“Mmmm, Beaver!”


For the uninitiated, a “Beaver Tail” is a deep-fried pastry, often covered in cinnamon, powdered sugar, and other tantalizing ingredients.

Around this time of year, vendors set up shop along the Rideau Canal (affectionately known as “The Longest Skating Rink in the World”) and sell these things to the people who glide on by.

Skating the canal is a favored pastime for Ottawa residents and tourists alike. A part of you even likes the fact that these things give you gut-rot, because it’s a reminder to not buy another one.

Don’t you dare buy another one!

The Rideau Canal was built and fortified in the years immediately following the War of 1812 to more efficiently move troops, munitions, and important messages great distances in short order. Today, all of that could be done on a smart phone. Then? You dug hundreds and hundreds of kilometers of trench, bushwhacking all the way. If you managed to avoid literally breaking your back on the job (accidents due to falling rocks, lumber, and carelessly used explosives were common), when you got back to your camp at night you’d get to rest your feet and enjoy a nice cup of…typhoid. Yeah, it rough back then!

Before long, the other members of your “dig crew” would unceremoniously roll your smelly, sweat-drenched corpse into a dirty bed sheet (if you were lucky) and toss you in a shallow grave, possibly with a couple of the other recently dead laborers. Then came a quick read of the Lord’s Prayer from a well-worn Bible, the hammering of a quickly-fashioned crucifix, and come morning, the entire tent city moved a few hundred meters down. By the next week? Your grave was invisible.

(Whoa! *Slap!* WHAT are you babbling about? Early 19th Century labor and the pain and suffering it caused?! You started with delicious pastries! Get back there!)

So anyway, we were 100% confident we could repel an American invasion a second time as it was, but…we just wanted to do it a lot more thoroughly if the situation presented itself. Fortunately, it did not. And Canada and the U.S. have been “BFF’s” ever since. In fact, here’s President Obama on a visit to this fair city, being presented with what? That’s right! A Beaver Tail! He’s clearly baffled.

“Who the fuck stepped on this donut? And why is it warm? Did you pee on it? You peed on it, didn’t you!

If only I had been there to explain it to him! I could’ve helped that stupid beaver up there too, now that I think of it!


Fortunately for us all, thanks to the tireless conservation efforts of both the Canadian government and an army of selfless volunteers, Canada has not only preserved the Canal, but, somewhat remarkably, the nearly two hundred year-old waterway is still fully operational!

You might even call us…”Canal Retentive.”

(…think about it a second? Awww, there you go!)


    1. Wendy, I had never heard of an Elephant Ear before you and Fran mentioned it here.

      If it’s from the U.S., that’s strange. The only elephant I can think of from down there is that one Edison electrocuted as public spectacle. Back then they’d do stuff like that. So maybe they also ate actual elephant ears before they turned them to pastries for the kids?


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