The U.S. and Canada might be close neighbors that respect each other, however, this doesn’t necessarily mean that these two nations share the same beliefs, laws, work ethic, etc. Despite the close distance – they’re only a bridge apart – the two countries probably share more differences than similarities. Today we’ll be taking a super close look at all those features that make Canada and the U.S. non-identical.
Jokingly dubbed “The Northern Version of The U.S.,” Canada truly is a gorgeous, one-of-a-kind land which boasts incredible culture, music, art, and literature. Well, of course, the two countries can get along really well just like twin sisters; however, as you’ll see in a bit, some nuances in the cultural department make all the difference. By the end of this article, you’ll certainly have realized that the two are more like cousins, rather than twin sisters. To prove it to you, we’ve gathered a list of 22 major cultural differences between Canada and the U.S. that will catch all travelers off guard. An excellent example of one cultural distinction is America's affection for football and Canada’s love of hockey.
Both are amazingly cool sports, but they are not exactly the same, are they? You see, it’s quite the same with the cultural temperament of both countries. Now go ahead and find out what else stands between Canada and the U.S.
21 Canadians Say "Sorry" More Frequently
Saying "excuse me" or "sorry" when accidentally bumping into a stranger is one of the most natural things in our society. Not only does it reveal one's fine manners and education, but it also proves that one can be friendly even with strangers. But could there be such a thing as overly apologetic? Well, apparently, Canucks seem to apologize for things more often, so they say "sorry" more frequently, cbc.ca reveals. No wonder why Canada has earned the reputation for being one of the friendliest nations in the world. So, if you've got a travel buddy that happens to be a Canadian, do not laugh when they sneeze in the car and then sincerely apologize for it.
20 No Majority Religion In Canada
Unlike the Land of Unlimited Opportunity, Canada has got no majority religion whatsoever. While almost half of the population in the U.S. defines itself as Protestant Christian, things seem to be a little different in Canada. According to Statistics Canada in 2001, about 42 % of the population identifies itself as Roman Catholics while the rest 23% defines itself as Protestant. In a nutshell, it's clear to see that there's hardly such a dominant and mighty religious force in Canada. Also, it's curious to know that about 4% of all Americans choose to follow no religion at all. In Canada, though, the same is true for at least 16%.
19 Self Government In Canada
From a political standpoint, Canada has got a governor general, who mainly serves as the ruling British monarch’s representative. The position, though, unlike many other Commonwealth countries, is more symbolic and elusive. So practically, you can even say that Canada is self-governed when compared to the U.S. In fact, in American politics, there’s a head of state while Canada has got a prime minister. When it comes to Canada’s political parties, there are only four major ones and a few minor ones, theclassroom.com explains. Additionally, the minor ones can be further categorized, so they basically prevail on the political scene.
18 There Are Some Social Factors As Well
Thanks to all of the American TV shows, music, and Hollywood movies, the Canadian government protects, encourages and funds more local cultural products. According to theclassroom.com, over 30% of broadcasts running on Canadian TV and radio stations have to be Canadian content only. Otherwise, the U.S. entertainment may eventually end up wiping out Canada’s cultural products. But apart from the TV and radio situation, the country has got interesting socially liberal institutions, starting from universal health care, full marriage rights for anyone (even same-sex couples), no death penalty, etc.
17 Free Health Care In Canada
Canada’s unique health care policy has always been quite an interesting topic of discussion. Just imagine giving birth to a beautiful baby, then receiving a bill after that. In a country like Canada, though, free healthcare is a real thing and it applies to people of all income levels. Women can also walk into a hospital, speak with a doctor about their condition and ailments. But the luxury of that doesn’t at all come with an overly expensive healthcare program, like the one in the U.S. Interestingly, the country’s health care was traditionally a commodity, so the sum that the patients had to pay for the provided service largely depended on their financial status, inkspire.org shares.
16 American VS Canadian Airlines
Another significant distinction between Canada and the U.S is the domestic travel. For example, if you have to travel across the U.S., you’ll surely manage to find cheaper flights. Gladly for all Americans, there are lots of airlines that offer awesomely cheap deals, such as JetBlue, Delta, United, Southwest, and the list just keeps expanding. In America’s neighbor, though, you can surely travel great distances domestically; however, the trip often costs over $500, and these prices almost never change despite the decent number of airlines. Apparently, most domestic flights in Canada are quite expensive since the country doesn’t really offer that many low-cost carriers or such attractive flash deals. According to flytrippers.com, the average cost of domestic flights in Canada goes about $39 / kilometer.
