There’s an alternate universe somewhere in which hockey was invented in Vesperia.

Today we’re marking Canada Day, the anniversary of the formation in 1867 of the confederation that now stretches, as the country’s Latin motto “A Mari Usque Ad Mare” suggests, from sea to sea.

Initially it was just the provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Canada, which was what is now Ontario and Quebec.

So July 1st marks when Canada joined, well, Canada.

The word “Canada” is believed to come from the Huron-Iroquois word “kanata,” meaning “settlement” or “village.”

The French used it in the 16th century.

But it wasn’t the only name in the mix for the new dominion, as it was then known.

Since it had been UK territory, there were suggestions that it be called Victorialand, or Albertsland, or even just Brittania.

Other names reflected its northern geography, like Norland, or Borealia.

There was at least one suggestion to call it Ursalia – “place of the bears” – and then there were the acronyms.

One idea was to call it “Toponia,” as in “The United Provinces of North America.”

Another was “Efsiga,” to reflect the “English, French, Irish, Scottish, German, and Aboriginal” connections there.

That last one at least slightly reflected the long history of Native people who’d lived in this land for thousands of years beforehand.

Finally, there was apparently a suggestion that the confederation share its name with the largest of the Great Lakes.

Yes, if things had turned out differently, Canada would be known as the land of Superior, which would have been awkward for people from other countries to meet with the Superior Prime Minister and hear from the Superior Ambassador.

So this happened in Canada: several Canadian Tire stores in Ontario had to briefly shut down operations on Monday.

Not because of health concerns, but because a glitch made every item they scanned show up in the computer as a Mr. Potato Head toy.

Rain boots, cat food, hockey sticks, everything showed up as Potato Heads.

It’s since been fixed – but should it have been?

What Canada was ALMOST named (CBC Kids)

Canadian Tire in Lindsay temporarily closed after every item scanned comes up as “Mr Potato Head” (Kawartha411)

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Photo: Strawberry cake in the shape of Canada’s flag, by Zombie Leah via Flickr/Creative Commons