the telenovela.

You can’t beat Canadian comedy, and if that’s more your speed you can tune in to The Kids In The Hall, SCTV (the Catherine O’Hara era is my personal favorite), The Red Green Show or Trailer Park Boys.

Finally, for a bit of childhood nostalgia, try The Elephant Show or You Can’t Do That On Television.

(You could also watch nothing because that is what is available on Canadian Netflix, and Hulu blocks your IP address on half of everything.)

In The Speakers

Just play The Tragically Hip the whole time.

Okay, fine. If you’d like to expand further you still may want to stick with a mix of musicians who are typically associated with Canada – even though there are excellent Canadian musicians of every genre. This means Drake, Alanis Morrissette, Neil Young, Leonard Cohen, Celine Dion, the Barenaked Ladies, Justin Bieber, Bryan Adams, Gordon Lightfoot, Sarah McLachlan and Crash Test Dummies. Please include at least one play of Let’s Go To The Mall from How I Met Your Mother, as it is the only time the phrase “rock your body ’til Canada day” has appeared in music thus far.


Refreshments

Food
Maple Anything

Canadians don’t really eat wacky maple-flavored treats, but in keeping with the theme you can serve maple candy or some refreshing maple ice cream. You can even find maple mustard dip and maple jerky.

Ketchup Chips

It’s true: these are very hard, if not impossible to find in the U.S.A. If you live near Canada, swing up and grab a few bags for your bash. If you live IN Canada, can we get married so I can have health care? I’ll pay for the chips.

Poutine

Cheese. Gravy. Fries. Good.

Tim Hortons

Assuming you live someplace where there’s Tim Hortons, provide guests with an array of all the finest Timbits and a big box of hot coffee, with sugar and cream for the classic double-double. It’s probably not a Classic Canadian Icon but the iced cap is also legit.

Kraft Dinner

Yes, it’s the same as Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, but you have to call it Kraft Dinner.

Hickory Sticks

… I guess. Does anybody like these?

Nanaimo Bars, Beaver Tails and Butter Tarts

If you’re a good baker or can get to a Canadian bakery or cafe, these Canadian treats are must-haves, particularly if your guests haven’t had a chance to try them before.

Drinks
Canadian Beer

This might be a great time to try some delicious Canadian craft beer, but to keep your budget low and your party Canadian, maybe you should provide a standby like Molson or Labatt.

Canadian Mixed Drinks

I’ll defer to this MentalFloss piece, as well as my own memories of going across the border to drink as a 19-year-old. For liability reasons I should tell you that Canadian drinking ages only apply in Canada.

Screech is a real only-in-Canada rum, and of course I have to recommend anything using Canadian whisky.

I’m still never trying a Bloody Caesar, though. Blech.

Wine

If you run with more of a wine crowd, Niagara wines from Ontario are always a great bet. There are also some good selections from the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. Try an ice wine if you haven’t already.

Other

I have no idea. Canada Dry and Canadian Club?


Canadian Style

Decor

It’s kind of a no-brainer, but a lot of Canadian flags and maple leaf insignia would be a good way to go. You can also include hockey posters and memorabilia or tack up pictures of Canadian wildlife (a moose and a beaver, at least).

In our American-Themed party post, we suggested hanging up pictures of great Americans and having guests name as many as they can. That would work well for great Canadians as well. You can include everyone from Justin Trudeau to Wayne Gretzky, Margaret Atwood to Lucy Maud Montgomery.

If you don’t play the Fill In The Map game, you could hang up a large, blank map of Canada (oh Canada…) and have guests fill in the names of the provinces and territories, major cities, places they’ve been, or just draw snowflakes and moose and those goddamn geese everywhere.

Fashion

Canadians just dress like regular humans, but you can have some fun here. Clothes in Canadian colors or with the Canadian flag on it would be great – Roots even has a Canada 150 line. You could also dress as an inoffensive Canadian stereotype, which is probably just a person with warm clothing.

If you really want to go for it, I’d have each guest dress as a Canadian, past or present. You can have everything from Anne of Green Gables to Robin Sparkles. Guests can be a hockey player or a Tim Hortons cashier if they want to go more generic. For an ’80s vibe, you could dress as a classic Degrassi character, and more modern TV fans can reuse their Orphan Black cosplay from Halloween. Deep cut references include the girl in the Steal My Sunshine video from the 90s or a group costume as Sharon, Lois and Bram.

