On our nation’s birthday**, I thought it would be fun to look at a few stereotypes about Canadians.
We live in igloos.
It takes skill to build an igloo, especially if you don’t want the roof to collapse. It also takes snow, which we don’t have year-round. Inuit people in Canada’s north will sometimes build igloos on hunting expedition, but that’s pretty much the extent of the igloo-ing.
We say “aboot” instead of “about”
I don’t know why this stereotype exists, because I’ve never heard a single Canadian say aboot.
Every sentence ends with “eh?”
Use of “eh” for emphasis at the end of a sentence is regional, at least to some extent. In my neck of the woods, it’s not common, and I very rarely say it.
I must know your third cousin twice removed who lives in Toronto.
I’ve actually encountered this when I’ve travelled. Lots of people seem to have relatives in Toronto or Montreal, and they think there’s a very good chance that I know them. Vancouver is 3364 km (2090 mi) from Toronto as the crow flies. That’s a pretty big barrier.
We all speak French.
Most of us learn French in school, but very few people retain anything beyond bonjour, oui, non, or merci. We’ve got one primarily French-speaking province, Québec (which also seems to be our most racist province) and one bilingual province (New Brunswick).
We all have a polar bear/beaver/moose in the backyard.
Deer, quite possible. Coyote, sure. Bear, maybe. Polar bears don’t make it down south, and beavers aren’t interested in anyone’s backyard unless they’re on the hunt for dam-building materials. A moose is more of a possibility, but not a desirable one. According to Wikipedia, “Males (or “bulls”) normally weigh from 380 to 700 kg (838 to 1,543 lb) and females (or “cows”) typically weigh 200 to 490 kg (441 to 1,080 lb).” That’s one big-ass moose on the loose.
We have sex in canoes
Very few people are talented enough to pull this off.
We say “sorry” a lot
This is very true. Sorry is less an actual apology and more polite social lubricant.
There are assholes in Canada just like anywhere else, but on average we’re pretty polite. This is one of the main reasons Canadian travellers tend to have a much better reputation internationally than American travellers do.
And speaking of social lubricant, I found this tweet from a few years ago that illustrates this rather nicely. It may not be said by every Canadian, in every single grocery store, but it comes close.
Happy Canada Day!
Note **: While July 1, 1867 was the date Canada became a constitutional monarchy, it has been home to Indigenous peoples for millenia.