TORONTO — A new poll suggests Canadians haven’t made much progress in expanding their knowledge of the more colourful parts of the country’s history.
The online survey from Historica Canada, the organization behind the country’s Heritage Minutes, quizzed respondents on 30 pieces of quirky Canadiana using true or false questions and tallied the number of correct responses.
QUIZ: Can you pass Historica Canada’s survey? Story continues below.
The organization says 67 per cent of respondents who completed the survey got a failing grade (of below 50 per cent).
That’s more than the 62 per cent of respondents who failed a similar survey last year, in which Historica quizzed them on trivia tidbits such as the fact that the Montreal Canadiens once lost the Stanley Cup by the side of the road while changing a tire.
This year, Historica says scores were particularly poor for questions related to science and innovation. Poll respondents were also fooled by false statements.
Historica Chief Executive Officer Anthony Wilson-Smith readily admits this year’s batch of questions were “nasty,” noting the poll results should not be taken for a sign of overall ignorance about Canadian history.
It drives me crazy, this idea that Canadian history is boring.Anthony Wilson-Smith, Historica Canada
But Wilson-Smith said the questions, if not the results, should serve to challenge what he views as a common myth about the study of Canada’s past.
“It drives me crazy, this idea that Canadian history is boring,” he said in a telephone interview. “No, it’s not. People just haven’t bothered to look closely enough at the real human stories and quirky things that have happened here.”
The survey of 1,002 participants, administered by Ipsos, broke questions down into five categories to quiz respondents on their knowledge of science and innovation, geography, culture, sports and animals.
Survey participants demonstrated strongest knowledge of geographical questions, with 48 per cent scoring a passing grade in that category.
Questions related to literature also drew a relatively high number of correct responses.
Men did slightly better
Overall performance was weakest in the science and innovation category.
Historica found regional discrepancies in participant’s quiz scores, with 37 per cent of respondents in Saskatchewan or Manitoba recording passing grades. That rate fell to 22 per cent for poll participants in British Columbia.
Pass rates did not vary by age, the survey found, but were eight per cent higher among men than women.
The online survey was conducted between June 11 and 14. The polling industry’s professional body, the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, says online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error as they are not a random sample and therefore are not necessarily representative of the whole population.
With files from HuffPost Canada
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