Friday, 5 October 2012

Chatting with Canadians- Part One

Chatting with Canadians

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?).


provincial map with heart
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.)

toque

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.

65407782
 
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-

money

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-

new 100

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.

toonie and loonie

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-

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?

beaver


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?

34 comments:

  1. OOh, I love this! So interesting :) I think I might do something similar in the future.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it Ainhoa! I would love to read one all about Spain!

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  2. Thanks so much for hosting the first post of the series, Christine!

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    1. Thanks for doing the series with me Ashley! : )

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  3. What a fun post! I like learning about Canada (Joe and I want to plan a trip up to Montreal soon).

    Btw, that's very cool about the new money being recyclable!

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it Kristen! I haven't made the trip to Montreal yet but plan to do that in the future as well. I have lots of friends who have gone and they say it is beautiful!

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    2. Joe and I went out to dinner with our friends on Friday night and somehow ended up talking about Canada. I was able to share some of your pointers (like your money being recyclable - clearly my favorite point) and everyone was very impressed :)

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    3. Glad to provide some dinner conversation! haha I actually just learned that about our money when writing this post- I love that point too!

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  4. I think I'm going to enjoy this Canada series quite a bit. And honestly, I think my favorite part about your country is your healthcare system, but that's not a topic for friendly blogger conversation.

    One of my favorite things to say is "What does Canada want? They want more money!" Southpark is occasionally hilarious.

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    1. So glad to hear that you like the series idea. You never really know when you come up with these plans...

      Yes- the health care here is great but we didn't want to get into political or history type things too much.

      Yes- South Park is quite entertaining! How I Met Your Mother also has some pretty hilarious skits about Canada and our culture. Shayne and I get a good laugh from those!

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  5. Fun!!! Great way to share a little about our Country!

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    1. Thanks Lish! We hope we can highlight it appropriately!

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  6. I've heard of Canada before AND Toronto... that's where the Flyers beat up on some minor league team named the Maple Leafs or something, I can never remember.

    I'm just happy you didn't take credit for Sydney Crosby. We stopped in Toronto on the way over to France. Beautiful city, despite it's athletic teams..

    Oh, and I'm a Red Sox fan to boot! It's all downhill from here. :)

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    1. Glad you have at least heard of Canada John ; )

      It's going to be like that is it? Shayne happens to be a Toronto Maple Leafs fan so this could get ugly ; ) lol. I know that Ashley is a Jays fan too so this could really go badly!!

      Glad to hear you have at least seen Toronto. Hopefully you will learn new things about our country from this series aside from just our athletic teams ; )

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    2. Too bad none of those teams made it to the preseason.

      It's okay though. You can all root, root, root for my Texas Rangers tonight in the AL wildcard game!

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    3. Oh man- this post is becoming a sports debate! lol I don't follow sports too closely but Shayne is majorally into them. I was asking him a few questions last night and he wanted to know why I was blogging about sports.

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  7. I love this! It's going to be cool to learn some things about our neighbors to the North! :) Btw, I love the color money you guys have...and the see through panels on the new money is even more awesome. Thanks for putting together this new feature! {Especially since my Canadian exposure is limited to the show "Yukon Men" and any HGTV show filmed there.:)}

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    1. Glad you liked it Gabbi! Yes- the new money with the holograms and the see through panels are pretty cool. We have also decided they smell slightly like maple syrup! haha! Glad we can offer another resource on Canadiana other than TV.

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  8. Very cool, you guys! It was fun reading this. And I reeeeally want a pair of mountie boots now!

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    1. Thanks Amy! I'm so glad people are liking this! I never looked at the Mountie boots before and must say I want a pair now too! haha

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  9. Great idea :) Fellow Canadian. Born in Brampton, grew up in Vancouver and moving back sometime next year! I also love that we get a good 4 seasons - I don't know how people live in places that are hot or cold all year around!

    I also never knew our money was recycable :P Learn something new everyday

    Oh and another note Vancouver also has their own police department and the rcmp are also there too. Not sure how that works but kind of interesting

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    1. Thanks for reading Lauren! I couldn't handle hot or cold all the time either. I love the differences in the seasons.

      I actually learned about the money being recyclable while writing this post. I find it fun that I get to learn some things writing about this too- even though it's our country!

      That's interesting about the police. Where I am from we have provincial police as well as police within the city. From some of my friends who are police officers, I hear that causes some problems between the forces sometimes though!

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  10. Great post.... I am looking forward to many more. We Canadians are interesting and so is our country. Thanks!

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    1. Thanks Cathy! I totally agree : )

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  11. Thank you for doing these posts, they're so fun!

    My boyfriend is Canadian, and I lived in Canada for a year and a half from 2010-2012 so I've heard and even experienced some of these from people who assumed that I was Canadian.

    One of the awesome things about Canadian money is the braille in the corners. I really wish that they would put that on money here in the US because that would probably be so much easier than using folding systems or having to rely on people to tell you if you have the correct bills.

    I have to admit that "eh" slipped into my vocabulary for a while, it just seemed natural because the group of people I hung out with said it a lot. Another thing I noticed Canadians say a lot is "pardon?" instead of "excuse me?" That one has stuck with me even now that I'm back in the US and people always look at me strangely when I say it.

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    1. Thanks for reading along with them! I am so happy with the response we got to it!

      The braille is a great point about the money too. When actually looking at the money and the meaning behind each image or aspect of it- it's quite interesting!

      I imagine Eh does rub off on people if hearing it a lot. I didn't realize Pardon? was a Canadian thing. I love that I am learning through this series too!

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  12. I have to confess that I'm devastated to hear that "eh" and "aboot" are not all you say everyday. I always thought that was delightful. :)

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    1. Sorry to disappoint! haha!

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  13. I loved this post! As a fellow Canadian I'm glad you're setting the record straight about that whole "aboot" mis conception! Too funny!

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it! I never understood the "aboot" thing. haha.

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  14. Thanks for sharing! I'm looking forward to learning more about Canada. I visited BC when I was in high school and the thing that left a lasting impression on me was how polite everyone I came into contact with was!

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  15. I read this on the way down to Florida, but I don't remember if I commented or not... but I LOVE this post! So glad you are doing the series! Your money is crazy-awesome, btw!

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  16. Haha this is a great series ladies! As a fellow Canadian who has lived in a tourism heavy area all my life I deal with a lot of misconceptions and stereotypes on a daily basis from our American visitors.

    Fun fact: did you know the the new $100 bills have a scratch and sniff security feature? Smells like maple syrup mmmm. :)

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