If full costumes are too much to ask, name tags can add a bit of Canadian fun – everyone can pick a Canadian name like Jim Carrey, Megan Follows, Don Cherry, or Gordon. Any Gordon.

 

 

 

We Need To Talk Trudeau

This week, our neighbours to the north welcomed a new era of government, when Justin Trudeau, the leader of the Liberal Party was sworn in as prime minister of Canada. And although his election marked the end of nearly a decade of conservatives ruling the country, it also marked a huge generational shift, as JT, at 43 years old, is the second youngest prime minister in Canada’s history.

One of the major results of this is that for the first time ever, the cabinet is comprised of an equal number of men and women. With 15 men and 15 women, the ministers, mostly under the age of 50, represent a huge range of people, including two aboriginal members, three Sikh politicians, two atheists, a blind woman, a paralympic in a wheelchair… couldn’t make this up if I tried. This is great news for Canadians since there’s actually some semblance of what the population of the country looks like representing them in the government.

So when JT was asked why it was so important to him to have a cabinet that is gender balanced, it seemed like a no-brainer answer:

Basically every Canadian and the rest of the world once his answer/this GIF went viral:

My knowledge of JT’s existence only goes back to October when he was officially elected Prime Minister and I saw a pic of him legit clapped (outloud, to no one) to congratulate Canada as a whole. After his Drop The Mic moment on Wednesday’s swearing in ceremony, I needed to know more about him, and you do too. My fellow Americans (and rando other international friends), here is a primer to Prime Minister Trudeau.

Following in His Father’s Footsteps

JT was born when his father, Pierre Trudeau, was serving as the 15th Prime Minister of Canada as part of the Liberal Party. Considered one of the greatest PMs of the country, Pierre was praised not only for his policies and effective reform throughout his 15 years in office, but for his charm and good looks. When he first was elected in 1968, Pierre helped reinvigorate the Liberal Party and Canadian government in general thanks to his youthfulness and breath of fresh air quality he brought to politics, and the term “Trudeaumania” even became a thing.

JT started getting involved in politics in the 2000s shortly after his father died, and of course he drew comparisons to his father, sparking Trudeaumania 2.0. The younger Trudeau holds similar political views and a similar spirit – see Exhibit A: Pierre doing pirouettes behind the Queen’s back at Buckingham Palace during a G7 Summit:

Exhibit B: Justin Trudeau dancing with his wife, Sophie, after being elected the new leader of the Liberal Party. A GIF that was posted on TWITTER that he described as GETTING THEIR GROOVE ON.

Justin is also the first child of a PM to become the head of government in Canada. Think of him as the George W. as opposed to the Jeb!.

I Believe The Children Are Our Future

Growing up, Justin actually shied away from politics, and graduated with two degrees – one in literature and the other in education. He attended McGill University then the University of British Columbia, where he earned a degree in education. He became a teacher, educating Canada’s youth in French and math. I’m betting he was that teacher the girls secretly drew doodles about in their notebooks.

Beat This Acting, Reagan

It’s no Bedtime for Bonzo, but in 2007, JT starred in a two-part miniseries called The Great War, which detailed Canada’s participation in World War I. JT played Talbot Mercer Papineau, a Major who was killed during the Battle of Passchendaele in 1917. Also, he was a puppy lover.

Mama Said Knock You Out

In 2012, JT showed off his athletic skills (and I guess his upper body as well) in a charity boxing match. He had difficulty finding an opponent until Conservative Senator Patrick Brazeau – that dude on the right – stepped up to the challenge. JT won in the third round and it was considered a major upset. Guess intimidation didn’t work on Justin.

Just Like A Tattoo, I’ll Always Have You

Speaking of shirts off, JT is believed to be the only global leader in modern times to have a tattoo. And his is obviously not a small white ink infinity sign on his pinky finger. No, JT has a huge tatt on his upper left arm, featuring the Earth inside a raven from the Haida tribe, the indigenous ethnic group the Trudeau family are honorary members of.

QT First Family

JT is married to Canadian TV host Sophie Gregoire, and together they have three kids,  Xavier James, 8, Ella-Grace Margaret, 6,  and Hadrien, 1. Why is the entire Trudeau family in their backyard swimming pool, you ask? Who knows? Who Cares! They’re adorable!

