36 Things A Canadian Wants You To Know About His Home Country

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Canada is often referred to as America’s hat, a land of brutal winters, and the homeland of Justin Bieber. But, Canada has so much more to offer than that, from the natural beauty of the Arctic, the northern lights, and the raw power of the Niagara falls to the friendliness of Canadians as a whole.

Canada is a testament to the resilience of a colonial population and their undying willpower to survive in an extreme climate. From early struggles between the French and English populations to the formation of a long-lasting alliance with the United States, Canadians continue to uphold their commitment to peacefulness and remain dedicated to saying sorry.

Defined by multiculturalism, Canada finds itself at a crossroads. It is now forced to adapt in a rapidly globalized world that has brought countless cultures and traditions to its doorstep. This week’s article brings you several facts about the country, from a Canadian with over 400 years of heritage in the great white north.

1. Justin Trudeau is called Mr. Prime Minister, not Mr. President

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau speaks in Edmonton on Aug. 20, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson ORG XMIT: CPT113Image Source: Shanta Post

Our young and handsome Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is not called the President. Similar to the President of the United States, the Prime Minister is the representative of our country, and he must learn to work with the various channels of government. The President has to be able to work with Congress, the Courts, and others in the Executive Branch, in order to pass legislation and fulfill his governmental duties.

Likewise, the Prime Minister has to work with the Governor-General, Parliament, and the Courts in order to do their job as well. However, unlike the U.S., Canada has already elected its first female representative, Prime Minister Kim Campbell, who served as the 19th Prime Minister of Canada from June 25, 1993 to November 4, 1993.

2. Toronto is Our New York City (Well, sort of)

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Toronto is like the New York City of Canada, but in reality, it’s a lot more similar to the makeup of Chicago. Like New York, it’s big, diverse, and thinks it’s the best city in the country. However, we’re never going to see a Broadway musical called Toronto, Toronto, because everyone knows it’s Toronto, Ontario.

Toronto is the capital of sports teams Americans can name. We have the Blue Jays, the Maple Leafs, and the Toronto Raptors. We are also famous for Drake, who is currently representing the 6, a popular play on words for the city’s main area codes, 416 and 647.

3. Public Health Care Doesn’t Have to Be Feared

A sign is displayed in front of Health Canada headquarters in Ottawa on Friday, January 3, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean KilpatrickImage Source: Huffington Post

A major topic of your current election is healthcare. Why do Americans have such a strong fear of public healthcare? Several western countries have successfully implemented programs and the tax increases are far less than you would pay in insurance premiums and medical bills. In Canada, our healthcare system may not be perfect, but there is something reassuring about the fact that you can safely go to a hospital without the fear of being discharged with a crippling financial burden.

ObamaCare had the right ideas, but was completely dismantled before it went live and it is not an adequate solution to your healthcare woes. From a Canadian’s perspective, healthcare shouldn’t be something that only the wealthy can afford.

4. Various Canadian cities have American clones (Vancouver – Seattle) (Toronto-Chicago) (Calgary-Denver)

Canada has some very livable cities that are comparable to other amazing American cities. For example, Toronto is often compared to Chicago, minus the corrupt Chicago Police Department. Whereas Vancouver is a close relative of the lifestyle you will experience in Seattle.

If you are looking for a more mountain-styled outdoorsy city, Calgary is a close brother to Denver. On top of that, you can even compare certain provinces to states. If you want to experience Texas North, head on over to Alberta where you can experience the famous Calgary Stampede, lots of plaid, big belts, and North American trucks.

5. Canadians and Americans Aren’t that Different

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Some Canadians will disagree with this point, but in reality, Americans and Canadians are nearly identical. Besides regional and governmental differences, the core values of an American and a Canadian are very similar. We are highly consumeristic societies that take pride in the rights and freedoms we provide our citizens and we enjoy a lot of the same activities, media, and other forms of entertainment.

Typically, we share the same hardworking cultures and we both emphasize the importance of education and chasing the pursuit of happiness. Differences between our two populations certainly do exist, but we share several obvious similarities that cannot be ignored.

6. Saturday Night is Dedicated to Hockey and Don Cherry’s Latest Suit

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Don Cherry is a lot like Donald Trump. He’s loud, xenophobic, and is a regular fixture of our media. He used to be a professional hockey player and coach before he retired. Now, he works as a hockey commentator on CBC Television, our state-sponsored media. However, there are differences between Trump and Cherry, Cherry doesn’t want to build a wall, but he does hate outsiders and he is deeply obsessed with the troops.

