Happy Canada Day! (Now let’s talk about Canadian stereotypes!)

by Michelle on July 1, 2013 · 11 comments

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It’s Canada Day today! So Happy Canada Day to all those Canadians both in Canada and abroad! May your day be filled with lots of overly Candian things, like having some poutine, drinking Keith’s, and listening to Nickelback, while dissing Nickelback. If you’re in Canada, celebrate what a great country you’re from, and if you’re abroad – remember to wear your Canadian flag patch on your backpack with pride!

Now on this topic of Canadians and travel (we always seem to talk about travel on this blog, don’t we?!), what are some stereotypes people have of Canadians abroad? Do people really think we love beer that much? and hockey? and speaking French? Check out my list below for my experiences of what foreigners think of us during my travels!

It’s always cold and snowing in Canada.

I feel like this is always a popular one when you mention that you’re from Canada, because everyone tends to assume that you live in the Arctic. Some common responses are:

“Boy, it must be cold over there!”
“Do you guys ever get summers?”
“Why are you wearing a t-shirt in -10 degrees weather? You must be Canadian!”

Canadians love hockey.

This is probably one of the most popular stereotypes about Canadians, isn’t it? And yes, it’s

584-canada-team-celeb

photo cred: cbc.ca

true. Going to any bar on a NHL game night will tell you so. And every Canadian will tell you that’s there’s only one event worth watching during the winter Olympics – and that’s hockey! Missing that game would be like committing a national crime!

All Canadians speak French.

A lot of Americans always ask me if I speak French when they find out I’m Canadian. And surprisingly, this stereotype has made it’s way around the world, despite the fact that Quebec is really the only “French” province. I’ve had Australians and Germans ask me, and especially in France, when I was lugging my luggage around (with had a Canadian flag on it), I’ve had all sorts of people approach me and ask me questions in French (but then again, they seem to insist on speaking to everyone in French there!)

All Canadians are super friendly

It’s true isn’t it? (except people you meet on the Toronto transit). And we are proud of that fact!

Canadians love beer!

While Canadians like to pride themselves about how much they love beer, a lot of other countries (surprisingly) don’t attribute beer lovers to be Canadians. Yes, Americans know this Canadian stereotype well (but that’s because their beer isn’t very good, now is it?), but if you go to countries like Germany and Ireland, they’re going to tell you that they’re the biggest beer loving country in the world.

Canadian money is like monopoly money

Again, this is a very American stereotype about Canadians since they’re one of the few countries out there with solid green money. If you go to places like Australia or Europe, in actuality, lots of places around the world use colourful “monopoly” money – and for good reason too – it’s harder to counterfeit!

Canadians always say “eh” (also “aboot”)

Also with this one, it’s not as well-known in other parts of the world outside North America. Is it true? Well I do know a few Canadians who say “eh” every now and then (haven’t we all!) but I’ve never heard anyone say “aboot.” I think this is a very outdated stereotype, and probably only used by people from ย Newfoundland….because even Canadians make fun of their strange accent! (in good humour of course).

Canadians love their maple syrup

photo cred: http://www.sumoflam.biz/

photo cred: http://www.sumoflam.biz/

Sure I love maple syrup, along with every other Canadian I know, but we definitely don’t pour it on everything. I guess maple syrup being synonymous with Canadians is like cheese is with the Swiss, and meatballs with the Swedes. Plus the fact that all bottles of maple syrup I’ve seen abroad seem to always advertise for “AUTHENTIC CANADIAN MAPLE SYRUP”, with images of maple leafs plastered all over helps us maintain that stereotype. And also the fact that our flag has a giant maple leaf on it.

All Canadians are best friends with Justin Bieber.

This was something all the German kids from the school I taught at would all ask me. It’s pretty cute though to have a bunch of eleven year olds lined up to ask you varying questions about Justin Bieber’s life. Sadly I don’t know anything about him! Except that he may or may not be dating Selena Gomez.

People abroad get their Canadian stereotypes from watching How I Met Your Mother

Like we don’t have enough stereotypes already, thanks to American television, people abroad also think Canadians are scared of the dark. And yes, I’ve had people ask me that all the time in Germany. Those Germans. Side note, speaking of Canadians and being scared of the dark, who remembers the show, “Are you Afraid of the Dark?!?!”

So what do you think of these stereotypes? As a Canadian, what sort of stereotypes have you heard while travelling? And to all you non-Canadians, what stereotypes do you associate with Canadians?

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Leana July 2, 2013 at 1:19 am

I’ve also gotten a lot of surprised looks from non-Canadians when abroad when people find out I’ve never been to Vancouver! Do they realize how far it is from coast to coast? lol! I wish though ๐Ÿ˜€

Other common stereotypes I’ve been asked about include if I eat poutine a lot, if I’ve been in an igloo (or lived in one.. uh no… but how awesome would it be to try?!), if I’ve seen the Northern Lights (well actually, yes! haha), and once I was asked if I’ve eaten moose before (no thank you! – but there are painted moose statues around, which I find pretty hilarious!)

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Michelle Michelle July 3, 2013 at 4:14 am

Haha yea I have a lot of people who ask me about having ever been to Vancouver as well! And they get surprised too when I say no! I think people from Vancouver seem to travel the most out of all Canadians because a lot of people I’ve met seem to only be able to name Vancouver as a Canadian City and think it’s the capital!!!

Haha igloo…

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Nick (theboywander) July 3, 2013 at 4:36 am

I’m an Australian but I discovered Canadians (atleast in BC where I was) are obsessed with Tim Hortons and Poutine. I’ll give you guys poutine, that is an incredible hangover food but I cant stand Timmy Hortons!

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Michelle Michelle July 3, 2013 at 5:49 pm

I don’t think anyone actually *loves* Tim Hortons….people go there more because it’s cheap…especially compared to Starbucks haha!

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Ellei July 3, 2013 at 8:23 pm

You really should go to Sweden!

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Michelle Michelle July 9, 2013 at 5:14 am

I’d love to! ๐Ÿ˜€

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Charlie July 11, 2013 at 1:45 am

While currently pouring sweat at 9.45pm in 30 degrees (that “feels like” 36 – it does) in Montreal, I can attest to the fact that Canada does indeed get summers. Honestly, I had no idea it could get so hot before I came!

Other Canadian stereotypes I’d like to add: all Canadians know how to ski or ice skate and they always come super prepared when camping. In my experience, there are so true! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Michelle Michelle July 11, 2013 at 5:44 pm

Yes our summers do get really hot (although short)! Haha and about the skiing and skating – yes!!! I love it as well ๐Ÿ˜€

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Amanda July 20, 2013 at 5:59 pm

Ice skating and Timmies – heard those before. I remember when my cousin went to live in LA from Toronto, a lot of people asked him about snow, igloos and pet beavers (I think he convinced them they were true for a bit, just for the hell of it). In Ireland I realized we do say sorry quite a bit as well!

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Michelle Michelle July 21, 2013 at 10:12 pm

Hahaha I wouldn’t mind owning a pet beaver….they’re so cute ๐Ÿ™‚ And yea! I do notice Irish and Brits saying sorry quite a bit! We probably learned it from you guys!

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AATravel January 25, 2014 at 4:08 pm

“All Canadians are best friends with Justin Bieber.”,,,that is funny

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