Prime Minister Goals

*fist bump*

 

Playlist of the Month: Canadians We’re Thankful For

Our neighbor to the north. Our frigid-weather friends. The land of maple and honey. Ladies and gentlemen, today is all about Canada. Or more specifically, Canadian Thanksgiving.

Like most things, Thanksgiving is a situation where Canada looked at what the U.S. had done, considered it carefully, then did it more rationally and logically. An earlier Thanksgiving means that you don’t have to travel in a snowstorm, that you can play that post-dinner football game without your fingers turning blue, and that you have an entire extra month-and-a-half between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

So today, when Canadians give thanks, we give thanks for Canadians.

Traci’s Picks

Nelly Furtado – Say It Right

Important: where is Nelly Furtado? In Canada? Am I missing something? I know she had a kid but like, that was a while ago, right? Am I just not hearing her new stuff? IS SHE JUST LIKE A BIRD AND JUST WANTED TO FLY AWAY?? Well she needs to come back and make more songs like Say It Right, because this song was my JAM  back in ’06.

soulDecision – Ooh It’s Kinda Crazy

If you’re not Canadian or a die hard TRL teenybopper like I was, you might not know who soulDecision was. The band made of boys (*not a boy band) had a – you guessed it – soul sound to their music, and it was more along that genre, despite the fact they were white dudes from Vancouver. Not gonna lie, I sometimes listen to this song and their other hit Faded, because I think they’re just that good.

Drake – Find Your Love

Ah, Aubrey. From wheelchair-bound Degrassi star to hip-hop superstar, you have done your country proud, sir. Can’t say the same for other current popular artists *cough*bieber*cough. It’s hard for people to take you seriously if they know you as the disabled kid from the most famous Canadian teen drama, so props to Drake for proving to everyone that a half-Jewish kid from Toronto can make it.

The Weeknd – Wicked Games

I had always categorized The Weeknd as an R&B singer, but according to Wikipedia, he’s a “PBR&B” artist, which is a term coined by music journalists to describe a new subgenre of R&B that uses more synth and indie beach rock sounds. Also, PBR stands for what you think it does – Pabst Blue Ribbon. Aka the beer of hipsters. Aka PBR&B is slang for hipster R&B (think Frank Ocean, Theophilus London, Jhene Aiko, Miguel, etc.). I’m learning so much! Anyways, it doesn’t matter what genre The Weeknd is, he is dope and has great music, including this song that sounds incredibly sexy but I’m pretty sure it has to do with drugs.

Robin Sparkles & Jessica Glitter – The Beaver Song

Let’s Go To The Mall? Played out. Sandcastles in the Sand? Overrated. The Beaver Song is where it’s at. You guys watched Space Teens as a kid, right? Starring Robin Sparkles, Jessica Glitter, and Canada’s favourite dad Alan Thicke? Of course you did. And what is better than a song aboot friendship? Absolutely nothing.

Molly’s Picks

Barenaked Ladies – Jane

In the 90s, BNL was a big favorite in our hometown – probably because we were right across the lake from Toronto.  I pondered over which BNL song would be the most Canadian, and settled on the one named after a girl named after a Toronto intersection. You can also listen to If I Had A Million Dollars, because they say “chesterfield.”

Alanis Morissette – Head Over Feet

I really could have kept going with the 90s artists: Bryan Adams, Sarah McLaughlin, Crash Test Dummies. The 90s, with all of their flannel, outdoor activewear, and left-leaning social policies, were probably the U.S.A.’s most Canadian decade, so this comes as no surprise. We really fell head over feet for you, Canada, didn’t we?

Neil Young – Rockin’ In The Free World

The freest world of all? Why, that would be Canada, of course.

Tegan And Sara – Back In Your Head

When I lived 10 minutes from the Canadian border, I never  knew when I was listening to Canadian radio and when I was listening to American radio. But years later I’ve learned that some albums I thought were ubiquitous – like The Con – were only all over the Canadian airwaves.  I’m still thankful for these Canadians, because a few of their tracks are on rotation at my gym and it’s some of the only good music they play.

Zit Remedy – Everybody Wants Something

Degrassi is a Canadian treasure. This song is not.