7. Canada Features an Extreme Climate: Hot summers and Cold Winters

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There is a strange belief that Canada is always brutally cold. Yes, our winters can be harsh (-22°F or colder), but so can our summers. Our average summer day will feature temperatures between 77 °F and 86°F. The majority of the Canadian population lives along the southern border of the country. Toronto’s weather is comparable to Chicago and New York, Alberta is very similar to Colorado, and Vancouver has the same temperatures as Seattle. If you are avoiding Canada because of the weather, you are making a huge mistake.

8. Canada Has a Rich French Tradition

Most Canadians will gladly poke fun at Quebec and the French-speaking populations of the country. However, when push comes to shove, Canadians will gladly acknowledge the rich French tradition in our country and the important role they played throughout its history.

Without the French, Canada wouldn’t be what it is today. They were the first population outside of the natives and Vikings to settle down and survive the Canadian winter and they have provided the country with a unique culture that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world. Without the French, we wouldn’t have poutine, high-quality maple syrup, and we would have to find a new group to make fun of.

9. Canadians Are Proud of Our Accomplishments

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Canadians boast, but when they do, they humble-brag. “Sorry” this, and “apologize” that. We boast about our military performing peacekeeping missions, our Hollywood celebrities (try making the Notebook without Ryan Gosling or Rachel McAdams). It cannot be done.

We also boast about our hockey teams, the Dutch (everyone loves the Dutch), and hockey (we love it twice as much as anything else). However, Canadians also boast about Americans. We boast about our relationship with you. Canada and America are partners, allies, and friends domestically and internationally. And it’s a relationship we’ll never forget.

 10. Tim Hortons is a National Treasure (despite the Burger King buyout)

Tim Horton's stamp is revealed as part of an NHL stamp series featuring the Original Six Defencemen at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto on Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Hannah YoonImage Source: Sports Net

Tim Hortons is a national coffee chain in Canada. It’s like Starbucks, except it’s actually good (and affordable too). Practically every block has at least one Tim Hortons. You may even find several within the same complex. The reason why Tim Hortons is a part of our national treasure is the same reason why Americans buy astroturf: love of the game.

Tim Horton was a Toronto Maple Leaf (the one Canadian hockey team Americans know about, even though they wish they’d never heard about them) and represented Canadian values. He was calm under pressure and reliable. Hockey for Canadians is like football for Americans, it’s more than a game. It’s our cultural values on display. We aren’t just cheering for our teams, we’re cheering for our country. Tim Hortons helps us start our day, make it to that 5am hockey practice, and enjoy a walk on a cold night.

11. McGill and the University of Toronto Are Among the World’s Top 30 Universities

mcgillImage Source: Equality Canada

Canada may be late to the academic game, but that does not mean we are lacking. As the top hat of America, it is no surprise that Canada is filled with brains.

McGill University and the University of Toronto are two of the top research universities in the world. Alumni of the University of Toronto have helped create the pacemaker and were the first to inject insulin in diabetics. McGill University alumni have excelled in being French, while several alumni have also served as astronauts.

12. Canadians Believe in the Metric System 

Whenever a Canadian and an American try to discuss distances, there will always be that awkward moment where they try and convert miles into kilometers.

In the early 1970s, Canada officially adopted the Metric System. Simply put, working in multiples of 1 and 10 is a lot easier than the craziness that is the Imperial System. Maybe miles per hour sounds cooler, but kilometers per hour is a lot easier to convert to meters, centimeters, and god-forbid, millimeters.

13. Canada Has Some of the Best Natural Beauty in The World

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In Canada, you can experience extremely warm and cold weather. Canada is also lucky to have some of the best natural beauty in the world. From Niagara Falls to the arctic, Canada is extremely lucky.

To name a few things, Canada has the Rocky Mountains, the Appalachian Mountains, the beautiful shores of the East Coast and West Coast, the northern lights in the Northwest Territories, the icy shores of the Artic and Nunavut, the rolling plains of the prairies, and so much more. Without sounding like a cheesy travel advertisement, there really is something for everyone in Canada.

14. Ottawa’s Rideau Canal: a 7.8 km Skating Rink

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The average person looks at ice and decides they’re going to avoid it, or tries to walk right through it to impress a girl. Canadians look at the ice and decide to sacrifice their ankles to play a hard-hitting, fast-moving game of death called hockey.

The 7.8 km Rideau Canal in Ottawa, Ontario, offers enough ice for even the most extreme Canadians. Starting outside of the downtown core at Dow’s Lake, the canal provides a long stretch of skating that flows all the way to the downtown core. It’s perfect for that romantic date and is easily completed with a hot chocolate and batter-filled beaver tale (a pastry).

