If you believe the stereotype, then Canada is a country full of nice people who hate arguing and are always polite. While we should treat stereotypes with caution, in reality, Canada does tend to be a place where the vibe is easygoing and manners reign supreme.
Of course, there are good and bad people everywhere, those that you couldn’t offend if you tried, and those who are determined to be offended. But generally, in Canada, it’s very hard to leave a bad impression. As long as you follow common sense and respect the locals and their country, you’ll be welcome. Check out these 10 etiquette tips for travel to Canada.
10 Don’t Assume That Everyone Speaks English
Many foreigners arrive in Canada assuming that everyone will speak English. Although this is one of the main languages of the country, it’s not correct that everybody speaks it. Quebec is French-speaking so it may be considered impolite to assume that the people you meet here will speak English.
If you do plan on traveling through Quebec, it will be helpful to learn a little French. Although there are people in the area who are bilingual, it’s polite to at least offer a few words in their mother tongue before the conversation changes to English.
9 Follow US Tipping Customs
Tipping is expected in Canada. When in doubt, The Canada Guide advises following traditional United States tipping customs. This means that the minimum expected is usually 15 percent of the overall bill. If you tip more than that because of fantastic services, nobody will have a problem with it!
That said, if you choose to tip less than what is expected, or not at all, you will probably be considered rude. It’s a good idea to tip taxi drivers, bellhops, and other professions in addition to servers.
8 Respect The Indigenous People
It’s important to respect all the people you come across while visiting Canada, but especially the original custodians of the land. One of the biggest ways that foreigners can unknowingly disrespect the indigenous people of Canada is by wearing ceremonial native headgear without being invited to.
While actions like this can seem harmless, they can be offensive to native people because there’s no respect for the sanctity of their traditions. Canada is big on showing respect to all people so this is one tip you don’t want to get wrong.
7 Canada Is An Accepting Society: Discrimination Is Not Tolerated
There are bad seeds everywhere you go, but in general, Canada is a country that accepts people from all walks of life. It’s considerably more progressive than other countries and is also home to people from many different backgrounds. Considering all of this, discrimination is one thing that will not be tolerated. Always remember to have respect for diversity.
Even when said in jest, questionable comments about races, religions, sexuality, or identity in general probably won’t be well-received by most Canadians, according to Canada Eta. It’s definitely a case where, if you don’t have anything nice to say, then say nothing at all.
6 Kissing May Be Common Among French-Canadians
In many locations throughout Canada, a simple handshake is sufficient when greeting people or being introduced to someone. But you might also see some cheek kissing. French-Canadians tend to partake in customs and traditions that are closely linked with those in Europe, and cheek kissing is one of those practices.
If someone cheek kisses you, the best thing to do is accept it graciously and lightly touch your cheek to theirs. But if it’s not initiated, a simple handshake will be fine, as kissing tends to only happen between close family and couples in other parts of Canada.
5 Always Respect The Environment
Canada is one of the most naturally outstanding countries on the planet. The vast land is home to so many different types of landscapes, many of them stunning enough to appear on postcards. It only makes sense that Canadians are fiercely protective of their beautiful country. If you want to leave a good impression on the locals, always respect the environment.
That means no littering under any circumstances. It also means following the recycling practices rather than dumping all your rubbish together. If you’re seen to treat the environment poorly, you will probably be put in your place.
4 Don’t Discuss Politics
Canadians have a reputation for being fairly easy-going. There are probably a million topics you could bring up that wouldn’t make the average local uncomfortable. But according to The Canada Guide, the one topic you should avoid discussing is politics.
The site states that Canadians like to keep their political preferences private and asking about them is not appropriate. It can make the feel uncomfortable because they might feel pressured to reveal information they’d like to keep to themselves. It’s a good idea to avoid bringing it up altogether!
3 Be Prepared To Make Small Talk
You might not want to talk about politics with a local Canadian, but it is a good idea to have some topics up your sleeve for discussion. The reason for this is that Canadians are naturally friendly and talkative. It’s common to start chatting with strangers, whether you’re sitting next to each other waiting for the bus or lining up for groceries.
Folks that are a little more introverted might be unsettled by this, but there’s really nothing daunting about it. You can chat about anything from the weather to events that are taking place in town.
2 Avoid Making Sweeping Generalizations
Every nationality is stereotyped to some extent. When visiting Canada, you might meet people who do fit the stereotype of what a typical Canadian looks like. Mostly, though, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that those types represent all the people of Canada. They just don’t.
If you constantly make jokes about hockey, moose, or the freezing temperature, you’ll probably end up annoying the locals. Also, try to avoid saying eh. Every Canadian has heard this more than enough in their lives. It’s also best to avoid comparing Canadians to Americans or worse, to assume that Canada is part of the United States.
1 Give Everyone Enough Personal Space
In more crowded countries, it’s a given that you’ll lose some of your personal space when walking in public. There are super busy cities out there where you can’t help standing close to people because there’s just no breathing room. In Canada, that’s not the case. People generally like to have enough room to themselves.
Typically, Canadians value their personal space and will feel uncomfortable if you stand to close to them during a conversation. They like to maintain a little physical distance from others, so crowding them unnecessarily will seem obnoxious.