The mid-1800s were an exciting time for the British Colonies of the Province of Canada (Ontario and Quebec), Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. With the threat of expansion from southern neighbours and a nudge from Britain to become more independent, the time for change had come. After a series of conferences and peaceful negotiations, the Dominion of Canada was formed on July 1, 1867. Today, the Dominion is known as Canada and consists of 10 provinces and 3 territories.
On that same day, the Canadian zodiac came to be - a hybrid of the Greek and Chinese zodiacs, but with a twist that digs deep into the Canadian psyche and away from hockey-loving, maple syrup-drenched stereotypes. The zodiac is based on a 12-year cycle that features iconic Canadian creatures that represent the country’s vastness, diversity, acceptance and humour Canadians are known for.
The beaver’s habitat spans across most of Canada, except for the far north. They are prolifically industrious builders whose mantra is “get it done.” Uninterested in fashion and the latest trends, beavers are practical, dependable and able to meet ridiculous deadlines with near impossible parameters. It takes beavers a long time to lose their temper, and when they do, it’s not pretty—they may bring up something you did to upset them a decade ago.
Bison were once common across the Great Plains and neighbouring woodlands. While not as numerous as they were historically, this keystone species is currently found in a handful of Canadian national parks and in domestic herds in Western Canada. Bison believe whole heartedly in extended family and the importance of tradition. Silently, focused and playful, bison believe many hands make for light work. Strong and level-headed, bison can out-wait just about any situation. Calm is the order of the day, unless family or personal beliefs are challenged. Never, ever make direct eye contact with a bison when they’re hot under the collar.
1869 Canadian Lynx:
Canadian lynx range across most of Canada and are known for their strength, endurance and aloofness. Attractive and intelligent, lynx spend most of their time alone as they prefer solitude over large social gatherings. While less threatening than other members of the feline family, lynx are highly detail-oriented and should not be underestimated.
1870 Polar Bear:
Polar bears inhabit the shorelines of the Arctic Ocean, Hudson’s Bay and James Bay. Wildly intelligent, powerful, playful and patient, polar bears are known for their explosive temper and their unwillingness to share their toys.
There are more than 80 species of mosquitos in Canada. Mosquitos are comfortable setting up shop anywhere, but has a soft spot for Winnipeg, Manitoba. Mosquitos are pesky and relentless—never giving up until they get what they want, despite not being the sharpest tool in the shed. While dedicated to their pursuits, their determination is both admirable and annoying.
Sasquatch are have been sighted across the country but are mostly commonly found in the forests of British Columbia, particularly near clearings where tall weeds grow (in the East Kootenays). Often misunderstood, elusive and socially challenged, these gentle giants don’t like to be the centre of attention, ever. Contentious and kind-hearted, Sasquatch have difficulty expressing themselves and get flustered when forced speak in public or perform on command.
Found just about everywhere, except the far north, moose are the consummate strong and silent type. Moose know who they are and appreciate the simple things in life. They prefer to mind their own business and don’t make a habit of looking for trouble. If provoked, prepare to feel the wrath—it will be your fault and you’ll be sorry.
Found in the cold waters of Canada’s East Coast, lobsters are brutally honest and cautious. Unfiltered all day everyday, their salty disposition compels them to tell it like it is. Always up for a scrap or debate, lobsters proudly stand their ground. Despite their bristly nature, they are oddly likeable and secretly like hugs.
1875 Canada Goose:
Like many Canadians, Canada geese like to winter in the south. In summer, they can be found in nearly every part of Canada. Stylish, verbose and intoxicatingly self-absorbed, Canada geese are the prima donnas of the Canadian Zodiac. Loud, rude and unable to read social cues, Canada geese will eat you out of house-and-home, leaving everyone else to clean up the mess.
Muskox are the masters of the Canadian Arctic. Patient and caring, muskox embrace family dysfunction, but are slow to warm up to outsiders and hair brushes of any kind, muskox prefer to hammer out disagreements in plain view, even if it takes several rounds.
Found in most parts of Canada, wolves are family creatures with deep roots in well-established social structures. Rarely subscribing to the stereotypical “lone wolf” ideology, wolves work best in groups and enjoy collaborating with others. These expressive, strong communicators won’t flinch when challenged, even when they’re wrong.
1878 Beluga Whale:
Beluga whales are the social butterflies of the Arctic Ocean and Hudson’s Bay. An incessant talker who flitters from one subject to another, the beluga whale exudes cuteness. Popular and loveable, this gregarious creature doesn’t like long awkward silences or spending time alone.