How British should treat Canadians


Aug 11th, 2010, 04:46 PM
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How British should treat Canadians


Section on Canadian tourists from Visit Britain brochure “Delivering a first class welcome”


Social practices – not laws – govern many types of behaviour in Canada. Some traditions are well established and are politely but firmly enforced.

For example:

• Lining up, or queuing: People normally line up or queue according to the principle of ‘first-come, first-served.’ They will be angry if you push ahead in a line-up instead of waiting your turn. (Why is this considered a Canadian thing - does any nationality like people butting in!?)

• Not smoking in private homes: Most Canadians do not smoke.

• When you are in people’s homes, you should always ask their permission to smoke. However this may be different in Quebec.

• Being on time: You should always arrive on time. People who are often late may be fired from their jobs or suspended from school. Many Canadians will not wait more than 10-15 minutes for someone at a business meeting. For social events, it is expected that you will arrive within half an hour of the stated time.

• Respect for the environment: Canadians respect the natural environment and expect people to avoid littering.

• Bargaining: Bargaining for a better price is not common in Canada, but there are some exceptions. People who sell things privately may also bargain.

• Smart shopping: Stores compete on price with one another to attract customers. Note: the price marked on goods in stores does not include taxes, which add from 7-15% to the cost of an item, depending on the province.

• Shaking hands: It is customary that you always shake hands at a first-time meeting and always in business situations.

• First names: Canadians are always on a first name basis; especially in social situations and informal business environments.

• Not Americans: The Canadian visitor to Britain is not an American. (This is funny...duh, well, yes, a Canadian is NOT an American.)

• Many in Britain treat Canadians as Americans even though they are quite different from their American neighbours. Canadian may take offence if labeled as American. Canadians often identify themselves as Canadians by wearing a maple leaf pin, or a maple leaf on clothing, etc. (Or a maple leaf tattoo, a toque or mukluks)
Morningglory47 is offline  
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Aug 11th, 2010, 06:15 PM
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Well considering that many of Canadians going to the UK in 2012 will be participating in the Olypics in some form or another, it might be expected that you will see a maple leaf or two. But mukluks??? for the summer Olympics???? Just what kind of weather are they expecting???
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Aug 12th, 2010, 07:22 AM
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The most Canadian thing I find is that most Canadians take off their shoes as they enter someones house. This was originally a winter habit, but it has spread to an all year round custom. I like it
almcd is offline  
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Aug 12th, 2010, 07:27 AM
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Kiddin' about the mukluks ....

My recent trip to Gloucester and London, I was constantly assumed to be an American first - I reminded them that Canada is part of the Commonwealth and so person, when I said there is more than one country in North American guessed Mexican - he was at a loss when that was wrong although tried Ireland...obviously, geography wasn't his strong point.
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Aug 12th, 2010, 09:56 AM
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I think that this says much more about the British than about Canadians.
laverendrye is offline  
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Aug 12th, 2010, 03:38 PM
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That bit about lining up and not tolerating "butt-ins", reminded me of a moment overseas when I was at my most Canadian.

We were living in Italy and at Christmas time, I lined up FOREVER in the local post office in our small town. I was clutching my 5 kinds of mail, all requiring different stamps and all sorts of Italian bureaucratic intervention to get to their destinations.

I had been there for more than half an hour and was next in line, when the clerk let "Dottore" go in front of me.

In Italy, this is very common: Dottore may be an actual Doctor, or other Ph.D. or just a respected business person (or the clerk's cousin, for all I know). Maybe some Dottore are women, but I never witnessed that.

I got displaced in lines at butcher shops, farmacia and the stationers many times that year for Dottore: you just have to breathe deeply and remind yourself that this wouldn't be tolerated at home, but then you wouldn't be able to find fresh mozzarella there, either!
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Aug 15th, 2010, 11:32 AM
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I have had a couple of interesting experiences regarding identifying myself as Canadian.

The first was in New Zealand when a gentleman assumed I was American. When I identified myself as Canadian he dismissed me saying, "You're all the same, American or Canadian."

It was only when I said we are all same just like New Zealanders and Australians are all the same that he finally understood. He was most apologetic.

The second experience was with an American woman who immediately identified me as Canadian because of "the way you mispronounce the word 'out'". I simply smiled and resisted the temptation to reply, "I speak English. What kind of language do you speak?"

In both cases the people were well-intentioned and didn't mean to offend, so no offence was taken.

Regarding the advice about Canadians in the British brochure, well travelled people expect to find some cultural differences and practices - and that is OK. Part of the pleasure of travelling abroad is to experience these difference. I am a proud Canadian who does not take offence easily unless people are deliberately insulting. In that case, bad manners are bad manners regardless of which side of the ocean is home.
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Aug 15th, 2010, 07:42 PM
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Reminds me of an old joke:
How do you get 20 Canadians out of a pool?
O.K., guys time to get out of the pool.
leuk2 is offline  
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Aug 16th, 2010, 05:20 AM
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You are right, leuk2. We are nothing if not compliant.
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