Canada Can Keep The Following Artists:

Avril Lavigne, Justin Bieber, Nickleback, Celine Dion, Sarah McLaughlin.

But thanks for these guys:

Joni Mitchell, deadmau5, Gordon Lightfoot, I guess Shania Twain. In exchange for your troubles, you can have this fine piece of Canadian art by my small nephew. The tests haven’t come back, but I’m pretty sure this kid came out Canadian.

So Your Mayor Smoked Crack

This week, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford admitted that he was guilty of smoking crack cocaine while in office – but refused to resign. He said:

“Yes, I have smoked crack cocaine. But no, do I — am I an addict? No. Have I tried it? Probably, in one of my drunken stupors, probably approximately about a year ago.” {x}

Apparently, he had been denying this accusation for the past six months, but enough was enough and he finally told the God’s honest truth. That, and he said journalists weren’t asking the ‘correct questions.’ Honestly, the correct question didn’t come up in six months? Ok Robby.

But hey. Listen, we all make mistakes. One time I ordered a plate of cheese slices for dinner in Spain, when I thought they were going to be scrumptious empanadas. This is the same situation.

In fact, I applaud Mayor Ford for finally coming clean. First of all, it takes a lot of guts for a person in public office to admit to their constituents that they’ve doing something wrong that could potentially be used against them and their career. Second of all, if he really only did crack that one time, no harm, no foul, right? Third of all, it’s about damn time Canada and Canadian politicians got in to some trouble! These U.S. folks are getting all the attention, it’s about time our neighbors to the north had a little political shakeup.

Also, let’s face it, there are worst things that a Mayor could do. So buck up, Toronto. Grab some Timbits and head to the Eaton Centre for some stress relief shopping because life with a crack Mayor isn’t that bad.

People that are worse than Rob ‘Mayor of Crack’ Ford:

Idi Amin

Note that this photo is NOT of the real Idi Amin, but rather Forest Whitaker in the Last King of Scotland, and he won a Best Actor Oscar for playing Idi Amin. This is how I learn history.

Basically any tyrannical political leader who did more harm than help for their people is worse than Mayor McCrackerton. Obvi Hitler is an obvious choice, but he always trumps everyone for being the worst, so I thought I’d shake it up a little.

For those who need a quick history lesson, Idi Amin was the President of Uganda in the 1970s, and notorious for his obscene rule over the country, which included corruption, human rights abuse, ethnic persecution, etc. etc. During the eight years of his reign, an estimated range of 100,000 to 500,000 were killed.

Your mayor smoked crack.

Ben Wyatt, Mayor of Ice Town

Fictional character Ben Wyatt, played by Adam Scott in Parks in Recreation, was just 18 when he was elected the mayor of his small town in Partridge, Minnesota. However his immaturity and lack of experience led to him to make some poor decisions – including when he bankrupted the city after creating a winter sports complex called Ice Town. Ben was  unofficially banned from his hometown.

Your mayor smoked crack.

Actually being the one to make crack a la Walter White

Rob-ster allegedly only smoked crack once. It may have been caught on video, but he did it once. At least he’s not using his skills as a Mayor to make crack and build an entire drug empire. Because what insane psychopath does that?

Your mayor smoked crack.

Amanda Bynes

Once Nickelodeon’s starlet, Amanda has gone absolutely bonkers, and she apparently isn’t even on drugs or alcohol. While she may be getting help, 2013 wasn’t a great year for Amanda, who thought getting cheek piercings was a good idea. CHEEK. PIERCINGS. PLURAL.

Your mayor smoked crack.

Anthony Weiner

Sexting. Sexting with ladies on Twitter. Sexting with ladies on Twitter under the name Carlos Danger.

Your mayor smoked crack.

Anne Of Green Gables 2013

Let’s talk about Canadian television. I lived in a border city for 3 years, and spent some quality time with Canadian TV. It’s mostly made up of American shows, hockey, people talking about hockey, Tim Hortons commercials, snow – just, like, programming about snow, because Canada has so damn much of it, and people who generally look all healthy and financially secure and smug because they all have health care. Every once in a while, you get a Degrassi in there. The piece de resistance of Canadian television is the 1985 CBC adaptation of Anne of Green Gables.

