If you are ever taking a trip to our friendly neighbors up north, you might notice a lot of differences between Canada and the United States. While we all might make jokes about Canadians saying "eh" after every sentence or their particular catchphrases and accent, there are a plethora of things about the country that would surprise many.
Even though Canada and the U.S. share the same continent there are plenty of things that would surprise them about Canada. From their real maple syrup that anyone would love to get their hands on, to their invention of delicious poutine that we can't get enough of and finding out that bagged milk is a thing in many grocery stores, Canada is filled with wonders that show Canadians have their own thing going on.
But besides the difference in food between Canada and the U.S., you'll see differences in the two countries education, lifestyle, entertainment, and even people. There is a stereotype that Canadians are easy going and friendly, and believe it or not, it's actually true. So if you are ever visiting Canada, make sure you take the time to notice some major things about the country that may surprise you, and maybe even persuade you to bring some of Canada's delicious maple syrup back home to your friends and family.
20 Bagged Milk Is A Thing
Yes, you can buy a bag filled with milk in Canada. While the thought of pouring milk out of a bag might sound like it'll become a complete mess, the bags are placed in a pitcher container and the corner is cut off at an angle for easy pouring. If you're ever in Ontario, Quebec, or parts of Eastern Canada, you'll likely see these milk bags in grocery stores. Americans might find it a little strange, but milked bags aren’t only found in Canada. These bags of milk can be found in other countries such as Argentina, Uruguay, China, Hungary, and in South Africa.
19 They Have Real Maple Syrup You'll Love
Canada produces 80 percent of the world's maple syrup and you can find it in just about every grocery store in the country. The people of Canada love their syrup so much, they named the maple tree it's national tree. The maple leaf has been a symbol for Canada since the early 18th century, and of course, the country's flag has a maple leaf right in its center. If you're visiting, you might want to purchase a few bottles of maple goodness because it'll be tough to find it back in the U.S. Pour this Canadian liquid gold on just about anything, from pancakes, French toast, bacon and more!
18 Going To School Is A Little Different
In the United States, kids go to elementary school until fifth grade, middle school through eighth grade, and high school through 12th grade. After, they may pursue a higher education and go to college to work on their careers. In Canada, there is no such thing as middle school. Children go to elementary school until the seventh grade and after, attend high school until the 12th grade. After that, students go to college. However, in Quebec, students finish high school after 11th grade and then attend vocational school for two years. After two years, they may attend university. According to an article by CNBC, there has been an increase in American students applying to Canadian colleges because they are cost-efficient.
17 Their Money Looks Like It Came From A Board Game
Canadian money is very colorful. Each bill is a different color. The five-dollar bill is blue, the ten-dollar bill is purple, the twenty-dollar bill is green, the fifty-dollar bill is red, and so on. The bills are so colorful is looks like the bills came straight from a board game! And instead of the use of an American dollar bill, Canadians use loonies (one-dollar coins) and toonies (two-dollar coins). The colorful bills makes it a lot easier to tell the difference between a five-dollar bill and a twenty-dollar bill, unlike the U.S. bills, which are all green and have unique designs. So make sure not to give these bills to your kids because they're the real deal!
16 Work Life Seems More Stress Free
Even with Canada and the U.S. being neighbors, work life seems totally different in each country. In a 2014 Gallup report, it was estimated that the average American worker works 47 hours per week, compared to full-time workers in Canada who work between 36 and 40 hours a week. Canadians also have plenty of breaks too while on the job. In Canada, employees are entitled to a 30-minute break every five hours and a 24-hour break each week, instead of being tied down to their desks. Let's also mention vacation time. While companies in the U.S. aren't legally required to offer paid vacation, Canadian workers who have worked less than five years at a company are given two weeks paid vacation a year, and those weeks become longer if an employee has worked for a company over five years.
