This is a list of sure signs that you're in Canada.
Also, don't forget to check out the Canadianisms
Submitted by visitors:
- Any conversation will inevitably include a brief discussion of the
- It's almost impossible to get a glass of iced tea in downtown Toronto.
(This person must have been a Southerner -- in the US South, "iced
tea" is unsweetened, and "sweet tea" has sugar. "Sweet tea" is what you
get when you ask for "iced tea" in 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
- 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 trucks.
- 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
- 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?
Last updated December