Where ever you go in the world you will find differences in the culture and the people of these places. Take for example the differences between the United States and their northern neighbor Canada. Although they share the same land mass once you cross the imaginary line that marks Canada from the United States people and culture change greatly. Many of the things that are practiced in Canada may shock many people in the United States as many people in the United States think that their way is the way the whole world is. Take, for example, Canada's colorful currency or the fact that they drink milk out of a bag. Most people from America would have never thought to put milk and bag in the same sentence much less combine them.
The differences go beyond food and beverages as you can see small differences in their politics, education system, and most importantly the health care system. We're not trying to sway anyone to pack their bags and move to Canada but it may be hard to consider after hearing about how their health care works. If you ever visit Canada the required souvenir to bring back is a vial of their authentic Maple Syrup as it will change how you eat waffles and pancakes!
As mentioned earlier bagged milk is a thing in Canada. This concept is foreign not only to people in America but people everywhere in the world. The idea of pouring milk out of a bag seems like a messy ordeal but as shown by the gentleman above it is quite simple. If you are ever in Canada visiting Ontario, Quebec, or other parts of Canada don't be surprised to see large areas of bagged milk in the grocery stores. Maybe you should even pick up a bag as a souvenir to bring back and shock your friends back home.
It is likely that you have bitten into a syrupy pancake before and had the thought "this can't get any better". Well, it can, because chances are you haven't been eating real syrup as it is mass produced in Canada. Canada is responsible for producing over 80 percent of the world's maple syrup and you will be hard pressed to not find it everywhere you look while visiting. Maple syrup is so popular that the maple tree is known as the national tree in Canada. You won't want to go home without at least two or three bottles of this amazing syrup!
Canada's school system works a little differently than that of the United States. In the United States school systems are divided into three different schools, elementary, middle, then high school. However, in Canada, the middle school part is removed and students go through elementary until seventh grade then in 8th grade they enter high school. There is even an opportunity for kids to graduate high school in 11th grade if they attend a vocational school for two years. This helps the students prepare for college and the rest of their lives.
Canada's money may seem strikingly strange to those of the United States who are used to a uniform green for all bills. Many have compared the Canadian money to Monopoly money as they share similar colors. The five dollar bill is blue, ten is purple, twenty is green, fifty is orange, and a hundred is yellow. Canada also uses one dollar and two dollar coins that are known as loonies and toonies. The different colors of the Canadian bills make it much easier to tell the difference between the amounts of each bill.
The work environment in Canada versus the United States seems very different. In the United States workers can easily work up to 50 hours a week in overtime while Canadian workers rarely go into overtime working around 36 to 40 hours a week. The brake system works fairly well in Canada as well with workers being able to take a 30-minute break every five hours and they are allowed at least one day off a week no matter what. Most companies in Canada will give two weeks paid vacation a year to their employees, while in the United States there isn't anywhere that is required to give paid vacation time.
Poutine is something that has started to become more popular in the states and we can tell why. Who doesn't like fries, cheese, and gravy all combined in one dish? We have to give credit to Canada for this amazing dish as they were the ones who brought it to fruition. It is seen as the national dish of Canada. If you want to add things to your poutine dish then there have been occasions where bacon and more cheese were added. Leave it up to the United States to add bacon to a dish. You can even substitute in sweet potato fries if you like those better. You absolutely can't go wrong with poutine!
The United States has football and Canada has hockey. Both are equally loved by each country and Canada goes crazy for Hockey. Sports like American football and hockey are a universal sport where no matter what teams are playing if you are a fan you are probably catching a game. Similar to how every game of football is shown in bars and restaurants you would be hard pressed to not find a game of hockey being broadcast in local eateries and bars. Hockey is a cold and rough sport but at the end of the day, it is very entertaining to watch.
The most stereotyped word that has come from Canada is the word 'eh' which is usually after any sentence. However, Canada has a bunch of other slang and words for things that sound very foreign even though they are in English. Take for example "tuque" which is another word for a hat. Canadians also call bathrooms or restrooms, washrooms which may confuse some people. As mentioned before, they refer to their one and two dollar coins as loonie and toonie which seems more comical than practical.
Canada is known for their authentic chocolate and that is with the help of a company by the name of Purdy's Chocolates. Purdy's Chocolates was started in 1907 and are made of 100% sustainable cocoa. Purdy's Chocolates will taste even better than the chocolates you know and love in America and it is worth trying at least one (even if you probably won't leave without buying a whole box). These chocolates make for great souvenirs to anyone back home. With these chocolates and the maple syrup, it seems like Canada has its sweets down to a science!
Think of the clothing store Le Chateau as the pioneer of stores that sell discounted clothing similar to H&M and Forever 21. The store first started in 1959 by a family in Montreal but has since grown into a chain of over a hundred stores located all across Canada. If you are looking for all the latest fashion and deals while you are away in Canada then you should definitely visit any one of the many Le Chateau stores. If you are an avid shopper of places like Forever 21 then you should visit to pay respects to the pioneer of these types of clothing stores!
The stereotype for many Canadians is the fact that they are overly nice. However, recently it has been discovered that more Canadians are more reserved than flat out kind. While the majority of Canadians will greet you with a smile and friendly conversation it isn't always their preferred way of living life. It is important to remember this in the case that you do visit Canada. Take into consideration that the average Canadian is reserved and passive so you don't get surprised when someone isn't that happy to see you in Canada. Of course, this doesn't go for all people in Canada just enough to notice.