15 Poutine Was Invented In Canada
Lately, we've seen many American restaurants add poutine to their menus across the United States. Let's thank the Canadians for inventing this delicious snack, which are French fries, cheese curds and brown gravy. Poutine has basically become Canada’s official national food. There have been many variations to poutine like adding bacon, different cheeses, like Greek Kasseri cheese, and even sweet potato fries as an alternative to regular fries for a healthier snack. However, the ultimate poutine is simple, yet taste so good, we in the United States had to steal the recipe and add it in our own menus.
14 Canada Is To Hockey As The U.S. Is To Football
There is no doubt that Americans love football. No matter what team they're rooting for, good or bad, you'll see a plethora of Americans watching the game every Sunday at their local bar, at home on their couch, or even making a trip to a rival city to show their support for their home team. The same love for football can be applied to Canada's love for hockey. Hockey is a huge part of Canadian culture and not only because the people of Canada regard their country as the birthplace of the game, but they love the sport because it incorporates teamwork, humility and triumph.
13 Canadians Have Their Own Catchphrases And Accents
The word "Eh" is probably the most popular Canadian saying, but it's also known to be used in ridiculous phrases by Americans and other people from all over the world. However, Canadians usually add "eh" to the end of their statements, turning it into a question that will be answered in a friendly reply. There are also other words and phrases that U.S. citizens aren't too familiar with, including, "loonie," the Canadian one-dollar coin, "tuque," a type of hat, "washroom," which is used to refer to the bathroom, and "double double," which refers to ordering an oversized cup of coffee with 2 creams and 2 sugars at Tim Hortons.
12 They Have Delicious Chocolate
If you have an addiction to chocolate and happen to be in Canada, it only makes sense to visit Purdy's Chocolates, which has been around since 1907. Purdy's is a family-owned company, which was founded by Richard Carmon Purdy, who sold his chocolate creations in downtown Vancouver. These tasty chocolates are still crafted in Vancouver, British Columbia from 100% sustainable cocoa. These delicious indulgences make a great gift for anyone of any age and you can even make your very own box of chocolates for that special someone. So don’ forget to grab a box of Purdy’s before leaving Canada.
11 They Had Chic Fashion Stores Before We Did
Before H&M and Forever 21, the store to go to for affordable chic clothing and fashion accessories for women and men was Le Chateau in Canada. The store first opened in 1959 as a family-run store in Montreal, and today, there are over 100 locations across Canada. Their stores offer the latest fashions and footwear and you won't find them anywhere else but in Canada. So while you're at a mall up North, take a stroll in Le Chateau, because not only won't you find it back in the states, it's got history and has managed to stay open despite all of it's retail competitors.
10 Canadians Are Reserved People
According to an article titled, "Canada And America: 8 Differences Between the Two Countries," the people of Canada are stereotyped as being nice. However, the article states that Canadians are much more reserved, rather than more nice, and just because they are known as friendly people, this isn't always true. Like Barack Obama stated, "Our Canadian friends can be more reserved, more easy going." The article also notes that Canadians are more passive compared to Americans, which describes them as boisterous and loud. Then again, you can't define a whole nation of people into one category, but overall, it’s great that the country gets a reputation for it’s kind people.
9 They Have Two Official Languages
English and French are both recognized as the official languages of Canada. While these two languages are the country’s national languages, there are a multitude of languages spoken in the nation. French and English are also both used in the country’s federal government institutions, which means that the people of Canada are entitled to communicate with, and receive services from federal government institutions in either language. French is most commonly spoken in Quebec, where 95% of people speak French and 45% percent are bilingual. The majority of the Canadian population knows how to speak English, and 7.5% are able to speak French.
8 Healthcare, Obviously
Canadian healthcare works like Medicare, but it includes everyone in the nation. Healthcare is free in Canada and covers pretty much everything. Let's also mention that there is also an extensive maternity and even paternity leave. A 2012 study by McGill University stated, "[In Canada], depending on the length of employment history and the hours worked, new mothers can take between 17 and 52 weeks of leave from their jobs. Their employers are required to accept the employees back into their jobs, or the equivalent, at the end of the mandated leave at the same rate of pay with the same employment benefits."
