Canada is an absolutely fascinating place and, to be perfectly honest, we think that's putting it lightly. From the standard stereotypes to the lesser known facts about the Great White North, there's so much to unpack when it comes to talking about a country that many people refer to as the best in the world. Of course, most of those people saying that are Canadians themselves, but still.
You don't even need to have visited the nation in order to get a grasp on just how bizarre it really is, and while some of you may feel like these twenty entries aren't all too interesting or relevant, we happen to think that they all make up the Canada that we know and love today. Well, the Canada that most of us know and love, but that USA folk choose to mock for reasons that we can't quite comprehend.
From the free healthcare to some of the many beautiful holiday destinations it's hard not to find the many positives that this country possesses, but you just know in your heart that people will continue to treat Canada as the irrelevant younger brother - especially if you're living in the States. That might be a mistake, though, considering Georges St-Pierre alone would mess you up big time.
The rich heritage of Canada is something we want to continue to honour, but at the same time, it's only fair that we look at this from both sides of the coin. Again, a lot of these selections might not seem that important, but at least we're all able to learn a little bit about those guys and girls up North.
20 Two Communities - A little bit of France in Canada?
It's ironic that Georges St-Pierre came into our mind during the introduction because he serves as a perfect example for our first entry: French Canadians. Most of the time when you hear someone talking in a French accent you'd assume they're from the country itself, but that isn't the case.
The Quebec region of the country is known for being home to mostly French-speaking individuals, and the accent comes alongside that. It's something of an anomaly that many folks can't actually wrap their head around - unless they take the time to do some research on the region specifically, that is.
19 Zazzy Money - We Love It
Being loud and proud is an attribute that all countries should strive for, and as you can see by the above side by side comparison, the Canadians have absolutely nailed it in more ways than one.
Sometimes it can be quite depressing parting with your money or just having to get money out in general, so why not liven things up with some colourful notes? This perfectly represents the spirit of Canada and while the likes of Barney Stinson may mock them (which isn't the last HIMYM reference in this piece), we're choosing to view it as being quite endearing.
18 Poutine Consumption - No Thank You
There are a lot of different delicacies that we can get on board with, mainly because we can never understand why people wouldn't want to expand their horizons in terms of both food and drink. One thing that we can't learn to appreciate, however, is poutine.
Poutine, as you can see above, takes the standard dish of chips and throws gravy and cheese curd on there to make for one of the more 'just go with it' combinations we've ever seen. The gravy isn't so bad, because as Brits we're used to such a meal, but the cheese curd just kind of ruins it for us.
17 The Apologies - Sorry for this entry
There are a few words that Canadians tend to repeat more so than pretty much any other country, and 'sorry' is one of them. They're so apologetic in every way imaginable, even when they're put into situations that weren't actually their own fault.
Some would argue that this is a great trait but it can also make them seem like pushovers, too, which isn't great when your neighbour is a big, brash bully (sorry guys, it's just true). We commend you for your kind words, Canada, but make sure you have a bit of an edge to your game too.
16 National Lacrosse Interest - Wait, What?
Speaking of game, we've arrived at Lacrosse. Now while the majority of folks will align the sport with the Americans, it's actually much more prominent up North - mainly because they consider it to be a national sport that they admire and respect.
It's quite hard-hitting, which is probably one of the reasons why they've adopted it so strongly, but on top of that, it just highlights how unique the Canadians are. In any other walk of life there are very similar sports that the locals would gravitate towards, but over there, Lacrosse is up there with the best of them.
15 Milk Bags - It’s Just Weird
We're going to take a deep breath here, because we're really struggling to wrap our heads around this one.
So, in most places around the world, the common practice is to put your milk in some kind of bottle or carton, or just outright buy it that way. In Canada they like to put their milk in bags, because of course they do.
There's probably a logistical reason for this that makes it all seem perfectly normal to them, but that isn't going to stop the rest of the planet from pointing their finger and saying "Huh? Explain this immediately".
14 Moose On The Road - Hello Stereotypes
Moose are pretty intimidating creatures if you view them up close, and even if you're quite far away they can be quite scary. So while they may be quite harmless nine times out of ten, it can be an intimidating experience to be greeted by one if you're driving down some random country road.
In Britain, we are often met by deer who spring out when they see a light, but meeting a moose is a different ball game altogether. If this kind of thing happens to you then we'd suggest you take a deep breath, think about your options, and question why some Canadians consider this to be normal.
13 Robin Sparkles - Let’s Go To The Mall
If you're a fan of How I Met Your Mother then you'll understand the reference, but if you aren't then the next few sentences are going to be quite confusing for you.
Robin Sparkles was one of the long-running gags on HIMYM that we all knew and loved, and she was a solid representation of the pros and cons of the Canadian culture. While she wasn't an actual superstar over there because she doesn't exist beyond the fiction of the show, we have no doubt that there are dozens upon dozens of failed teenage pop stars from there that didn't quite end up having the same success as Justin Bieber.
12 Swing Bus Stations - Phenomenal
This is just such a Canadian thing to do and we absolutely love it.
Bus stops are exceptionally boring, not only because the seats are usually uncomfortable but because they remind you that you have to take the bus in order to get to wherever it is you need to go.
So introducing swings into the equation, which is something that has happened around the country, is a really cool idea in our opinion. It lightens the mood of everyone, and allows you to get a snippet of exercise in before using public transport - although you could certainly argue that we're overestimating the term 'exercise' in this instance.
