The USA and Canada are two very different places, but there is one thing that they are probably deal equal in: the amount of stereotypes that are held by those with an outside perspective. Just like every other country, there are certain beliefs that are held by those that live elsewhere, both true and false in accuracy. After all, every country has its stereotypes, both good and bad.
Whether it’s something as ridiculous as Canadians living in igloos or as accurate as the USA deep-frying anything and everything they can think of, there are enough stereotypes to go around for both countries. Canadians and their hockey. The USA and their football. Maple syrup loving, poutine enthusiast Canucks and McDonald's on every corner in the states. The apparently frequent celebrity sightings in America and the polar bear sightings in Canada.
Travelling overseas makes you realise how many of these stereotypes people actually believe are true, like the fact that people actually think that Canadians ski down the street to get to work. You have to laugh at it though.
If you are someone living outside of either Canada or the USA, you have probably thought about one or two of the following stereotypes. While some are completely true, there are many that are insanely inaccurate.
25 Canada: Everyone lives in igloos
When you think of Canada, you probably think of everyone living in the Arctic, huddling around fires and ice fishing in huts. Along with that, you probably think we all live in igloos year round.
While there still are some First Nations people in Canada using igloos for recreational use and speciality accommodation where you can stay in one for a night, using them for housing definitely isn’t the norm and hasn’t been for centuries. You’d be surprised how many people think so, though.
24 Canada: Maple syrup is a major food group
To be honest, this stereotype isn’t that far from the truth. Canadians love their maple syrup and will use any excuse to whip it out of the cupboard for a Sunday brunch (or any day of the week really). I mean, what’s better than pouring pure sugar on your pancakes first thing in the morning?
You will never go to a Canadian household for breakfast without there being 100% pure maple syrup on the table. And if you do, leave immediately.
23 Canada: Everyone has polar bears and beavers as pets
While this one sounds ridiculous, some people actually believe this to be true. Or at the very least, believe that these animals are strolling down the street on the daily. The truth is, polar bears can only be found in the far north of Canada, near Alaska.
Beavers on the other hand are much more common, and you can probably spot one swimming in a lake or building a dam, but they are definitely NOT pets. We wish they were though.
22 Canada: Winter is the only season
Don’t get me wrong, Canada experiences some pretty brutal winters, with temperatures dropping to negative 40 degrees Celsius and lasting close to eight months out of the year (depending what area you live in). However, the summers bring sunny, humid weather that reaches well above 30 degrees.
We are a country of extremes, with it not being uncommon to experience a few seasons in a day. Since our winters are so long, the summer is where the whole country comes alive and sits on a patio until it snows again.
21 Canada: Skiing is the main form of transportation
Unless you work on a ski field, unfortunately the main mode of transportation to work is the same as the rest of the world (I know, how boring). Bumper to bumper traffic, trains, buses…you name it. However, it’s not a horrible idea to cross country ski around town when the snow gets too deep to walk through.
I’m sure some Canucks have adopted this practice, but the rest of the country still needs time to catch up. Until then, you can catch us at the ski hills every weekend of the winter.
20 Canada: …As well as dog sleds
Another thing we all wish were true, dog sledding is more of a recreational activity in Canada rather than the norm of transportation. It’s probably somewhat of a thing in the far north where there is snow essentially year round, but not the case for more southern provinces.
The good news is, you can dog sled in a ton of different places across the country, where you can get the chance to witness these amazing dogs at work whilst admiring the frosty views. It’s definitely a once and a lifetime experience that everyone should make an effort to do.
19 Canada: Everyone ice skates down the road
There have been a few times where the roads have become so frozen with ice during winter that people have actually grabbed their skates and skated down the street. This definitely isn’t a common occurrence though, since the ice has to be pretty thick in order to be skate-able. Wouldn’t that be handy though? Instead of trying to bike ride to work in the dead of winter at 7am, you could simply skate all the way to your office. No problemo.
18 Canada: It's ‘a-boot’, not ‘about’
I have never in my lifetime as a Canuck heard anyone utter the name ‘a-boot’ unless they were making fun of the stereotype that people seem to think we have. While there may be a slight difference in pronunciation of the word ‘about’, people in Canada definitely don’t go around saying it as drastically different as ‘a-boot’.
While those just south of the border will say otherwise, this stereotype is slightly exaggerated in my opinion.
17 Canada: Poutine is life
Well, you’re not wrong. Poutine is and always will be the greatest thing that Canada has ever brought into this world. Fries, gravy, and those darn cheese curds getcha every time. It’s true that people in Canada love their poutine, whether it’s for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a late night snack after a night out with friends. And it doesn’t just stop at gravy and cheese—the choices of toppings are endless and you can’t really go wrong by putting a bunch of toppings on a plate of fries.
