10 Myths About Canada

Queuing For Beaver Tails In The Snow

Queu­ing For Beaver Tails In The Snow

Wel­come to my new series, the “Cana­dian List of Ten”! Ten weeks, ten posts, ten lists and one hun­dred new Cana­dian things for you, from food to lan­guage, from city to weather.

Wow, ten arti­cles, already? To end this Cana­dian List of Ten series, I’d like to tackle ten myths peo­ple may have about Canada. And yes, I have per­son­ally heard each one of them, believe it or not! A new series will start soon — I hope you enjoyed that one!

  1. Canada has snow all year round: when you say you live in Canada, most peo­ple reply things like “oh, it must be cold”, or “how do you deal with all that snow?”. Sure, win­ters are noto­ri­ously harsh. But most of the pop­u­la­tion lives nearby the bor­der with the USA so it’s not exactly the Great White North. Actu­ally, a lot of U.S states expe­ri­ence sim­i­lar win­ter weather con­di­tions. There usu­ally isn’t much snow before late October/ Novem­ber and our sum­mers are long and hot (in Ottawa, it’s not rare to have over 30C in the summer!).
  2. Cana­di­ans have a strong accent: eh? Sure, some Cana­di­ans do say “eh” a lot and there are some Cana­di­anisms. But to most peo­ple, Cana­dian and Amer­i­can accents sound alike and the dif­fer­ence, if any, is sub­tle. There are some regional accents though… much like in the U.S.A.
  3. Every­body speaks Eng­lish in Canada (or every­body speaks French in Québec): Canada has two offi­cial lan­guage, French and Eng­lish. The major­ity of the pop­u­la­tion does speak Eng­lish but there are siz­able French minori­ties through­out the coun­try. Québec, of course, of pre­dom­i­nantly French speak­ing but it also has a siz­able pop­u­la­tion who speak Eng­lish as a first lan­guage. In addi­tion, many Cana­di­ans speak a non-official lan­guage at home, such as Chi­nese, Pun­jabi, Span­ish or Italian.
  4. Hockey is the national sport: although it is almost a national pas­time, orig­i­nally the national sport was Lacrosse. It’s only in 1994 that hockey became the national win­ter sport, and Lacrosse became the national sum­mer sport.
  5. Canada has a social­ized health care sys­tem: this is one of my favorite as well, and I still don’t really under­stand why being “social­ist” is bad, but any­way… It is true that our sys­tem is very dif­fer­ent from the U.S. Health is a provin­cial mat­ters (and also a fed­eral one) and per­ma­nent res­i­dents and cit­i­zens alike are cov­ered by their provin­cial health plan. This is not “free” because it is financed through taxes but we do not pay for essen­tial basic care. The sys­tem is not per­fect (there is a health care practitioner’s short­age and some­times long wait­ing lists) but health cov­er­age is not affected by loss or change of jobs and there are no life­time lim­its or exclu­sions for pre-existing conditions.
  6. Canada is a monar­chy: well, not exactly, Canada is a con­sti­tu­tional monar­chy. Canada does acknowl­edge the Queen, (who is rep­re­sented by the Gov­er­nor Gen­eral) but we have our own con­sti­tu­tion and the Queen is a fig­ure­head. Canada makes its own laws and it is in no way depen­dent on Britain for laws or gov­ern­ing the country.
  7. There are two cities in Canada, Van­cou­ver and Toronto: when I’m trav­el­ing and I say I live in Canada, I heard that sev­eral time. “Oh, which city do you live in? Toronto or Van­cou­ver?”. I know that Canada has a rel­a­tively small pop­u­la­tion com­pared to the U.S, but we do have more than two cities! Ottawa, the cap­i­tal, Mon­tréal, Hal­i­fax, Win­nipeg, Cal­gary, Saska­toon, Regina, Edmon­ton, St John… just to name a few.
  8. Canada is just like the U.S: true, there is less dif­fer­ence between Canada and the U.S.A than, let’s say, between China and Rus­sia. Canada and the U.S share a very long bor­der, some medias and love to fight each other in var­i­ous sports events. Yet these are two dif­fer­ent coun­tries, two dif­fer­ent polit­i­cal sys­tems, cul­tures etc. Peo­ple are dif­fer­ent — not bet­ter, not worse, just dif­fer­ent. And it’s more fun this way, isn’t it?
  9. Canada is expen­sive: I’ve heard that a lot in Europe and I’m not sure why peo­ple have this idea. Euro­peans often assume North Amer­ica in gen­eral is very expen­sive, yet, I per­son­ally find life gen­er­ally cheaper than in the old con­ti­nent. To me, food, clothes, accom­mo­da­tion are quite afford­able here and I’m shocked when I go to France because prices rose so much in the last ten years.
  10. Cana­di­ans live in the wild: I per­son­ally love this stereo­type of Cana­di­ans canoe­ing to work and fight­ing moose and bison bare-handed. Sure, I have seen peo­ple skat­ing to work (on the Rideau Canada) and even ski­ing (dur­ing the huge snow storms we had in 2007-08. But let’s face it, most densely pop­u­lated part of the coun­try is the Que­bec City – Wind­sor Cor­ri­dor and you are quite unlikely to find polar bears around there. Sorry, eh!

About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.


  1. I don’t know what are you pay­ing for your food in Ontario, but I def­i­nitely find food expen­sive in Que­bec. I was in Ger­many last Decem­ber and I was shocked by the low food prices! After that, I really feel ripped off every time I shop. Imag­ine, in Qc I have to pay 6$ for the pack­age of “real” Moz­zarella cheese and in Ger­many you can find it start­ing at 0,49 Euro! And vine prices,it hurts! Almost every­thing in food depart­ment costs five to ten times more here…
    .-= Yasmine´s last blog ..Liv­ing as a cou­ple in for­eign coun­try =-.

  2. Pingback: Happy Canada Day - Daily Dish with Foodie Friends Friday~Daily Dish with Foodie Friends Friday

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