Top Ten Ways For Non-Canadians To Celebrate a Gay Canada Day

It’s Canada Day! This is the fifth Canada Day we’ve celebrated together as a family, can you believe it? Just think it was only last year that Ellen Page hadn’t come out yet.


American Hero Shannon Watters Makes Out With Autostraddle NSFW Editor Carolyn Yates

1. Make Out With A Canadian

You  might think that you can only find Canadians in Canada but that’s not true, they’re everywhere! Lots of times, Canadians come to America or other countries for various reasons, like to tell us that our health care sucks, to attend A-Camp, to see the American sights, to work for the Canadian government or to fall in love with a girl who wants to move to Canada. Canadians are super nice and friendly, so it isn’t hard to get to know your local lesbian Canadian and maybe eventually play tonsil hockey! Canadians LOVE hockey.


2. Watch Some Homosexy Canadian Television

Degrassi is a groundbreaking Canadian teen television show that “goes there.” By “goes there” we mean that sometimes girls kiss with a little bit of tongue, sometimes people get shot and then become Drake, and sometimes people come out as trans and then get killed in a car crash. Degrassi‘s featured a lot of lady queers over the years, including but not limited to Fiona, Imogen, Paige and Alex. Plus, it’s the only teen television show that casts actors who are the same ages as their characters, lending the whole situation a much-needed aura of authenticity. The original Degrassi happened in the late ’80s, but Degrassi: The Next Generation (which also airs on Teen Nick) began in 2001 and is still going strong.

Lost Girl is a groundbreaking Canadian sci-fi television show about a bisexual Fae with amazing breasts who hooks up with a lot of girls including a hot doctor and also spends intimate times with this growly wolf-man situation. I haven’t seen the most recent season yet though so I can’t talk about it!

Bomb Girls is a groundbreaking Canadian historical television show that features one of television’s few butch lady characters, Betty McRae, who we love with our whole hearts. Then it got cancelled and we f*cked ourselves in the ear with disappointment, but then they made a movie and Kate recapped it for you. Kate can talk about Bomb Girls for days.


3. Make Poutine For A Girl You Have A Crush On

Canadians are super into this poutine situation, which is basically gravy and cheese curds on french fries. It sounds gross and delicious because it is. Here’s a recipe so you can enjoy some of your very own.


4. Drink Some Beer, Queers

My Canadian roommate Marni recommends Granville Island, Unibroue, Boréale and Sleeman’s. “Keith’s is the most quintessentially Canadian,” Marni told me via text message. “Also Moosehead is the oldest independently owned brewery in Canada.” So there you have it!


Malaika Wrote About Canada A Lot

5. Read Autostraddle Posts about Canada

We write about Canada a lot because we’ve had a lot of Canadian writers and contributors over the years, including Carolyn, Kristen, Malaika, Lydia and Intern Emily. Also you can’t forget Deanne Smith, who everybody thinks is Canadian because she’s lived there for so long, or Vanessa, who was once Canadian but is now American, or our A-Camp Co-Director Marni, who lives in the US but is very serious about her Canadianness, or our Surveymaster Mere who is Clearly Canadian. Furthermore, Geneva (who is currently enabling our Feminism Editor Carmen Rios to Make Out With A Canadian), who makes a lot of cute graphics, is ALSO Canadian. SO MUCH CANADA.

Here are some of the things we’ve written about Canada:

sounds fun

sounds fun

6. Plan a Trip To Canada

Maybe you JUST got back from World Pride in Toronto but it’s never too late to go right on back to Canada. Some of these city guides are a bit outdated, but rest assured you can find infinite gay pleasures in Canada, especially in lesbian hotspots like Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto.

  • Vancouver – “If you can handle the rain, you’ll be handsomely rewarded by my beloved hometown of Vancouver, one of the gay-friendliest cities in Canada!”
  • Halifax – “Halifax is a historic city with the Celtic charm expected of Nova Scotia, overflowing with arts, culture, music and bars, so many bars. As it’s the biggest city in the Maritimes region of Canada, lots of queers from across Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and PEI make the pilgrimage to our seaside city.”
  • Montreal – “I envision Montréal as some sexy androgyne character with a sweet moustache and a pair of lacy panties.”


7. Cuddle In Some Roots Sweatpants

Apparently this famed Canadian clothing company is super popular… everywhere but Canada.

