I’m Canadian. Born and bred, for generations before me. My family is originally from Scotland and England, but have been in Canada for over a hundred years. I’m about as Canadian as they come considering Canada as a country has only been around since 1867 – meaning our 150th Anniversary is only coming up next year. Why do I tell you this? Why do you care? Well, because there are a lot of things about Canada that I constantly have to tell people are not true. So I thought today, the day before Canada Day, I would try and look at 10 of the most prominent statements I hear about being Canadian and tell you whether they are true or not.
Myth #1 : We all LOVE Tim Hortons
This is my least favourite of the myths. I personally HATE Tim Hortons! Tim Hortons is also actually no longer even a Canadian company. Back on August 26, 2014, Burger King purchased Tim Hortons for US$11.4 billion. Under their management structure, the chain is actually majority-owned by Brazilian investment firm 3G Capital. Not even all Canadians are big fans. I have, over the years, come up with a theory though on Tim Hortons. In the blue-collar working class in Canada, Tim Hortons is a staple. I dare you to drive thru a Tim Hortons anywhere in the country and not find a huge pick-up truck with a construction worker in it. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that either, I want to point out, but it’s been my observation of the chain pretty much everywhere across the country. If, however, you have an office job, you are more likely go to Starbucks. I admire the way that the chain has weaselled its way into Canadian folklore though.
Myth #2 : It’s cold in Canada. All the time. Everywhere.
Ha! I live on the West Coast of Canada and it’s been 33 degrees Celsius (about 92 F) in APRIL this year. I have air conditioners in my house that get more use than my furnace. I haven’t had snow in the last 2 years and when we did get snow before that, it was just a dusting overnight that was gone by lunch. There are parts of the country which are cold, but they are just as cold in the US. Look how pretty my city, Vancouver, is!
Myth #3 : We’re extremely polite.
This one may be a little bit true. Whereas our American neighbours to the South tend to be more brash and vocal, Canadians tend to be a little more subdued. That doesn’t mean we don’t swear (Ask Christine, she’ll vouch for me) and it certainly doesn’t mean that we are pushovers. I do say sorry more than a normal person should – especially in situations that don’t call for it – but it’s been programmed into me.
Myth #4 : We love hockey. Like LOVE LOVE it.
This one is also, for the most part, true. Many little boys (and increasingly, girls) in Canada do play some kind of minor hockey as they grow up and if they don’t play the sport, they definitely can have a conversation about the professional hockey teams when they become teenagers. When we are talking about Olympic level hockey, there will perhaps never be a greater time to have been a Canadian hockey fan than the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic games when the Canadian Men and Women’s hockey teams both won the gold medals and the roars of the crowds were deafening.
Myth #5 : We all speak French
Ce n’est pas la vérité! After a quick Google, only about 21% of Canadians speak French as their first language, and while more are able to speak the language as a second one, there is definitely not universal knowledge of the French language. I speak French because I grew up in the French province in Canada, Québec. But I don’t speak it everyday, have no need to in English parts of the country and have so many friends and family members that couldn’t even tell you what “bonjour” means. (It’s hello, in case you’re wondering)
Myth #6 : We have wild animals everywhere
Um… Not in our downtown big cities. But for those of us in suburbs? Absolutely. I live in one of the biggest metropolitan areas in the country and have bears constantly rummaging through my garbage. If you take a drive through the mountains though, there is a great chance of seeing a moose, a bear or some other kind of wildlife.
Myth #7 : We have no cute guys
I think we can say this is debunked, no? We’ve got the two Ryans: Reynolds and Gosling. Our Prime Minister has been named the “most suave” in GQ and we are also the home and native land of Scott Speedman, Drake, Joshua Jackson, Justin Beiber and more. Plus, PopSugar named us land of the hunk.
Myth #8 : Our Police Officers wear red uniforms
Only on TV. And special occasions, like when Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge come for a visit.
Myth #9: We all say “eh”
I hate to admit that this one is probably also true, although most of us do it inadvertently when casually speaking.
Myth #10 : We love Maple Syrup
I ADORE MAPLE SYRUP! Again, I come from the province that makes most of it, but there is nothing like a good helping of maple syrup on a pancake in the morning… Or if you want to get really old school, on a pile of snow right out of a tree. We’re very protective of our maple syrup in Canada as well, as National Headlines were drawn when men stole $18 Million worth of Maple Syrup from our Maple Syrup Reserves. Yup, we have one of those. It’s a real thing.
I’m very proud to be Canadian, despite the teasing about Beiber on the international stage or the fact that our Prime Minister started a hashtag for #APECHottie rather than his policies, and will look forward to celebrating tomorrow the 149th birthday of our country.