WE WERE UNDER attack. Us Canadians that is. Someone on the team (not to mention any names, Joshua Johnson from Seattle) had sullied the good name of poutine — a French Canadian institution consisting of fries, cheese curds, and gravy — in a work group email. He referred to it as a “sacrilegious slop of slathering savages” and said that it is “the saddest thing ever to befall french fries.” It was on. Oh yes, it was on.
“I do believe you just made a new enemy” was rebuffed with “Bring it, I don’t fear your ungodly chimera of cheese curds and gravy…I know it gets cold and lonely up there, but there is no excuse for poutine!” Tensions mounted in the email thread. I thought to myself, wow, so that’s how to piss off a Canadian. Of course, there are many other ways too (which this Molson Canadian commercial alludes to). But wait, Canadians don’t get pissed off, do they? Grrr…
The case of mistaken identity
When I lived in Melbourne my job was to fix people’s computer problems over the phone. I was constantly mistaken for an American. “Oh, where in America are you from?” Sometimes I’d respond, “the Canadian part.” Sad thing is, I’m not sure if they picked up on my sarcasm. You wonder why some Canadian travelers sew a flag on their packs?
Say it again!
I’ve always maintained that Canadians do not, despite the popular perception, pronounce it “a-boot.” Sorry, we just don’t. I am willing to concede, however, that there is a distinctly Canadian way of saying this word. I had to come to terms with that when I realized that many people were picking me out as Canadian because of the way I say “about.” So, OK, you got us there. But what is annoying is when people ask us to repeat words because they think it’s “funny” or “cute.” My roommate would always get, “tell us again what sport you play?” When she’d reply “hockey” (instead of “hackey” I presume) they would laugh.
Canada is not the 51st state
So stop joking about it.
My sister’s husband’s best friend knows John from Toronto
“Do you know him?” Every Canadian you talk to can tell you a similar story. Yes, for such a large country (it is, after all, the second largest in the world) we have a relatively small population: our population density is 3.8 per square kilometer (and no, I’m not going to convert that to miles for you, sorry); compare this to India, which is 368 per square kilometer. So, comparatively speaking, maybe there is a much better chance that I will know John from Toronto. But still, it’s a ridiculous question, and if you’ve ever asked a Canadian that, you should be ashamed of yourself.
You say “eh” a lot
Actually, that’s totally true.
He/she is Canadian dammit! Not American
Having such a small population (approx. 33 million) also means having a smaller talent pool than many countries. So when someone mistakenly (or purposely?) claims a famous Canadian, we can get rather defensive about it. Jim Carey, Michael J. Fox, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Mike Myers, William Shatner, Neil Young. All Canadians.
Sidenote: claim Nickelback, Celine Dion, and Justin Bieber all you want.
It’s so cold there
No doubt about it, parts of Canada are damn cold. Like Nunavit and the Yukon. And Saskatchewan. But the vast majority of Canadians, around 75%, live within 160 kms of the US border. Like my friend on Facebook said, it’s “as if the border is a fridge door.” The average January low for Toronto is -7 Celsius. The average January low for Chicago is -8.8 Celsius. I wonder how many Chicagoans are living in igloos?
Is that near the “French part”?
I also received this question a lot when I was in Australia. After telling someone I was from Vancouver, they’d ask this question, like it was the only thing they knew about Canada, that there’s a “French part.” Bless your kind heart for knowing that much at least but, no, Vancouver is nowhere near the French part.
Staff writer, Anne Merritt, gets annoyed when her hometown of Ottawa isn’t getting the props it deserves as Canada’s capital. Even when she assures people that yes, Ottawa is the capital, she still gets, “Really? I’m pretty sure it’s Toronto/Vancouver/Montreal.” Anne’s not mistaken, folks. Ottawa is the capital of Canada.
Yeah, we get it. We get the beaver pun. Very funny.
Anne is also grated when drunk men start tossing out jokes about our national animal, the beaver. Crass jokes about it are one thing, but bad crass jokes are a whole different ball game.
- So…(giggle)…do you like…beavers?
- My buddy Kyle went to Canada once…he said the beavers were amazing (chuckle chuckle)
If you’re going to harass Canadian women with beaver jokes, do yourself a favour and at least be clever.
It’s Ca-na-da. Not Canadia.
Don’t laugh, I’ve heard this. More than once.
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Carlo is a Managing Editor at Matador and co-founder of Confronting Love. He blogs about travel, life, and creativity at Vagabonderz.com. Like him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter. He lives in Nelson, British Columbia.