Jeopardy highlights Americans’ poor knowledge of Canada

Americans’ wonderfully inept understanding of their northern neighbor was in full evidence during a recent episode of the long-running game show Jeopardy recently.

After running through the five other categories, the three contestants were left with five opportunities in the category titled “Canadian Cities.”

Contestants No. 1 and 2, “Dan” and “Victoria,” failed to venture a response on any of the five clues, appearing to have stuffed their signaling devices deep inside their lecterns, perhaps out of fear they might accidentally alert host Alex Trebek that they were interested in venturing a guess.

The other contestant, “Randy,” probably wishes he’d done the same. Trailing the other two, he took a crack at three questions and struck out all three times, watching his winnings go from $5,600 to negative $2,600, thereby eliminating himself from a chance at Final Jeopardy.

Most egregious of Randy’s errors was his response to this clue: “The swan is a symbol of this Ontario city; each year, black and white ones are released in to the Avon River.”

Randy’s response: “What is Edmonton.”

Oh, only missed it by 2,200 miles and four provinces, as the answer was Stratford. Edmonton remains firmly ensconced in the province of Alberta, while Stratford is more or less equidistant between Detroit and Toronto, in Ontario, as was noted in the question.

Here’s an idea: If I were going to venture guesses about Canadian cities and obviously didn’t know much about Canadian geography, I might want to stick with “Montreal” and “Toronto” as responses. Indeed, one of the five cities in the Jeopardy episode was “Montreal,” but, of course, no one got it.

Given that Trebek is from Canada, he likely found the entire episode distinctly disconcerting.

Still, at least no one blurted out “Alaska,” or something equally ridiculous.


11 thoughts on “Jeopardy highlights Americans’ poor knowledge of Canada

  1. Oh how I laughed. Especially since this has become ‘big news’ all over the interworld. Sadly, I don’t find it all that surprising.

    I have to admit that I didn’t know that the people of Moose Jaw were called ‘Moose Javians’, but, having a reasonable knowledge of my home and native land *I* was able to guess correctly. Winnipeg?! Really?! Although the former ‘mayor’ of my fair city made a similar gaff- mistaking Windsor for Winnipeg- not that long ago. So it isn’t just Americans who need to work on their knowledge of Canadian geography.

    Still, he should have put the buzzer down and walked away. Like the other two did.

    • I guess I should have given the guy credit for even knowing there was a city named Edmonton, even if it was the wrong answer. But, yes, “Moose Javians” seems pretty easy to translate to “Moose Jaw” for anyone who’s ever given a cursory glance at a Canadian atlas or is familiar with minor league hockey or baseball teams.

      How does someone mix up Windsor and Winnipeg? That’s akin to confusing San Diego and San Antonio.

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