i got to spend quite a bit of time last spring hanging out with our Canadian neighbours (spelled it the British way just to make them happy!). I used to think that they were just like little americans, but it turns out i experienced a bit of culture shock from all the subtle differences. At the risk of making more, offensive generalizations…
“Differences between Canadians and Americans”
– They enjoy soggy fries and cheese in the form of a dish called ‘putin’, which can be bought almost anywhere- from a hundred greasy shops to even the Thai soup place that has gotten into the action.
– They don’t vote for their prime minister the way we vote for the president, but rather just vote for their member of parliament (like a Congressperson) and the leader of the party with the most members of Parliament gets to be prime minister by default.
– They really do say “eh” after everything.
– You’re a “keener” if youre an annoying overachiever type who’s always making everyone else look bad.
– Maple syrup is considered a constitutional right by the government and every person is given a free monthly quota.
– Ok, I made that last one up, but maple products are everywhere –maple tea, maple syrup, maple sugar candy (my favorite), maple bacon, maple donuts, maple crème brule, maple ice cream, maple muffins, maple ham…
– A loonie is not a crazy person, but a $1 coin with a picture of a loon.
– A tunie is a therefore a $2 coin.
– A loon is a water bird, sort of like a duck. I never saw one in canada, but maybe thats because i spent all my time in Ottawa and toronto.
-I did however see signs of beavers chewing on trees right down town Ottawa in the river by the Parliamentary buildings!
– Canadians have senators too, but they aren’t elected. Instead they are appointed by the Prime Minister much like the Supreme Court justices in the US.
– Whereas a job posting looking for a ‘bilingual’ applicant means English/Spanish in the US (good for me!) in Canada they mean English/French (bad for me)…initial excitement, ultimate disappointment
– Dark-skinned people living in Canada of African descent clearly aren’t African-American, but then it turns out neither are they African-Canadian (I got laughed at for saying that…so much for trying to be PC) but simply ‘black’
– ‘Brown people’ are of people of Indian or Pakistani decent (they promise me this is not offensive, maybe i live in a more pc american world, i could never say that…so sorry if you do find this term inappropriate)
– I dont know what green people are.
– Beaver tails are fried dough.
– They are so accustomed to the cold that its plenty warm enough to wear shorts and sandals in 50 degree weather
– “Chirping” someone means to jokingly make fun of them, as in “I’m chirping Tara for being such a keener.”
– They don’t all live in igloos or have pet polar bears. Nor do they carry around hockey sticks at all times.
– Although they do love hockey. But dont care so much for our football.
– They also love their universal healthcare and seem generally happy with the system.
– University students in Quebec found the tuition increase of $300 (spread over four years even) to be so outrageous they were on strike from class for over two months (I had to work really hard not to laugh in this girl’s face when she told me that one)
-Newfies technically are people from the province of Newfoundland…but calling someone a Newfie is pretty similar to calling someone in the US a redneck or hick.
So here’s to all our friends up north-God save the Queen! and thanks for inventing hockey.