Things I’ve learned about Canada since I married a Canadian….

Two and a half years ago I married a Canadian. Sounds like an introduction made at a twelve step meeting, doesn’t it? I’d visited Canada on several occasions, even had Canadian friends. However, in the past 30 months I’ve had a crash course in all things Canadian and discovered there is some truth to the stereotypes, but there are also some very unexpected things. Here are a few highlights of what I’ve learned….so far:

  • Canadians really do say “eh” at the end of sentences, making the statements sound like questions. For example, “We’ve really had a lot of rain this spring, eh?” (Which illustrates a second thing I’ve learned, Canadians talk about the weather…..frequently!)
  • Where America has Monday Night Football and Sunday Night Football and even Football Night in America, there is really only one show that compares in Canada. You guessed it…..Hockey Night in Canada. There’s even a theme song that is sung by everyone attending a hockey game. I kid you not, the lyrics start out “The good old hockey game, it’s the best game you can name.” (I couldn’t make that up.)
  • Unlike America where football is primarily contained within about 6-7 months of the year, it doesn’t matter what season of the year it is, EVERY night is hockey night in Canada. Plus, at least once a week, year-round, there is a Sports Section page one story on something pertaining to hockey…..year-round! Never underestimate the importance of hockey in Canada.
  • Americans can learn something from Canadians when it comes to respecting the culture and beliefs of others. (Technically speaking, I already knew this was true. I’ve just seen more first-hand evidence to support this over the last two years.)
  • Canada supplies more oil to the United States than any other country in the world, contrary to popular American attitudes regarding Saudi Arabia and the Middle East.
  • Canadians have a love affair with choral music. Every area of the country is represented by multiple, highly talented choirs and choral groups. There’s even a weekly radio broadcast every Sunday on CBC2 that’s solely devoted to choral music! Fantastic!!
  • Canadians believe poutine is gourmet food (for the uninitiated, poutine consists of fries topped with cheese curds and covered in gravy….seriously). OK, gourmet may be stretching it…..but there are restaurants serving truffle poutine, breakfast poutine, smoked meat poutine, and the list goes on. They’re very proud of poutine.
  • At least once a week Canadian families sit down to a meal of Kraft Dinner. In the States it’s known as Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Urban legend has it that it’s the only meal Wayne Gretzky knows how to make without assistance. (The fact that urban legends have developed around Wayne Gretzky just proves that, with apologies to Jackie Gleason, in Canada Gretzky will always be “the Great One” given his prowess in hockey. Notice how everything comes back to hockey?)
  • There are more raccoons living in the city of Toronto than there are people! I’m not sure what this means. However, watching one rummaging through the garbage bin at a commuter train station to get the McDonald’s castoffs left both Tim and I doubled over laughing.
  • For the most part being part of a curling team is really just an excuse to socialize with your friends. That doesn’t mean, however, that Canadians aren’t serious about supporting their curling teams, particularly when Olympic gold is on the line.
  • Parliamentary politics are just as entertaining as the two-party American kind.
  • Most mail carriers in Canada are women. Apparently this developed during WWII when so many men were away fighting.
  • Canadians will say “I’m sorry” even if YOU bumped into THEM.
  • Where Americans prioritize “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” Canadians value “peace, order and good government”……which probably explains some of the differences in culture between the two countries, and why Canadians are universally described as “very nice people.”