Canadian culture

May 22nd, 2002, 06:03 PM
Posts: n/a
Canadian culture

This is a question taken from the Thorn Tree website. I'm posting the questions here because I'm curious what the readers would suggest as attracts a different kind of travelling crowd than the Thorn Tree board does.


There's one girl who's from the central USA and is visiting friends in Seattle. She wants to go to Canada as she's never been there, and wants to experience the "Canadian culture" - but wants to feel like she's in a different culture as soon as she crosses the border (kind of like flying into China and getting off the plane). She also explained how she wanted to try "Canadian" food, but wasn't even sure what it was, because she's assuming it's a unique style of cuisine (ie: Let's go for Italian food, let's go for Chinese... but you never hear, let's go for Canadian food!). People explained the food/culture issue and how it's not so much the food/customs that are different, but the way of live, the way people think, and the government that's different...

Anyhow, she's now wanting to go to an "educational small town" within a days' drive of Seattle to try poutine, and emerge herself in Canadian culture. People then let her know that poutine isn't from BC, but from Quebec... but suggested a bunch of small towns to check out. It'll probably be her only time in Canada.

I personally don't think she'll find what she's looking for... but made a few suggestions to check out the website in the cities/towns section. In all reality, it would be a shame for her to head into BC and miss out on the Museum of Anthropology at UBC, or miss the city of Vancouver all together...

So I'm curious what the people would suggest. Post away and I'll send the messages her way.
May 22nd, 2002, 07:09 PM
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You can get poutine at any outlet of New York Fries.
May 22nd, 2002, 07:34 PM
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Poor Canuk, are you in Calgary?

Maybe the US girl can come help me cover my tomato plants 'cause it might snow tonight. That's a Canadian thing to do!
May 22nd, 2002, 08:11 PM
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Canada is a huge, diverse country and your friend will need to stay for more than a few hours to get a taste of our culture. We are most definately NOT American but the differences are subtle. "small town" does not exactly represent Canadian Living because believe it or not the majority of Canadians live in or close to large Cities (Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal...etc) For a short trip I would suggest your friend go to Vancouver and perhaps Victoria. Maybe go on Canada Day (July 1).
May 23rd, 2002, 02:22 PM
Brian Kilgore
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I'm in the middle of organizing a multi-cultural festival with 22 different cultures, (Caravan, in Toronto, for those curious) and that pretty much sums up a great deal of Canada. all kinds of people mixed together.

Her first "Canadianism" will be the French and English signs and services at the border, although British Columbia is as un-French as Canada gets.

Poutine is from Quebec, and is sort of the Canadian version of sausage gravy; lots of people love it, but to more people, it's just disgusting, and comes from somewhere else.

"Canadian" food, other than when we eat Italian or Chinese or Greek, or ... probably (but open to discussion) focuses back on British food, only gooded better.

To me, (Toronto - Moncton) a list of Canadian food includes roast beef, big steaks, boiled or steamed lobster but not the fancy lobster treatments, and pan-fried fresh-caught fish. In the maritimes, goosetongue greens with boiled pork, but you never see this in the rest of Canada.

Fiddleheads are pretty Canadian, but I wonder how common in the west.

Apple pie, but ours is pretty much like New England / New York apple pie.

Canadians drink a lot more rum than Americans; Americans drink more bourbon than Canadians. We drink Rye whiskey more than Americans do.

Canadians hate lineups, compared to Americans. That's one of the reasons several US-based stand-in-line restaurants (Sizzler, Ponderosa, Koo-Koo-A-Roo) died in Canada. (I used to be in the busihness.)

Away from food; she'll see metric measuresments for many thngs, but a Canadian should take her aside and explain that how metric you are depends on how old you are. Hardly any grownup knows how metric-tall they are, but almost all know that 30 degrees is really hot, and most know how fast 100 kph is. Few adults know how long to cook a kilogram of meat, though.

We're getting the hang of gas in liters, though, and drink pop (someone will have to explain this) from two liter bottles. The pop explainer might explain what "soda" means, too.

My idea of a great Canada Day meal would be a couple of boiled or steamed lobsters, and a big chunk of two-inch sirloin (yes, I can figure out this is 5 centimeters, but I won't), with a Canadian beer (Labatt's 50 or some Sleeman's brand before) and, because it is Canada Day, a Niagara red wine. And apple pie.

If she's really observant, she'll notice that Canada is one step down in cars. Teh Accord is the top seller int he USA. Up here, it's the Civic. Same, more or less, across many popular car brands.

Someone needs to take her to Tim Horton's and Swiss Chalet. McD and Wendy's and BK are all the same both sides of the border. Maybe, in fact, the quarter chicken dinner at Swiss Chalet is the typical Canadian meal.

If she gets into small town AAlberta or Saskatchewan, she'll see hamburgers cut in half, but that's not national.

Banks, and Mounties, are pretty much national and Canadian, and different from the USA.

Regardless, it's always a pleasure to learn of an American who wants to learn about Canada. Welcome.


May 24th, 2002, 04:42 AM
Posts: n/a
Wicked job Brian,

Canadian Culture depends most deffinatly on where in the country you are. I am from New Brunswick (And love my fiddleheads!!!), when I visited Vancouver I felt like I was from another country. Apparently my accent was very amuzing.

A few national things, a Z is zed not zee!! We do not all say eh, and no, not all of us enjoy hockey. I personally only watch during the playoffs.

Poutine is also enjoyed in NB, where there is a lot of french. The acadian poutine consists of potatoes with meat in the middle, not fries gravy and cheese.

If you are in the Maritimes, our culture is to go to a pub, listen to maritime music, while drinking. our beer is Alpine, Kieths, and Moosehead.
May 25th, 2002, 08:04 PM
Jim Rosenberg
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Nice work, there Brian and all. One cultural icon I would add for consideration: Canadian Tire dollars!
May 28th, 2002, 04:52 AM
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Great answer Brian!!!
As well as Swiss Chalet and Tim Horton's and metric signs..... and everything else..I can only add one more Canadian thing...
Buttertarts!!! Try a buttertart..
May 28th, 2002, 09:43 AM
g mitchell
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Swiss Chalet and Tim Hortons are not big in the west and everyone is forgetting Nanaimo Bars.

If the lady from the US wants "Canadian " food have her try the Hawius Feast House on top of Grouse Mt. or Liliget Feast House. Both are First Nations cusine - how more Canadian can you get ?

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