There seems to be a lot of Canadian stereotypes out there. Even the most seasoned of travelers don’t seem to know a lot about Canada. Lately while travelling, people have been asking us a lot of questions about Canada.
The topic of health care comes up a lot when people ask us about Canada. Our unique way of speaking is always a conversation starter, and questions about our identity often arise. So we thought we’d break the misconceptions about our home and native land, The Great White North!
Table of Contents
So, here are the top Canadian stereotypes debunked and authenticated.
1. Canadians Say Out and About like Oot and Aboot
This is not true
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 stereotype 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 pronunciation 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
2. All Canadians speak French
This Canadian stereotype is not true
This is one of those Canadian Stereotypes that I wish were true. 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.
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)
3. Canada is Always Cold
This Canadian Stereotype is not true
Believe it or not, Canada has a very hot summer. Canada has four seasons and it is only freezing during the winter months from November – March in most of the country.
We regularly go above 30º Celcius (86 degrees Fahrenheit) and have reached 40 Celcius (104 Fahrenheit) with humidity. We have heat alerts and we crank our air conditioners just like the warmer tropical countries do. This year in British Columbia the temperatures reached 46 degrees Celcius! (114 F)
Canada can be unbearably hot. It even gets warm up in the Arctic during the summer! Yet another one of the Canadian Stereotypes that are not true.
4. Canadians Skate to Work
This is sometimes true.
In Ottawa, the world’s largest skating rink opens during the winter months on the Rideau Canal. The same can be said for Winnipeg. It houses the world’s longest skating rink. Read: Winterlude Itinerary – The Ultimate Guide to Ottawa
Many people commute to work along these waterways during the winter months. It’s faster than driving and why not get the morning workout in while we’re at it too!
5. All Canadians Love Hockey
Okay, maybe this one is true.
At some point, most Canadians (who grew up in Canada) played hockey or learned how to skate. I don’t know why this is true. Canada hasn’t won a Stanley Cup since 1993! And forget about Canada’s most famous hockey team the Toronto Maple Leafs haven’t won the cup since 1967!
But we do win the Olympics a lot and we do win world’s and world Junior’s a lot. And Canadians really do jump on the bandwagon during these events. All of a sudden the entire country is talking about hockey!
6. All Canadian’s Can Skate
Um yeah, pretty much!
If you grew up in Canada, I can guarantee you’ve been on the ice more than a few times. Our cities have free public skating rinks where people can play a game of pick up hockey or just skate around in circles. Most parents put their kids into hockey or figure skating at some point in their childhood and even schools have skating days.
7. Tim Hortons Coffee is Over consumed
Yep, this stereotype is all true
Be it going on a road trip, or just a quick drive to the store, we stop at Tim Hortons for coffee. It’s very common place in the working world for someone to go on a Timmies Run. It’s cheap and addictive. I don’t know why, but as soon as we land at the airport in Toronto, we have to stop at Tim Hortons for a cup of coffee. Read: Best Canadian Food to Try in Canada
8. All Canadians Love Maple Syrup
I know we are the largest producer of Maple Syrup in the world, but most is for export. While it is fun to go snowshoeing in the winter through maple forests (where maple syrup is tapped) we don’t all eat maple syrup. I don’t even have maple syrup in my house! But it is tasty on pancakes. I’ll give Maple Syrup one thing, nothing else can go on top of a pancake. Ever!
9. Polar Bears Roam the Land
Canada does have the highest population of Polar Bears on earth, but we don’t live in harmony with the. Well, except for Churchill Manitoba where polar bears really do hang out downtown! And in Churchill they do roam the land freely.
Fun Fact: In Churchill, nobody locks their car or house doors just in case someone needs to get away from a polar bear that is roaming around in town! Polar bears are only found in the far north of Canada.
10. Canadian’s Say Sorry
Okay this is true
I don’t know what it is about our culture that makes us so apologetic, but Canadians are always apologizing. Always! Sorry is a very true Canada stereotype. Whenever we put the question out there on social media, people always tell us their funny “sorry stories”
I’ve apologized to a tree for walking into it. I’ve apologized to someone else when they bumped into me. We apologize for anything. Sorry might as well be Canada’s national word. Read: Canadian Slang, Unique Phrases and Canadian Sayings
11. 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 the emergency room for free. 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 the emergency room 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.
12. Canadians are on the imperial system
Kind of true.
Canadians are officially on the metric system, but we still use a lot of the Imperial system.
- Canadians follow speed limits and measure length in metres, but we measure our height in feet.
- We check the temperature outside in Celcius, but we cook in Fahrenheit.
- We weigh and buy our food by the kilo but we weight ourselves in pounds.
We are weird, but we like it that way. It makes us unique.
13. Canadians Live in Igloos
This is so not true!
I have honestly had someone ask me this question. Even in places like Inuvik, the Yukon or Nunavut, people do not live in igloos. Igloos are temporary shelters and perhaps when out hunting the Inuit of northern Canada might make temporary shelter, they live in warm houses with electricity and everything the rest of the time.
And those are our Canadian Stereotypes debunked by these two crazy Canucks. What have you heard about Canada? Let us know in the comments and we’ll tell you if it’s true!
For more help understanding Canadians check out these posts
- The Great Canadian Word – Unique Words and Phrases of Canada
- Canadian Food Our Lack of Identity
- Strange and Funny Names of Places in Canada
- Canada’s Lack of Cultural Food Identity
- The World Can Learn a Thing or Two From Canada
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