15. We Think Nickleback Sucks Too

We think Nickleback sucks, it’s true. The CRTC (our equivalent of the FCC) forces the Canadian media to showcase Nickleback, so we are forced to listen to them against our will. Still, as Canadians, we have a reputation of politeness to live up to and we hide the fact that they suck by doing everything we can to not hurt their feelings. That means we listen to their music, purchase tickets, and take photographs of the band members when we see them.

16. We’re Sorry for Unleashing Justin Bieber on You

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As Canadians, we’re naturally sorry for everything, even stuff we have not done yet. Justin Bieber is so “un-Canadian” that he’s often mistaken for an American (sorry).

Bieber is not the first, though. We have unleashed others like Celine Dion (her music is the reason why Jack let go of the door), Carly Rae Jepsen, and Hayden Christensen (an actor who rivaled the CGI for most unnatural performance in the Star Wars Prequels). However, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Justin recently released a song, stating he’s sorry. Maybe he’ll turn out good after all.

17. Most Canadians Believe We Won the War of 1812 – Just Give it to Us

The Battle of 1812 is a contentious topic for both American and Canadians. For most Americans, it was a draw, but for Canadians, we consider it a massive Canadian victory. Why is this? One simple answer, we still exist.

Had Canada lost the War of 1812, we would have lost several important cities and regions, but because we held strong, Canada still exists today. Nonetheless, this war forced the two countries to develop a relationship and played an important role in cementing our long-lasting friendship. Can’t we just have this one?

18. Canada Suffers from Racial Tensions just like the US

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Like the United States, we also suffer from racial tensions. However, the nature of the conflict is different. Slavery existed primarily in Lower Canada (modern Quebec), and it was abolished in the 1830s, not the 1860s. In addition, Canada was a popular destination for runaway American slaves.

In modern times, Canada has become a multicultural mecca. While we are proud of our multiculturalism, it has come with its own set of problems. We too have become an overly sensitive country and sometimes our political correctness causes racial tensions. There are certain demographics in Canada that resemble Donald Trump supporters in the sense that they are pro-military and hate immigrants. We aren’t proud to admit it, but it is a sad byproduct of a country that was founded on the principals of immigration.

19. Canada is Defined By its Multiculturalism

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Through the 20th century, Canada became a multicultural society. As natural birth rates declined, the government recognized that we would have to rely on immigration to increase our population at a steady rate.

For most Canadians, this isn’t an issue. After all, our country was founded on immigration. After Britain colonized us, we relied on immigrants to grow and that same principle is true today. At our core, we strive to be a tolerant and multicultural society. At times, we struggle to cooperate on certain issues, but as a whole, Canadians have learned to be accepting and our government is always focused on finding new ways to tie multiculturalism into the very fabric of our society.

20. Canada Has a Troubled Past With Our Indigenous Populations

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Canada too has struggled in the past and mistreated its indigenous populations. While we do not have a large scale Trail of Tears to deal with, we effectively forced the natives off of their land and placed them in unlivable reserves. These reserves are plagued with issues like depression, alcoholism, and drug abuse and there appears to be no viable solution in sight.

The government has admitted some wrongdoing for the way they treated the native populations through the country’s history, but they will never come close to reclaiming the land that our European ancestors took from them.

21. Canadians are Extremely Proud of the Country’s History Through the World Wars

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Canadian soldiers, regardless of their rank from infantry to the elite JTF2, are held in high regard in Canada and around the world. We may not have as many soldiers as America but our soldiers work better in constricted campaigns. Canadians participated in two World Wars, and countless military engagements since. Many times, Canadians assisted Americans, as they are currently doing in the Middle East and Africa.

22. Canada Doesn’t Own Any Weapons of Mass Destruction

103591_timeforpeaceImage Source: Vivere Pesaro

Unless you count an intoxicated Justin Bieber behind the wheel of a sports car, Canada does not own any weapons of mass destruction.

There are many possibilities why this is so. It could be due to Canada’s close relationship with America. It could be due to the Canadian belief in peacekeeping. It could be economic: nuclear weapons are expensive and require upkeep and disposal, as well as infrastructural changes that are incredibly costly, especially when factoring in security apparatuses to keep nuclear facilities and weapons safe.

Canada certainly has the means to create nuclear weapons. We just don’t view it as an important thing to do to ensure our security in the world.

23. Canadian Currency May Look Goofy, but It is Well Designed and Durable

imageImage Source: Cp24

Canadian currency shares similar properties to many famous Hollywood celebrities: tough and made of plastic.

