It’s Canada Day today! So Happy Canada Day to all those Canadians both in Canada and abroad! May your day be filled with lots of overly Candian things, like having some poutine, drinking Keith’s, and listening to Nickelback, while dissing Nickelback. If you’re in Canada, celebrate what a great country you’re from, and if you’re abroad – remember to wear your Canadian flag patch on your backpack with pride!
Now on this topic of Canadians and travel (we always seem to talk about travel on this blog, don’t we?!), what are some stereotypes people have of Canadians abroad? Do people really think we love beer that much? and hockey? and speaking French? Check out my list below for my experiences of what foreigners think of us during my travels!
It’s always cold and snowing in Canada.
I feel like this is always a popular one when you mention that you’re from Canada, because everyone tends to assume that you live in the Arctic. Some common responses are:
“Boy, it must be cold over there!”
“Do you guys ever get summers?”
“Why are you wearing a t-shirt in -10 degrees weather? You must be Canadian!”
Canadians love hockey.
This is probably one of the most popular stereotypes about Canadians, isn’t it? And yes, it’s
true. Going to any bar on a NHL game night will tell you so. And every Canadian will tell you that’s there’s only one event worth watching during the winter Olympics – and that’s hockey! Missing that game would be like committing a national crime!
All Canadians speak French.
A lot of Americans always ask me if I speak French when they find out I’m Canadian. And surprisingly, this stereotype has made it’s way around the world, despite the fact that Quebec is really the only “French” province. I’ve had Australians and Germans ask me, and especially in France, when I was lugging my luggage around (with had a Canadian flag on it), I’ve had all sorts of people approach me and ask me questions in French (but then again, they seem to insist on speaking to everyone in French there!)
All Canadians are super friendly
It’s true isn’t it? (except people you meet on the Toronto transit). And we are proud of that fact!
Canadians love beer!
While Canadians like to pride themselves about how much they love beer, a lot of other countries (surprisingly) don’t attribute beer lovers to be Canadians. Yes, Americans know this Canadian stereotype well (but that’s because their beer isn’t very good, now is it?), but if you go to countries like Germany and Ireland, they’re going to tell you that they’re the biggest beer loving country in the world.
Canadian money is like monopoly money
Again, this is a very American stereotype about Canadians since they’re one of the few countries out there with solid green money. If you go to places like Australia or Europe, in actuality, lots of places around the world use colourful “monopoly” money – and for good reason too – it’s harder to counterfeit!
Canadians always say “eh” (also “aboot”)
Also with this one, it’s not as well-known in other parts of the world outside North America. Is it true? Well I do know a few Canadians who say “eh” every now and then (haven’t we all!) but I’ve never heard anyone say “aboot.” I think this is a very outdated stereotype, and probably only used by people from Newfoundland….because even Canadians make fun of their strange accent! (in good humour of course).
Canadians love their maple syrup
Sure I love maple syrup, along with every other Canadian I know, but we definitely don’t pour it on everything. I guess maple syrup being synonymous with Canadians is like cheese is with the Swiss, and meatballs with the Swedes. Plus the fact that all bottles of maple syrup I’ve seen abroad seem to always advertise for “AUTHENTIC CANADIAN MAPLE SYRUP”, with images of maple leafs plastered all over helps us maintain that stereotype. And also the fact that our flag has a giant maple leaf on it.
All Canadians are best friends with Justin Bieber.
This was something all the German kids from the school I taught at would all ask me. It’s pretty cute though to have a bunch of eleven year olds lined up to ask you varying questions about Justin Bieber’s life. Sadly I don’t know anything about him! Except that he may or may not be dating Selena Gomez.
People abroad get their Canadian stereotypes from watching How I Met Your Mother
Like we don’t have enough stereotypes already, thanks to American television, people abroad also think Canadians are scared of the dark. And yes, I’ve had people ask me that all the time in Germany. Those Germans. Side note, speaking of Canadians and being scared of the dark, who remembers the show, “Are you Afraid of the Dark?!?!”
So what do you think of these stereotypes? As a Canadian, what sort of stereotypes have you heard while travelling? And to all you non-Canadians, what stereotypes do you associate with Canadians?