It isn't common at least for Americans to have two national languages for a country. In Canada, the two primary languages that are spoken are English and French. These aren't the only languages spoken in the country, of course, but they are the primary ones. Don't be surprised if you start speaking English and are responded to with French. Most Canadians know English but rather speak French. In one of the country's largest cities, Quebec French is spoken the majority of the time with a little under half the people being bilingual.
It seems like the United States still lives in the stone age when it comes to health care. Take, for example, Canada's health care. The health care system works so that everyone living in Canada is eligible for free healthcare and basically covers everything you would need from health care. The country even offers great maternity and even paternity leave for its employees. If you would like to know more specifically the differences between American and Canadian health care you can find out more here.
The average meat selections in an American supermarket is beef, chicken, and pork. Of course, there are variations on these meats but this is the general variety you'll find in a market in the United States. However, in Canada, you will find much more variety in the meat section of the market. Don't be surprised if you find a camel, horse, venison, and ostrich available at most supermarkets in Canada. Canadian chefs are very experimental and like to work with nontraditional meats in their cuisines. There are even talks of some chefs using kangaroo meat in their dishes!
The winter is a season that is usually frowned upon in the United States especially if you live further up north. Having to shovel snow every other morning isn't what Americans want to be doing before work. If you visit Canada in the winter get ready for it to be way colder but much more enjoyable. Canadians fully embrace the cold weather and instead of being cooped up inside all day will get out and have fun in the snow. A place known as Ottawa in Canada will host different events on frozen lakes where you can ice skate around and get food from different vendors. The winter really brings the Canadian community together.
Canada took the leap of faith and stopped production on its penny. This is something that many countries have been considering but not many have made the switch to being penniless. The cost of producing the penny was more than the Canadian government was willing to spend on it. It was calculated that every manufactured penny in Canada cost 1.6 cents to produce. This switch is said to save the taxpayers up to $11 million a year. Places like Britain, France, Israel, and Spain have also got rid of their penny. It is time the United States follows in their footsteps.
Unlike some countries, we know immigration is welcomed with open arms in Canada. In fact, when asked six out of ten Canadians answered no when asked if the immigration rates were too high. Many Canadians see the benefit in immigration stating that more immigration would have a positive economic impact. There is expected to be over a million immigrants that are let into Canada in the next year. This is to plan for a large number of Canadians who will be retiring in the next decade or so. Unlike in the United States, it seems Canada is taking leaps forward in terms of immigration.
Canada keeps their cities and overall country very clean when compared to certain places in the United States. Take New York City, for example, where you have literal mounds of garbage piling up around the city. Not to mention, the large infestation of rats and mice in the city. It is rumored that when film director's film in Canadian cities to resemble New York they have to make prop garbage to resemble the real New York City. There are several factors that go into this like the nation having more space for all the people living in it.
If you have ever been out to a restaurant with a large group of friends, then you most likely have dreaded the part where the bill comes and you have to figure out who's receipt is whos. However, in Canada, things are much simpler with servers and waiters carrying around debit/credit machines that will automatically complete the payment along with tips. It is a wonder why a system like this hasn't been implemented in the United States yet as it would make splitting the bill much easier and carefree.
Similar to the 'Bloody Mary' drink that is popular in so many bars across America the official drink of Canada is very similar under a different title of 'The Caesar'. The Caesar uses similar ingredients to a 'Bloody Mary' like vodka, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce. However, they change it up when it comes to the juice. Unlike in America this Canadian drink uses Clamato juice which is made with different spices and clam broth. The total number of these drinks that are consumed a year is 350 million Caesar’s annually making it one of the most popular drinks in the country.
We are no stranger to discovering the unique chip flavors of different countries. Canada is no exception as they have some of the strangest chip brands that make the average American question if that would even taste good or not. The most popular strange chip is the 'Ketchup Chip' which is a chip that tastes like the popular condiment. There are also different flavored chips like the 'All Dressed' chip which is especially tasty. They even have a chip that is flavored after the aforementioned popular dish 'poutine'. If you are an avid chip consumer then you may want to pick up a few unique bags from Canada.
There may not be very obvious differences when it comes to American and Canadian candies. If you are a fan of coffee then this next entry is made just for you. The Coffee Crisp is a candy bar that is made to have the texture of your average candy bar but with a coffee taste. This is for the people who love the taste of coffee but don't have time to make a cup in the morning. Canadians are a huge fan of coffee as it is one of the main things served in a popular diner known as Tim Hortons. This is another one of the great things in the food category to come out of Canada.
There are a surprising number of celebrities that come from Canada. Many of these Canadian superstars made their fame here in America and often surprise people when they reveal that they are actually Canadian. Many people, like Ryan Reynolds all the way to Drake, are celebrities that have come out of Canada. Not only do great movie stars come out of Canada but music artists and even comedians. These celebrities have made a name for themselves in America but will always be happy to rep the red of their home country.
As mentioned before, Canada has a more laid back workforce and this shows with how many holidays are celebrated in Canada. There is a holiday almost every month of the year in Canada. One of the most Canada exclusive holidays is known as 'Family Day' and it is just as wholesome as it sounds. People are encouraged to hang out with the family that day. During these holidays there will be community gatherings like parades and other events that bring everyone together. While the United States has their fair share of holidays, it could add a few to the calendar.
2018 was a year full of highlights but one of the saddest news stories was the closing of many different Toys R Us stores in the United States. However, fear not as Canada still has several Toys R Us locations open. Although Toys R Us is slowly being overshadowed by newer more convenient companies like Amazon it is still thriving in Canada. If you want to live like you are a kid again then you can enjoy the nostalgia of walking into a Toys R Us again if you visit Canada.