In my final year of highschool I took an elective course in American History. Our excellent instructor, Al White, one of the finest teachers I ever had the privilege of learning from, began the first day of class by giving us a pop quiz: ten questions on American history and then, rolling up the world map, he revealed to us ten more questions... on Canadian history.
Almost everyone in class scored 7/10 or better on the American history questions. However, most of us where lucky to be able to answer even 3 of the Canadian history questions. This after 12 years of education in Canadian classrooms! How was it that we all knew who discovered America and when the American Revolution was won and who the first president of the United States was - but almost no one knew who had been the first prime minister of Canada?
The answer of course, is "the media". We Canadian kids had spent a lifetime reading about American history (and mythology) in books, comics and magazines. We had seen it referenced in cartoons, television and movies. Being a one-tenth-size neighbour to the United States, Canadian kids are awash in American media. And America has a knack for mythologizing its historical figures that makes learning about them very appealing to kids. Canada just doesn't do that.
A couple of months ago there was a report that, as recently as the 1930's, the United States government had a plan in place to invade Canada. Conspiracy theorists up here believe that such a plan still exists. As I learned in my American history course some 25 years ago, why bother?
*You can see these images at full size in my American Legends Flickr set.