I admit, in the past I may have made some jokes at the expense of our friends to the north. I seem to remember a quip involving America’s hat in particular. But those days are gone, I’m now an avowed lover of Canada and her people. What convinced me? It’s simple, over the last three years I’ve visited Canada several times and each time I really enjoyed myself. I grudgingly began to accept the fact that Canada isn’t all that bad and in fact it’s pretty awesome. So now I want to set the record straight and address some popular stereotypes of our Canuck friends. Eh? (sorry, couldn’t resist)
1. Canadians are boring - I’m not sure how this one started, maybe it’s because Americans sometimes confuse Canadians with the British, but I can attest that our friends to the north are in no way boring. How can I prove this? Well, although they have a pretty intense love affair with curling, they adore hockey which is anything but boring. Also, they invented poutine, the most unboring of all snack foods. Stereotype – False.
2. Too cold and snowy - Ok, winter in Canada can be cold, very cold. When we left Banff it was -24 Fahrenheit. That’s damn cold. But it was also winter and you know, it should be cold and snowy in the winter. I did get an appreciation though for why so many Canadians flee to warmer climes in January and February, I would too. But Canada in the summer is gorgeous and decidedly unsnowy, unless you’re in the Arctic I suppose, but that doesn’t count. Stereotype – False.
3. It’s all lumberjacks and curling - I can’t say that I have ever seen a lumberjack in Canada, although I’m sure they exist, but curling does happen. I was in a hotel in Canada once, waiting for a friend, and the TV in the lobby bar was tuned to a sports channel. To be more accurate, it was tuned to a curling game (match?). Later in the day I was walking through town and a winter festival complete with curling lessons was going on. I can’t say I’ve ever seen this in the States. Stereotype – Half true.
4. Canadians don’t like/are rude to Americans - Not only isn’t this true, the opposite is actually the case. Whenever I’m in Canada I am always surprised at how nice everyone is. It’s the little things; saying please and thank you and holding doors for people. When I was last in Canada I remember thinking to myself that this is how all people should act and sadly it’s not an experience I have all the time at home. Stereotype – False.
5. Weird Words - Bring up the words ‘eh’ and ‘aboot’ to a Canadian and watch them cringe. While it’s true that not everyone in Canada talks this way, many do. Sorry Canadians, it’s true. I hear these quirks of the Canadian tongue all the time when I visit, to the point where I find myself elongating my own vowels. It’s ok though, we still love ya. Stereotype – Partly true
6. Everyone plays hockey - True. No debate necessary.
Ok, well this experiment didn’t go as well as I thought. Turns out stereotypes tend to be based on a kernel of truth, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad thing. Yes, it’s cold in the winter and yes, I saw a lot of TVs tuned to hockey and curling, but so what? That doesn’t mean everyone in Canada is always drinking beer and saying ‘eh.’ Canada is a diverse, dynamic country that has a lot to offer. So instead of harping on stereotypes, get up there and take some curling lessons while downing a Molson, eh?
What are some common stereotypes about Canada or Canadians you think need to be addressed?