Common Canadian Misconceptions

In honour of Canada Day – one my personal favourite holidays – Kat’s Confessions is hosting The Great 2012 Canadian Blog Bash! Being a proud Canuck, I had to participate, no matter how many boxes I had to trip over to get to the computer.

Over at Kol’s Notes, Kolchak brought up a lot of the common myths about the Canadian culture. I thought I would provide a little elaboration for some who may still be undecided on the whole “aboot” versus “about” debate.

Myth #1: Canadians have a unique culture*

False. Canadians have no culture. If you are to ask a Canadian how he or she would define what it means to be Canadian, you would probably hear something along the lines of “not American.” Canadians find it easier to say what they are not as opposed to what they are.

Myth #2: All Canadians are nice

False. Canadians really aren’t that nice. In fact, we can be downright cruel. We just don’t like confrontation. Unless we’re on a hockey rink, we are a nation of cowards. Trust me, that Canadian who is smiling and providing you with directions to the nearest Starbucks will probably roll their eyes at you behind your back. Especially if you are American.**

Myth #3: Canadians enjoy free health care

 False. It’s actually not that free. Sure, we don’t have to pay for a check-up at the GP but we do have to pay for the drugs the GP prescribes. In Canada these drugs are usually a lot more expensive than in the United States. Dental is also not covered, nor are many other medical services the government deems “experimental” or “excessive.” When I lived in Alberta I even had to pay health care subsidies to the provincial government, whether I used the services or not. Fortunately, I do believe these are no longer charged in that province.

Myth #4: Canadians say aboot instead of about

False. Every Canadian I know pronounces the word “abowt”. However I do say “root” and not “rowt” and I do use the word “eh” fairly liberally. But this is in no way reflective of the entire populace. Unless you are in Newfoundland. Who knows what they say up there.

Myth #5: Canadians live in igloos

False. Though I kind of wish this one was true. I’ve never even seen an igloo except on television. They look kind of pretty. Of course, I doubt they have Internet access so that would be a downside. Also, I have never ridden on a dog sled, though I have seen sled dogs.

Myth #6: Canadian beer is awesome

True. In fact, I think I’ll go enjoy one right now.

Happy Canada Day!

*With the exception of French Canadians. They have culture steaming from their pores. It’s just we Anglophones who have no idea who we are.

**Naturally, I am just joking. Of course we don’t make fun of Americans! It wouldn’t be smart to agitate our gun-toting southern neighbours now, would it?

46 thoughts on “Common Canadian Misconceptions

  1. I love Canada (at least the parts I’ve been too). Every time I get really annoyed by the ridiculousness of the US (and believe me, there is a lot of it), I think about moving north. Canada simply seems more sensible about stuff.

    Thanks for clearing up the myths! I agree, Canadian beer rocks.

    I’m heading to Quebec City this summer! Can’t wait. Been listening to “French for Dummies” in my car in anticipation, but I figure I’m better off speaking English, rather than have the locals make fun of my accent behind my back.


    • That’s fantastic! I’ve not spent much time in Quebec myself, just quick drives through Montreal on my way to other places. Quebec City is supposed to be amazing. I can’t wait to hear all about your trip!

      When it comes to speaking French I’ve heard a couple different arguments. Some say they appreciate it when you make an effort and others say don’t bother to even try. It probably depends on what part of the province you are in and the person with whom you are speaking. 😛


  2. This made me laugh Kristine, I loved it. If I ever do make it to Canada rest assured I will not be asking for directions to Starbucks (they do not support our troops.)

    Believe it or not though, I have heard someone say aboot.


    • I am glad you thought it was funny! That’s kinda what I was going for. 🙂

      Maybe it was a Newf? Or maybe the Canadian accent makes it sound like “aboot” to American ears? I have no idea.


  3. Loved this post. We did a cruise a few years back and stopped in several places, including Newfoundland. Still not sure why we stopped there… LOL! However, in Halifax we did a beer tour – and yup, both the beer and the tour were awesome. I admit, I think we stopped at Starbucks too…. 🙂


    • Woo hoo! Beer tour in Halifax! That’s awesome. I am glad you had such a great time. There are so many local breweries here and many micro-brews in local pubs. There is a lot of selection for sure.

      No worries. I love Starbucks myself. It’s the Calgarian in me. 😉


    • LOL. Not true! Well, I love curling – I can’t speak for everyone in this country, though. It’s not violent enough for some, I am sure.