As a dramatic, bookish redheaded child, I was more or less obligated to love Anne of Green Gables. If you loved her, too, you will remember a few things about her. She was an orphan who always had her head in the clouds, she was outspoken but always meant well, and — oh yeah, she lived in the 18-fucking-hundreds or something. So when I heard that Canadian TV was adapting Anne of Green Gables to a modern setting, I was a little confused. None of the plotlines even make sense in 2013. Clearly, a couple tweaks are in order. Frankly, I don’t think Tim Hortons will even sponsor this mess.

Here’s what will happen if Canada brings Anne Shirley to the new millennium:

Matthew and Marilla are the worst people ever

The entire premise of Anne of Green Gables falls apart when you move it to this millennium. In the 1908 novel by Lucy Maud Montgomery, Matthew and Marilla order a boy from the orphanage in order to help Matthew with the farm work. They end up with Anne instead. In 2013, buying children to do manual labor is pretty illegal. An 11-year-old girl going to stay with elderly siblings who live together – because they buy her to do work – wouldn’t test well with today’s audiences. I think the only thing they could do is have Anne come from some sort of foster care situation, which would work with the prejudice ol’ Rachel Lynde has against her. Still, though, the show wouldn’t work if Marilla’s this warm, fuzzy older lady who just wants to help an underprivileged girl succeed. She sort of has to be a brittle church-hag who tried to buy a little boy for chores.

Bath Salts Are The New Raspberry Cordial

Remember when Anne invited Diana over for tea, then accidentally got Diana drunk on raspberry cordial, then they weren’t allowed to be friends for a while? Most parents still wouldn’t like the kid who got their daughter drunk, but I think raspberry cordial has lost some shock value in the intervening hundred years. It even sounds like an old-timey refreshment you’d have at tea-time. Nowadays, to get the same punch Anne would have to come across bath salts, sprinkle it on some food, then be all surprised when Diana goes on a drug-induced face-eating rampage. Or, Diana would have an allergy attack and Anne would mix up Zyrtec with Xanax and get Diana all spacey. You got to admit, for such a smart girl Anne could be a little dense sometimes.

“Carrots” Isn’t Really An Insult Anymore

You’ll remember that Anne and Gilbert’s hate-to-tolerance-to-friendship-to-love trajectory began with Gilbert mockingly referring to Anne as “carrots.” In 2013, any teen girl would be like “that’s all you got, Gil?”. In the modern adaptation, instead of calling Anne carrots, Gilbert’s going to set up a Facebook page called “Anne Shirley is a Fire Crotch,” and it’s going to get 300 likes in the first day. Anne won’t smash a slate over his head, she’ll create an unflattering gif set of Gilbert and post it to her tumblr. Josie Pye likes Gil’s page, obviously, because in 2013 as in 1890, Josie Pye is a freaking bitch.

Prissy Andrews and Mr. Phillips? Hello, Sweeps Month Drama

100 years ago, the weird moon-eyes Prissy used to make over Mr. Phillips was supposed to mean that she was a horrible suck-up who would probably marry him after she graduated at 16 or whatever. In 2013, it still means that Prissy is a horrible suck-up who will probably marry Mr. Phillips when she drops out at 16 or whatever (or 18 – not sure of the law there). However, it also means that Mr. Phillips is a total pedophile, which explains why he was so damn creepy. For a 3-episode arc, Anne of Green Gables will become a legal drama as they sort this whole mess out.

Green Hair Dye: Unlikely

Hardly anyone’s given me shit about having red hair, and the dozen-ish times that it has happened it didn’t bother me. So, I don’t think that a 2013 Anne Shirley would be so distraught over her auburn locks that she’d buy hair dye from a peddler and turn it green. I’m thinking she’d be more likely to lose her hair in a knockoff keratin treatment attempt. If the producers want to have a Very Special Episode, maybe Anne could get hooked on bootleg diet drugs or get a suspicious mole excised because she’d been tanning away her redhead complexion. After 100 years, teen girls are still trying wacky things to look better, but I think that carroty hair would be the least of Anne’s concerns.

Puffed sleeves are SO 1908

Anne waited years to be old enough to wear puffed sleeves. Like many young readers, I wondered what exactly that meant but imagined it to be the most beautiful sleeve configuration possible. Then, I saw the movie, and was horrified by these sleeves that looked like they were stuffed with wadded-up shopping bags and cribbed from a 1980s bridesmaid dress. I don’t know what the modern answer to puffed sleeves would be — something that’s considered too grown-up for a young girl, and which looks absolutely ridiculous. Is it half-shirts, now that those are back?

