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Interesting Facts Abour Canada

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
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 Roots.

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 (CIBC)
The National Bank of Canada
The HongKong Bank of Canada
Canada Trust (actually a trust company, but offers the same services that a bank does)
These banks are national and have branches all over the country. One sure sign you're in Canada: the federal government has blocked two big bank mergers (the TD wanted to merge with CIBC, and BMo wanted to merge with the Royal), ostensibly because reduced competition is bad for Canadians. Wow.
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 place
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 ones.

Mountain Dew has no caffeine.

Coke and Pepsi use real sugar instead of corn syrup.

Instead of seeing Barnes & Noble and Borders bookstores, you see Coles and SmithBooks and Chapters and Indigo.

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.

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

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." (People 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 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 Strange Brew.

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?
post #2 of 32
Cool info! Ketchup-flavored potato chips ...... YUCK! Isn't it the Canandians who started the burgers w/ mayonaise?
post #3 of 32
Thread Starter 
There actually really good! I don't know about the mayonaise thing though...I don't eat burgers much!
post #4 of 32
Milk in plastic bags .... funny :LOL: I've heard of vinegar chips, too, and have no desire to taste those, either!
post #5 of 32
Thread Starter 
Yeah...The Salt&Vinigar Chips are nasty...

Isn't the snake cute though?
post #6 of 32
Ewwww! I don't like snakes!
post #7 of 32
Very interesting.
post #8 of 32
I should live in Canada! I like Mayo on my burgers, and salt & vinegar chips! I had never heard of ketchup flavored chips, though, but I would try them! Milk in bags is a new one for me...and the idea of a french fry truck instead of an ice cream truck, sounds really good!!! MMMMMM :tounge2:
Thanks for posting that...I learned alot about Canada that I didn't know!! Very interesting!
post #9 of 32
Tasha, thanks for posting that I can say a big 'Yup thats true' to all of the above Ketchup chips are so awesome!! I've had to explain our money system to Americans before as I've worked at restaurants and such in the past. They thought our money looked like monopoly money because its so colorful! We use Loonies and Toonies (the $1 and $2 coins) our fives are blue, our tens purple, twenties green, fifties red and hundreds brown. In the city closest to my little town, there are french fry trucks everywhere in the summer. They make the best fries! and, I eat vinegar with my fries

Oh, and Tim Hortons!! I couldn't live without Tim Hortons coffee! They tell me there is nearly an illegal amount of caffeine in it, maybe thats why I like it??

As for the beer, Labatts and Molson are the most popular here, but I prefer Budweiser, Canadian beer is pretty strong. Its for serious beer drinkers only :laughing:

I got a kick out of the 'people tell distances in time not miles' Thats so true. If someone were to say to me, how far to the next gas station, my reply would be 'Oh, about 15 minutes that way' and I'd point out the direction. Our speed limit signs are in kilometers per hour too, not miles.

And yes, I do admit, I put 'eh?' at the end of my sentences a lot :tounge2:
post #10 of 32
Thread Starter 
I enjoyed reading that also! On my two visits to Canada I had already experienced lots of that.

I love the coins and you are right that the paper money is pretty. But what I love best was giving the store a $100usd for what I got at Walmart and getting more then $100cad back... Yeah I know it evens out but sure feels good. Not sure I will ever get used to the speed limit signs! I already have a problem with going to fast as it is!

I got a kick out of seeing the old Esso signs. The second largest Exxon Refinery is located near my home and it looks strange to see that old name again. Well I have been to quite a few Irving truck stops and cant say much for the coffee at all....except maybe UCK. I am sure KF will have something to say about the Irving company!

But one thing for sure I would like to say about Canada is that everyone there that I came in contact with was very nice and made me feel welcome to their country!
post #11 of 32
I used to love Cortina's Pizza. They used cheddar as well as mozzarella so it was stretchy but had lots of flavor. I find American pizza bland.

I also remember a Dairy Queen that had a dozen different fruit toppings for the sundaes, but regularly ran out of the hardening dip stuff. They just didn't get much call for it and it would go bad (as if! it was mostly wax wasn't it?) before they used it up. I used to love the brandied peach topping.

Mom and step-dad used to drink a lot of wines from South Africa which weren't available in the US, and my stepbrother sometimes had a Cuban cigar.

I remember those car plugs . . .

The government is set up differently too, being a parliament rather than a pseudo-republic.
post #12 of 32
First the "Irving coffee"...not for the weak of stomach but better than it used to be when they used an American brand called "Mother's".
Which is a lie because it would have killed off all the family long before they had a chance to market it. Stuff should be classified as industrial waste.

