Watch Harvard Students Struggle to Name the Capital of Canada

The Harvard Crimson asked Cantabs some basic geography. The results are amusing, if unsurprising.

The Harvard Crimson aimed some friendly fire at its fellow Cantabs when a “roving reporter” asked them to name the capital of Canada and filmed their answers.

Responses from the undergraduates at the #1 ranked school in America included:

“Um, I don’t know.”

“Probably Vancouver or something?”

“Alberta? That’s not right.”

“Oh my god, I don’t know.”

So, LOL, everyone laugh at Harvard kids. Unless you’re Canadian, where this video has received a lot of disappointed-but-not-shocked press today.

Just kidding, if this shocks you, it should not. Firstly, this video seems edited for comedic effect, sifting for the most entertaining stumbles. Second, a 2011 survey found that just 48 percent of Americans could name Canada’s capital. (Quick, what is it? Yeah, stop laughing.) Sure, sure, Harvard kids should be a step above, in theory. And they are. The way you can differentiate the ignorant Harvard students from the ignorant everyone else is that the Harvard students, at least, seem ashamed of themselves.

Fact is, Americans just aren’t that geographically apt, and universities don’t really ask them to be. High school curriculums don’t either. In fact, an informal poll, conducted by me just now, revealed only one (of two GChat correspondents) could name Canada’s capital. “At least, I didn’t say provinces like these dumb [redacted],” the one who got it wrong said.

The capital of Canada is Ottawa, by the way.

  • tia

    So, they go to Harvard they’re not expected to know everything. (Hugs)

  • JoeLeTaxi

    Goes to show how relevant Canada is on the world stage. Who should be more ashamed? The Canadians or the Americans?

  • bostonlou

    Who cares?

    I’d rather someone not spend their time memorizing useless bits of information and instead try to find the cure for cancer.

  • agingcynic

    Perhaps if American secondary schools were not such tragic wastes of time, those young zombies you see stumbling about with embedded smartphones might take courses like “history” or “civics”? ……..Nah, I guess not.

  • Hubie337

    Bet they can rattle off the first 5 winners of American Idol, you know, important stuff /s


    Why is knowing the capital even important? they probably can solve lots of other things that really matter.

  • dennehypr

    I think the sweetest part of this video was the girl who owned her mistake and said, “I don’t know. I’m sorry, Canada.” And how humbled/sheepish this group (yes, edited) came across when asked… if you asked the same question on the main street of any US city, you’d find most people saying “who cares about Canada? Screw Canada.” At least these students had some class and were humbled by their ignorance, and weren’t ashamed to admit they didn’t know without blaming it on someone/thing else or just getting snarky. I also find it hard to call them stupid when most Americans don’t learn Canadian geography in school.

  • oops

    it’s not like Canadians know the much about American geography either.. I’m a Canadian student and I have no clue about America and where anything is except for California and new york