Anne Shirley is now 45 years old

As far as I’m concerned, Megan Follows is the only Anne Shirley. Since nothing about a modern-day Anne of Green Gables makes sense, I don’t see why we need to be all accurate and have a 13-year-old in the role. Let’s just stick with Follows. There may as well be something good in this whole debacle.

Matthew doesn’t die

If we can move Anne of Green Gables to 2013, we can do anything with the story, right? So, let’s let Matthew live and spare all of the little illiterate kids that psychic trauma. Children who have read the book can just keep that development to themselves.

Degrassi TNG: Where Are They Now

Yes, I was too old to watch Degrassi, probably. I really don’t care. First of all, we all know I love age-inappropriate television. Second, Degrassi got away with stuff in a teen series that network TV wasn’t at the time, so it wasn’t entirely awful.

So, yes, I watched it, and now I wonder where the actors are. Not those actors from the later seasons when it got all weird and none of the original crew was there. And NOT the first 80s-90s incarnation of Degrassi. Since I watch stuff for people younger than me, and I was like 5 when that was on, by my calculations that means I was probably watching whatever babies are into. I don’t know. Those fish things that clip onto a crib, or the inside of a uterus, probably.

Anyway. Degrassi. Names link to twitter account, where available. Here we go:

Aubrey Graham – Jimmy

Then.

Now.

It took like a year for me to refer to Aubrey Graham as “Drake” instead of “Wheelchair Jimmy.” It took another two for me to stop telling people that I liked him as far back as when he was “Walking Jimmy.” At that point, I’d realized that probably wasn’t anything to be proud of.

So, where is Jimmy now? Drake. He’s Drake. We all know who Drake is, presumably. Let’s move on.

Cassie Steele – Manny Santos

Then.

Now.

Remember when Manny got all “badass” a few seasons in? She was like 13… in Canada… in the early 2000s… so badass basically meant hoop earrings and Juicy sweatsuits. Remember when Manny got an abortion that one time and The N didn’t air the episode at first? In like 2004? I do. Since Degrassi, Cassie has appeared in My Babysitter’s a Vampire (a TV movie that was a parody of Twilight)  and The L.A. Complex. I never saw that, but wish I had because Jewel Staite was in it. That will be significant to the two of you who remember Space Cases from ‘90s Nickelodeon. Cassie released an e.p. in 2012.

Alex Steele – Angie Jeremiah

Then.

Now.

OK, during season like 22 of Degrassi: TNG, little Angie showed up as an entirely new character. Apparently Degrassi is like the Law & Order of Toronto, that way.

Ryan Cooley – J.T. Yorke

Then. RIP, those stupid button-up shirts with flames on the bottom.

Now.

I just learned that the character of J.T. was stabbed to death at one point since I stopped watching the show. So, R.I.P James Tiberius, I guess. That baby he had during that stupid plotline with Liberty will never know him. Well, not that he would have, anyway.

Ryan has appeared in a few tv series since Degrassi, all probably Canadian.  Per twitter, he has some kind of job where he works in an office. He bills himself as a tech enthusiast, so I’m guessing something with computers or, like, robots. He apparently studied theater in college, and was on a YouTube series last year.

Miriam McDonald – Emma Nelson

Then.

Now.

Miriam has appeared on a few TV series since leaving Degrassi, including Orphan Black, which is one of our favs! Wikipedia calls her an “occasional dancer,” which presumably means something a little more than dancing around her kitchen, and a little less than appearing on the now-defunct SYTYCD: Canada. She put a yoga vid on Twitter lately, if you like yoga, Twitter, or Miriam McDonald.

Jake Epstein – Craig

Then.

Now.

So Craig is like… kiiiiind of a smokeshow now, right? Just getting that out of the way. He was in My Babysitter’s A Vampire with Cassie Steele, as well as Paradise Falls, which you’re more likely to have seen. Jake appeared in the national tour of American Idiot – national meaning United States ( in Canada, touring — like burying the dead and collecting maple syrup — has to occur after things start to thaw, which is why there aren’t so many tours there). Jake has had an active theater career in Ontario, and hit Broadway for the first time last year as an understudy for the title character in Spider-man. In an upcoming Broadway musical, he’ll be playing Carole King’s husband. Like, Carole King as a character, not Carole King as an actress.