11 Canada's Thanksgiving - Always Unique
Around five or six weeks prior to the USA version of Thanksgiving, we have the Canadian edition. Obviously, the two holidays are celebrated for completely different reasons, but it can sometimes come as a shock to outsiders that the entirety of North America doesn't just lump them both together.
The traditions are slightly different, the days off work are obviously different, and we think that's a good thing. Sure, it can create some havoc if you're a Canadian working in America and your bosses don't understand that you have your own version of Thanksgiving, but a quick Google search should sort that out.
10 Forest Overload - 30% Full!
30% of Canada is covered by trees and forests, and that statistic is as remarkable as it is bizarre. There are dozens upon dozens of fascinating destinations to visit, and even if you came for two weeks or even a month, you probably wouldn't even be able to scratch the surface of it all.
That's a great trait for a country to have but it can also be quite intimidating. Given the nature of how the world is going there's a good chance this could all be destroyed within the next few decades, and it's up to all of us to do our best to ensure that doesn't happen.
9 Maple Syrup Obsession - Yum
We like maple syrup as much as the next guy, but come on now, Canada - you guys have it on literally everything. They even have the Toronto Maple Leafs competing in the National Hockey League, which should tell you all that you need to know.
Once you land at any given Canadian airport it's only logical to suggest that buying some maple syrup should be your first instinct, if only to see what all of the fuss is about. Then, when it comes to Christmas time, we'd suggest that you pour it on quite literally everything like Buddy the Elf.
8 Bathtub Racing - The Nanaimo Special
In Nanaimo, British Columbia, there's an annual tradition in which folks race their bathtubs along the river in one of the most unusual competitions you're ever likely to see. It should go without saying that we think this is absolutely amazing, but at the same time, unbelievably risky.
Still, we're confident that the correct safety precautions are being put in place at all times, and that's all you can really ask for. If you feel like going to check it out for yourself (and we highly suggest that you do), then we'd recommend keeping an open mind. You're much more likely to enjoy it that way!
7 Tim Hortons - Their Premier Coffee Joint
Tim Hortons is that place Canadians will always reference when they want to go out for food, and even if they're in the States, they'll continue to reference it as if it's one of the top chains over there. In reality, most Americans stop and think to themselves "what the hell is a Tim Hortons?".
It's a perfectly acceptable fast food restaurant and we'd even suggest that some of their options on the menu are downright delicious, but still. This isn't a universal thing and this could well be the first time that most of you are even finding out this chain exists.
6 Ogopogo Myth - Head To Okanagan Lake
Ogopogo is a lake monster supposedly located in Okanagan Lake over in British Columbia. Now while it may not be quite as notorious as the Loch Ness Monster it's certainly still relevant enough to warrant a great deal of media attention, with many folks travelling far and wide to try and catch a glimpse of it.
We aren't big believers in this kind of thing but it makes for a fun marketing tool, and it ensures that more and more people continue to visit the lake.
Perhaps that's what tourism boards are really missing here: big folklores for every single major attraction in order to draw lots of people in.
5 A Bizarre Structure - Piece By Piece
There's something so weird about the structure of Canada when you look at it on a map, and it's something that we feel the need to discuss. Nunavut, in particular, is so spread out that it's often hard to keep track of just how big the country is.
Every single province is completely different from the other, and in terms of how it's all laid out, it more closely resembles Russia than the United States in that places aren't quite as well populated.
With just 36 million citizens spread out across the entire nation, it's not exactly outrageous to suggest that there are places many of us haven't even heard of before.
4 Overly Nice - It’s True
We touched on this earlier but we just need to come right out and say it: Canadians are so unbelievably nice and we're not sure what to make of it. Part of us thinks that they're secretly plotting to take over the world, whereas another part of us just wonders how on Earth they can be that understanding 99% of the time.
The nature of their culture just seems to be so astonishingly different, because Americans are often criticized for being too rude. We aren't generalising all of them in one big lump because that would be wrong of us, but you can make your own judgements.
3 Ice Hockey Fascination - Go NHL, Or Something
The main four major American sports are ice hockey, basketball, football and baseball. While the Canadians engage in all four on some level, ice hockey is pretty much 'theirs' and it feels like even the Americans have come to accept that.
It's the national sport and pretty much every single Canadian on the face of the planet loves it, mainly because it showcases a completely different side of them. From the toothless warriors on the ice to the passionate fans, there's just something about it that really gets them going.
If you haven't watched a game over there, you're missing out.
2 Mounties - What A Uniform
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, also known as Mounties, do a fantastic job of protecting the great country of Canada. We mean that sincerely, especially given what we're about to say next.
Their uniforms are just the most extraordinary thing we've ever seen, and we're confident in saying that we aren't alone in that belief. Sure, it's not the most important thing in the world to pick up on, but it's hard not to notice it immediately as it's just so different from anything we've ever seen before.
With that being said, we wouldn't want to get on the wrong side of them.
1 ‘Eh?’ - The Sign Of A Canadian
'Eh' is the final common word that we're going to focus on in our crash course on Canadian history, because it's the word that helps most people to differentiate between a Canadian accent and an American accent. It's that tendency to add 'eh' onto the end of most sentences that serve as a giveaway, and it's also one of the reasons why many people love the accent so much.
It comes across as being quite warm most of the time, despite never being able to work out whether it's a greeting or a question.
We love a lot of things about Canada and for some weird reason this is one of them, but please don't take our word for this entry or any other - and instead, just go and experience it all for yourself.