I am Canadian (part 2)
People always had comments or questions when they found out I was from Canada. It was amazing to see firsthand what the rest of the world thought about us.
From a person who'd never met a Canadian before: "So you're from Canada huh?! That's cool. I like Canadians."
A fellow teacher: "I've always wanted to visit Canada. We're thinking of going for a few days next year on our way to New York. Maybe visit Toronto and Vancouver for a weekend then drive down to the States."
A student: "Miss! Your country looks like a giant forest!"
A stranger in a bar: "Right. So you're Canadian. That means you love ice hockey right? The Maple Leafs right?"
Another acquaintance: "You're from Canada, huh? Do you guys really say "eh" all the time?"
(Interestingly, I find myself saying "eh" a lot more when outside of the country.)
When I was in high school, I took great pleasure in perpetuating many of the classic Canadian stereotypes with my friends. On the way to NYC in grade 11, we stopped at a McDonald's in upstate New York and upon hearing a cashier joke about the place being lousy with Canadians (not meanly, just teasingly), we started saying things like "Hey! This place has indoor outhouses EH!" Or "I would like a POP please".
As the bus pulled away from the restaurant (as she cringes at calling McDonald's a "restaurant"), we started joking around about all of the Canadianisms out there, especially ones we'd heard from Americans. These are all real comments, mostly coming from Americans we'd met in Florida during holidays to Disney World:
Any Canadians north of Toronto live in igloos.
We all know how to ice skate and are proficient snow-shoers.
We all love hockey and cheer for the Maple Leafs.
We all love maple syrup on our ham.
We have "weird" bacon. (FYI: Canadian bacon, or back bacon, is called "country ham" in North Carolina)
We're all extremely friendly and polite.
We wear plaid all the time, and all have giant pairs of snow-boots.
We all know each other. ("Hey, you're from Canada?! Do you know Joe Smith from Toronto?")
We all speak French (this is actually a common misconception from many countries)
As soon as you're north of the border, it's winter ALL THE TIME.
We have the best beer in the world. (While it could be argued that other countries have been tasting beer, not one Canadian in the world will admit it. We have an entire series of commercials dedicated to how awesome our beer is.)
When it comes to well-known Canadians, people will most often comment on our hockey heroes, but a few knowledgeable folk realize that many celebrities come from north of the border. Here are just a few:
Kim Cattrall (although we share her with England)
Tom Green (yep, we're very proud)
And then there's this guy:
But no matter what crazy things people have said to me about our country, the overwhelming majority of them had great respect for our people and land.
One of my all-time favourite quotes about Canada comes from That 70's Show:
"I just wish there was someplace in the world where prejudice didn't exist"
"Well that's Canada.Yep, Good old Canada. They don't make generalizations about people cause they're too busy playing hockey or getting drunk or putting maple syrup on their ham".
No doot aboot it!