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Canadian Facts Fiction Language and Traditions

Updated on July 20, 2019
Lady Lorelei profile image

Mother of 2 daughters and grandmother of 7, I strive daily to achieve an optimum level of health and happiness. Life is all about balance.

Canada's Parliament Buildings
Canada's Parliament Buildings | Source

Oh Canada

Canada's national languages, symbols, and traditions were formed through the unique circumstances which this country developed under. Canada is a bilingual multi-cultural country.

Canada and multiculturalism within Canada began way back when the country was first colonized. From that point onward there was no turning back.

From Canada's very earliest days Canadians were set on a trail which would lead them into creating a land as diverse as the inhabitants who live there.

We are a Multicultural Bilingual Country

Back in Canada's early days the passengers of incoming ships did not consider Canada's native population to be the rightful owners of this land. So the first visitors to land in Canada claimed the land as rightfully theirs to own.

The English were the first people to lay claim to Canada but they found this land to be a cold and inhospitable country. The land was officially theirs by right to claim but they were not all that interested in colonizing Canada. Canada did not seem to have much to offer up to the English It was just so gosh awful cold and barren that it really did not seem to be a location that any of the English would want to relocate to.

So along came the French who figured that Canada was free for the taking and so decided to place a stake into this new land by moving their french speaking population onto it.

Not too long after this occupation by the French, England got a funny little notion that a certain furry Canadian critter with a big flat tail that lived within those backwoods was something that they could use. The Canadian Beaver had a thick fur coat which could be designed into really super duper nice warm hats for the English elite to wear on those cold British evenings. The Brits wanted those fur hat which meant that the English now had a heightened interest in re-staking their claim to Canada and they decided that they were willing to fight for to reclaim Canada as their territory.

After a few years of squabbling and shooting at each other France starting thinking that Canada really was not worth having such a great big fight over so the French gave up. France signed over to England the rights to all of the lands belonging to Canada as well as the rights to Canada's furry little Beaver inhabitants. That ended that debate or so they thought.

What remained on Canadian soil was a large population of French speaking Canadians who did not want to or were unable to leave Canada. There were in fact more French speaking Canadians than there were English speaking ones and these French Canadians had absolutely no desire to let go off their traditional language. Which of course made enforcing English as the official language of Canada just a wee smidge difficult.


So Why is Canada a Multicultural Country?

The French population continued to speak french even after England claimed this country as its own and the newly arriving British population could not make them change their minds. So the English spoke English and the French spoke french. Which means that Canada became a country with two official languages: French and English.

Ah but this is not where the story ends for it turns out that when the English allowed the French to maintain their language and distinct cultural heritage that they opened up a whole tasty jar of multiculturalism for everyone to enjoy. Canada now became a nation of tolerance and acceptability toward all of its incoming immigrants.

Immigrants were accepted into the mainstream but respectfully allowed to maintain a large degree of their heritage, language, and culture.

Canada has two official languages but these are largely influenced by the many distinct cultural communities that now reside within this multi-cultural country. The furry little creature who started this whole scenario wound up becoming one of Canada's most recognized national symbols. The thick coated, big toothed, flat tailed beaver now proudly graces our five cent coin.

We have Unique in that we have 2 Official Languages

Did you know that Canada is a Bilingual Country?

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The Beaver is Now a Symbol of Canada's Cultural Heritage


The Hudson's Bay Trading Company

The Hudson Bay Trading Company is one of Canada's earliest earmarks in history. It was set into the backwoods of the Canadian wilderness to enable the voyageurs to trade with the native Indians for fur pelts.

Along Came the Metric System Into Canada

There are a still a couple more significant events that occurred which greatly influenced Canadian culture. The introduction of the metric system into Canada was one of these historical events. The metrication system proved that Canadians are a people who do not like change.

