O Canada! It’s a land of snow and sleet, where sunshine only breaks through on days when Justin Bieber plays a concert.
Well … not exactly.
Canadians are well-used to hearing what other countries believe to be true about our citizens, and while we’re happy to take the good (why yes, we are that polite!), we’ve had just enough of the plain old incorrect. So now, if you don’t mind, here are some serious untruths about Canada we’ve been hearing for far too long.
We Live In Perpetual Winter
You don’t really believe that, do you? Despite the horrific ice storms and the snowstorms in September, we have a wide range of weather across the country. Heck, on the day of that snowstorm in Calgary, it was 20°C (that’s 68°F) in Vancouver, a mere 971 kilometres away.
We All Know John From Toronto
Our country may be small, but it’s not that small. In fact, geographically speaking,we’re pretty massive. Population-wise we are definitely more sparse than other nations, but our biggest cities have many hundreds of thousands of people in them— just like yours.
We’re Saying ‘Aboot’
Let’s put this to rest once and for all. The way in which Canadians say “about” comes from our British ancestors, and it’s actually way closer to “aboat” than “aboot.” According to an interview with linguist Charles Boberg in the Ottawa Citizen, this sound is known as “Canadian raising,” and happens when the “ou” comes before sounds that have no vocal cord vibration (or “voiceless” sounds), like “t” in out.
We’re All Socialists — Or Even Democrats
While we may be more left-leaning in general than our neighbours to the south, Canada is a far cry from an egalitarian, capitalist-hating society, as evidenced by our Prime Minister for the last eight years. We might have gay marriage and universal health care, but on a way less impressive note, we also have wealth inequality that rivals other countries.
Our Health Care Is Totally Free
True, most things relating to medical doctors are covered by our universal health care (like check-ups, operations and the like). But there is plenty that isn’t covered, like dentistry, medication and alternative medicine (so chiropractors, acupuncture and naturopathy visits come from out of pocket).
Weed Is Basically Legal
Sure, well-known pothead Seth Rogen might come from Canada, and for years, we may have been known as a place with lax laws on marijuana, but that isn’t legally the case at all. The current government in power is strongly opposed to decriminalizing or legalizing marijuana, and even laws regarding medicinal weed can be counterintuitive. Of course, that isn’t always reflected in the population — Canada’s minors smoke more pot than any other country in the world.
If you’re visiting anywhere west (or generally, east) of Quebec in Canada, you really don’t need to worry about boning up on your high school French. While the country is technically bilingual, most people speak English as their first language outside of that province. Canadians come from all over, and it’s estimated that approximately 200 languages are spoken in the country. In fact, according to the most recent census statistics, it might be more useful to speak Punjabi in many of Canada’s major cities.
We Were All Born With Skates On
While it’s true that more than half of all the players in the NHL are Canadian, we didn’t all spend our childhoods shivering in hockey arenas. First of all, hockey is an expensive sport to get in on, and as we’ve mentioned, we’re not all rolling in cash. Secondly, there are plenty of other ways to entertain yourself outside in the winter — curling, anyone? (No, seriously, we love curling.)
We Love Justin Bieber/Barenaked Ladies/Celine Dion/Rush
If you don’t particularly enjoy any of these artists, imagine how we feel: thanks to something called the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, radio and TV stations must play a certain percentage of content created by Canadians. So you know what that means? If Alanis has a hit, You. Hear. It. Every. Hour.