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10 of the most distinctly Canadian jobs

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Polar bear beat cop? Stanley cup handler? Maple syrup coordinator? While these jobs sound like those urban myths Americans tend to make up about Canada, they’re actually legitimate professions—many of which we aspire to hold one day. And after you check out this list, we’re sure you will too.

1. Stanley Cup handler

While there are undoubtedly many Canadians who would face off for this job (get it?), the coveted position is held by a few Hockey Hall of Fame employees, most prominent among them being Philip Pritchard. Pritchard’s duties include going on tour with the cup, ensuring it remains safe and in good condition, sitting with it before it gets handed off at the end of the playoffs, and even staying with it while it’s in the possession of the winning team. He basically acts as entourage for an inanimate object. But of course, this isn’t just any inanimate object: it’s the Canadian holy grail, the ultimate emblem of glory and hard work. Pritchard records his adventures with the cup on Twitter. His handle? @Keeperofthecup

2. Polar bear beat cop

It’s true, in Churchill, Manitoba there’s actually a police force for polar bears. Every November, hundreds of the animals gather near the town (known as the “polar bear capital of the world”) waiting for Hudson Bay to freeze so they can get out on the ice and hunt seals. But before that happens, they have a tendency to wander into Churchill itself, which is no good for residents or for the bears themselves. The job of the polar bear patrol is to chase the bears out of town, although for more tenacious animals, there is an actual jail facility. After the bears do their time, they are relocated to a safe area.

3. Maple syrup coordinator

The maple tree is the ultimate symbol of Canada. Its leaf is on our flag, its wood builds our furniture, and its syrup is our ambrosia. While most Canadians know that maple syrup comes from tapping a tree and boiling its sap, few people know what happens after that. How does maple syrup actually make its way from the trees to our tables? With the help of a maple syrup coordinator, of course! Bob Jakeman is a maple syrup coordinator with Jakeman’s Maple Products, and he’s involved in every aspect of syrup production from collection to quality control to marketing. While this may not seem entirely glamorous, it’s thanks to maple coordinators like Jakeman that Canadian pancakes are topped with the best syrup in the world.

4. Snow plow driver

While Zamboni drivers might come to mind as the most Canadian of all maintenance workers, the fact is that snow plow drivers are in much greater demand. Without their help, our cities would be immobilized every time a big dump of the white stuff gets dropped. In cities like Ottawa and Montreal with extremely heavy snow, the plows even maintain the sidewalks, saving residents constant shovelling. Next time you see your local snowplow driver, salute him. They are the reason Canadians can leave their houses during the long months of winter.

5. Beer ombudsman

The position of beer ombudsman was only recently created for the province of Ontario, and while the job title sounds positively bacchanalian, the reality is a bit more bureaucratic. After all, the position will require the ability to wade through the increasingly complex laws around beer and alcohol sales in the province. Nevertheless, being a representative for Canada’s favourite alcoholic beverage is no small honour. Think you’re up to the task? This unique job has yet to be taken, so grab a brew and get working on your resume.

6. Curator of the Tim Hortons museum

Only institutions of cultural and historical importance have museums built in their honour—which is why we’re shocked that it’s taken this long to open a Tim Hortons museum. The exhibit is located in Hamilton, where the first-ever location of the now ubiquitous chain opened in 1964. Sandy Vanrijn, a long-time Timmys employee, curated the displays, which include old uniforms, memorabilia, and discontinued snacks from another era. Canadians have finally accepted donuts are an essential part of our national cultural fabric, and we’re proud of it.

7. Degrassi cast member

This Canadian television drama is practically an industry unto itself. Shows from the Degrassi franchise have been airing for more than thirty years, providing valuable entertainment and life lessons to Canadians of all ages and proving that the Canadian television industry goes where few others dare. The original Degrassi played in the early 80s, and since then, the series has launched the careers of dozens of Canadian actors (and one internationally acclaimed rapper). To be among them is to hold a hallowed place in Canadian entertainment history.

8. Poutine chef

Canadians take their fries, gravy, and cheese curds seriously — so seriously that even venerated chefs have a tendency to tackle the classic dish. Josh Elkin of the Youtube series Epic Meal Time created the formidable poutine tornado; Quebec chef Chuck Hughes won Iron Chef America with his lobster poutine; and then there’s the butter chicken poutine that’s popping up everywhere these days. Yet it’s those who are creating the classic version of the dish for late-night revellers are doing the most important work: getting our beloved national dish out to its adoring public.

9. Canoe trip guide

Canoe trip guides are people who love canoeing so much that they’ve made a career out of it. These masters of the voyageur lifestyle help to get other Canadians out into our national parks on the humble canoe. It’s a job that requires many skills, but the most notable of the listed duties on one help-wanted ad simply says, “live the dream.” Enough said.

10. Quebecois translator

Because Canada is officially a bilingual country, Canadian businesses often require the help of translators. But any old French translator won’t do—our translators have to know the unique flavour of Quebecois French, which is uniquely colourful, colloquial, and rough around the edges. For example, no one but a Canadian will know what you’re talking about when you say you’re going to the dépanneur. The dainty dialects of France cannot capture French as it is spoken in Canada, and the many Quebecois translators working in Canada are making sure it stays that way.