We were used to the Standard measurement system of inches, feet, and the Fahrenheit temperature scale. The new Metric system based on sections of ten was just too much for the average laid back older Canadian to figure out. We stood with our mouths agape as new thermometers, weigh scales, rulers, and mileage signs appeared throughout the country.

Those who did not want to or were unable to grasp the metric system initiated a new and unique twist to the Canadian way of speaking. Rather than dealing with the confusing issue of converting miles to kilometers people began to judge their distances in factors of time and to add this new method of judging distance into their basic cultural language base.

The city of Creston was now about an hour and a half from Cranbrook and Prince George was about ten or eleven hours away while downtown was about ten minutes from where you currently were.

Temperatures also took on a whole new theme. Rather than try to figure out the Celsius temperature scale Canadians just began to eliminate exact temperatures from their discussions. The weather was now discussed as being a little below freezing, or a little above freezing, or just pretty damn cold. Sure is a nice day or wow is it ever hot now became standard descriptions for a nice summer day.

Canadian Money and the Introduction of the Loonie.

Turns out that Canada's monetary system is a bit loony too. Canada made an economic decision to eliminate their one dollar bill and to replace it with a one dollar coin which would be much more durable than the current paper currency.

This was an initiative that could save Canada a substantial amount of money over the long term.

Now the mighty Beaver was already gracing the Canadian five cent coin so the powers that be decided that they needed a different creature to put on their one dollar coin. It turns out that a choice was made to put the wild and soulful Loon on the new Canadian one dollar coin. Hmm, well you can imagine what that led to.

Putting a Loonie on the one dollar Canadian coin naturally had the inhabitants of this country dubbing the new coin "The Loonie".

Despite all attempts to dignify the new one dollar coin its dubious nickname stuck. The issuing of various other images in an attempt to add a little more national pride to the coin just did not work. The name "Loonie" was ingrained in the minds of Canadians countrywide and this title staunchly remains as the most popular term for Canada's one dollar coin.

When Canada later introduced its two dollar coin, it was quickly dubbed a "Toonie", or "Twonie". What can one say but that Canada's monetary system is a little loony. Eh, it's just another one of those Canadian things.

Canada is Indeed One Cold Country


Canadian Fact and Fiction. Which is which?

Multi-colored money: In 2004 Canada made history when it introduced the world's first colored coin. The Canadian quarter proudly displayed a bright red poppy on it that year. Since that date there are many other colored Canadian coins issued such as a very special quarter displaying a pink ribbon issued in 1996 and printed specifically to support awareness for breast cancer.

Loonie: This one dollar coin is one of many coins and bills that comprise Canadian money. It acquired its name because the first coin came out featuring a loon on it's front. Subsequent attempts to drift away from having our one dollar coin hosting the distinguished title of "Loonie" have not worked. The term "Loonie" remains to stand tall and strong within Canadian History.

Beaver: The famous furry little critter that started the rush to colonize Canada.

Canada Goose: Our national bird?

Eh!: A Canadian phrase to encompass anything from "Job well done" to "That is one hot mama".

Maple Leaf: A leaf that grows upon the mighty Maple Tree which is a source of nothing other than maple syrup, maple sugar, and maple fudge. The maple leaf is also a National symbol of Canada.

Insulin: Famous Canadian medical breakthrough announced in the winter of 1921 credited to two Canadians: Sir Frederick Banting and his assistant Charles Best.

Canada Has an Abundance of Wilderness Areas Ideal for Hiking


Canadian Trivia and Folklore

Churchill: It really is nothing like Parliament Hill. Residing in this community are approximately one polar bear for every five residents. This makes it a very exciting little Canadian community to set up a homestead in.

Niagara Falls: Half Canadian and half U.S. these Falls sit between the two cities of Niagra Falls, Ontario and Niagra Falls, New York.

Terry Fox: A Canadian Hero. This young lad lived a very short life but he initiated the Marathon Of Hope which lives on in his memory. Over 400 million dollars has been raised in his name for cancer research. Thank you Terry.

