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A woman sits beside Lake Louise. Right: A woman poses beside trees.

A woman sits beside Lake Louise. Right: A woman poses beside trees.

This Essay article is part of a Narcity Media series. The views expressed are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.

As somebody who was born and grew up in Wales, U.K., I had always dreamed of exploring the Great White North. So, when the opportunity came up for me to move to Canada, I couldn't wait to pack my bags.

Much like Wales, I knew Canada was going to be a land of snow-capped peaks, inspiring natural wonders and friendly, kind faces. However, there were some things I was not prepared for, too.

Several years later, there are many things I have learned (and come to love!) about Canada that I wish somebody would have told me about before I arrived.

From language and capital city confusion to assumptions about Justin Trudeau and Tim Hortons, here are just a few misconceptions I had about Canada and Canadians before I made this country my home.

All Canadians speak French

A plane window view.

A plane window view.

Helena Hanson | Narcity

Before arriving in Canada, I had heard plenty about French-Canadian culture and the prominence of the French language in some parts of the country.

While I knew specific regions were predominantly French-speaking, I was not aware that other areas would use little to no French at all.

While I was a little surprised, this was not an entirely unfamiliar situation to me because in Wales — a bilingual country where Welsh is spoken in some spots but not others — circumstances are very similar!

All Canadians speak English

A view of a mountainscape.

A view of a mountainscape.

Helena Hanson | Narcity

I thought I had a pretty good grasp on the English language … until I arrived in Canada and realized British-English and Canadian-English are actually quite different.

In fact, it felt like there was a whole dictionary I'd apparently missed out on!

From phrases like "just give’er" and terms like "the 6ix," "double-double" and "loonie/toonie," I was confused as heck at first.

Fortunately, it doesn't take long to learn … eh?

Everyone loves Justin Trudeau

In recent years, the U.K. has had a string of pretty unpopular prime ministers leading the country.

Before moving to Canada, I was under the impression that Justin Trudeau was a widely popular guy in his home country, as, in Europe, he is generally considered to be a likeable leader.

However, after travelling to different parts of Canada and speaking to Canadians from all walks of life, I realized that it's not quite so simple.

I've met people who love him and people who loathe him, but it's certainly not something that everybody agrees on.

Everyone loves Tim Hortons

A Tim Hortons coffee and donut.

A Tim Hortons coffee and donut.

Helena Hanson | Narcity

Likewise, prior to arriving, I assumed that everybody would be a fan of the Canadian classic that is Tim Hortons.

However, I have since met plenty of Canadians who have shared that they think Tims is way worse than it used to be and/or that their coffee sucks.

While I agree that Timmies doesn't offer the best coffee or snacks that money can buy, I love it because it feels very quintessentially Canadian to me!

Canadian and American accents are the same

A busy Toronto street.

A busy Toronto street.

Helena Hanson | Narcity

Before living in Canada, I was sure that both American and Canadian accents sounded exactly the same and I would have never been able to tell the difference between the two.

Now, I can easily pick an American accent out from a crowd and can even pinpoint some regional Canadian accents.

Canadians thrive in the cold

A snowy lane in Ottawa.

A snowy lane in Ottawa.

Helena Hanson | Narcity

Because Canada is so notoriously cold in the winter, I was initially under the impression that Canadians must thrive in frigid conditions.

And, while I saw plenty of guys wearing shorts and flip flops during the winter, I found that for the most part even Canadians are a little uncomfortable during the peak of the cold season.

Canada has no specific cuisine

Maple taffy in Ottawa.

Maple taffy in Ottawa.

Helena Hanson | Narcity

I am almost embarrassed to admit that before living in Canada, I did not think the country had a staple cuisine.

How wrong I was! Some of the best food I've ever eaten has been in Canada and trying poutine for the first time was definitely a memorable experience.

Other Canadian highlights include BeaverTails, Timbits, proper maple syrup, Montreal bagels, Ottawa shawarma, and more.

I have to be honest, I can't get on board with Bloody Caesars though. Sorry, Canada!

Toronto is the capital city

The Ottawa sign.

The Ottawa sign.

Helena Hanson | Narcity

Eek! Another embarrassing one.

After previously living in Australia and learning the hard way that Sydney is not the capital city, you'd think I would have learned my lesson.

While I did figure out that Toronto is not Canada's capital before I lived in Ontario, it did come as a surprise to learn about Ottawa.

All police are Mounties

Because the Mounties are such an iconic symbol of Canada, I had just believed that they were the only police force in the country.

Plus, I thought they would all always wear those red uniforms and fancy hats. Oh — and ride horses everywhere.

You can imagine my disappointment when I arrived in Ontario and saw the OPP!

There are no famous Canadians


Until becoming a Canadian resident, I'd never realized just how many stars and iconic celebrities were from Canada.

From Celine Dion (yes, really! Sorry!) to Justin Bieber, Ryan Reynolds, Jim Carrey and all of the rest, I suppose I would have just assumed they were American.

It will be easy to go back home

A woman sits beside Lake Louise.

A woman sits beside Lake Louise.

Helena Hanson | Narcity

When I moved to Canada, I was pretty confident that it wouldn't be long-term as I knew how much I loved my home country of Wales.

However, several years later, it became clear that saying goodbye to Canada was never going to be that easy.

Because of the gorgeous scenery and the amazing wildlife, the vibrant culture, the iconic cuisine and the totally kind, welcoming, and friendly people, it's got to be one of the best places on Earth? Right?

Love ya, Canada!

    Helena Hanson
    Trending Editor
    Helena Hanson is a Senior Editor for Narcity Canada's Trending Desk focused on major news. She previously lived in Ottawa, but is now based in the U.K.
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