I have decided to team up with a fellow Canadian blogger, Ashley at First Home Dreams, to bring you a series about Canada. Most of the blogs we follow tend to be based in the United States and we learn a lot about the country through those posts. We thought it would be fun to share some of the things that make Canada unique and show you guys a bit about the land we call home.
We've decided to break the series up between our two blogs and don't worry- we aren't going to be bombarding you with these posts. We're going to space them out and do them Fridays. Fridays are meant for less serious, more fun posts anyways! Today we are kicking off the series here at Casa but in 2 weeks (October 19), we will switch over to Ashley's blog to learn a bit about Canadian pop culture. Then 2 weeks after that, we will be right back here- and so on and so forth until we run out of material (we currently have about 6 posts planned total). Don't worry- we don't want it to be a history or geography lesson so it will be based around more fun things like pop culture and tourism.
Today, I thought we would kick things off with some basic facts about Canada and cover some of the common misconceptions about our country. To start- let's look at a map (uh oh- it's sounding like a geography lesson, isn't it?).
Map originally from here.
Canada is divided into provinces. Provinces are a lot like states- we just call them something different. Each has it's own provincial government in addition to our national government- but let's not get into politics!
Ashley and I both live in Ontario currently (see the pink heart on the map) but Ashley originally hails from the west coast- British Columbia to be exact. Each province has very unique characteristics and ways of life and the landscape vastly changes from one coast to the other. We'll share more about that in a future post that includes some must-see spots and travel destinations- get excited!
On from the basics though, let's look at the
10 most common misconceptions about Canada-
1) Canada is always cold and we all live in igloos wearing our toques.
Canada is not always cold- in fact some places here don't even get snow except on rare occasions. We have four seasons in most parts and experience everything from freezing temperatures and piles of snow to blisteringly hot and humid days. We get a great mix of things here - the four seasons are one thing I really love about where I live. The toque thing... well we do wear toques, but only when it's cold (typically)! (A toque is basically just a knit hat of sorts. They come in many designs and shapes.)
As for igloos- no one really lives in igloos. We live in houses just like Americans do. I would hope you know that one by now after following my and Ashley's blogs!
2) We say "eh?" and "aboot" a lot.
I will admit that "eh?" slips into my vocabulary every so often but not nearly as much as it is made out to be in these stereotypes. I think all areas have certain words that are common- like "y'all" in the southern US. As for "aboot"- I've never said it that way in my life nor heard anyone say it that way.
3) Canada is mostly uninhabited wilderness.
There are a lot of wide open spaces and wilderness in Canada- I'll give you that. The country is huge and the nature is part of the beauty of this country. However, we do have large urban areas as well like Toronto (the capital of Ontario) which had a population of 2,615,060 last year or Montreal (in Quebec) which had 1,649,519 people living there in 2011. There are many more large cities but I promised not to give a history/geography lesson so no more numbers!
4) All our police look like Mounties.
While this graphic might be something you associate with Canada, most of our police officers look just like you would expect an American police officer to look like. The above outfits are only worn for demonstrations at events and festivals. While the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) does exist and does do police work for parts of Canada- they wear regular police uniforms, drive cars and carry standard weapons. In Ontario and Quebec we have our own police force seperate from the RCMP.
5) Our money looks like Monopoly money.
Well, we definitely have colourful money here. Our bills look like this currently for the most part-
It's definitely a lot brighter and more colourful than American money but it does make it easier to tell which bill you have! Our bills are actually currently being swapped to new bills. They have only released the $50 and $100 bills so far but they are now made of a plastic material to make them last longer and they are now recyclable when they are done being circulated. They have a clear window on them, use metallic inks and holograms, etc to help prevent counterfeiting. Here's a photo of the new $100 bill-
You might have noticed that we don't have a $1 bill. Here in Canada we have $1 and $2 coins called loonies and toonies respectively. You might think that means a lot of change but generally I don't find that I have that many at any given time. I guess we all spend it at Tim Horton's on coffee- haha.
6) We all know and speak French.
Wrong. The province of Quebec is heavily french speaking and french is our second language but a large number of people are not fluent in french. We take french in grade school so most of us know the basics but I would be hard pressed to have an actual conversation with someone in that language.
7) We use the metric system for everything.
We do use the metric system for some things- like gas (we do per litre), speed (km/hr), temperature (we use Celcius) off the top of my head. However, for building materials and construction we still use feet and inches for the most part. We also do body weight in pounds for the most part (although sometimes we talk kilograms). We do learn the metric system in school but I must admit that if I have construction drawings come to me in metric- I groan and get out my converter.
8) We love hockey... and only hockey.
We do love our hockey- don't get me wrong. This NHL lock out is bumming a lot of us out but we follow and partake in a number of other sports as well. We have a Canadian football league (the CFL). We partake in major league baseball with our beloved Toronto Blue Jays-
Our other national sport is lacrosse. Soccer is also really popular here in the summer time. Of course there are lots of other sports too like curling, ice skating, basketball (we have the NBA team the Toronto Raptors), golf, swimming, etc.
9) The Queen of England runs Canada.
Canada is what is known as a constitutional monarchy. That means we have our own constitution, laws and government but we acknowledge the Queen as a figurehead of sorts. Britain has no role in our laws or how we govern our country.
10) We have beavers running around everywhere.
While we do have beavers in our country, they are not running rampant everywhere. In fact, I am almost 25 and have only seen maybe 2 in the wild (I've seen a few in zoos, etc). Beavers aren't only found in Canada though- I think they became a big symbol of our country because they played a large part in the settlement of Canada. Beaver furs were a big commodity and trading them was a big business. I mean who doesn't want to wear a dead animal on their head?
On that note- I think that concludes our first ever Chatting with Canadians post. We hope you will follow along and learn something new through this. We'll try to keep it light hearted and fun. Remember to visit Ashley's blog in 2 weeks for the next chapter in the series- all about pop culture. Ryan Gosling should even make an appearance- he is Canadian after all!
For now, please leave any questions, thoughts or misconceptions about Canada in the comments section and we will do our best to answer them either here or throughout the series. We love hearing what people think Canada is like and what questions you may have. Did you believe any of the misconceptions above?