  4. Pingback: Canada Day! – My Lovely Little Spot

  5. Well now I feel a bit more educated about Canadians! However, I still think you all live in igloos drinking Canadian beer:)

    Happy Canada Day


  6. Hi Kristine, since you are kind of on the other side of Canada and I’m on the other, I thought that it might be prudent to offer my take on your numbered items.

    Myth #1: Canadians have a unique culture: False. It’s really not any more unique than what our friends to the south have. We’re a big “mish-mash” of cultures from different countries and for the most part, we all get along just fine. But if you would like to really push the point, our culture is reflected by the CBC (my dad told me to write that). I think that “culture” is what happens in my yogurt 🙂

    Myth #2: All Canadians are nice: False. Just like not all dog or cat parents or that guy standing next to you on a crowded bus (creepy) are nice. Yup, that one Kristine!

    Myth #3: Canadians enjoy free health care: False. There is no such thing as a “free lunch” in life. Someone pays. We have to pay extra (yes at the clinic) for some tests the provincial (similar to state) government deems to be optional. Men, bend over and make a “happy face”!

    Myth #4: Canadians say “aboot” instead of “about”: False. Only in Newfoundland. I thought it was “eh”. As in, those Maple Leafs lost another game, eh?!

    Myth #5: Canadians live in igloos: False. My dad said to write “straw huts” but he’s only kidding. But really, that’s a little goofy, we even had to truck-in snow for some of the downhill and freestyle skiing events on the local mountains during the 2010 Olympics out here. Sno-Cone anyone? Just flick off the yellow bits…

    Myth #6: Canadian beer is awesome. True. I don’t drink beer. I’m a dog but I think my friend Deccy ( does and I’m planning on making sure he gets a nice “cold one” when he visits.

    Thanks Kristine for allowing us (my dad and I) to leverage (that’s my dad’s word) your post. You’re a good Canadian and a good cookie. Happy Canada Day to Shiva, your PH (he still owes you dinner, eh?) and the cat.


    • Awww! Thanks for joining in! I like your list even better than mine! 🙂

      I do say “eh” all the time but usually only in the context you provided, as a way to include another in a joke or assume agreement. I think I use it more than anyone else I know.

      Hope you had a great holiday!


  7. ROTFLMAO! I hear you on the “Canadian Culture”. I actually think THAT is what defines us, we are not a melting pot of all our ancestor’s cultures, rather each has remained distinct and true to the history, we just get to share in all those cultures.

    True story, I had a beer in Salt Lake during BlogPaws and I put it down after two sips. What the woof?! 3.5%? That is for children and the elderly, eh?

    Sam is a wise dog…that Olympic snow cost us a pretty penny.


    • Glad you enjoyed! That’s kind of what I meant. There is no definable Canadian culture as the population is much too complex. It’s not a bad thing at all in my opinion!

      I didn’t know they served alcohol in SLC, assumed it was a dry city for some reason. Glad I was wrong! Though perhaps they may as well be. 😉


  8. I disagree with you so much!

    1. On culture – Rick Mercer was in town last weekend and I got to go. Nothing makes you more patriotic than 2 hours with him. He does an excellent job of illustrating what it is to be Canadian, and while we may be in the stage of negative culture (defining things by what we’re not), we’re still a young country! Somewhere like France may have a very distinct culture, but they’ve worked on it for hundreds of years – we’re only 145 years old.

    2. I’d say we’re indifferent rather than nice or cowards. It’s very live-and-let-live here, and we don’t get too fussed about other people’s business. However, we may be known to mutter about Americans amongst ourselves – it’s truly what unites us as a country 😉

    3. It’s not free, but it is cheap. You can get sick, go to the doctor or hospital, and pay nothing. When I had a detatched retina, I was in for emergency surgery in 2 days (at no cost), and had 8 different kind of drops to use – the regular price tag on those prescriptions was hundreds of dollars, and I believe I paid $30. Even without employer benefits, drugs are cheaper, which is why Americans cross our borders to get them. Think of something like birth control, which is a hot topic south of the border. Without employer benefits, that may cost you a couple hundred a year here; for them it is a couple thousand (recent upholding of “Obamacare” notwithstanding”).

    4. I agree, but when I go to the US I always get picked out as Canadian because of my “accent”. Even just an hour across the border into Montana! I don’t know what they’re talking about (aboot?).

    5. I’ve only ever seen igloos at winter festivals, but I’ve also never been to the Territories. Does the ice hotel in Quebec count?