Hockey: The sport that has made Canada's famous throughout the world.

Wayne Gretzky: A Famous Canadian Hockey Player who was sold to the United States causing quite a controversy. A lot of sports fans considered him a symbol of our country.

Pamela Anderson: A well recognized Canadian figure.

Stompin' Tom Connors: A National Singer who stomps on boards during his concerts. After his concert these dented boards are auctioned off for charity. (Yep, would take a Canadian to think that one up!).

Judging Distance: Canadians generally judge distance in spaces of time rather than measurement. For example a neighborhood cafe might be fifteen minutes away while the nearest town is around an hour away. The reason for this unique language lies in the Country's change over to metrics and the majority of older individuals who were forced to adopt the metric system but so unable to figure it out.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

They were the defenders of the great white north. They negotiated with the native Indians, solved land disputes, locked up cow rustlers, and broke up drunken brawls. The Royal Canadian mounted police kept things peaceful in a land that was still wild.

If you are visiting Canada.

If you are planning on visiting Canada bring with you a map, a metric conversion chart, and a sense of humor.

You will definitely be needing these items to maneuver your way around the amazing cities, vast wilderness frontiers, and the local inhabitants of this country. Canada and it's inhabitants are a delightful mix of wonderment, and confusion, and an adventure that is just too good to miss out on.

If you find their terms and phrases are a little different from one shore to the other,just remember that it is Canada's historic past that has created her distinct language usage. If you know basic English or French then you'll be okay. Just keep your map, your metric conversation chart, and your sense of humor with you. Canadians are definitely a unique linguistic lot.

Canada: Where Birds and People Share the Beach

Jim Smith Lake, Cranbrook, B.C.
Jim Smith Lake, Cranbrook, B.C.

...and Deer Wander by for a Visit

A whitetail deer just leaving our yard
A whitetail deer just leaving our yard

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2009 Lorelei Cohen

Have You Visited Yet?

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    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      That picture of the Parliament made me think of one of my favourite homes, Ottawa. It is just too cold, though. This is a great intro to Canada.

    • Whatsittoyou profile image


      6 years ago from Canada

      The part that I find funny is that we half adopted the metric system. Our roads are marked in kilometers, but ask people how much they weigh and they will tell you in pounds. Same with your height, still feet and inches.

    • profile image

      Donna Cook 

      6 years ago

      Terrific lens! I've been to Leamington, ON and Point Pelee National Park a few times. Just beautiful. I certainly understand the response to the metric system. I panicked the first time I drove in Ontario. Thank goodness the speedometer had both kph and mph on it.

    • LouCannon profile image

      Lou Cannon 

      6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Go Canada!!! I will be getting my kids to read this one!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Canada rocks! I'm definitely proud to be a Canadian. Terrific article, I loved how you explained the English/French language origin. :)

    • captainj88 profile image

      Leah J. Hileman 

      7 years ago from East Berlin, PA, USA

      Love all things Canadian. Winter sports, Paul Gross, Callum Keith Rennie, Geese, BNL, Hokus Pick Manouver, Men with Brooms, you name it :)

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 

      7 years ago from New Zealand

      This is really fun with Stompin'Tom playing as I read, informative too.

    • Lady Lorelei profile imageAUTHOR

      Lorelei Cohen 

      7 years ago from Canada

      @anonymous: Yep, but the majority of Canadians recognize it as hockey.

    • David Stone1 profile image

      David Stone 

      7 years ago from New York City

      I've spent a lot of happy time in Toronto, especially during the jazz festival in June. My first trip to Toronto was in 1968, before there was an Easton Center and the city was still a kind of provincial backwater. Times have changed. My bank here in New York is TD - Toronto Dominion.