From a Team Autostraddle E-mail Reply-All that happened this past April –

CARMEN: canadians: can you tell me how you feel about the store roots. are any of you even canadian or am i the worst. riese, ask marni. CANADIAN SOS.
CAROLYN: I am canadian and the store roots mostly reminds me of olympic-themed merchandise and function-over-form mid range leather goods.
RIESE: i am wearing roots sweatpants right now and they are the best sweatpants i have ever owned in my life
i love them so much that as soon as i got home from canada i bought another pair
i am 75% sure that roots is more popular amongst tourists and americans than actual canadians
i have considered team picking roots sweatpants
CARMEN: i will team pick roots socks with you
geneva says only americans like roots but tbh i’m ok with that, more coziness for me.
HELEN: I totally thought only of the movie Roots and imagined sweatpants with a picture of Kunta Kinte on the ass.
RACHEL: i thought riese was wearing the band the roots as a pair of sweatpants
LIZZ: I thought the top of Riese’s hair was super grown out and she was due for a dye job. But, you know, as sweatpants.
RIESE: that’s actually 100% true about my hair though


8. Read a Gay Canadian Book, Eh

We read a lot of Canadian books because there are lots of smart queers in Canadians who write books. Here are some Canadian books we’ve written about lately:

Other titles by LGBTQ Canadians to check out:

  • 100 Crushes, by Elisha Lim – “100 Crushes compiles five years of queer comics by Elisha Lim, including excerpts from Sissy, The Illustrated Gentleman, Queer Child in the Eighties, and their cult series 100 Butches, as well as new work. It’s an absorbing documentary that travels through Toronto, Berlin, Singapore, and beyond in the form of interviews, memoirs, and gossip from an international queer vanguard. Toronto-based artist Elisha Lim’s work celebrates the dignity and power of being neither straight, nor white, nor cis-gendered.”
  • Curious Wine, by Katherine V. Forrest – “Candid in its eroticism, intensely romantic, remarkably beautiful, CURIOUS WINE is a love story that will remain in your memory.”
  • Love Cake, by Leah Piepzna-Samarasinha – “In Love Cake, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha explores how queer people of colour resist and transform violence through love and desire. “
  • Prozac Highway, by Persimmon Blackbridge – “Tough, funny and sexy, Prozac Highway packs a sweet punch.”
  • Desert of the Heart, by Jane Rule – “In this romantic classic by Jane Rule, readers can discover how Ann and Evelyn’s relationship originally came to pass.”
  • Gender Failure, by Ivan Coyote & Rae Spoon – “In their first collaborative book, Ivan and Rae explore and expose their failed attempts at fitting into the gender binary, and how ultimately our expectations and assumptions around traditional gender roles fail us all.”
  • Monkeypuzzle, by Rita Wong – “Wong’s poems in the volume address her identity as a bisexual Asian woman”


9. Listen to Some Canadian Music

You are so lucky that Intern Grace (an American) and her pal Cassie Trouble (an Australian) have put together a fabulous playlist for you, chock-full of Canadian feelings.

Call And Answer – Barenaked Ladies
Scott Pilgrim – Plumtree
Sk8er Boi – Avril Lavigne
Take Me Away – Fefe Dobson
Boys Wanna Be Her – Peaches
Tell Me Does She Love The Bass – Lesbians on Ecstasy
Ulysses – Mélissa Laveaux
Rebellion (Lies) – Arcade Fire
Liar Liar – Hunter Valentine
Limelight – Rush
Someday – Tegan & Sara
1234 – Feist
You Oughta Know – Alanis Morissette
Hallelujah – k.d. lang
A Case Of You – Joni Mitchell
Connect – Drake
Call Me Maybe – Carly Rae Jepsen
Because You Loved Me – Celine Dion
Heart Of Gold – Neil Young
Mirror Me – She King
Nobody’s Supposed to Be Here – Debroah Cox
Sweet Surrender – Sarah McLachlan
Wait Up (Boots of Danger) – Tokyo Police Club – Cris Derksen
The Devil’s Paintbrush Road – The Wailin’ Jennys
If I Had ,000,000 – Barenaked Ladies

O Cah Nah Dah from Autostraddle on 8tracks Radio.

10. Do What A Canadian Tells You To Do

CALLING ALL CANADIAN STRADDLERS — how do you think a non-Canadian could best celebrate this fine day dedicated to your fine country?

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3181 articles for us.


  1. I am very very happy that I get to do so many of these things on Thursday! But mostly the make out with a Canadian part….

  2. A+ to the Clearly Canadian reference and for including Plumtree in your playlist. I am now going to celebrate Canada Day by listening to that whole album.

  3. This Canadian suggests definitely reading canlit, listening to Canadian musicians, watching Canadian tv shows, and of course coming to visit!

    But also, kindly disabuse yourselves of the various Canada-related stereotypes you may hold. Read about Mayor Nenshi instead of Mayor Ford, maybe Google our climate (not all ice, year-round!), and check out *our* version of the War of 1812 :) Oh, and stop sewing Canadian flags on your backpacks when travelling abroad if you’re not Canadian!

    /end unintentional rant.

    • Oh damn, if I were a true Canadian I would’ve ended this with an apology. Sorry!

    • oh man i had one of those when i was in ottawa this winter and it was truly fantastic it’s true

  4. Happy Canada Day, Canada Queers! Bonne fête du Canada! I am watching totally queer, totally weird Canadian movie, “I’ve Heard The Mermaids Singing” right this very moment! I also drank some Labatt while watching the US lose :(. Even though I’m only a few hours from the border, we inexplicably only have mainstream Canadian beers at the bar here. I’m also going to watch non-queer films: a Guy Maddin film (not sure which yet) and/or Strange Brew. Also Tegan and Sara all day but that makes this day no different than any other day.

