Canadians might not be an easily offended bunch, but these 20+ things are guaranteed to rub us the wrong way. Here’s what tourists should Never do in Canada.
Don’t assume that Toronto is the capital city.
Just because the only two cities you know are Toronto and Montreal, and sometimes Calgary, that doesn’t mean one of them is our capital. Ottawa isn’t big and it definitely isn’t busy but she’s the capital.
Don’t order Canadian Bacon
I was born and raised in Canada; I have no idea what it is. If you were in Toronto and asked for Canadian Bacon, you would probably get something called Peameal Bacon.
Don’t comment on French-English relations
French-English relations are already tense enough between the Francophones and Anglophones of this country, we don’t need an outsiders opinion on how to “deal with them”.
Quebec sovereignty deals with a lot of touchy topics from cultural genocide to violent revolution. If you want to give the pot a good
Don’t say that we’re like Americans
This one goes out especially to our U.S. friends and is just a gentle reminder that though the overall impression of Canada is very much like that of the U.S., we are indeed a separate country that has its own laws, currency, languages, foods, climate, customs, and cell phone carriers.
Check out these uniquely Canadian things you have to see to beleive
Don’t forget, we use the metric system
When crossing the border, don’t forget to switch from MPH to km/h when driving. We often use Pounds, inches
Never say anything in a fake Canadian accent
As cute and quaint as it might sound, the “Canadian accent” sounds nothing at all like how actual Canadians speak. That’s not to say we don’t have our own unique way of speaking (looking at you, Newfoundland), it’s just that we’re a lot more Wayne Gretzky than Doug Mackenzie.
Don’t mock our money.
It doesn’t hurt our feelings so much as it’s just annoying. Yes, our currency is colourful. Yes, it’s different than yours. So is every other country on this planet. We don’t find it funny.
Rack Up Cell Phone Charges
If your phone plan doesn’t have international roaming, it will cost a pretty penny to visit.
Don’t comment on the fact that the British Queen is on all of our money
Although Canadians don’t generally express any particular loyalty or attachment to the British monarchy, the fact remains that the country is a constitutional monarchy, and the Queen is the official head of state.
Don’t underestimate the size of Canada
Don’t assume that you are going to be able to cover most of Canada during a short visit. It’s a huge country and getting from one city to the next involves travelling long distances. Many people don’t schedule enough time for their trip across Canada and find themselves rushing from one city to the next.
Almost ninety percent of Canada’s 9.985 million km² is uninhabitable. Most of its roughly 36 million people live in a very small area. This means that most of Canada
But that’s not to say that Canada is small. Canada is a gigantic country — but this also means Canada’s population is mostly very close to the US with ninety percent of Canadians living within 100 miles of the US border.
Just make sure you are prepared and plan accordingly.
Don’t criticize Tim Horton
You might be wondering, why is Tim Horton’s important to Canada? It’s just a coffee shop.
First of all, you’re wrong. It’s not JUST a coffee shop. It’s an institution. We go for a Timmies at least twice a day, double-double has entered the Oxford dictionary and is now used at coffee shops outside of Tim Hortons, and overall, is synonymous with patriotism. Even Canadians that hate Timmies coffee (if they even exist) know not to poke fun of Tim Hortons. There is a reason that you can find 25 stores in a town of 141,000 people and
Check out Tim Hortons: How a brand became part of our national identity if you don’t believe me.
Don’t forget to return an apology
I’ve said sorry for bumping into inanimate objects. You will hear people say “sorry” a lot, and you will be expected to turn the apology, whether it’s your fault or not.
Canadians love to say ‘sorry’ so much, we had to amend current laws to keep people out of trouble for it; we apology so much in our daily lives, that it was starting to backfire. The “Apology Act“, passed in 2009, is a direct result of Canada’s overuse of the word “sorry”. Stipulating that an apology of any kind “means an expression of sympathy or regret” and not “an admission of fault or liability in connection with the matter to which the words or actions relate.” Only in Canada would such a law be necessary.
Don’t only visit the cities
We have a lot of incredible cities to explore in Canada, but we also have a lot of towns. Our cities tend to be so far apart, that you probably will only get to visit a handful of them during any vacation. And since you will be crossing a few of these towns just to get from one city to another, why not spend the night and explore what they have to offer.
You would be surprised at the amount of history, architecture and pure beauty we are hiding in our small towns.
Don’t get onto public transport until everyone has exited first.
There are two doors for a reason! Get in at the front, get out at the back. And if this doesn’t work, wait until everyone is out before trying to get in.
We may be a friendly group of people but we aren’t pushovers. We will demand that you follow the rules, respect the personal space and time of others around you. We are socialists, remember.
Don’t say that you don’t like Poutine
No one that has ever tried a Poutine has ever disliked it. It’s Fries, Gravy and Cheese Curds and tastes like heaven.
Every once in a while, there will be a Poutine Fest in Ottawa, because that’s how awesome Poutine is; there are entire festivals around this food, and there are Chip trucks all along City Hall serving their variations of this amazing dish. There is no wrong way to eat poutine… unless you add ketchup and anything other than Cheese Curds because that’s nasty.
And no, Poutine is not gourmet food. Don’t try to fancy it up. It’s street food, it’s meant to look like street food, be served like street food, and cost as much as street food. If it’s listed as gourmet, it’s pretentious Hipster garbage stay away!
Here are more must-try Canadian foods.
Don’t say that the winter is too cold
We know it’s cold, we live here. You don’t need to remind us. Especially if you come from somewhere warm like Florida or Mexico. You get to go home after your vacation. T
Don’t Misjudge Weather Conditions
Speaking of weather, when we say it’s cold and watch the roads, we aren’t kidding. Even then, we are used to it and often forget to warn non-Canadians of the road weather conditions. Be safe, drive carefully and don’t be in a rush to get anywhere.
Same goes for winter packing. The three words that you need to remember when packing for a trip to Canada are layers, layers, layers. It’s not uncommon for a Canadian city to experience -20C, or even -30C in January/February. With the windchill factor, it feels even colder. Bring a warm woolen hat (Canadians call it a toque), gloves and a scarf.
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance!
Travel insurance is always a good idea when you travel, but especially in Canada. If you are not a Canadian citizen but you hurt yourself or become ill when travelling in Canada, it will cost you a lot of money.
This is the problem with calling our health care “free”. It isn’t free. Citizens pay it on their income tax and through sales tax. We have invested in the system and in turn, we get treatment. Non-citizens do not have that luxury, hence the need for travel insurance.
Don’t be surprised when we say “eh”
We say “eh” a lot, depending on where we are from. Some say it more than others, and some don’t say it at all. Either way, don’t make a big deal about it.
The best way to stand out as a tourist, is to poke fun of local people when they do something that comes natural to them, that you have decided is a stereotype.
Don’t bring Kinder surprise across the border
For some strange reason, USA has decided that the toys inside a Kinder egg poss a chocking hazard for their children. It is illegal to bring them back into the states.
Don’t bring a book that was printed before 1985 either
A ban on children’s books printed before 1985 remains in effect in the US. The ban was implemented out of fear that the ink used to print these books contained traces of lead, which when ingested could cause major health problems.
We have a ton of used book stores and since we don’t have such bans, you will probably fine a good number of rarities printed pre-1985.
Don’t Get Dinged With Unnecessary Banking Costs
Just as we get charged foreign transaction fees when visiting outside of Canada, you too will be charged by your bank when accessing money from this side of the border.
Use Canadian cash, get a Credit Card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, or use debit.
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