Canadian currency has pictures on it because we get bored while waiting in line at the cashier, and they are a variety of different colors. We even had a brown $2 bill for a while but people were not happy about holding brown #2s in their hands, and their wallets. One of the problems with American money is that it is easy to tear. Many businesses will not accept torn bills and you may not be able to get to a bank to exchange your money for clean, crisp currency. Canadians do not have this problem.

24. Canadians Love Mac-and-Cheese

quick-mac-n-cheeseImage Source: Dairy Goodness

Mac and cheese is a favorite of Canadians from coast to coast. It’s like Ramen Noodles in the States. Affordable, popular, and tastes great anytime of the day. Mac and cheese is basically a complete meal. It has protein, milk, carbs, and a healthy dose of Canadian patriotism.

Ever wonder why Canadian swimmers are so fast? It’s because they swim in Olympic-sized pools of the stuff. Mac and cheese is also incredibly versatile. You can buy it in plastic containers or cardboard boxes. How’s that for Canadian ingenuity?

25. We Love Guns too, But our Crime Rates are Far Lower

outdoorhub-top-new-guns-shot-show-2015-2015-01-28_02-47-55Image Source: Outdoor Hub

Canadians like guns. We have them, we use them, and we acknowledge them as a part of our heritage and history. The earliest Canadians were fur traders and hunters. Natives used guns to hunt as well.

While we do not have a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to own guns, we do not need one because our culture is different. We did not start our country via a violent rebellion. We wrote a letter to the Queen. Our crime rates are lower, but the reasons behind these rates are different. There really is no comparison that can be made, or argument for or against gun control that can be made, regarding guns and crime rates in Canada and America.

26. Canadians use the Word “Eh?”

This one doesn’t require a long explanation, except for the reason why I believe we use “eh” in our vocabulary. When a Canadian uses the word “eh”, it is being used to reinforce a question. For example, if you were asked a question and didn’t respond quick enough, a Canadian may use the word “eh” in order to restate the entire question without having to restate it. Likewise, “eh” can be used at the end of a question to emphasize it. Make sense, eh?

27. Rednecks Exist in Canada too

o-WELCOME-TO-ALBERTA-facebookImage Source: Reddit

When you think of rednecks, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Georgia quickly come to mind. However, Canada also has rednecks as well. These individuals come in different varieties, but they generally dress in plaid, live in rural areas, drive big trucks, vote conservative, and would be the type of people who would gladly vote for Donald Trump if there were a Canadian equivalent.

Canadian rednecks are as equally racist, listen to country music or classic rock, love Nascar, drink a lot of beer, and a trip to Disneyland in Florida will be the furthest they ever travel in their lives. This isn’t to say they are bad people because, in reality, they are some of the hardest working blue-collar Canadians, but like any individual, they are a product of their environment.

28. Canadians Provided Shelter for Stranded American Passengers on 9/11

GanderImage Source: Turismo in Canada

9/11 affected Canada immensely, and not only due to its close proximity to America. Gander, Newfoundland, immediately accepted 53 airplanes after all flights were grounded following the attacks. This was a selfless act to help the United States, especially when you consider that no safety checks were done on the planes by Canadian authorities, and at the time, it was unknown whether more planes had terrorists on them.

The locals in Gander provided shelter, food, and safety to the stranded American passengers, demonstrating the true nature of East Coast friendliness. Even today, Canada and the United States remain close, but stricter regulations have been put into place and passports are now required for travel between the two countries.

Now watch this beautiful video displaying compassion and true love:

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9/11-Tom Brokaw - Gander Newfoundland Canada

29. Contrary to Popular Belief, Most Canadian Immigrants are Asian

canada-day-20120701Image Source: Canadian Press

Most Canadian immigrants are Asian, according to Statistics Canada. This surprises most people when they hear about this, since most assume that Indians are the majority immigrant population in Canada.

One of Canada’s largest cities, Toronto, which hosts around 10% of the population, also hosts huge Indian populations within the city and the GTA. However, Asians can include Indians, since “Two-thirds of South Asians reported East Indian ethnic ancestry.”

One would assume that, in Canada, most immigrants would be Caucasian due to the immense influence of America and Europe on Canada’s history. Prior to the 1970s, this was accurate. However, times have changed and Canada opened up its immigration process from the 1980s until today to allow for a greater influx of immigrants from all across the globe.

30. Canadians are Very Fond of the Queen and the Young Royal Couple

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Although in America, the President is the Head of State and the Head of the Government, this role in Canada is split between the Prime Minister and the Governor General, who is jointly appointed by the Prime Minister and the Queen.

