View Full Version : Canadian, eh?

05-17-2001, 06:13 PM
This is a list of sure signs that you're in Canada.

Everything is labelled in English and French.

Everything is measured in metric. (No, the
temperature does not drop fifty degrees when
you cross the border, and the speed limit
doesn't double.)

Milk comes in plastic bags as well as in
cartons and jugs.

There's hockey gear everywhere. A guy can get
onto a bus wearing goalie pads, a helmet --
everything but the skates -- and nobody gives
him a second look.

Restaurants serve vinegar with French fries.

There are $1 and $2 coins. The paper currency
is in different colors, and it's pretty.

The Trans-Canada Highway -- Canada's
analogue to the US Interstates -- is two lanes
wide for most of its length. (There are great big
huge wide highways around the major cities.
The 401 north of Toronto is sixteen lanes wide
in places.)

There is still the occasional musical variety
show on network TV, and such a show that
was on until recently was hosted by a very,
very large woman (Rita McNeil).

The CBC's evening news anchor is bald and
doesn't wear a toupee.

When new coins are introduced to replace
paper currency, people actually use the coins.

Contests run by anyone other than the
government have "skill-testing questions" that
winners must answer correctly before they can
claim a prize. These are usually math
problems, and are administered to get around
the law that only the government can
administer lotteries.

Lots of people run around in clothing from

The following gas stations are around (and
don't exist in the US):
Esso (instead of Exxon -- a visitor suggests
"Esso" comes from the "S" and the "O" of
Standard Oil)
Petro Canada
Irving (only in eastern Canada, and a
visitor advises me that there's now at
least one in Maine)
Canadian Tire
Mohawk (primarily in western Canada)

These are the biggest department stores:
The Bay (the Hudson's Bay Company, the
oldest company in North America and
possibly the world -- it was incorporated
on May 2, 1670)
Eaton's (Toronto, Montréal, Calgary,
Edmonton, and Vancouver are among the
cities that have large malls called the
Eaton Centre (Centre Eaton in French)).
Eaton's has been having financial troubles
for several years now, and finally closed
a number of its stores and sold the rest to
Sears Canada.
Zellers -- owned by the Bay, Zellers is
similar to KMart (which recently pulled
out of Canada) or Target (which isn't in
Canada at all).

These are the big banks:
Toronto Dominion
Bank of Montreal
Royal Bank
The Bank of Nova Scotia
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce
The National Bank of Canada
The HongKong Bank of Canada

Credit unions are also popular in Canada,
especially in Quebec, where they're called
caisses populaires.

These are the most well-known Canadian
restaurant chains:
Harvey's -- fast food burger joint
Mr. Sub -- similar to Subway
The Keg (Le Keg en français) -- a big,
high-end yet still generic steakhouse
Pizza Pizza -- similar to Domino's
Tim Horton's -- do(ugh)nuts! See below.
Swiss Chalet -- sit-down chicken and ribs
Robin's -- another do(ugh)nut chain,
popular in western Canada.

The big mass-market beers are Molson and
Labatt, and they're a lot stronger than US
beers. Molson Golden was recently
reintroduced to the Canadian market, but I
hardly ever see anyone drinking it -- I get the
feeling Molson ships most of it to the States
and tells the Americans it's good.

The major cigarette labels are Player's, Craven
A, DuMaurier, Matinee, and Export A.
Canadian cigarettes are milder than American

Mountain Dew has no caffeine.

Coke and Pepsi use real sugar instead of corn

Instead of seeing Barnes & Noble and Borders
bookstores, you see Coles and SmithBooks and
Chapters and Indigo (at least for now).

There are lots and lots of do(ugh)nut shops,
especially ones called Tim Horton's (named
after the hockey player who started the chain).
(The number of Tim Horton's diminishes as
you go further west, but I'm assured there are
lots of them in Edmonton.)

When you step on someone's foot, he
apologizes. (This really happened.)

There are billboards advertising vacations in
Cuba, and Cuban cigars are freely available.

Nobody worries about losing a life's savings
or a home because of illness.

In pharmacies, you can buy acetaminophen or
ASA with codeine over the counter, but you
can't buy hydrocortisone ointments or creams
without a prescription.

When you go to the dentist to get a cavity
filled (or worse), she or he puts a needle in
your mouth first to "freeze" it. (Asking for
Novocaine (a brand name) immediately pegs
you as an American.)

At county fairs and the Canadian National
Exhibition, red ribbons indicate first place and
blue ribbons indicate second. (Canadians: it's
the other way around in the States.)

Any conversation will inevitably include a
brief discussion of the weather.

It's almost impossible to get a glass of unsweetened iced tea
in downtown Toronto.

Teenagers can drink legally. The drinking age
in Quebec, Manitoba, and Alberta is 18; it's 19
in the rest of the country.

Potato chips come in flavo(u)rs such as salt and
vinegar, ketchup, and "all dressed" (a
collection of just about all possible seasonings
-- the person who suggested this one liked it to
a "suicide slush" in the States).

There are "chip vans" (aka "chip trucks" or
"chip wagons"). These are like the van driven
by the ice cream man, only they sell French
fries. They are most ubiquitous on the roads to
"cottage country." (A visitor from British
Columbia noted that "chip trucks" don't sell
French fries in BC; they drive on logging
roads and carry wood chips there.)

