There has always been plenty of comparisons made between the US and its neighbor to the north, Canada. While fairly similar in many ways, the two countries do very much possess their own identities and quirks that the other country tends to marvel at. At first glance, no one tends to notice anything particularly unique about either country, but after spending a bit of time, the unique traits that make Canadians Canadian start to emerge.
Some of Canada's little quirks are hardly noticeable, whereas others tend to be quite noticeable and a tad... odd. There are some oddities that are just so strange and unique that you may not have even heard of them yet.
10 They Keep A Reserve Of Maple Syrup... Just In Case
With Canada being responsible for producing 70% of the world's maple syrup, it's a pretty important commodity! Such a big industry, in fact, that in 2016, Canada exported 45 million kg of maple syrup, which valued $381 million! Quebec is responsible for 90% of that production.
When you have an industry as big as that, you need to make sure you have reserves should anything go amiss. Tapping maple syrup can be a tricky business, as it is largely dependent on the weather; maple trees need cool nights and warm days in order to produce sap. If the weather doesn't cooperate one year, that could mean disaster for this important industry.
9 They Sell Their Milk In Bags
Any American who has ever walked into a Canadian grocery store has likely been confused and mildly appalled at the squishy bags of milk in the dairy section. Yes, that's right, Canadians sell their milk in plastic bags. You can buy a 4L bag of milk that comes with three smaller bags inside.
In order to use said strange bags, you have to get the proper container to put the small bags into. These are sold at most Canadian grocery stores, usually right in the dairy department—as though they anticipate swarms of confused travelers trying to figure out how to drink Canadian milk. You put the little bag into the container, snip one end (or two—some people debate that you should snip both ends) and you are good to go.
8 Kraft Dinner Is A Staple
If you grew up in Canada, most likely several of your lunches each week consisted of Kraft Dinner Macaroni and Cheese, affectionately known in Canada as KD. Yes, it's true, Canadians are obsessed with the delightfully-toxic-colored pasta and sauce, and most kitchen cupboards north of the border are stocked with at least one or two boxes of the orangey goodness.
Sometimes Canadians will get real fancy and make a meal of KD and hotdogs, or perhaps add a few cut veggies to the plate to convince ourselves that it is somewhat healthy. But, despite knowing how utterly terrible the stuff is for you, every true Canadian harbors a secret love for the magical noodle.
7 The Canadian Mint Ditched The Penny
It's true, the copper coin is no longer. When it becomes more expensive to make something than the actual item is worth, it's time to pull the plug. That's the decision the Canadian Mint came to when it started to cost $0.016 to make a coin worth $0.01.
That's only with cash payments, though; debit and credit card charges still go through at the exact amount. Cash payments no longer offer pennies as change; instead, they round to the nearest $0.05. It means less loose change weighing down our purses and pockets, and we're okay with that!
6 They Love Their Tim Horton's
Oh, Tim Horton's. Where every Canadian's day begins. The lineups through a Tim Horton's drive-thru in the mornings are a true testament to the popularity of this coffee chain. "Medium double-double" is in every Canadian's vocabulary, and no kids' sports games are complete without a party pack of Timbits (their version of donut holes).
This popular coffee chain was opened in 1964 in Hamilton, Ontario. It was founded by NHL hockey player Tim Horton and Jim Charade, and it has grown significantly over the years, now having almost 5,000 restaurants spread throughout 14 different countries.
5 They Do An Annual Polar Bear Swim... In January!
For some reason, the intense cold and freezing snow storms we see in Canadian winters aren't enough of a challenge for Canadians. No, instead we decide that the best way to ring in the New Year is to plunge into nearing freezing waters as though it were the middle of summer.
Yes, it's called the Polar Bear Swim, and it originated in Vancouver, B.C. in 1920. It takes place every year on New Year's Day, and more and more people participate in this very Canadian tradition every year. Brr!
4 Canadians Say "Sorry" A LOT
Canadians are known to be inherently polite, almost to the point of excess at times, because we have a tendency to apologize... a lot. The word sorry actually takes on several different meanings in Canada, and while it usually is some form of apology, it is not always intended that way.
In Canada, we say "sorry?" if we can't hear someone and need them to repeat themselves; "sorry" in lieu of "excuse me" if we need to get around someone; and "sorry...but could you please..." if we need to ask for something. It's a reflex, and we know, it's odd. Sorry.
3 Canadians Are VERY Passionate About Their Weather
Canadians are very passionate about their four seasons! They get out and enjoy the winter months to the absolute fullest, embracing every winter sport you can imagine and even inventing a few new ones! They love the winter, and despite the frigid temperatures and huge snowfalls, they make the best of it and have fun.
When summer rolls around, Canadians soak up every possible second of cottage country weather outdoors by swimming, biking, hiking, camping, and anything else that allows us to enjoy summer while it's here. Whenever anyone complains about any sort of Canadian weather, we defend it fiercely, describing breathtaking winter landscapes and stunning summer beaches.
2 Canadians Really Do Enjoy The Winter
While Canadians are passionate about all seasons, we really do have an affinity for our winters! With a huge list of outdoor winter sports and pastimes, Canadians sure do know how to make the best of their long, cold winters. There are countless winter traditions that have been formed in Canada, and many fun ways to enjoy the season.
The national sport is hockey, which is probably the most popular outdoor sport in Canada. But Canadians also make use of their mountain ranges, and skiing and snowboarding are very popular as well. Snowshoeing, ice skating, figure skating, curling, sledding, snow tubing, and ice fishing are other ways Canadians enjoy spending their winters.
1 The Ogopogo—Canadians' Version Of The Loch Ness Monster
Canada has its very own equivalent to the Loch Ness Monster, and it is known as the Ogopogo. It was allegedly first spotted by the First Nations people in the 19th century, and it is described as being a multi-hump sea serpent that is between 12 and 15m long.
The Ogopogo "lives" in Okanagan Lake in British Columbia, Canada, and there are several reports of sightings. However, most of those result in fuzzy images from a far distance, making it hard to identify the creature for certain. Many people suspect it is simply another animal being mistaken as a sea monster. But who is to say for certain?