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How to Piss Off a Canadian

Canada Humor
by Carlo Alcos Dec 2, 2011
No. I don’t know John from Toronto.

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…

Call us American.

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?

Make us say something again because you think it’s cute.

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.

Imply that Canada is the 51st state.

It’s not funny, so stop joking about it.

Ask us if we know “John from Toronto.”

Every Canadian you talk to can conjure up a memory of someone asking them this question. 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.

Tell us we say “eh” a lot.

Actually, that’s totally true. But you making a joke by adding “eh” to the end of your sentence, while simultaneously raising your eyebrows as in “right? get it?” is just lame. So stop it. Now. (Bonus: How do you spell Canada? “C eh N eh D eh”)

Steal our famous people.

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.

Ask us if we live in igloos.

No doubt about it, parts of Canada are damn cold. Like Nunavut 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?

Ask us if that’s near the French part.

I received this question a lot when I was in Australia. After telling someone I was from Vancouver, they’d ask this, 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.

Correct us about the nation’s capital.
Ottawa is the capital of Canada.

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.

Make a shitty pun about beavers.

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.

Call our great nation Canadia.

Don’t laugh, I’ve heard this. More than once.

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