Every weekend during the summer, southern
Ontarians go in droves from Toronto and its
environs to their second homes (ranging from
campers to great big houses with all the
amenities) in cottage country (usually
Muskoka -- I'm told that calling it "the
Muskokas" marks you as an outsider).

Every weekend during the summer, southern
Quebecers go in droves from Montréal and its
environs to their cottage country (usually the
Laurentians; the Eastern Townships;
Burlington, Vermont; Lake Champlain, New
York; or Plattsburgh, New York).

Every weekend during the winter, the cottage
country people go back to cottage country to
go snowmobiling. Gas stations are just as
likely to be filling snowmobiles as cars or

Cars (especially on the Prairies) have electrical
plugs sticking out from under the hoods. These
are for block heaters, to prevent engines from
freezing when it's -40.

People give distances in times, not miles.

People ask whether you'd like "a coffee" rather
than "some coffee."

Canadians tend to use British spelling. They
write about "colour," "cheques," "theatres," and
so forth. Most use the American "-ize" rather
than the British "-ise" verb ending, however.

People drive with their headlights on during
the day. Since 1989, all new cars have had to
be fitted with daytime running lights.

In Ontario, you can buy beer only at the Beer
Store (formerly known as "Brewers' Retail").
The experience of going into a beer store is
documented nicely in the 1983 film Strange

Movie theatres have one night a week, usually
Monday or Tuesday, where they charge
matinee prices.

There is no mail delivered on Saturdays.

"Lieutenant" is pronounced "leftenant."

Mortgage interest is not tax-deductible. The
interest rate on most mortgages is not fixed,
but rather, is renewed at the end of a term
which can be as short as six months or as long
as seven years.

Most Canadians will tell you that the last letter
of the alphabet is pronounced "zed." Sharon,
Lois, and Bram, popular children's
entertainers, make it a point in their
performances of "The Alphabet Song" to say
"zed" instead of "zee."

People end sentences with "eh," eh?

And, to keep this on topic, only Canadians will drive 24 hours solid the second Friday in March, to spend 7 days at Disney, and then drive like a bat out of h@#l back to make it home in time for the 3rd term of school.

05-17-2001, 10:32 PM
Got a chuckle from all the Canadianisms!

Thanks, Debbie!;)

05-17-2001, 11:27 PM
That was great, Debbie. Thanks. :)

05-18-2001, 03:27 AM
As a transplanted Candadian living in Seattle WA I thought I'd share the fact that there are Keg's here. I think it's because it is a Vancouver based company and Vancouver is so close. Here's a question for you guys: Don't you think it would be a wonderful idea to put a Tim Horton's in the Canadian pavillion in Epcot?



05-18-2001, 06:47 AM
That sounds great, Janet. We only go in the summer, and I know that the kids would love an iced cappucino as we wandered-with the Boston cream! :)

05-18-2001, 08:25 AM
A medium double double to go with a beavertail............I think my husband would go for that!

from Canada
05-18-2001, 11:06 AM
LOL I loved this post. I second the idea of a Tims at epcot...I think thats more "canadian" than a bevertail any way. (I ve never had a beaver tail any where in canada).

05-18-2001, 07:19 PM
LOL.. Thanks for the chuckle! ;)

05-18-2001, 08:02 PM
Thanks Debbie, that was interesting and entertaining!!

A Tim Hortons at Epcot is a really, really, really, good idea Janet, you should start a petition! Really!

One large double double to go please!! :D :D

05-18-2001, 09:16 PM
That was great.. I am sitting in a very quite spot with a lot of people around me and they are wondering why I am laughing really loud. I am from Edmonton and can agree with the Tim Hortons - they are everywhere (I actually live 5 minutes outside Edmonton in a little city with a population of 68,000 people, it's not very big, and we have 4 of them. That and Macdonalds are on every corner, I swear. Anyways, thanks for making my day.


kristas mom
05-18-2001, 10:37 PM
Please please put a Tim Hortons in Epcot. I cannot believe how bad the coffee is in Florida.

06-02-2001, 05:12 PM
That was interesting reading! LOL I actually grew up going to a boardwalk at the New Jersey shore where they served delicious homemade fries and vinegar! And they do have "Tim Horton's" here, although I think the closest one just closed here. We're planning our first trip to Canada....thanks for the "education"! :)

06-03-2001, 11:41 AM
I completely agree we are Tim Horton's addicted we have 32 in a small city some are a 3 min walk from one another, We are even bringing Tim Horton's coffee with us and a coffee maker. Does any body know if you can buy coffee cream in the US. Who do we have to talk to to put a Tim's in Epcot they could disguise it as a small victorian shop or something.

06-07-2001, 07:53 PM
Please, please tell me the Coke tastes the same. What will I do for 10 days?;)

06-10-2001, 09:26 AM
Great post Debbie!! :)
I recently found that they don't have Excel gum there and when I offered it to my US friends, there were like, what is this? Canadian gum? :)

06-12-2001, 04:59 PM
Thanks for your post.

I am planning my first trip to Canada and thought I’d pop over to the Canadian board to pick up some pointers.

I now know where I will be getting my daily coffee fix.

Is the diet Coke the same?