Stuffs Canadians Don’t Like (Part 1)

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Canadian Cookies at the Byward Market

Canadian Cookies at the Byward Market

Everybody knows that Canadians are peaceful and polite people. Yet, I noticed my fellow citizens can be quite annoyed by a few things… that are Canadian in essence.

Disclaimer: this post is to be read with your morning/ afternoon coffee. It is not meant to be taken literally. I know some Canadians are going to disagree (but I’m sure they will apologize about disagreeing).

So, in the spirit of Stuffs Canadians Like and Stuffs Canadians Like (Part 2), here the list of Stuffs Canadians Don’t Like.

People who loiter: the first time I visited a Tim Hortons, I noticed this sign on the wall that read: “please, no loitering”. I stared at it for ten good minutes (basically waiting for my extra hot coffee to be drinkable). I had no clue what it meant. I had never seen the word “loitering” before and I think my mind made a funny connection with “littering”. But in fact, these no-so-friendly signs are meant to keep people from hanging out around a business if they aren’t there to do business. So gulp your junk food down and leave. Even better: don’t come in, just order from the window of your car and drive away. Gosh, these North Americans are so efficient!

Having too much snow/ too little snow: the world is apparently laughing at us because there wasn’t much snow in Vancouver during the Olympic Games. “Canada’s mild climate leaves Winter Olympics short of snow” said the Guardian, the British newspaper. “Still no snow!” said another newspaper. Or “Vancouver Forced to Import Snow to Winter Olympics” — and that’s when the rest of the world started laughing. Indeed, this winter has been very mild so far throughout the country. Now, just look at winter 2007-08: “Coldest winter in 15 years“, “A Never-Ending Winter“, “Record snow fall for winter 2007-2008“… you got it, that winter, we had way too much snow. It’s hard to keep Canadians happy: too little snow and the country may lose its informal title of “winterland”, too much snow and Canadians are all feeding to Florida. Few are content with the weather in this country.

Being mistaken for American (or being called a “Canadian” for some Québecers): the story goes that Canadians sew Canadian flags on their backpack to avoid being mistaken for Americans (arguably, Americans sometimes also put the Canadian flag on their backpack just to get people to think they’re not American). Most Canadians defend their culture fiercely and hate to be mistaken for American just because they happen to speak English, watch a hundred of US channels and live by the border. Incidentally, don’t call a Quebecer a Canadian: some may throw maple syrup at your face and “tabernac'” you. Sure, they carry a Canadian passport… just don’t remind them.

Their cell phone companies: cell phone plans in Canada are highway robbery. You sign up for three years (three years!) and you get to pay for pretty much everything: incoming calls, checking your voicemail, having a voicemail, call display… heck, there are even monthly fees to access the 911 service! I hated cell phone companies in Europe but I hate them even more in Canada. And trust me, I’m not the only one!

Criticism on the lack of security measures along Canada’s side of border with the USA: according to Washington, anytime a terrorism enter the USA, it’s through Canada. Don’t ask me how, don’t ask me why. Apparently, Canada border officers wave everybody through (not quite my experience but anyway…), saying “have a good trip, eh“. Now, when US border security gets tougher, Canadians usually have no choice but to follow suit. For instance, anyone crossing the border by land must now show a passport. And guess what happens? Americans complain! “Oh, but I used to get in with just my birth certificate/ my driver license / a letter from Uncle Sam!”It’s only Canada and I’m only going there for a short visit, do I really need to apply for a passport?“. Go figure. Meanwhile, crossing the border these days can be a pain in the ass.

How about you? As Canadians, what annoys you? And what are the stuffs people don’t like in your country?


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. “Being mistaken for American (or being called a “Canadian” for some Québecers)”

    Such Québecers need a reality check before they separate and find out that without Canada they are another third world small country like Kazakstan or one of those.
    .-= Guillermo´s last blog ..Esto no es la tierra prometida =-.