Sarah Barrable-Tishaur – Liberty VanZandt

Then.

Now.

Sarah’s linkdin page is crazy. Good crazy. She has done a lot of legit stuff since DeGrassi, don’t get me wrong. She went to Concordia university and did stuff during her college career other than watching a lot of daytime TV, which is already impressive to me. She worked as a media consultant for a school, and as a Senior Graphic Designer at Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East. Right now she’s a freelance Communications Consultant and Media Content Developer. And there, in the middle of all of that good stuff, is “Lead Actor, Liberty Van Zandt at Degrassi: The Next Generation.” Coolest employment history footnote ever. I mean I think my most interesting one is “hostess in a bird costume.”

Don’t even get me started on Liberty’s pregnancy.

Shane Kippel – Spinner Mason

Then.

Now??

Shane was on Degrassi for nine years. Nine. YEARS. So, he hasn’t done too much since then, bcause he’s only been off of the show for like 2 years. Evidently Shane was on Combat Hopsital, and plays drums for a Toronto-based band called Dear Love.

Lauren Collins – Paige Mikalchuk

Then.

Now. Y’all can just scroll up to this picture for the Adamo Ruggiero “now,” too. Sorry, spoiler.

Remember that talent show where Paige rewrote her song at the last minute to be about that time she got date-raped? That was some pretty heavy stuff for a tween series. Good job, Canada. Say what you will about me watching Degrassi when I was already like 17, Paige had a serious character arc. Plus, she was in a Degrassi parody video, so I’ve decided that Lauren is my dream Degrassi bestie. Lauren was in Charlie Bartlett and a Disney Channel Original about Sharpay. She hosts an MTV series called “1 Girl 5 Gays,” which I immediately disapprove of because that title reminds me of “2 Girls 1 Cup” and I’d rather not even know what that means, much less think about it.

Adamo Ruggiero – Marco Del Rossi

Then.

Marco was in a “gay-themed Christmas flick” called – wait for it – Make The Yuletide Gay. And you KNOW the producers went back and forth on that title and something with donning “gay apparel” for weeks. It was NOT gay-themed Christmas porn, which the title made me worry about a little. I guess people liked it, because a sequel is forthcoming.

Stacey Farber – Ellie Nash

Then.

Now.

You remember Elllie because she was badass, albeit in a more goth/alternative way than Manny. In early 2000s Canada, that mostly meant that she dressed like Avril Lavigne. Ellie was troubled, and in the early 2000s the big plotline for troubled youths was cutting (today it’s cyberbullying; in the 90s it was probably eating disorders, in the 80s it was getting offered drugs that looked kind of like candy,  and in the 70s, divorced parents. Nobody had problems before the 70s). After Degrassi, Stacey held a Teen Vogue internship and went to The New School to study creative writing. She appeared on 18 to Life (a CBC series) a few years ago.  In my googling, I found that circa 2008 all these kids on Yahoo answers were asking if Stacey was pregnant. I feel like she was always really tiny thought? But also I stopped watching Degrassi when I went to college in like 2004, so maybe. She DID tweet that article by that woman who doesn’t want her daughter to be nice, but I think I might have tweeted that too. Fun fact: Farber was on the shortlist to play Juno, but that other tiny Canadian actress got it instead.

Daniel Clark – Sean Cameron

Then.

Now.

As I’m writing this, I’m realizing that most of the Degrassi guys have coalesced into one brown-haired Canadian boy in my memory. Sean was the brown-haired Canadian boy who was the “bad boy,” according to Wikipedia, but wasn’t that Spinner?

It looks like Daniel has taken a break from professional acting since Degrassi. He started a not-for-profit called Brightline Education, which is something about teenagers and the environment. Daniel graduated with honors from NYU, majoring in Political Communications. He is now working for ABC News.

Ephraim Ellis – Rick Murray

Then.

Now.

You know what they say about homicidal teens on television: it’s always the one who seems like they’d probably do that, really. Ephraim has developed a long list of tv credits since Degrassi, notable because it is entirely made up of Canadian series I haven’t heard of before.