Moving to a different country obviously means having to adjust to the different culture. Even similar countries like Canada and Australia vary quite considerably. Things we say or do, or our tastes, in general, are strange to them (as many Canadians have pointed out), and vice versa.
- A flat white coffee comes in one size. Order a latte instead. Canadian coffee sucks.
- Hot chips are “fries” (duh).
- Bread and milk taste weird.
- Main meals are called “Entrees” and entrees are called “Appetizers” on menus.
- Tax (GST and Provincial Sales Tax) are added on top of the listed price. So if a price tag says it is $10, that means $10 + tax.
- Although they officially use the metric system, most Canadians use pounds for a measurement of weight. You may want to learn the conversion rate so you don’t scare yourself looking at the scales.
- Be prepared to explain how Netball, AFL and Union or League work. They have no idea.
- If you say “ice hockey” they will most likely correct you to just “hockey,” as if there is only one variation of the sport.
- They celebrate Halloween and Thanksgiving. Depending on who you’re with, they go hard out with the dress up and the decor.
- Their GPA scale is 0-4. If you say “4s open doors” they will think you’re more studious than you are.
- Canadian students (at least at the University of Calgary) are VERY studious. Find the fun ones.
- If you drive, you can turn right on a red light after stopping in most provinces.
- If you don’t hold the door open for a person within 5 metres of you, then you are an asshole. To be safe hold it for anyone within 7 metres.
- Guys may get patted down walking into clubs.
- Recycle everything or you will feel like a bad person.
- They call a maple leaf the “Canadian leaf” or the “Canadian flag leaf”, because they are so proud. I get this whenever I show a Canadian my tattoo.
- As Canada is bilingual, most things, including road signs and packaging, are written in both English and French. If you go to Quebec (the French-speaking province), the people tend to live up to French stereotypes, not Canadian.
They live up to their stereotypes –
- They are polite and helpful, and they do say “eh” and “aboot” (but they don’t always think they do).
- Poutine (hot chips, gravy and cheese) is delicious if done correctly. Generally, you should avoid poutine in fast food restaurants.
- Maple syrup is a staple.
- Tim Horton’s (coffee shops) are everywhere and sacred. On a road trip, our van broke down in a Tim’s car park. Four nice Canadian men wearing flannelette shirts came over and helped fix our van. Our Canadian friend brought them Tim’s gift cards as a thank you. As the photo suggests, this was, and still is, my most Canadian experience.
- Ice hockey is big with most Canadians. It is also awesome. Go to a game or two.
Things most Canadians won’t understand:
- Words like “bottle-o,” “fortnight,” or just general slang.
- “Thongs” are flip-flops here (duh), but enjoy watching people’s faces when you tell them you’re wearing thongs. Especially old people.
- Why you like Vegemite (if you do) – which by the way, you can find at London Drugs (in Calgary anyway).
- That magpies are crazy, blood-thirsty, dangerous animals. Apparently they don’t swoop here but I haven’t been around in the Spring to verify this. If you flinch walking past a magpie there is a good chance they will laugh at you.
- Some occasions when you’re being sarcastic or insulting, especially if you use the word “mate” in there. They get the obvious stuff, just not the subtler ones.
Hope this helps.
As always, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org is you have specific questions.