The Governor-General acts as the Queen’s representative. However, the Queen does not have free reign over her former colony. Her role is strictly ceremonial, which is fitting given the rarity nowadays for people to be ruled by monarchs. Even though she no longer rules over Canada, Canadians are huge fans of the Queen and the glamorous young royal couple. When Prince William and Catherine Middleton got married, it was a pretty big deal here, and you can always expect to see the latest baby pictures of Prince George.

31. In the Canadian Legal Code, Apologizing is Not an Admission of Guilt

The Apology Act was the most Canadian thing until Justin Bieber released a song called “Sorry.” The Apology Act basically states that apologizing for something is not an admission of guilt in a court of law. Canadian law is very procedural and many restrictions exist on the publishing of ongoing investigations and court cases. The Apology Act is very appropriate once you become familiar with Canadian legal norms and with how often Canadians use sorry in their normal vocabulary.

32. Gravity is Different in Some Areas of Canada

Dog-Floating-Without-Gravity--35191Image Source: Freaking News

Some parts of Canada have lower levels of gravity than others, which baffled scientists until 2007. You won’t experience moon-like gravity here, but the slight differences are an interesting factoid that you can use to impress your friends. The difference in gravity is apparently only “a tenth of an ounce for a 150-pound (68-kilogram) person.”

33. The City of Alberta Has No Rats at All

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When we think of any industrial society or urban city, we often think of vermin. After all, you cannot picture New York City without their king rats, whether they are living in the sewers or working on Wall Street.

However, you might be interested to learn that such a rat-free place exists. No, it’s not the FBI, its Alberta. Alberta is rat-free. Due to pre-emptive measures, the Province has been effective in their efforts to stop Norway rats from entering its territory. Ironic seeing as Norway is often thought of being a peaceful nation. Norway rats are kept out with a “rat control zone,” a 600-700 kilometer section of Alberta’s Eastern border that prevents them from spreading to the major cities.

34. Some Canadian Stamps Celebrate American Fictional Characters

Canada Post Star Trek stamp Captain KirkImage Source: The Trek Collective

American stamps are quite normative. They either feature a prominent American like Ben Franklin or George Washington, a patriotic animal like the Eagle, or the American Flag. Canadian stamps are similar, but many, many more exceptions exist.

Canadian stamps often celebrate moments of Canadian history as well, which includes things like beloved children’s character Franklin the Turtle, Gingerbread men, and women, or pictures of the austere Canadian landscape that Canada is known for. Canada also celebrates American icons, which have greatly influenced Canada, like Superman and Star Trek, among others. Canada is an open, inclusive culture, which accepts everybody and everything. It is only natural this fact is reflected on their stamps.

35. Canadian 1 Dollar Coins are called Loonie, 2 Dollar Coins are called Toonie

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Canadian coins are strange. They are often confused for both American and British currency. This can be daunting when trying to purchase stuff in other countries or when accepting currency from tourists and travelers. The Canadian quarter looks similar to the British 10 pence coin, since they both have side portrait of the Queen on their backs. However, 10 British pence are only worth around 19 Canadian cents.

With American coins, the similarities are based on the coins’ traits, not their images. American and Canadian coins are similar sizes, shapes, and weights. It is common for Americans to mix up every coin leading up to the “Loonie ($1 coin)” and “Toonie ($2 coin).” Most Americans think Canadians are trolling them when they tell them that they use a $1 coin and a $2 coin that have such strange names, but such is the truth, and Canadians across the globe are used to strolling around with heavy pockets.

36. Canadian Have Some Pretty Strange Laws

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  • In Halifax, Nova Scotia, you cannot wear a T-shirt if you are a taxi driver. This is illegal, according to section 42(a) of Halifax Regional Municipality By-Law Number T-108.
  • Do you like to whistle? Stay away from Petrolia, Ontario, then. In order to prevent “excessive noise,” the city outlawed whistling.
  • There is such a thing as paying for a purchase with too much change. The Currency Act of 1985 allows stores to refuse any transactions over $5 where a customer tries to pay entirely in small change like nickels and the now extinct penny, while the loonie limit is set to $25.
  • The Toronto Port Authority has outlawed swimming in Lake Ontario in any area that is designated as the harbor. Swimmers are encouraged to head to Woodbine Beach and other similar areas.
  • Are you thinking of painting a wooden ladder in Alberta? Don’t, its illegal.
  • In Oshawa, it is technically illegal to climb a tree.
  • Harry Potter fans, practice your spells somewhere else. It is illegal to engage in witchcraft and sorcery in Canada.
  • Did you lose your lady to a rival in Canada? Sadly, it is illegal to challenge someone to a duel, so you will have to win her back a different way.

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