    6. I assume this is true, but I’m actually not a beer drinker. Blasphemous, I know! I may have the odd light or white beer (very odd), but beer drinking friends reassure me that Molson isn’t that great, so I trust them – I put my effort into a palate for wine, instead. Canada has good wine, too.

    Happy Canada Day!
    Totally missed the Blog Bash, or would’ve signed up myself!


    • Hahahaha! You do know I was joking, right? I didn’t think anyone would take it so seriously. One of the things I consider so great about Canadians is that we are awesome at making fun of ourselves. Maybe I didn’t do as great a job as I thought. 😉

      Molson sucks, for the record. When I think of Canadian beer I think more of Keith’s or Sleeman or Rickard’s, and then all the other smaller breweries. Molson may as well be American!
      However, there are some good American beers. Sam Adams comes to mind.

      I hope you had a great holiday!


  9. I’m somewhat disillusioned by this report. I always wanted to be Canadian or at least to visit your great wilderness and meet your lovely friendly citizens over some real maple syrup. What am I going to do now eh? Might have to move to New Zealand now.


  10. Totally laughable post. My bestfriend lives in Canada now and so far, I haven’t heard anything rude or unkind that has happened to her. She said she loves Canada! Hahaha! Enjoy your day! 🙂


  11. My hubby and I went to Vancouver, Canada and we thought everyone there was SUPER friendly 🙂 We watch ALOT of hockey (my hubby is from Rhode Island) and those Canadian announcers are easy to pick out! I’ve always loved Robin on the show “How I Met Your Mother” – she is supposed to be a Canadian Pop Star that moved to New York – LOVE HER 😉 How cool is it that I share my Birthday with Canada Day? We have pretty good beer in Oregon – if your beer is better, my hubby and I need to visit!!


    • Hope you had a great birthday!

      I love Vancouver and am so glad you enjoyed your time there. I have actually heard good things about the beer in Oregon, actually I have heard good things about Oregon in general. I’d love to visit one day!


  12. Thanks for setting us straight! lol
    Here’s what I know about Canada
    1. In high school in Vermont, we thought we were really cool if we listened to Canadian radio station CHOM and drank Molson beer
    2. Mike and I took our honeymoon in Montreal. I got sick. Plus we had a dalmatian puppy with us.
    3. My mom lives in Canada and she complains about the healthcare system. A lot.
    4. Old Montreal is about the coolest place I’ve ever been. oui oui!


    • Heh. Montreal is probably the coolest Canadian city, Vancouver might be the second. I am determined to spend some time there one day, though I doubt I’ll ever fit in.

      Dalmatian puppy! Must have made things interesting!


  13. Yeah for Canada Day – we have relatives in canada and its so pretty there. My mom actually gew up there 🙂 I would actually love to live in canada. thank you for posting this because I even had made a few assumptions and learned something!


  14. We do liked to lived in Canada but She do not be so proud to be Canadian as She used to be now. She do getted mad at that Harper guy a LOT! And She do yelled at he almost every time he comed on we TV!


  15. Thanks for the insight. In my mind, unless you are French Canadian there isn’t much of a difference between Canadian and Americans. I know plenty of gun-toting Canadians 🙂 I will admit though, my experiences of “Canada” has never ventured north Whistler or East than Banff.

    I don’t quite understand though why Canadians roll their eyes at Americans. Every person in the world is different and people should be judged on individual acts, not the stereotype of their country as a whole.


  16. Silly. Silly. A lot of my misspent youth was spent in Canada (hey the drinking age was lower and I agree about the beer). But give me a good slab of peameal bacon or a jar of mustard pickles and you can have all of the beer. 🙂


        • Oh yes! It’s not the holidays without butter tarts. What about apple pie with a slice of cheddar cheese?
          Sadly, a lot of the famous Canadian foods come from the eastern provinces – the prairies don’t have as much claim to fame in original cuisine – it’s a lot of Alberta beef. Ginger beef, perhaps?


  17. ha ha ha! But you didn’t address my most cherished myth from watching years of Kids in the Hall: That all Canadians are funny. Or maybe you did. This was about as much fun as Dave Foley. 🙂


    • It wasn’t a mistake. I didn’t leave it out because it isn’t a misconception. All Canadians are hilarious! 😉


  18. That’s some list! I missed putting up a Canada Day post this year, and it would have been an awesome– we spent it in Ottawa!

    What did the Supreme Court say about Canadian health care? Oh yeah– “Access to waiting lists is not access to health care.” 😦


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