7 You'll Find Exotic Meats Like Camel At The Grocery Stores
While browsing a Canadian grocery store, you'll notice that the meat section has a lot more options than turkey, beef and chicken. Canada offers its people exotic meats like camel, horse, venison and ostrich. In the nation, "consumption of less traditional meats like horse, venison, camel, rabbit and game grew an average of 10.6% a year between 2010 and 2015." Canadian chefs have also been experimenting with other animal meats such as quail, kangaroo and elk in their dishes. So if you're a meat lover, check out a few restaurants that experiment with these exotic meats and try one for yourself.
6 They Actually Enjoy Winter
Americans dread the wintertime, having to shovel snow and complaining constantly about the freezing weather. However, Canadians actually embrace the winter season and make it fun. Instead of staying indoors and hibernating and complaining about the coldness, Canadians celebrate the frigid weather. In Ottawa, when the city's canal freezes, people put up food stands on it, have live bands playing and even have people skating to work. There is also a two-week celebration called Winterlude that includes ice sculptures, indoor/outdoor beerfest, live performances, frozen maple syrup candy and cool icebars. The Canadians know how to make a dreaded season fun and uplifting compared to Americans.
5 They Got Rid Of The Penny
In 2012, Canada decided that the production of pennies cost the nation way more than what it's worth. According to CNN, the penny was a "burden to the economy," adding that it cost the government 1.6 cents to produce each new penny. The elimination of the copper coin was also said to have saved about $11 million a year. Canada isn't the first nation to get rid of its penny. Nations like Britain, France, Israel and Spain have also gotten rid of the penny. Countries like Australia, New Zealand and Sweden have gone even further and have eliminated several of their smallest coins.
4 Canadians Welcome Immigrants
Canadians have a very positive attitude when it comes to welcoming immigrants to their nation. In 2015, a survey showed that six-in-ten Canadians chose "disagree" when they were asked, "Are immigration levels too high?" And, eight-in-ten Canadians said that immigrants coming to their nation have a positive economic impact. Another study showed that Canadians will welcome nearly one million immigrants over the next three years with Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen stating, "Our government believes that newcomers play a vital role in our society," adding, "five million Canadians are set to retire by 2035 and we have fewer people working to support seniors and retirees." Hussen also noted that immigration drives "innovation" and "strengthens the economy."
3 The Country Is Very Clean
Unlike cities in the United States, like New York City for example, which has mountains of garbage laying around, rats running through subway stations and weird smells, Canada is kept quite clean and pristine. In fact, when a director is filming a movie in Toronto and needs to disguise the city to look like New York, set directors add NYC signs and even garbage bags to recreate a real New York City setting. However, it is a big nation with a lot of space and a lot fewer people, but still, Canadians take pride in keeping their nation clean.
2 Paying Your Bill At a Restaurant Is Less Complicated
Paying a restaurant bill while you’re with a large group of people can get complicated. Everyone starts counting off the things they ordered and it becomes a huge mess for the waiter or waitress and people in the group can look cheap. In Canada, when a server comes back with a check, he or she carries a debit/credit machine that has already separated bills by couples, groups, or individuals, so there is no stress over who needs to pay for what during dinner. Why isn't this system of paying the bill and separating checks available in America by now?
1 The National Beverage
We might drink a Bloody Mary to cure our hangovers, but the national cocktail in Canada is called The Caesar. It's similar to a Bloody Mary, using vodka, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, but uses Clamato juice, a juice flavored with spices and clam broth, unlike the tomato juice Americans use for their Bloody Mary's. A restaurateur named Walter Chell in Calgary, Alberta, in 1969, invented the drink. Chell invented the drink concoction to celebrate the opening of a new Italian restaurant in the city. Canadians consume 350 million Caesar’s annually. So if you’re ever in Canada for Sunday brunch, don’t forget to try this delicious adult beverage.