Canadian Stereotypes and Misconceptions

Lately while travelling, people have been asking us a lot of questions about Canada.  The topic of health care comes up a lot. Our unique way of speaking is always a conversation starter and questions about our identity often arise. There seems to be a lot of Canadian stereotypes out there. So we thought we'd break the misconceptions about our home and native land…

Canadian Stereotypes

canadian stereotypes flag

Canadian stereotypes

We all say oot and oboot – We say out and about and not at the same time. This is one of the Canadian Stereotypes that always hits a nerve with me. I don't know why, but I pretty much always fly off the handle when people mention it.  And they always do.

Canadians do not say oot and aboot.  I would love to know where this saying came from.  We do say “out” with a different accent than Americans.  They pronounce it more like ”

I would love to know where this saying came from.  We do say “out” with a different accent than Americans.  They pronounce it more like “owt” while we pronounce it more like “oat”. They open their mouths a little more and pronounce it with more of an ouch sound.

We are more closed with our pronounciation and lean a little more towards the word oat.  While neither one is right or wrong, it is simply our accents. Like all countries of the world, different regions have different accents and some people are more pronounced

While neither one is right or wrong, it is simply our accents. Like all countries of the world, different regions have different accents and some people are more pronounced than others, but for the most part we Canadians simply say out.

Canadian Stereotypes #2

canada america flag
We hate Americans
Not True At All. Someone once asked us “Don't all Canadians Hate Americans?” This is one of those Canadian stereotypes that we didn't even know about and find it to be the unsettling. It's too bad that some Americans think this because most of the Canadians I know like Americans quite a bit.

We love vacationing in their country, we love watching their television programs and we all have good friends that are American. Many of us love to go on a shopping trip over the border and we love vacationing in Florida or California or really anywhere in the States. There is a misconception that Canadians hate Americans. Trust me, we don't.

Whenever we travel, we always feel kindred spirits with Americans.  We all can relate to one another and we all really like each other.

Free health care is bad– Sorry, but free health care is good.  When we are not feeling well we go to the doctors.  When we have an accident we go to emergency.  If we need open heart surgery, we get it.  If we need radiation treatment for cancer, we get that too.  No bills, no worries.

Sure, if I go to emergency for a cut or a minor injury, the staff will treat the heart attack or car accident victim first. But they aren't going to let anyone die.  People are treated in the order of the severity of their injury, not the amount in their bank account.

Canadian Stereotypes #5

canadian stereotypes deb

Deb snowshoeing in Canada

It is always cold – Believe it or not, Canada has a hot summer.  We were above 30º Celcius almost every day this summer. We have heat alerts and we crank our air conditioners just like the warmer tropical countries. When we went to St. Kitts in the Caribbean last month, we were surprised to find that it was more comfortable and less humid than Toronto at that time.

Canada can be unbearably hot. Yet another one of the Canadian Stereotypes that are not true.

We are on the imperial system – Canadians are on the metric system.(sort of) I don’t know how long a mile is, I couldn't tell you.  We think and drive in kilometres. We measure our drinks in litres and our food in grams and our temperature in Celcius.

However, the majority of us weigh ourselves in pounds and measure ourselves in inches.  We are weird, but we like it that way. It makes us unique.

Canadian Stereotypes #8

canadian stereotypes backpack

Canadian flag on backpack

We sew our flag on our backpack because we don’t want people to think we are American – Canadian’s sew our flags on our backpack because we are very patriotic. When Dave and I travel, we love to represent Canada. We love our country and let’s face it, not a lot of people even give Canada a second thought on the world stage.

But when travelling, we certainly make the world stand up and take notice. Our flag is everywhere and whenever we see one, we stop to say hello.

We all speak French – This is one of those Canadian Stereotypes that I wish were true. We learn French in school, but frankly my school French curriculum was terrible. I wanted to speak French desperately growing up. I worked hard in school and memorized my verbs every day.

The problem was we just kept learning the same French verbs right up until my final year of high school. I never became even close to fluent. And now I am an embarrassment to my last name – Corbeil (Very French and pronounced Corbay)  The province of Quebec is our French speaking province.  Sure there are many Canadians that are bilingual, but most of us are not I am afraid.

canadian stereotypes hockey

Canada loves hockey

We all love hockey and we all know how to skate…Okay that one is true.


For more help understanding Canadians check out these posts

And now to end with a monologue that was huge in Canada in the 90's.  It is from a Beer ad, Molson Canadian.  Their slogan for years has been…” I am Canadian” and it definitely shatters the Canadian stereotypes that so many people have about our nation. We love it and even William Shatner did his own version of this speech.

Molson Canadian Shattering Canadian Stereotypes

I am Canadian Molson Ad

Average Joe, I am Canadian

Hey, I'm not a lumberjack, or a fur trader….
I don't live in an igloo or eat blubber, or own a dogsled….
and I don't know Jimmy, Sally or Suzy from Canada,
although I'm certain they're really really nice.

I have a Prime Minister, not a president.
I speak English and French, not American.
And I pronounce it ‘about', not ‘a boot'.

I can proudly sew my country's flag on my backpack.
I believe in peace keeping, not policing,
diversity, not assimilation,

and that the beaver is a truly proud and noble animal.
A toque is a hat, a chesterfield is a couch,
and it is pronounced ‘zed' not ‘zee', ‘zed' !!!!

Canada is the second largest landmass!
The first nation of hockey!
and the best part of North America

My name is Joe!!
And I am Canadian!!!

From a Molson Canadian Ad – More on  I am Canadian

Read More:

Strange and Funny Names of Canadian Cities

Canada's Lack of Cultural Food Identity

Drinks Around the World, the Canada Cocktail

Canadian Stereotypes and Misconceptions

The World Can Learn a Thing or Two From Canada

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