  2. I laughed with #3; Guillermo is right, you would think these people don’t realize where they actually live…

    Re: Loitering, it’s normally applied to those who are just hanging out outside (teenagers mostly). People here don’t like having a bunch of teens fooling around near the front door of your store…

  3. I never knew what “loitering” meant either…It’s still puzzle to me.

    About terrorists coming from Canada…Well, it’s actually the US border that ALLOWS them to enter US, so it’s not our fault at all! Don’t blame Canada!

    I know some Quebecers want to be called Canadians ’cause they identify with Canada. Luckily, not every Quebecer wants to separate.

    Don’t use Fido. They have the worst customer service!

  4. Ha ha.. You have to excuse me cos Canadian & American accents sound almost the same to me. Hence: Being mistaken for American!!

    I also cannot differentiate Aussie & Kiwi. Ha ha…

    Apart from those countries, I am quite good at guessing UK regional accents. 😉

    Re: Chinese New Year in London / 伦敦的春节 / Tahun Baru Cina di London / ロンドンのお正月

    Angpow is the Hokkien version of Hongbao. We actually use them both in Malaysia.
    .-= London Caller´s last blog ..Posh Nosh / 高级食品 / Makanan Mewah / ポッシュ・ノッシュ =-.

  5. I just love it ! You got it all right !

    Excellent, so true…and so funny !

    PS : It felt so good this morning watching the Olympic Games closing Ceremony…so proud to be Canadian, even so expatriate for a long time.
    .-= Crikette´s last blog ..Cotons … tiges =-.

  6. heh, that is pretty funny. I am sure they are all true. i never used to understand what people meant about Canadians having an accent, but I discovered recently that I am starting to be able to pick people out as from Canada. 😉
    .-= Charles Dastodd´s last blog ..Flower Market =-.

  7. Here in the Philippines you can loiter and litter… 😉
    It is even a favorite pastime of many people….
    .-= Sidney´s last blog .. =-.

  8. @Guillermo – I agree! No surprise here, I’m not a supporter of Québec’s independence. But I was caught in the debate too many times already… so I live in Ontario!

    @Cynthia – I have never really noticed such animosity but I understand the relation between Québec and some provinces are a bit… er… you know. I like Québec and Québecers though. I just avoid talking about politics!

    @Yogi – Yes, the question isn’t as big as it was in the 90s I guess.

    @Gabriel – I still find this loitering funny from a French point of view because as teens, we would… well, loiter for hours 😆

    @Tulsa Gentleman – 😆 Most Europeans don’t mind Americans actually, I know French would just be curious. As long as you are not the ugly stereotype, that is. Same in the USA, I have never met any Americans who hated French, most were just curious.

    @Lis of the North – And it’s true 😆

    @Agnes – I was really trying to understand what it meant 😆

    @Bluefish – I know for Québecers 😉 And I agree, border security is not all Canada’s fault!

    @Celine – A typical Canadian dilemma 😆

    @Beth – Oh yeah they are. I think it’s one of the only thing I miss from France. And it’s not like our cell companies aren’t greedy either… just a bit less greedy.

    @London Caller – The accent is fairly close. Just check the backpack: maple leaf = Canadian (or American who is pretending to be Canadian)

    @Crikette – I watched the game yesterday and yes, I felt proud 🙂

    @khengsiong – Nah, I think you are safe. I’ve never been kicked out for doing that!

    @Charles Dastodd – Really? Even I have troubles to do that sometimes!

    @Sidney – I’ll take loitering, littering I’d pass 🙂

  9. I think I can explain the loitering thing. When we were teenagers there wasn’t a whole lot to do if we couldn’t find someone’s house to hang out at, so we’d go out to restaurants, order a coke or and appetizer to split or something else really cheap, and just sit there for hours talking without getting anything else. I think that is maybe what Tim Horton’s is trying to avoid, bored teenagers!

    I really want some of those cookies in the picture! Nothing like those super sugary iced cookies!
    .-= Soleil´s last blog ..More about steroids, because I haven’t whined enough about them yet =-.