15 Canada's Got Two Official Languages: English And French
Canada's got two official languages, tripsavvy.com details, so children are required to take classes in both languages. To most French speakers living in Quebec, English is, of course, their second language. A wonderful example of a bilingual celebrity from Canada is the beautiful and gifted Celine Dion. This gorgeous lady currently lives in Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada; however, her new homeland doesn't at all affect her classic French accent. Interestingly, the Spanish community is also pretty big in the U.S; however, Spanish isn't really an official language in America. In fact, most children who grow up there don't take Spanish lessons either.
14 Longer Maternity Leave In Canada
In Canada, women are able to take longer leaves from their workplace, and their partners have got access to a similar program as well. Furthermore, parental leave in Canada is now extended by three months – meaning that 24,000 more parents can now take advantage of the parental benefit, www.cbc.ca shares.
These new parental benefits provide a better distribution of work and home responsibilities. In America, new parents rarely get more than 12 weeks off work, and that's without any guaranteed pay.
“This helps parents share more equally both the work and the joy associated with raising children," Families Minister Jean-Yves Duclos has recently explained at a press conference in Toronto.
13 Cheaper Education In Canada
It’s no secret that studying in the U.S, Australia or the UK is quite a prestigious opportunity, but this luxury may actually cost you a whole fortune. For those who cannot really afford to cover the high tuition fees there, Canada’s got a pretty fine list of equally prestigious universities as well, nigeriamessageboard.com shares. When compared to the U.S. education system, students usually pay thousands of dollars to get the desired degree that is supposed to make their lives easier. However, they may achieve the same thing in Canada, only minus the brutal debts that most students end up with.
12 Canadians Love Hockey More Than Football
To the rest of the world, the Superbowl may not mean anything at all, but if you’re a true Canuck, you know you’ve got a soft spot for hockey. The Canadian football league is often described as anticlimactic and only few cities have got their baseball teams in the MLB. All in all, it explains why the entire country is pretty much indifferent to all of these; however, when it comes to hockey, Canadians are quite obsessed with the sport.
Even though the country features a wide variety of games and sports, it merely remains a hockey country, sportsnet.ca explains. So if you happen to see new parents purchasing onesies for their kids, you’ll know that they’re most certainly Canadians who’re crazy about hockey.
11 Canada Uses The Metric System And The U.S Does Not
In the 1970s, Canada officially adopted the metric system although the imperial measurements are not hard to see either, schoolsincanada.com details. But unlike the U.S. where people always use the imperial system (such as miles, pounds, Fahrenheit), Canadians actually use both systems, although there are a few exceptions, as well. For instance, most people in Canada usually talk about their height in inches and feet although nearly all official measurements use the metric units. But outside of the rare exceptions, words like “miles per hour” are, in fact, an unusual concept that we mostly hear in Hollywood productions; however, it’s not that common in Canada.
10 Rainbow Plastic VS Green Paper Money
Another major difference standing between Canada and the U.S. is the currency. In 2011, the official Bank of Canada began replacing the nation’s paper currency with plastic one, thoughtco.com explains.
As a result, Canada's plastic currency is often jokingly dubbed Monopoly money due to the plastic feeling when you touch it. But on the bright side, you can actually feel the money in your back pocket. Furthermore, the chance of losing it is pretty slim, not to mention that it may go through the laundry when you keep it in the pocket of your jeans. All in all, most tourists will surely be excited to pay with plastic money, and why not, when it's a lot safer. Even some Canadians say that it actually smells like maple syrup.
9 Canadians Drink Milk From Bags
Unlike the plastic currency, which is certainly not that typical in many other countries, bags of milk sort of make sense. After all, why waste an entire carton or a plastic jug when you can merely fill the plastic bags with milk instead? Besides, reliable plastic milk containers aren’t that hard to find in any Canadian home; however, it’s a bit weird habit in the U.S, for example. Also, the typical house in the country buys about 4 liters of milk, so all of it comes in three see-through bags. To enjoy their favorite morning drink, most Canadians put the bag inside the milk container. After that, they usually snip one corner of the bag off until a small hole is formed, mentalfloss.com explains. But again, it only makes sense when you’ve been doing this your whole life.
