Category Archives: Oh, Canada!

“Try This, It’s an Earth Food Called ‘Poutine.'” “A Warrior’s Feast.”

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10 Episodes in the Star Trek Franchise Featuring My Favorite (Make That Favourite) Shout-Outs to Canada

1. “The Trouble With Tribbles” (TOS)

KIRK: “What? What? What’s quadrotriticale?” (he’s handed a small packet) “Wheat. So what?”
BARIS: “Quadrotriticale is not wheat, Captain. Of course, I wouldn’t expect you or Mister Spock to know about such things, but quadrotriticale is a rather –“
SPOCK: “Quadrotriticale is a high-yield grain, a four-lobed hybrid of wheat and rye. A perennial, also, I believe. Its root grain, triticale, can trace its ancestry all the way back to 20th-century Canada…”
KIRK: “Mister Spock, you’ve made your point.”

Yeah, that’s right, people. We’re not just some boring country that’s only famous for our maple syrup and free health care. We’re also on the cutting edge of wheat research. So… yeah.

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2. “Contagion” (TNG)
In this second-season TNG episode, the crew of the Enterprise investigates the destruction of a Federation starship in the Romulan Neutral Zone. With the Romulans demanding their retreat, Picard and crew piece together the mystery and learn the ship was destroyed by an alien probe from the long-dead Iconian race. As it turns out, the Iconians had the ability to travel all over the universe via portals; when the crew travel to the Iconian homeworld, they find the dead race’s still-functioning portal technology. At one point, a portal cycles through a number of potential destinations — including Toronto City Hall, the futuristic-looking building that officially opened in 1965. Funny enough, that’s the second time Toronto’s seat of government has appeared in the Star Trek franchise; a 1969 Star Trek comic story titled “The Ghost Planet” has the original Enterprise crew beam down to a war-ravaged world with a very familiar-looking building in the background:

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3. “The Price” (TNG)
It can’t be easy being Counselor Troi. You have to sit and listen to the other crew members’ boring shit all day. Your mother won’t get off your case about landing a man. Riker keeps making finger guns at you from the other side of the captain’s chair. And you can’t even enjoy a chocolate fudge sundae without Picard riding your ass about meeting a bunch of stupid diplomats in stupid Ten Forward to watch a stupid wormhole open. I feel you, Deanna. But at least her job comes with a few perks, like receiving polite research inquiries from the Manitoba Journal of Interplanetary Psychology. See? They still love you in Winnipeg, D. Never forget that.

4. “The First Duty” (TNG)
This is the episode where Starfleet Cadet Wesley Crusher gets in trouble because of an Academy training exercise that leads to the death of one of his friends. On his way to practice his deposition, he meets the deceased cadet’s father, who returns the sweater his son had once borrowed from Wesley during a ski trip to Calgary — establishing the Alberta city as a skiing destination well into the 24th century.

5. “Rascals” (TNG)
In this episode, Picard, Guinan, Keiko and Ensign Ro are de-aged into pre-adolescent children because of a transporter malfunction (it’s always something with the transporters). They retain their adult memories, but their condition makes life difficult for everyone, especially when a bunch of Ferengi hijack the Enterprise. While describing to one of the Ferengi how to operate the Enterprise computer, Riker refers to the “Ontarian manifold,” which he says is kept at “40,000 KRGs” by the ship’s “ramistat.” He uses these gibberish terms to stall for time while Picard and the other former adults hatch a plan to capture the bad guys. “It’s like Home Alone, guys… but in space!” (And suddenly I want to see young Picard pump his fist after smacking a Ferengi in the face with a paint can.)

6. “Lower Decks” (TNG)
This was a great late-series TNG episode that turned the regular cast into supporting players by focusing on the lives of previously unseen junior officers aboard the NCC-1701-D. Think Friends in Space, only without the annoying “We were on a break!” dialogue. One of them, Sam Lavelle, is angling for a promotion, and — armed with the knowledge that Riker likes poker, jazz and is Canadian — he attempts to strike up a conversation with him in Ten Forward. Except his intel on Riker’s origins isn’t as accurate as he could have hoped:

LAVELLE: “My grandfather was Canadian, you know.”
RIKER: “Really?”
LAVELLE: “Aren’t you one, too?”
RIKER: “A grandfather?”
LAVELLE: “No. Canadian, sir. Canadian.”
RIKER: “No, I grew up in Alaska.”
LAVELLE: “Oh. Well… they both… get a lot of snow.”
RIKER: “Yeah.”
LAVELLE: “It was good talking to you, sir.”
RIKER: “Yeah.”

In his defence, he’s not wrong — both places do get a lot of snow. But that’s still gotta hurt.

7. “By Inferno’s Light” (DS9)
After the producers realized the Starfleet officers running Deep Space Nine would need reliable transportation once in a while, a complement of runabouts — small spacecraft for long-range missions — was added to the show. The runabouts assigned to DS9 were named after Earth rivers: Ganges, Orinoco, Yangtze, Rio Grande, Rubicon… and the USS Yukon, named after the 3,000-km river that starts in British Columbia and flows through the Yukon Territory and Alaska before emptying into the Bering Sea. Another runabout, the USS Gander, was introduced in Season 7’s “Penumbra” as a possible reference to Newfoundland’s Gander River. According to Memory Alpha, the runabout was actually the Ganges until the show’s writers remembered that ship was destroyed in a previous episode, and the line was dubbed in post-production, with “Gander” sounding close enough to “Ganges” to avoid lip-syncing issues.

8. “Blaze of Glory” (DS9)
Sing it with me: “I’m going doooooown in a blaze of glory…” Ahem. Anyway. Michael Eddington was a Starfleet officer assigned to Deep Space Nine when he defected to the Maquis; he likened himself and Sisko to the Jean Valjean and Javert characters from Les Miserables, which pretty much says all you need to know about him. And as if being an overly dramatic dickwad wasn’t bad enough, he’s also of Canadian descent. While in a shuttle with Sisko, he asks about some of his personal possessions left behind in DS9, including his “lucky loonie,” a family heirloom that he says has been in his family for more than 200 years. It’s a reference to the Canadian dollar coin; the image of the loon on the reverse side gives the coin its “loonie” nickname.

9. “Scorpion” (VOY)
In the third season of Voyager, Janeway and her crew face the daunting task of finding a safe way through an area of space that’s in the heart of Borg-held territory. Going around the region isn’t an option, but the crew detects a narrow corridor of space devoid of Borg activity that could be their best shot at traveling through Borg space undetected. This corridor is dubbed “the Northwest Passage” after the sea route that connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans through Canada’s Arctic archipelago.

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10. “Storm Front” (ENT)
Don’t sweat it if you’re lost at the start of the fourth season of Enterprise; all you need to know is Archer and his crew find themselves in Earth’s past, only it’s a past where the events of the Second World War have been altered by temporal shenanigans. At one point, we see a German propaganda newsreel that mentions “financial profiteers” just as the film shows this image of Canada’s 10th prime minister, William Lyon Mackenzie King. He’s not referred to by his name or as a politician in the newsreel, and there’s no explanation offered for why a Canadian leader is recast as an enemy of the people by alternate-timeline Nazis. But assuming King — who led Canada’s war effort during his time in office — exists in that timeline, I’m guessing he would have no problem being known as an enemy of the Third Reich.