Canada Fun Fact #3 – The Beaver is Our National Animal…and We Eat Beaver Tails!

We don’t eat real beaver tails! A ‘beaver tail’ is a fried dough pastry flattened to look like a beaver tail! It was invented in 1978 by a Canadian company. The Beaver Tail stand (like the one in the second picture below) is at every Canadian festival and celebration!

This is what a beaver tail looks like:

(Photo by lulan and kame)

 

It is delicious! You eat it while it’s still hot, and you can put all sorts of toppings on it: icing sugar, cinnamon, chocolate, fruit, etc.

 

(Photo by LexnGer)

When American president Obama visited Ottawa (the capital of Canada), he made a special trip to the local Byward Market just to try a beaver tail!

The Beaver
The beaver is the national symbol of Canada because it was an important part of Canadian history. European explorers sailed west across the Atlantic looking for another way to get to the East Indies and the spices that were plentiful there. When the explorers landed in North America, they didn’t find spices, but they found something just as lucrative: fur! The fur trade was extremely important to the development of Canada.

Beaver fur became sought-after in Europe as it was used to make hats and coats. Beaver glands were also used in medicines and perfumes. It was the demand for more fur that encouraged Europeans to explore the northern part of the continent…the part that eventually became Canada! European merchants traded with Native Americans for more fur.

Expressions with ‘beaver’
Beavers are known to be hard-working animals. They inspired two common expressions in English:

She’s as busy as a beaver! (=someone who is busy because they work hard!)

Wow! You’re at work early today. You must be an eager beaver! (someone who is hard-working and enthusiastic)

 

Also, in American slang ‘beaver’ refers to a woman’s ‘private parts’ (her vagina)! This is considered crude and is only used by young North American males.

 

Vocabulary:

dough
= a mixture of water, flour, sugar + other ingredients used to bake cookies, cakes and other sweet desserts

plentiful
= available in large amounts

lucrative
= something that makes a lot of money

sought-after
= wanted by a many people, usually because it’s expensive or hard to get.

glands
= small organs in your body that produce various liquid chemical substances

crude
= rude and offensive

Sources:
Beaver (Wikipedia)
A brief history of the beaver
Beaver Tails Inc.
Beaver tail pastry (Wikipedia)

4 Comments on Canada Fun Fact #3 – The Beaver is Our National Animal…and We Eat Beaver Tails!

  1. its.me.m4rkos
    January 3, 2012 at 5:17 am (3 years ago)

    Interesting and funny things about Canada, hehe. :)
    I enjoyed a lot reading this text about this subject and "oh my gosh!", I didn't know "beaver" had that meaning in canadian slang. When I had looked at the name of this topic "Canada – Canada Fun Fact #3 – The Beaver is Our National Animal…and We Eat Beaver Tails!" I thought you guys in Canada really would eat "beaver tails" but then when I started to read the text I could see that "eating beaver tails" had a figurative meaning in the topic name and that it's really a food but without the real beaver tail. "FASCINATING!!!" :D

    Thanks for all your lessons, videos, texts about Canada :), etc, that helps us to improve our english and make it more familiar like it was our first language.

    Great job!

    All the best!
    Marcos Rocha

    Reply
  2. Melanie
    January 5, 2012 at 12:05 am (3 years ago)

    Hi, Marcos!

    Thank you for all your enthusiastic comments! I am pleased that my website is so interesting and useful to you. You motivate to keep working hard!

    Beaver tails are DELICIOUS! You will have to come to Canada someday and try one.

    Happy New Year!
    Melanie
    = )

    Reply
  3. its.me.m4rkos
    January 5, 2012 at 2:36 am (3 years ago)

    I'd appreciate a lot travelling to Canada and try "BEAVER TAILS". I hope someday I can do it.

    Going to Canada would be a dream came true. :)

    Happy new year to you too!

    See ya!

    Reply
  4. rosemath405
    October 15, 2013 at 3:14 pm (1 year ago)

    hi if you know any thing about beavers i need to know

    Reply

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