Global Education

Countering Stereotypes: Canada

By Phil Banaszek
Published: June 2010

When most Americans think of Canadians, a handful of stereotypes come to mind.

They think of hockey, they think of maple syrup, and they think of the goofy accent, complete with words such as “surry and “eh.

The difference between Canadian stereotypes and other stereotypes, however, is that, unlike many stereotypes, which developed from a select few, and tend not to represent the entire population, Canadian stereotypes were developed from a larger truth.

Although I haven’t lived in Canada since I was five, visits to Canada are quite common, and I frequently have a first hand look at the culture and the people of the nation just north.

I just returned back from Canada over April vacation, and this time, I had the joy of bringing an American tourist with me.

Before this trip, I thought that hockey wasn’t that popular, that maple syrup wasn’t that common, and only a few people said “eh.

So I went there not only determined to prove him wrong, but also to prove to my friend that Canadian stereotypes were untrue, and simply stereotypes.

By the end of the week, I had been transformed into something completely different from what I was before.

By the Saturday that I left the country, I had rediscovered hockey, started saying that dreaded “eh, and although I still don’t put maple syrup on food, I have found that mayonnaise on fries is much better than it sounds¦

Yet unlike most people who are quick to dismiss any stereotypes of their culture as slander and lies, Canadians have a somewhat easier time admitting to their labels, precisely because most of them don’t stretch the truth that dramatically.

Yes, hockey is popular, yes we say “surry, but more importantly, we’re proud to do so. We Canadians are proud to be Canadian, and we’re not afraid to show it.

We will stand high with our hockey sticks waving above our heads, embracing the nine-month winters that we have, chugging Molson Canadians when we’re 18 years old. Yes, we will do these things, and more importantly, we will be proud.

So now, I myself am a proud Canadian, and I’m proud to say yes, I was born in Canada, and I am a Canadian citizen!

In fact, because all of these stereotypes are true, it disproves another common stereotype; that Canadians are just Americans north of the border.

That belief, unlike virtually all other Canadian labels, I do take offence to.

My ranting over the course of this entire column will hopefully have proved that wrong.

But in case it hasn’t, go check out the country for yourself, and riot when the Canadians win hockey games, legally drink alcohol, and pay 15 percent tax, and you will experience the culture shock that is Canada.

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