How Do You Know You’re Canadian?
1. You’re not offended by the term “HOMO MILK”.
2. . You understand the phrase “Could you pass me a serviette, I just dropped my poutine, on the chesterfield.”
3. You eat chocolate bars, not candy bars.
4. You drink Pop, not Soda.
5. You know that a Mickey and 24’s mean, “party at the camp, eh!!!”
6. You don’t care about the fuss with Cuba. It’s a cheap place to go for your holidays, with good cigars .
7. You know that a pike is a type of fish, not part of a highway.
8. You drive on a highway, not a freeway.
9. You have Canadian Tire money in your kitchen drawers.
10. You know that Casey and Finnegan were not part of a Celtic musical
11. You get excited whenever an American television show mentions Canada.
12. You brag to Americans that; Shania Twain, Jim Carrey, Celine Dion & Mike Myers are Canadians. … also , Alex Trebec, David Foley, Matthew Perry etc.etc.
13. You know that the C.E.O. of American Airlines is a Canadian!
14. You know what a toque is.
15. You design your Halloween costume to fit over a snowsuit.
16. You know that the last letter of the English alphabet is always pronounced “Zed”.
17. Your local newspaper covers the national news on 2 pages, but requires 6 pages for hockey.
18. You know that the four seasons mean: almost winter, winter, still Winter, and road work.
19. You know that when it’s 25 degrees outside, it’s a warm day.
20. You understand the Labatt Blue commercials.
21. You know how to pronounce and spell “Saskatchewan”.
22. You perk up when you hear the theme song from ‘Hockey Night in Canada’.
23. You are in grade 12, not the 12th grade.
24. “Eh?” is a very important part of your vocabulary, and is more polite
25. You actually understand these jokes, and forward them to all of your Canadian friends! Then you send them to your American friends just to confuse them!
This is a list of sure signs that you’re in Canada
- Everything is measured in metric. (No, the temperature does not drop fifty degrees when you cross the border, and the speed limit doesn’t double.)
- Milk comes in plastic bags as well as in cartons and jugs.
- There’s hockey gear everywhere. A guy can get onto a bus wearing goalie pads, a helmet — everything but the skates — and nobody gives him a second look.
- Restaurants serve vinegar with French fries.
- There are $1 and $2 coins. The paper currency is in different colors, and it’s pretty.
- The Trans-Canada Highway — Canada’s analogue to the US Interstates — is two lanes wide for most of its length. (There are great big huge wide highways around the major cities. The 401 north of Toronto is sixteen lanes wide in places.)
- There is still the occasional musical variety show on network TV, and such a show that was on until recently was hosted by a very, very large woman (Rita McNeil).
- The CBC’s evening news anchor is bald and doesn’t wear a toupee.
- When new coins are introduced to replace paper currency, people actually use the coins.
- Contests run by anyone other than the government have “skill-testing questions” that winners must answer correctly before they can claim a prize. These are usually math problems, and are administered to get around the law that only the government can administer lotteries.
- Lots of people run around in clothing from Roots.
- The following gas stations are around (and don’t exist in the US):
- Esso (instead of Exxon — a visitor suggests “Esso” comes from the “S” and the “O” of Standard Oil)
- Petro Canada
- Irving (only in eastern Canada, and a visitor advises me that there’s now at least one in Maine)
- Canadian Tire
- Mohawk (primarily in western Canada)
- These are the biggest department stores:
- The Bay (the Hudson’s Bay Company, the oldest company in North America and possibly the world — it was incorporated on May 2, 1670)
- Eaton’s (Toronto, Montréal, Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver are among the cities that have large malls called the Eaton Centre (Centre Eaton in French)). Eaton’s has been having financial troubles for several years now, and finally closed a number of its stores and sold the rest to Sears Canada.
- Zellers — owned by the Bay, Zellers is similar to KMart (which recently pulled out of Canada) or Target (which isn’t in Canada at all).
- These are the big banks:
- TD Canada trust
- Bank of Montreal
- Royal Bank
- The Bank of Nova Scotia
- Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC)
- The National Bank of Canada
- The HongKong Bank of Canada
These banks are national and have branches all over the country. One sure sign you’re in Canada: the federal government has blocked two big bank mergers (the TD wanted to merge with CIBC, and BMo wanted to merge with the Royal), ostensibly because reduced competition is bad for Canadians. Wow.Credit unions are also popular in Canada, especially in Quebec, where they’re called caisses populaires.
- These are the most well-known Canadian restaurant chains:
- Harvey’s — fast food burger joint
- Mr. Sub — similar to Subway
- The Keg (Le Keg en français) — a big, high-end yet still generic steakhouse
- Pizza Pizza — similar to Domino’s
- Tim Horton’s — do(ugh)nuts! See below.
