There's hockey, of course. The world knows our passion for pulling on a sweater, lacing up the skates and chasing a puck up and down a sheet of ice. Hockey shapes our collective identity (Miss Universe Canada – she totally nailed it). A Canadian can be alone with his or her TV on a Saturday night and still be united in hope, excitement and anguish with millions of neighbours, from coast to coast to coast.
We take our love of hockey with us when we travel, sharing our love of the game – the speed, the artistry, the physicality and the magic that happens when you combine all three – with bemused hosts who, surely, just haven't grasped what they're missing... yet.
Hockey is special. It keeps our bodies and our imagination active through frozen days and long nights, indoor and out, from the Yukon to Newfoundland. An hour or two on the frozen surface followed by a recap of the game's highlights, as remembered over a few bottles of beer. It's what we do. It's who we are.
But as perfectly suited as hockey is to Canadian winter activity, the ideal cold weather diversion might just be ice fishing.
Like hockey, ice fishing is an excuse to round up friends, head outside and experience whatever nature has planned for us. It's a ritual that teaches us to make sure bottles don't run out before the sunlight does. It's a reminder that when nothing is said, there's still a great story being told.
Ice fishing is whiskey in your coffee at dawn and late afternoon sunsets that melt into the glow from neighbouring ice huts. It's exhilarating in its simplicity. And although it's not unique to the Great White North, it's still just as beautifully Canadian as Stompin' Tom and that industrious rodent stamped on your nickel.