  5. Hey guess what.

    So I was gonna comment on this asking ~plz hep me w/ the girlz~ and then beg forgiveness for not addressing the whole “Canada Day” thing. But then I realized actually the lady in question lives in Canada, so it’s all relevant! (To item #1 mostly)

    Basically I met a girl some time ago and we became close really fast. We haven’t seen each other in a while, but we’ve kept in touch. We’re getting together for lunch really soon, which yay! I really really want to kiss/touch/be intimate with/date her and have for a long time. I know AS did a whole thing about “is this a date?”, and there’s a ton of ambiguity here, but mostly because I don’t know if she’s gay.

    She doesn’t have any of the “typical alternative stylings,” but she’s not super feminine either (no makeup; skinny jeans and shirts). The only knowledge I have of her dating history is that she’s had a boyfriend. I’ve never dated anybody seriously and not yet a woman at all. I haven’t even kissed a girl! Yet, I’m sure that if this person was interested, I would be hers in a heartbeat. I want to straighten (lol not really) this out soon, but I don’t want to alienate our relationship.

    Sooo… how can I broach the topic? Here are what I see as my options:

    1. Come out to her (either bluntly or subtly; if too subtle, she might not respond!) and see where that gets me

    2. Ask “Can I hold your hand?” and hope for the best. If she says no, run away.

    3. Be bold and just take her hand or kiss her cheek. If she says no, run away.

    I don’t trust myself to read flirting or body language enough to know if the “moment is right”.

    Advice please!!! <3

  6. I celebrate by binge-watching films and cartoons by the National Film Board of Canada online.

    I’d like to add another book to your list – “Annabel” by Kathleen Winter.

    • Please, don’t recommend that book! It has awful, offensive stuff about intersex people in it!!

  7. Definitely wouldn’t mind celebrating Canada Day with a good book, some cool tunes, and maybe making out with a cute Canadian. ;) Also a trip back to Vancouver would be nice too.

  8. I am from Alaska, which used to be Russia but would probably make more sense as part of Canada? Happy Canada Day!

    ALSO Anne of Green Gables. As a baby lez I deeply understood the whole “bosom friend” thing.

    • My (straight) best friend/surrogate sister was obsessed with AOGG. I was very meh about it due to the lack of robots, dragons, murder, wild animals, magic etc. Maybe I should revisit it.

  9. I know a scottish Lex Leslie…I am now confused. Is she lying to me and actually a Canadian author?

  10. I realize I’m a day late to this Canada day party but that’s because I spent yesterday drinking rye and gingers and Caesars while on a boat in Lake Huron and then drinking while on a boat in a marina watching fireworks because Canada. But I couldn’t NOT comment on this.

    Also I’m currently nursing my Canada Day hangover while wearing Roots sweatpants, which are and will always be the best thing

  11. There’s lots of trans male/masculine spectrum Canadian folks on this list, but no trans women!! I want to rectify that by suggesting two awesome books (okay one I haven’t read yet because it hasn’t come out, but I know it’s going to be amazing!):

    Casey Plett’s short story collection A Safe Girl to Love
    “Eleven unique short stories that stretch from a rural Canadian Mennonite town to a hipster gay bar in Brooklyn, featuring young trans women stumbling through loss, sex, harassment, and love.

    These stories, shiny with whiskey and prairie sunsets, rattling subways and neglected cats, show growing up as a trans girl can be charming, funny, frustrating, or sad, but never will it be predictable.”

    More info here:

    Trish Salah’s poetry/memoir collection Wanting in Arabic

    “Wanting in Arabic is a refusal of convenient silences, convenient stories. The author dwells on the contradictions of a transsexual poetics, in its attendant disfigurations of lyric, ghazal, l’ecriture feminine, and, in particular, her own sexed voice. Without a memory of her father’s language, the questions her poems ask are those for a home known through photographs, for a language lost with childhood.

    Braiding theoretical concerns with the ambivalences of sexed and raced identity, with profound romanticism,Wanting in Arabic attempts to traverse the fantasies of foundational loss and aggressive nostalgia in order to further a poetics of a conscious partiality of being, of generous struggle and comic rather than tragic misrecognition.”

    More info here:

  12. I’m late to this party, but I wish more people would ‘celebrate’ by reflecting on Canada as a settler-colonial state & by learning more about Indigenous politics. Students and faculty from my university put together this super accessible & pretty comprehensive website, Indigenous Foundations, which is a great place to start.

    ‘Sorry’ to rain on the parade <3

  13. That playlist is pure gold. Love that you put Scott Pilgrim by Plumtree! Happy Canada Day everyone.

  14. Update. I bought Roots sweatpants. I wore them for my entire last day/flight home and now i’m sitting in my office wishing i could wear them to work even though its 80 degrees outside.

    Riese, they’re amazing.

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