8 Take Your Shoes Off Before Coming Inside
While Americans walk around in their house with their shoes on, most Canadians cannot really relate to this strange custom. In fact, very few people in Canada wear their shoes in the house, livingabroadincanada.com details. One factor sure must be the inconsistent weather. After all, you certainly don't want to be tracking all of the mud into your house. You see, the "shoes-off" policy is pretty much perfect for those who want to wake up in a neat house that's as clean as a new pin. But in America, it's still a foreign concept that simply doesn't make sense. After all, where would they place their shoes once they've taken them off, right?
7 Canada's Maple Syrup Is Simply The Best
Beautiful Canada boasts a mouth-watering maple syrup that’s even better than the one in the U.S. Perhaps the reason for the exquisite taste of the Canadian maple syrup is that over 80% of the world’s supply comes from there. Normally, the maple syrup gets harvested in a six-week cycle in spring, and is usually categorized in a few grades, goodhousekeeping.com says. Generally, though, Grade A is usually the most common one used for drizzling due to the perfect robust flavor. Grade B, on the other hand, features a rather dark amber nuance, but it’s excellent for baking thanks to the caramelized flavor. With such an abundance of nuances and flavors at hand, it’s no longer a mystery why the Canadian maple syrup overpowers the American version.
6 You Can't Stream Pandora In Canada
We all know that Pandora is certainly one of the best music apps you can get your hands on in the App Store. But unfortunately, there’s one major downside to it - it's only available in the US App Store, and logically, it only works in the U.S. So before you try to get it running during your exciting vacation there, you might want to consider other options as well. Not only is it impossible to stream it, but it appears that Pandora needs to be licensed in Canada, iphoneincanada.ca details. Therefore, it might be a lot better to do some research on what’s available in the country. But if you still want to test Pandora, you’ll most certainly get an error message.
5 Thanksgiving Comes Earlier In Canada
Apparently, Thanksgiving comes a bit earlier in Canada and it makes most foreigners scratch their head. In fact, Thanksgiving and Christmas are basically celebrated around the same time in the U.S, while in Canada, the two holidays are at least a month apart. Well, it’s a lot better to split up these two magical days and enjoy them to the fullest. But evidently, most Americans feel differently about this. For them, it’s probably the greatest thing in the world since they can extend the holiday season; however, this also means that most Americans tend to put on more weight around that time. In Canada, Thanksgiving is actually celebrated in October, which is nearly a month earlier than the U.S, statutoryholidays.com explains.
4 Poutine VS French Fries Topped With Cheese
Poutine and cheese fries may have similar ingredients, however, both meals are not exactly the same. In fact, the U.S. isn’t the biggest fan of poutine while most Canadians totally love it. By the way, many European countries have their French fries topped with cheese, and it’s quite typical for most people. As for Poutine, it’s quite similar to French fries, with the exception that it's usually topped with gravy or cheese. Indeed, it’s a pretty delicious combination, but it can also be a bit strange if you’ve not tried it before. Similarly to the classic French fries, though, the dish is not supposed to be served cold, mtlblog.com shares.
3 Online Shopping Can Be Tough In Canada
Sorry, online shoppers, but your favorite shopping therapy could eventually become a total nightmare in Canada, huffingtonpost.ca shares. Gladly for most Americans, who can easily and quickly purchase an item with a click of a button, the same activity has got a higher level of difficulty in Canada. For starters, most world-known brands don’t really focus on their online presence in the country. Even Amazon Canada doesn’t feature as nearly as many items and products as it does in the U.S. Indeed, that could be frustrating at times. So, sadly, Canada's online shopping opportunities could actually be quite messy.
2 Middle School Is Less Common In Canada
Every province in Canada has got at least one good university, thecanadaguide.com details, however, middle school isn’t really that popular in the country. It’s true that much of the country’s success comes from its unwavering tradition of prestigious schools. But when it comes to the middle school system, it’s a fairly new concept in a lot of provinces. Normally kids attend middle schools from age 13 to 15, however, it’s not like this in many other provinces. And unlike the U.S. where kids make the transition from elementary to middle to high school, some Canadian students merely skip the middle step.