“It’s no joke. Those mosquitoes were so big they could carry off small children!!!” Almost every resident of Winnipeg, Manitoba makes a similar claim. Even the web site of the Salisbury Morse Place School states: “Winnipeg is [incorrectly] known the “Mosquito” capital of Canada. The mosquito is jokingly considered Manitoba’s provincial bird!!!” In reality the capital designation rightly belong to Komarno, Manitoba, about 70 km north of Winnipeg. In fact the name Komarno is Ukrainian for mosquito. There is a 4.6 meter statue of a mosquito, built in 1984 in Komarno. Apparently the town is now saving up for a big bug zapper.
Mosquitoes can carry deadly diseases like Western Equine Encephalitis, and many parts of Canada are now on the lookout for West Nile Virus, a mosquito-borne disease that was unheard of in North America until 2004 when it killed more than a dozen people in the New York City area.
Mosquitoes can also carry malaria, but we don’t have to worry about that, we live in cold, cold Canada. Right?
It may surprise you to know that many of the construction workers building Rideau Canal System from Ottawa to Kingston in the early 19th century died of mosquito-borne malaria. They were obviously not working in the winter!
Back in the summer of 2011 (I think?), I took the Greyhound from Medicine Hat to Calgary and ended up sitting next to this British soldier. To this day, that soldier remains one of the funniest, most interesting dudes I’ve ever met.
Throughout the bus ride, he told me all sorts of crazy stories about his experiences in Central America and the Middle East. One of them was about this tarantula he captured while doing jungle training in Belize. He named it Trevor, kept it as a pet, and fed it sugar and rum at the bar. When it died, he pinned it to a mounting board. Later, when he was scheduled to return to the UK, he hoped bring back a couple items that he’d rather not declare to customs (gold, if memory serves). When the customs officer at the airport unzipped his duffle bag to inspect the contents, she found Trevor waiting for her at the top. She took a long, hard look, then zipped the bag right back up. The way he told the story was so funny; I couldn’t stop laughing.
Anyways, we started talking about Canada. At the time, this guy was taking the Greyhound across Canada to see a friend in BC. He told me that, back in Manitoba, he was dozing on the bus. When he woke up, he looked absently out the window to see a huge sculpture depicting, in his words, “a great big stonking bloody mosquito making off with some poor bloke”. Not sure who or what the “bloke” was, but I think this is the mosquito he was taking about!
Fun story about the spider!
The statue/sculpture of the mosquito carrying off the bloke is actually in Upsala, Ontario, though.
Hahaha too funny!