The Canada Reads Drinking Game

Rebecca Salazar explains the rules

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

AFTER GUIDING PARTISAN readers through my unauthorized Canada Reads guide to being a Real Fictional Canadian, I felt some celebration was in order. To those left wanting another shot of Canada Reads content: polish off your favourite shot glass and proceed to the even less authorized Canada Reads Drinking Game.

Recommended beverages: Canadian microbrews and/or locally distilled spirits. 

Non-alcoholic variation: Tim Hortons coffee (this may be the most hazardous brew). 

Note: Canada Reads generally airs mid-morning; please drink responsibly. 

The Rules

1. Take a sip for every use of the word “tolerance.”

2. Take a dainty sip for every use of the word “beautiful.”

3. Take a deep, soulful drink each time a panelist feels “touched” or “moved.”

4. Finish half your drink if a panelist tears up while discussing a book.

5. Finish half your drink but pretend it was only a respectable sip each time the host uses a word like “respectful,” “polite,” or “collegiate.”

6. Take an uncomfortably full gulp each time a panelist wonders if they are allowed to swear or discuss sexual content on the CBC.

7. Attempt to drink while delivering a political argument if any panelist refers to a Barbara Kay column about one of the books.

8. Spill your drink on yourself if an uncomfortable discussion about privilege ensues.

9. If any panelist demands an apology from another panelist, swap drinks with the person to your left and apologize to one another about your respective drink choices.

10. Finish your drink if any panelist apologizes for their commentary.

11. Refill and repeat if multiple panelists apologize for their commentary in the same segment.

12. Make a toast, and drink directly from the bottle or coffee pot if at any point Lawrence Hill wins another Canada Reads title.


REBECCA SALAZAR edited the Fredericton installment of The City Series (Frog Hollow). Her poems have appeared in Lemon Hound, CV2, and Room, and her first chapbook is forthcoming with Anstruther. She is currently a Vanier Scholar at UNB.

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