Stiff competition

Your curiosity will be aroused by this contest


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As official celebrations of our beloved nation’s 150th birthday draw near, the time has come to pause, take a deep breath and reflect on what it truly means to be a proud Canadian.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 19/06/2017 (1924 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

As official celebrations of our beloved nation’s 150th birthday draw near, the time has come to pause, take a deep breath and reflect on what it truly means to be a proud Canadian.

While we’re doing that, we should also take a patriotic moment to sit down in front of our computer and vote for our favourite Canadian-themed condom wrapper, eh?

What with being a mature and respectful columnist at a respected family newspaper, I wish I was joking about the Canuck condom-wrapper contest, but, unfortunately, I am not.

I became aware of this growing issue (cough) the other day, when the editor of our newspaper forwarded me an email from a company called One — “a leader in premium-branded condoms and lubricants in North America” — boasting that hundreds of Canadians had risen to the challenge (that’s what they said) and submitted patriotic designs for a condom wrapper to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary.

Here is the thrust (so to speak) of what my editor said: “This column writes itself — you know, we stand on guard for thee!”

In a nutshell — OK, it has just occurred to me that might not be the best phrase to use at this point — the news release stated that a panel of eight guest judges had sorted through all the Canadian condom designs and selected the top 50 finalists. And you, the extremely polite Canadian public, can vote for the 10 big winners by visiting until July 12.

Along with the pride that goes with designing a quintessentially Canadian condom, the grand prize winner gets $1,000, a year’s supply of condoms featuring their design, an artist’s profile at and a donation of 10,000 condoms to the Canadian health organization of their choice.

There will also be condoms and cash for four runners-up and five regional winners.

According to a news release, putting interesting and engaging artwork on the wrappers is a great way to start a conversation about safer sex.

Photos by One Condoms

Sure, OK — makes sense to me, I suppose, not that I spend a great deal of my spare time checking out the artwork on condom wrappers.

But that’s not the patriotic point, which is that I spent several valuable minutes tucked away in my office cubicle, checking out the 50 finalists on the company website and some of them were pretty amusing in a distinctly Canadian sort of way.

You will not be surprised to hear a lot of submissions featured moose (one with the text “Mount One”); beavers on quite a few (one was showing off its tail with the text “Cheeky One”); another had a hockey rink and puck with the label “The Great One”; then there was a sort of lumberjack-shirt design featuring the words “Get Plaid” with the P crossed out; some had indigenous artwork; quite a few featured poutine (one with the text “Poutine it in”); a bunch involved maple syrup and one of my favourites resembles a Tim Hortons coffee cup adorned with the classic Canadian phrase “RRROLL ONE TO WIN.”

Sound loonie? Don’t worry: the Canadian coin was well represented, too.

At risk of offending the community standards of any readers who still have them, I have no problems with One’s Canadian condom design contest. I mean, what better way is there to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday? Sure, fireworks and backyard barbecues are nice — but there’s nothing wrong with promoting patriotism on prophylactics.

I guess the only issue I have is that it would be nice to see my home province, Manitoba, represented a bit more prominently on the packaging. What with our passion for the Jets, you could have a wrapper featuring an impressive hockey stick, with the end wrapped in tape for safety reasons.

Or what about a wrapper featuring our provincial bird, by which I mean a mosquito the size of a Labrador retriever, with its giant needle-shaped nose thrusting up into the Prairie sky, if you catch my potentially offensive drift.

I should point out this is not the first time I have felt compelled to share my thoughts on this sensitive issue.

A few years ago I weighed in after Toronto became the first Canadian city to launch a limited-edition, city-branded condom.

The wrapper of Toronto’s branded condom featured three aptly named street signs — Coxwell Ave., Wood St. and Cummer Ave. — along with a long, pointy graphic that innocent observers assumed was the CN Tower.

Not surprisingly, One was involved in the #condomTO campaign, too.

Although I am more used to municipalities slapping their brand on hockey rinks, football stadiums and community-works projects, I was totally down with the Toronto condom.

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So I hope you will take it the right way when I urge everyone to celebrate safely this Canada Day.

I, personally, will not be spending any time near the CN Tower, because that makes me feel just a tiny bit inadequate — a pretty Canadian emotion, when you think about it.

Doug Speirs

Doug Speirs

Doug has held almost every job at the newspaper — reporter, city editor, night editor, tour guide, hand model — and his colleagues are confident he’ll eventually find something he is good at.

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