16 Canada: The word ‘sorry’ is used a ridiculous amount
While we are a big country with a lot of not so nice people, generally Canadians tend to be a nicer bunch who won’t hesitate to apologise for anything that goes wrong, even if it wasn’t their fault. Canadians have even been known to apologise to inanimate objects because they bumped into them.
While we’re not all angels sent from above, we do seem to apologise a heck of a lot whether we need to or not. It’s definitely not the worst stereotype to have.
15 Canada: We love the cold weather
We may have to deal with winter weather for a majority of the year, but that doesn’t mean we like it one bit. Most of us actually despise it—why do you think they invented spring break on this side of the world? In all seriousness, winter is only enjoyable if you live beside a ski hill in Whistler or live in a log cabin in the middle of a lush forest, otherwise it’s as miserable as you think it is.
Unless you're one of those weird people who still jogs in the negative temperatures-- that's just another breed of human.
14 Canada: Everyone lives in Quebec and speaks fluent French
Every time I am travelling overseas and someone hears I’m from Canada I get the exact same question: “So, do you speak French?”. It’s always followed by the answer of “only a little bit”, even though that’s a complete lie and I can only say ‘bonjour’ and ‘merci’ like the rest of the world.
It’s true that most people from Canada know at least a small amount of French, since we all have to learn it from a young age. However, the only fluent speaking province is Quebec.
13 Canada: Hockey is the one and only sport
It’s true that there is no better time of year then when the hockey season starts and Saturday nights in Canada begin to revolve around the game. It’s pretty cool to see everyone come together for the love of the game and the love of our country. And heck, if you know anything about people from Canada, it’s that they are patriotic as ever.
But hey, we love to watch and play a ton of other sports like football and soccer—we just get extra excited about hockey.
12 USA: Everyone has a lot of money
From an outsider's perspective, most individuals from the U.S. seem to be in an over-the-top economic position. As in, everyone has multiple cars and 3 holiday homes. However, despite the country’s powerful global economic standing, the wealth in the country is vastly different between individuals. True, there are a lot of people who are wealthy, but also a lot of people struggling to make ends meet—just like every other country.
It’s not always what you see in the movies, with rich, privileged kids running around New York City like on Gossip Girl.
11 USA: red, white and blue everywhere we look
It is extremely rare to meet an individual from the U.S. who isn’t insanely patriotic and proud to live where they do. Visitors to the country are often surprised by the amount of red, white, and blue flags waving from homes, schools, big office buildings, and pretty much anywhere else they can show it off. Anyone from America will let you know how great their country is, with the fourth of July being a national holiday that is taken as seriously as Christmas Day.
10 USA: Everything is deep-fried
To be honest, this isn’t such a bad stereotype to have. It’s true that those south of the border love food, and tend to get pretty creative when it comes to preparing it, which includes deep frying anything they can get their hands on. I mean, who ever thought about deep frying a Mars bar? Probably someone from America.
From deep-fried, triple-stacked burgers to deep-fried turkeys for Thanksgiving dinner, there is no such thing as something that can’t be deep-fried.
9 USA: There are celebrities around every corner
It’s no secret that a lot of the famous Actors and Performers that we all love to watch on the big screen are from the U.S. And while many believe that no matter what state you are in you will see them all walking down the street or grabbing a coffee next to you, that probably isn’t the case.
Unless you are strolling down the streets of Los Angeles or Manhattan, chances are you may not have too many celebrity sightings. It’s hard enough to spot any in places like LA, let alone a small town in Texas.
8 USA: Everything is super-sized
You don’t have to go to McDonalds to get a super-sized meal. In fact, you don’t even have to ask for an upgrade for one. The food portions in the country are generally a lot more generous than a lot of other countries, with a size ‘large’ in one country probably being close to a small in the U.S. This obviously isn’t the case for every food chain, but is pretty accurate in a general sense. A restaurant probably won’t have little portions unless you are at a 5-star establishment.
7 USA: And not to mention the options are limitless
Who doesn’t love options? Well, if you visit the U.S. you’re in for a treat. You will be welcomed with menus at restaurants that are massively long with everything you could possibly think of to order. This is especially true at fast food restaurants and old-school diners, where there is no shortage of burger options or choices of side for said burger.
It’s pretty much paradise for any food lover, because you will always be able to satisfy your craving.
6 USA: NYC and Los Angeles are the only places to visit
When you think of America, you either think of the bright lights and tall buildings of NYC or the tall palm trees and Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles. Believe it or not, these are not the only places worth visiting in the country (wait…what?), with a whopping 48 other states to explore.
These cities are generally the most touristy spots in the country due to the glitz and glam, however there is so much more that lies between the two coasts.