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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!


  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 =-.

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