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One Canadian talks about stereotypes

Updated on November 3, 2012

What is a Canadian?

The classic scene - children playing hockey in the winter: what else is there to do in Canada?
The classic scene - children playing hockey in the winter: what else is there to do in Canada? | Source

Are the stereotypes true?

Myths or facts? How much do you know about Canada and Canadians?

  • Canada is a cold place. It has snow on the ground ten months out of the year; the rest of the year it's "bad sledding."
  • Canada is full of people who sponge off the government.
  • All Canadians eat are lobsters, maple syrup and whale blubber, and drink beer. And wear toques (pronounced "tukes"). For an example, please see the most believed Canadians that never were: Bob and Doug McKenzie.
  • All Canadians do is play hockey and hunt moose, or ice-fish. If a Canadian does not PLAY hockey, he or she is a rabidly avid hockey fan. After all, hockey is Canada's national sport.
  • Every Canadian says, "Eh?" at the end of nearly every sentence.
  • Every Canadian is polite.
  • All Canadians are apathetic ... pushovers.
  • All Canadians are uninterested in patriotism.

The truth?

  • The weather - whether you believe it or not - depends on where you live in Canada. Some places hardly ever see snow; for example, Vancouver, British Columbia. Some places have snow all year: anywhere above 60 degrees north! Southern Ontario has 4 seasons which last (approximately) three months each. And the summers are hotter and muggier there than they are in Florida! In the Maritimes, winter weather lasts about 5 months; 7 if you count spring. ;)
  • Many Canadians extol the value of hard work, and don't want the government to be so deeply involved in their lives.Yes, there are people who think the government should take care of them - sadly, more and more do - but there are more people than you might think, who want to work. Even some of those who are on social assistance would prefer to work if the government didn't claw back benefits if they got a job.
  • Canadians eat a wide variety of things. Lobsters and maple syrup are only seasonal treats. Whale blubber? well, some of us up North go for that. But most of us eat much the same sort of things as Americans do. Some of us even enjoy ethnic foods like East Indian, Thai, or Mexican! As for beer, a lot of Canadians like it, some too much. But some don't; in fact, there are those who are tee-totalers! The image of "dumb Canadians" has been perpetrated for years by stereotypes portrayed by Moranis and Thomas (see the youtube link, above - tried to imbed it but could not get an imbed code from youtube). These two actors must have had no idea people would take them seriously.
  • Strange as it may seem, there are those of us who detest hockey season, who were forced into playing hockey to "get us out of the house" when we were kids, and who could care less who wins the Stanley cup. Or any other cup. (I'm one of them.) When I was pregnant, I hoped for girls so I had less of a chance of sitting on a bench with my teeth chattering while my potential son learned how to be violent with other boys and made me pay through the nose for the privilege. (I'm LOVING this hockey shut-out by the way.) And let's talk about the cold, shall we? As a matter of fact, I passionately hate the cold and the wind, the snow and the ice, in fact, everything about winter. (Yeah, I know, I live in the wrong part of the country...) And hunting / fishing? the only gun we own is a bee-bee gun to keep the crows away from the garbage bins (and Halloween tricksters at bay - er - well, that's what I heard someone say ...). Plus, ice-fishing is mostly for men who are sick and tired of listening to their wives run them down in front of other people and who just want to have a moment's peace. Yes, even if it means freezing their butts and toes off in a shack on the river, trying to catch 4-inch fish without a fishing pole. If the women would just refrain from dissing them, and try supporting them instead, they might find that the men would disappear less in the winter. In the summer, they have yard work to get them out of the house. And they can only shovel so much snow before they have to come in the house and listen to the criticism all over again. (Sorry - that is one of my hobby-horses.)
  • Okay, we TRY to stop saying that "eh" word so much, eh. Americans do the "huh" thing, right?
  • I've heard some pretty rude Canadians of late - get us talking about our favorite pet peeves, and we'll wax eloquent in our passionate diatribes against (let's see) the decisions of our politicians, for instance? And if we're so polite, why do so many of us cut each other off in traffic?
  • Every Canadian I know is proud to be a Canadian - some of us hesitate to wrap ourselves in the maple leaf red-and-white, but those that don't like the maple leaf flag ... seem to prefer the Union Flag (that is, the British flag under which our Canadian soldiers fought and died in both World Wars.)

So the stereotypes are - by and large - untrue. They're fun to joke about, but it's best to take them with a grain of salt.

What weird things have YOU heard about Canucks?

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