Being a Canadian in a foreign country (UK, Norway, and now the USA) is interesting, for a variety of reasons. One of them is all the fun Canadian stereotypes that you can ham up. Another is that I get to blame a lot of my behaviour on being Canadian. By far the best is the interesting bevy of questions that I get asked about Canada, and being Canadian. This is an attempt to document them.
Yes. Everything you see on South Park, and on TV in general is true. Ditto the Internet, and grade school playgrounds.
I'm from Montreal. My friends there are all bilingual. We tend to slip into Franglais/Frenglish, switching multiple times per sentence. Sometimes, notably when I'm describing things to do with Montreal, I'll think in Franglais and translate the French parts to English instead of thinking in English. Sorry.
Not a Canadian thing. I lived in London for 2 years. Same reasoning for anti-clockwise. Widdershins is because I read too much fantasy/sci-fi.
Most Québecers will be glad to speak to you in English once they realize that:
No. Canadians don't really identify themselves with France. French Canadians don't really identify themselves with France. English Canadians don't really identify themselves with England either.
No. Although Montreal is in the mostly French speaking province of Québec, not everyone who lives there is French Canadian. Roughly 65% of Montrealers are French Canadians (francophones), roughly 25% are anglophones, and roughly 10% are allophones. Please, don't try to insist that since someone is from Montreal, they must be French Canadian. It's a bit insulting. Think of any other place where two cultures co-exist with some friction. They rarely like being mistaken for each other.
Slang for Canadian. Contains no derogatory connotations. Pronounced to rhyme with "duck" not "duke". Not sure where canucklehead came from, but Wolverine of Marvel Comics fame used to call himself that, so many canucks don't see it as an insult.
American English and British English differ in the spelling of certain words. Canadian English falls somewhere in between, using American English spelling for some words, and British English spelling for others.
No. Canadians spell a lot of things the British way.
I didn't. Many words ending in "or" in American English are spelled with "our" in Canadian and British English. Examples include "colour", "neighbour", "honour" and "favour".
No. Words ending in "ter" in American English are spelled with "tre" in Canadian and British English. Examples include "centre" and "theatre".
No. Words ending in "ise" in British English are spelled with "ize" in Canadian English. Examples include "realize" and "hypnotize".
The thing that you can use in place of cash or a credit card is spelled "cheque" in Canadian and British English.
Yes. It's televised. If you're channel surfing on the weekend in winter, you'll probably catch some.
No. But I'm probably one of the few Canadians who doesn't. As with curling, you can easily catch hockey on TV in season.
The Montreal Canadiens were originally Montreal's French hockey team (the Montreal Maroons were the English team). Canadien is French for Canadian.
Habs is short for Habitants which is French for "The Home Team".
Canada Day, also known as Dominion Day, is July 1st. It celebrates the anniversary of our independence from England on July 1st, 1867. To answer the next question, we were granted our independence. No Canadian Revolution.
No, that was a Nick thing. I don't mind the cold that much. I just told you that it was a Canadian thing to ham things up.
Get with the Metric System.
(°C * 9/5) + 32 = °F. You can derive the reverse equation.
Also. 1 Mile ~ 1.6 km. And yes, 1 USD ~ 1.6 CAD.
While we're here, 2002-07-01 is the international date format (yyyy-mm-dd, use hypens/dashes, leading zeros), 1/7/2002 is the Canadian format (dd/mm/yyyy, slashes, leading zeros optional).
In Québec, the general path to a Bachelor's degree is:
High School up to grade 11.
2 years in CEGEP. About half way between the freedom / responsibility / choice of High School and University. When you graduate CEGEP, you get a Diplôme D'Études Collegiales, that is, a Diploma of Collegial Studies.
3 years in University.
Yeah, it's a pretty crappy school. I chose to go there over McGill because they had a good Math/CS co-op program. From a school snob perspective, horrible choice. From a life experience perspective, great choice.
Currently, it is about 1 USD = 1.60 CAD. For more up to date information see OANDA.com.
Generally, no. Although some places in the more commercial/touristy area may accept US Dollars, most places will not. Those that do will usually charge you a horrible exchange rate (I've seen up to 25% below what is offered by Visa).
In Québec, at least, ~ 15%. Yes, around fifteen percent. You can apply to get the money back at the border. Ask in shops for the appropriate forms if you see they have a 'Tax Free for Tourists' sign.
Use your bank/credit card at a bank machine, or pay using your bank/credit card. The exchange rate is quite good.
No. Canadian Dollars.
No. Dear ghod people. Canada is a different country. Do you really expect to get US Dollars when you go to a bank machine in Italy? Do you really expect them to let you enter US Dollars and change it to pounds at English bank machines? Have you ever tried to pay with US Dollars in France? Think a bit before asking these questions people (that means you SW and SM).
Strongly recommended. A birth certificate (or other proof of citizenship) will also work. A driver's license is not sufficient for crossing the border. See the part about Canada being a different country above.
Don't forget that getting back into the US without proof of American Citizenship / residency is generally difficult. Driver's licenses don't always cut it with INS (the US Immigration and Naturalization Service). Even more so post September 11.