  10. I go back and forth back from the US to canada all the time and the Canadian border cops are way more easy going than the American ones- and I’m american!!!! They’re always trying to trip me about about where “I’m from” (I was born in Florida-I’m NOT from there)- or where I went to high school or some such goobledy-gook that no one cares about! If I wanted to take guns/drugs/bombs/bin laden across the border I’d just rent a canoe and cross the st. lawrence. Seriously!

    as for cell phones- When I was in toronto in the summer the news was raving that canada had some of the most affordable plans in the “developed” world- it’s about the same garbage we have in the US- The rest of the world must be getting robbed blind!
    I don’t know,I have a pre paid (“drugdealer”) phone-and I used to get all sorts of lascivious and purile text messages- I put a stop to that!

  11. Hi Zhu,

    You made me look Loiter up in the dictionary! 😀

    I’ve been told about the mobile phones companies in Canada and I think I will defenetely hate them and now even more when I’ve found a very good cheap one.

    Regarding the snow, I always have believed that Vancouver has mild winters but not other places in Canada, so why they should be upset?

    Anyway, it’s good to see that there are not many things that annoys you there.

    Take care,
    .-= Cornflakegirl´s last blog ..Filament =-.

  12. In English, the word for a person from Quebec is Quebecker. You have to have the k in there, otherwise it would be pronounced Quebeser! Yes, of course many people spell it without the k, and most of them aren’t going to change their minds… But check an English-Canadian dictionary, and the k is there. Again, in English, if you want to specify that someone is a Quebecker of French-speaking background, you would probably use the French word and call them a Québecois[e]. When I was a kid in the 1960s (in Toronto), we English speakers always pronounced Quebec as kwebek, but that’s changed, and now I’d say that most English speaking Canadians pronounce it somewhere between kebek and kébek. But we don’t normally write the accent in English.

    Regardless, I’ve never thought of any of these words as bearing any animosity at all.

  13. Max Coutinho on

    Hello again,

    As I read this post there was only one thing I could do: LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL….
    This post is utterly funny!! It really is…

    I already knew that Canadians dislike being confounded with Americans. People do not realise that the Canadian accent is slightly different than the American, and then diplomatic mishaps occur *nodding*. It is like when Americans think that Portugal and Spain are the same…*nodding*.

    About cell-phones: Portugal, now, has a tight (read: cool) cell-phone service…so I can’t complain any longer.

    Canadians do not annoy me. What stuff about Portugal annoys people? The fact that there are no proper signs (in the streets, roads, highways etc). I could offer you my vision of what annoys me about Portugal…but I already do that from times to times in my blog lol *nodding*.

    .-= Max Coutinho´s last blog ..The Missing Link Between Creation & Evolution? =-.

  14. Hi Zhu,

    I like these type of series very much !!

    I would NEVER deliberately treat a Canadian like if he/her was like a copy of an American ! The US and Canada each have their distinct History and Culture. I’am a US citizen. I have visited Canada twice and each time I felt good there.

    Bises à toi, Zhu 😉

  15. Oh these are funny. I’m not sure some things annoy me, but the stupid questions American’s ask can be sooooo darn funny… What’s a Loonie or a Toonie for instance! Do you have internet up here? Do you live in an igloo? Do you drive on a paved road? Does it ever not snow where you live? Those are the questions that I shake my head and can’t believe they are asked up here…. Go figure. Some woman in Alabama once asked how long it took to ride the bus to Switzerland???

    Hmm – that depends on which Greyhound takes you under the ocean right?
    .-= expatraveler´s last blog ..Werid Weather =-.

  16. Oh and I forgot most importantly, you are so right about cell phones. I hate the service here. I loved it in Europe. They are more advanced and they also have better, cheaper service… So much bundled all in one!
    .-= expatraveler´s last blog ..Werid Weather =-.

  17. Being a Quèbecious i have to agree about what you say. ( im still not Canadian) but we are friendly. For example if someone steps on my feet although I shouldnt I will apoligize.

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