11 Canadian Stereotypes That Are Just Not True According To A Born & Bred Canuck
Let's start with this whole "nice" thing...
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.
There are a ton of Canadian stereotypes – always wearing red flannels, saying "eh," being polite all the time – and most are simply not true.
As someone who was born in Canada, grew up in Canada, went to school in Canada and now works in Canada, my experience with this nation and its people has been pretty inconsistent with the many jokes about Canucks that I've heard throughout my life.
I'm thus going to go through some of the more annoying Canadian stereotypes and show how, as a born and bred Canadian, they aren't as true as people might think they are!
Everyone is nice
This one is maybe the most pervasive stereotype out there when it comes to folks from the Great White North. It's also something that I think a lot of Canadians actually really want to be true as well. But, it's not.
While I do think Canadian society is a bit more polite than others, I really don't think that Canadians are "nice" all the time. I mean, some of the biggest assholes I knew growing up were Canadian!
It's always winter
I'm typing this sentence from Toronto, Ontario and yes, in the winter it can get really, really cold but that's only in the winter. It gets really hot in the summer, with temperatures nearing 40 degrees C!
I'll even add, for anyone who thinks that Canada is a frozen wasteland, let me tell you, Canada actually has a hot desert.
Yes, you read that right. There's a real hot, dry desert in B.C.'s Okanagan. Doesn't seem so cold now, does it?
Everyone loves Tim Hortons
Take it from someone who writes about Tim Hortons a lot, not everyone in Canada loves Tim Hortons!
While I do think a lot of Canadians have fond memories of the chain, now it seems like it's hard to bring up the Canadian classic without someone going off about how it sucks or how it isn't what it used to be before the branch was bought off.
Plus, when it comes to fast food, you can surely do much better.
We're all impervious to cold
Those viral videos of people in Ontario jumping into frozen lakes without batting an eye have created a perception that Canadians have a superhuman ability to withstand cold.
I'll be the first to say that, no, that's not true.
Matter of fact, if you put a Canadian from Vancouver in the middle of a Toronto winter, you'll hear more whining than a baby without a pacifier. I would know because that was me when I first moved to the city.
Everyone is used to seeing bears and moose
Canada is home to some of the most beautiful and vast forests in the world. There's no doubt that there are tons of amazing animals living within our borders.
However, seeing them on the regular is a whole other deal and, in my experience, is super uncommon.
Bigger wildlife typically stays out of cities and towns and seeing something like a moose or a grizzly is an incredibly rare thing for the average Canadian.
Unless, of course, they live in some of the more rural areas of the country.
Every sentence ends with "eh"
"Eh" is a common language particule in Canada. There is no denying that.
However, there's a perception that every Canadian says it at the end of every single sentence and I can tell you that is really not the case!
While it does tend to slip out, it's not a vocal punctuation that needs to be said.
Matter of fact, you will hardly ever hear about it in some parts of the country, such as Vancouver, where I went to school.
Everyone speaks fluent French and English
Canada is a bilingual country, but that bilingualism is really regionally specific. In some parts of the country, you'd be hard-pressed to find someone who speaks both official languages.
Where I grew up in B.C., basically no one spoke French and there are parts of the francophone province of Quebec where basically no one speaks English fluently.
Most bilingualism is in places with large populations of both French and English speakers, typically in parts of Ontario, Quebec and the only officially bilingual province of New Brunswick.
On the whole, a lot of Canadians are unfortunately monolingual.
Everyone knows everyone
In case you didn't know, Canada is the second-largest country in the world by sheer landmass. There is a whole lot of ground between major cities and even small towns!
So, believe it or not, Pete from Toronto probably does not know your friend Jill from Vancouver.
And Denise from Halifax has no way of knowing your cousin Larry from Calgary even exists!
Okay, fine, I might know your friend from college who lives in Winnipeg, but I swear that's just a coincidence!
We have poutine for every meal
Okay, this might be one some of us wish were true.
Poutine is fairly common across the country but not a lot of folks are eating it regularly and if they are, they're living a much better life than I am.
For most Canadians, poutine is more of a treat than a dietary staple. Granted, if you really wanted to you could eat it every day and you'd be living the dream. A very unhealthy dream.
We all play hockey
Not all Canadians play hockey! Okay, a lot of us have at one point played hockey but you won't see us on the ice every weekend.
Like every other country in the world, Canadians play a variety of sports both in the summer and the winter. Hockey fandom? Well, that's another question.
I can say that many Canadians are fanatics for watching hockey and that might be the case forever.
Everyone loves to smoke cannabis
One might expect Canada to be the worldwide centre for cannabis enthusiasts since it's legal here but, depending on the area, it's not common to see the streets full of weed smokers.
Actually, according to Statistics Canada, only about 16.7% of Canadians over the age of 15 use cannabis as of 2019.
While legalization did make accessing the "devil's lettuce" a bit easier, Canadians have not succumbed to reefer madness since.