    • goldenrulecomics profile image


      8 years ago from New Jersey

      Beautiful photos! We love Canada -- after visiting Nova Scotia last summer, we are now planning on seeing Montreal and Quebec on our next vacation!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Ya sure, I betcha this Yooper would be able to converse wit da Canadians up dere, seeing as we talk a lot da same, eh? Have never been to Canada although I lived so close to it, across the great Lake Superior. It's still on my to do list. I enjoyed learning more about Canadian trivia.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Canada is a lovely country with people having liberal thoughts, no wonder it has made so much advancement in the field of science and technology.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      What an absolutely charming lens!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      What a fun little trip through some Canadian history, traditions and just fun facts. So it was the mighty beaver that drew all the attention because he looked pretty on English heads and I had wondered about the French and English duel language and you explained it well. I got a kick out of Canadian's adaptations around using the metric system, it still instills fear in Americans and I remember when there was talk of switching to it. We often use those adaptations to weather and distance reporting too, guess we got an early start on it or maybe it was Canadian influence since we do tend to cross each other's borders often. I enjoyed the inviting pictures at the end. I'll be seeing you in Squidoo time!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Awesome photos of Canada, no doubt it is a beautiful country. It is in my wish-list.

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image


      9 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      As an American with a Canadian ancestral background (both English & French Canadian) who grew up in western New York State with many a visit over the years to Niagara Falls, Canada and Toronto areas, I really enjoyed your humorous facts & fiction about Canada.

    • jadehorseshoe profile image


      9 years ago

      Luv It! ... Another Fun Lens!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      ** side note - we love hockey, but Lacrosse is technically our national sport...not hockey!

    • CruiseReady profile image


      9 years ago from East Central Florida

      A thoroghtly enjoyable read, EH.

      I visited Windsor once, and was quite taken with it. It was summer. I don't think could bear an hour of your winter.

    • ajgodinho profile image

      Anthony Godinho 

      9 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      The most beautiful country, eh! Wonderful job on this very Canadian lens. Wishing you and yours a Happy and Blessed Canadian Thanksgiving...blessings! :)

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Beautiful pictures and a wonderful taste of Canada.

    • darciefrench lm profile image

      darciefrench lm 

      9 years ago

      I'm so happy to find this Canada lens and roll it with mine -:)

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Looks beautiful! I would love to visit

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      rolled on

    • Lady Lorelei profile imageAUTHOR

      Lorelei Cohen 

      9 years ago from Canada

      @WindyWintersHubs: Best wishes Windy...

    • Lady Lorelei profile imageAUTHOR

      Lorelei Cohen 

      9 years ago from Canada

      @anonymous: Lol... I must say that I think that snow is possibly the one thing that I would never miss about Canada.

    • Lady Lorelei profile imageAUTHOR

      Lorelei Cohen 

      9 years ago from Canada

      Thank you for popping by my Canada lens :)

    • Lady Lorelei profile imageAUTHOR

      Lorelei Cohen 

      9 years ago from Canada

      @GetSillyProduct: Glad you found it helpful :)

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      wow, that's a ton of info about Canada! I learned a lot here, nice job :)

    • mariaamoroso profile image


      9 years ago from Sweden

      When I travelled through Canada, BC, I had the feeling of being inside a postcard. The scenery is absolutely fantastic!

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image


      9 years ago

      Lensrolled to Nova Scotia

    • JoyfulPamela2 profile image


      10 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      Hi ~ I enjoyed your wonderful pictures!

    • JoleneBelmain profile image


      10 years ago


    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Very interesting! My husband and i spent our honeymoon in Montreal some years ago... really enjoyed the people and the culture. 5*

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      I am a Canadian myself and i enjoyed this page greatly. You did a great job thanks for all your effort :)

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Great lens! I miss Canada very much...and snow! You have no idea how I miss snow since I left Canada.

    • WindyWintersHubs profile image


      11 years ago from Vancouver Island, BC

      Happy Holidays from a fellow Canuck! Lensrolling to Happy Canada Day - July 1st. :)


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