`` ... we are a nation of canoeists, and have been since the earliest days, paddling our way up the St. Lawrence, across the lakes, over the portages of the Shield, west along the North Saskatchewan through the Yellowhead gap and thence southwest by the Columbia and Fraser rivers to the sea. When somebody asks you how Canada could exist as a horizontal country with its plains and mountains running vertically, tell them about the paddlers.'' -- Pierre Berton, Why We Act Like Canadians