- Swiss Chalet — sit-down chicken and ribs place
- Robin’s — another do(ugh)nut chain, popular in western Canada.
- The big mass-market beers are Molson and Labatt, and they’re stronger than US beers. Molson Golden was recently reintroduced to the Canadian market, but I hardly ever see anyone drinking it — I get the feeling Molson ships most of it to the States and tells the Americans it’s good.
- The major cigarette labels are Player’s, Craven A, DuMaurier, Matinee, and Export A. Canadian cigarettes are milder than American ones.
- Mountain Dew has no caffeine.
- Coke and Pepsi use real sugar instead of corn syrup.
- Instead of seeing Barnes & Noble and Borders bookstores, you see Coles and SmithBooks and Chapters and Indigo.
- There are lots and lots of do(ugh)nut shops, especially ones called Tim Horton’s (named after the hockey player who started the chain). (The number of Tim Horton’s diminishes as you go further west, but I’m assured there are lots of them in Edmonton.)
- When you step on someone’s foot, he apologizes. (This really happened.)
- There are billboards advertising vacations in Cuba, and Cuban cigars are freely available.
- Nobody worries about losing a life’s savings or a home because of illness.
- In pharmacies, you can buy acetaminophen or ASA with codeine over the counter, but you can’t buy hydrocortisone ointments or creams without a prescription.
- When you go to the dentist to get a cavity filled (or worse), she or he puts a needle in your mouth first to “freeze” it. (Asking for Novocaine (a brand name) immediately pegs you as an American.)
- At county fairs and the Canadian National Exhibition, red ribbons indicate first place and blue ribbons indicate second. (Canadians: it’s the other way around in the States.)
- Any conversation will inevitably include a brief discussion of the weather.
- It’s almost impossible to get a glass of iced tea in downtown Toronto. (This person must have been a Southerner — in the US South, “iced tea” is unsweetened, and “sweet tea” has sugar. “Sweet tea” is what you get when you ask for “iced tea” in Toronto.)
- Teenagers can drink legally. The drinking age in Quebec, Manitoba, and Alberta is 18; it’s 19 in the rest of the country.
- Potato chips come in flavo(u)rs such as salt and vinegar, ketchup, and “all dressed” (a collection of just about all possible seasonings — the person who suggested this one liked it to a “suicide slush” in the States).
- There are “chip vans” (aka “chip trucks” or “chip wagons”). These are like the van driven by the ice cream man, only they sell French fries. They are most ubiquitous on the roads to “cottage country.” (A visitor from British Columbia noted that “chip trucks” don’t sell French fries in BC; they drive on logging roads and carry wood chips there.)
- Every weekend during the summer, southern Ontarians go in droves from Toronto and its environs to their second homes (ranging from campers to great big houses with all the amenities) in cottage country (usually Muskoka — I’m told that calling it “the Muskokas” marks you as an outsider).
- Every weekend during the summer, southern Quebecers go in droves from Montréal and its environs to their cottage country (usually the Laurentians; the Eastern Townships; Burlington, Vermont; Lake Champlain, New York; or Plattsburgh, New York).
- Every weekend during the winter, the cottage country people go back to cottage country to go snowmobiling. Gas stations are just as likely to be filling snowmobiles as cars or trucks.
- Cars (especially on the Prairies) have electrical plugs sticking out from under the hoods. These are for block heaters, to prevent engines from freezing when it’s -40.
- People give distances in times, not miles.
- People ask whether you’d like “a coffee” rather than “some coffee.”
- Canadians tend to use British spelling. They write about “colour,” “cheques,” “theatres,” and so forth. Most use the American “-ize” rather than the British “-ise” verb ending, however.
- People drive with their headlights on during the day. Since 1989, all new cars have had to be fitted with daytime running lights.
- In Ontario, you can buy beer only at the Beer Store (formerly known as “Brewers’ Retail”). The experience of going into a beer store is documented nicely in the 1983 film Strange Brew.
- Movie theatres have one night a week, usually Monday or Tuesday, where they charge matinee prices.
- There is no mail delivered on Saturdays.
- “Lieutenant” is pronounced “leftenant.”
- Mortgage interest is not tax-deductible. The interest rate on most mortgages is not fixed, but rather, is renewed at the end of a term which can be as short as six months or as long as seven years.
- Most Canadians will tell you that the last letter of the alphabet is pronounced “zed.” Sharon, Lois, and Bram, popular children’s entertainers, make it a point in their performances of “The Alphabet Song” to say “zed” instead of “zee.”
- People end sentences with “eh,” eh?