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From Hockey to Crokinole: What Games Are Most Popular in Canada and Why?

When you travel to a new country there is always a lot to learn. New types of food, new ways of living, and even new ways of speaking. This is part of what makes travelling so exciting but it can also be confusing at first.

By understanding what makes the local tick, you can more easily get to grips with a new culture. In the example of Canada, you can find out a lot about the people who live here by looking at their favourite games and pastimes.

Canada’s Favourite Sport

When you think of Canadian sports you probably think of ice hockey first. Commonly known as just hockey, this is the country’s official national winter sport. People have been playing this sport since the 19th century and it shows no sign of losing its enormous appeal.

The Hockey Hall of Fame

The Memorial Cup and the Allan Cup are among the main trophies that teams vie for each season. A MasterCard survey has indicated that over 80% of Canadians watched hockey every week. The same survey noted that 10% of workers regularly took time off to play.

Why is hockey so popular here? The cold winter weather certainly means that it is one of the easiest games to play at this time of year. A more interesting theory is that newcomers to the country can integrate more easily if they play or watch it, as it provides something in common with locals.

The success of the Canadian ice hockey team is a source of tremendous national pride. Anyone who wants to feel at home and feel a part of Canada could do a lot worse than give this sport a try. The big games are exciting, social occasions while playing with friends is a great way to get to know people.

Card Games

Card games are also very popular across Canada. Euchre is arguably the best known of them all. There are different versions of this game played in the country, so you will probably need to learn some new rules if you play it in more than one province.

Other international card games like hearts, bridge, blackjack, and cribbage are among the games that Canadians most love to play. People enjoy getting out a pack of cards at home or even playing a variety of games on mobiles and desktops to pass some time at home or even when commuting.

Interestingly, there are also games that only exist here, or are far more popular in Canada than elsewhere. For example, Two Hundred is widely played in New Brunswick and Quebec. It is also commonly known as Deux Cents and Le Ruff, and is believed to have originated in Canada.

Forty-Five is a commonly played game in Nova Scotia. It appears to have been created out of an older game brought here by Irish immigrants. In the same way, settlers from Ukraine brought hola to the west of the country and kaiser, alternatively known as joffre, to Canada.

The French speaking part of the country has a particularly wide selection of fascinating card games. These include dame de pique, tarot and la politaine.

Board Games

Board games have long given Canadians an enjoyable way to spend time with friends and family. It is easy to imagine how appealing these games can be when it is too cold to venture outside in the evening.

Among the most interesting board games played here is Crokinole. This game sees players attempt to slide their discs into the highest scoring parts of the board. It was apparently invented in Ontario in the late 19th century and continues to be popular.

Pichenotte is another highly popular board game here. This is all about flicking small wooden pieces across a board. It has a lot of similarities with Crokinole and some people even use the name Pichenotte when talking about all games of this type.

Of course, there is also a Canadian version of Monopoly that lets you buy and sell the likes of Montreal International Airport, Vancouver, and Ottawa. The board positions were chosen with an online vote and Chatham-Kent won the most prestigious place in the game.

Video Games

Canada has the third biggest video gaming industry on the planet, after the US and Japan. Close to 500 companies added almost $3 billion to the economy in 2015. Quebec is the leading province in producing games, followed by British Columbia and then Ontario.

Classic Video Games

As for the players, it has been calculated that over half of the population are gamers. Consoles are still seen as being the best way of playing to Canadian gamers. However, mobile playing is catching up quickly.

The average age of gamers here is 33, while there are almost as many female gamers as there are male. Action adventure games are the most popular type, followed by family games, and shooters. Plenty of games are set place here, like The Long Dark, Until Dawn and Death Road to Canada.

The huge popularity of video games here isn’t really all that different from in other parts of the world. Having said that, it is easy to think that the extreme winter weather plays a part in forcing people to stay indoors and play more.

It is clear that video gaming is now simply a part of the Canadian culture, just like hockey, lotteries, and Crokinole. If you want to feel a part of the country and get to know the people then there are few better ways than by starting to play some games like these.