What is the Capital of Canada Again?

By  Daniel Nardini

                             Maybe I should not be surprised that many kids from our public schools do not know the capitals of those countries that border us (Canada and Mexico). It is surprising, however, when so many young people going to one of America’s leading elite universities, Harvard, do not know what the capital of our neighbor Canada is. But according to Harvard’s school newspaper, the Harvard Crimson, many students going to this fabled university of learning do not know the capital of Canada . The video broadcast of those being questioned showed all but one student not knowing the capital of Canada. This is surprising on a number of fronts. First, Canada borders the United States. Second, Canada is the second largest land country in the world after Russia. Third, Canada is America’s largest trading partner. Finally, hundreds of thousands of Americans go to and from Canada everyday. According to Canadian government information, 1.74 million Americans crossed into Canada as of March this year. Under these circumstances, one would think that most if not all Americans would know the capital of Canada.
                              My wife and I spent a beautiful holiday in Ottawa, Canada’s capital, 12 years ago. We will always remember our experience there, and how wonderful the country and capital are. For Americans at one of America’s leading universities to not know the capital of such a vast and important country to the United States, this is frightening to put it mildly. These students are supposed to be among the best and brightest in the whole country. Harvard University is one of the toughest academic institutions to get into. Even some of America’s brightest are rejected by Harvard. Some of our presidents graduated from Harvard. These presidents were John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Rutherford B. Hayes, Theodore Roosevelt,  Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, and George W. Bush. Our current president, Barack Obama, is a graduate of Harvard.
                                 Even the mere mention of someone graduating from Harvard lends that individual a reputation of “honor” that so many other academic institutions cannot claim (whether they actually learned anything at Harvard is another matter). And now so many of them cannot tell what is the capital of Canada?! I MIGHT understand if so many did not know what is the capital of Venezuela (Caracas), but not to know the capital of Canada?! My only hope is that Harvard starts back on some of the basics—such as history and geography—so these young people will at least know the capitals of America’s two neighbors. I can also hope that most or all Canadians know what is the capital of the United States of America?! 

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