Capital of Canada? Harvard Students Have a Hard Time Answering

Wednesday, 20 Nov 2013 06:08 PM

By Ken Mandel

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Harvard University has produced seven U.S. presidents and established titans of industry, including the founders of Facebook and Microsoft, but the current students aren't too keen on North American geography.

In a video posted on YouTube, the university's newspaper, the Harvard Crimson, showed numerous stumped students when asked to name the capital of Canada.

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The answer is Ottawa, the country's fourth-largest city located in the province of Ontario.

Instead, answers from the Ivy League school's students ran the gamut from "I have no idea" and "Oh my God, it's really bad I don't know" to "probably Vancouver or something," and "is it Toronto?"

One student answered, "I'm sorry Canada."

Other guesses included Ontario and Quebec. Uploaded to YouTube on Friday, the paper reposted it on its website Monday, and it generated thousands of views.

Perceived ignorance to world geography and global events in general has long made Americans a target. On "The Tonight Show," host Jay Leno does a regular feature called "Jaywalking," in which he stumps people on the street with basic questions. In 2001, a television special from comedian Rick Mercer, "Talking to Americans," convinced U.S. citizens to agree with inane statements, about their neighbors to the north.

Among the statements were congratulating Canada on legalizing VCRs or adopting the 24-hour day.

"We Canadians learn more about the US geography and politics than they learn about Canada," commented Lyanne Poirier on a CTV News article. "If you travel to the U.S., their news reports rarely include anything about Canada! It is like all information stops at the border!

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