The Irving Empire..totally family controlled and very arrogant. They are gradually losing their power over the Maritimes as the new generations of Maritimers come along. KC Irving's sons tended to behave like Feudal Lords. Some enclaves in the Maritimes still put the Irvings before God. The Irving companies are among the most screwed up,inefficient operations I have ever seen.

Our "Head of State" is an English Queen and her Canadian Rep,the Governor General is currently an ex-tv personality who is btw a woman.
Neither has anything but ceremonial power and do not affect Canadian laws,etc. BTW..we pay no taxes,etc to Queen Elizabeth..we just like her.

Our Prime Minister,our equivalent to your president,is routinely cussed and villified by us all,but we all kinda like ol' Jean as a person. The last intruder in his home was beat up by Jean's wife.

We have lived with and argued with the Province of Quebec for years now. They elect governments that view themselves as a separate govt and call their govt buildings a "National Assembly". French only is the LEGAL rule in Quebec and you can be fined heavily for having English on signs. They even have language police to enforce that. They hold repeated referendums on separating from Canada even tho they lose them all. Yet no blood flows in the streets. What would happen if all the Spanish speakers in the US lived in say New Mexico and threatened to secede from the Union unless all the rest of the country became bi-lingual?:tounge2:

We have the best,most cost-efficient health care system in the world (according to most every foreign visitor)but we let our politicians screw it up by playing power games.

We still basically value people over money.

We don't really see the sense in letting people own assault and/or automatic weapons. Altho us "country folk" still cherish our "deer rifle" (yup,I own a 30-30 ) I don't want to go hunting with some clown who needs a 30-shot clip to hit his target.

My favourite thing about the USA?? One Sweet Southern Lady
and of course 2nd is most All you fine girls of Cat Site...no matter where you're from.
post #13 of 32
We have the Keg here too, but our grocery stores also fly the Canadian flag alongside the American flag.

But, milk in plastic bags? How does that work? Do you refill a bottle with it? It just sounds messy in the fridge.
post #14 of 32
I remember the first time I saw that!

First point is, the Canadian gallon is a little larger than an American gallon. My step-dad said it was an Imperial gallon and it was about equal to 5 American quarts, but he might have been pulling my leg. So you could buy a gallon of milk but it was a bag of only 3 smaller bags. You buy a pitcher at the same place you buy the milk, and the bags fit almost exactly into the pitcher. Then you cut off a corner to pour out your milk.

I thought it was the most bizarre thing I'd ever seen!
post #15 of 32
Don't you have a McDonald's or Burger King? I was to Vancouver, Canada, when I was like 10 or so, and I remember they had a Dairy Queen. Very nice country (if that's what it is called?) from what I remember, and very clean.
post #16 of 32
The plastic bag goes in a pitcher..neat for throwing at folks too.

We also have Moosehead beer(sorry folks,that ain't the real stuff in the USA) They call it that because it feels like you have antlers the next morning and your face kinda sags.

Plus Schooner,Alpine and Alexander Kieth's whose ads won drama awards.

BTW..us Maritimers know the address of EVERY beer store in Canada aaaaand what they stock.:LOL: :LOL: :LOL: Just kidding folks...maybe.

Oh..and us Maritimers know that the Garden of Eden was originally here 'cause everywhere you go on earth you will eventually find a Maritimer with a big grin. :LOL: :LOL: :LOL:
post #17 of 32
Originally posted by Kittyfoot
The plastic bag goes in a pitcher..neat for throwing at folks too.
Ahem, KF, where does this fall in the "we value people over money" creed?


(Obviously, I am NOT the Southern lady in question. More like the proverbial 'thorn in side').
post #18 of 32
Deb...obviously you never played "milk tag" Kind a summertime version of snowball fights.:LOL:

and Deb..you are NOT a thorn in my side...the pain is a bit lower and to the right. Just kiddin' Deb..you're still my buddy.
post #19 of 32
Just so long as you see that I read through these things verrry carefully.

And with any luck, they do sell Preparation H up there in Mountie country.

post #20 of 32

Yes we have BK and McD's and many other fast food places that are in the US. We just started to see some Taco Bell in the last few years, and, thank heaven, we are getting Krispy Kreme soon!!!

There are a couple of stores in Toronto, so I hope one will come to Ottawa soon. I just loooove Krispy Kreme do(ugh)nuts!! I trekked across the entire Philadelphia airport between flights one time, just to get one, and had almost missed a flight in Charlotte NC when I went in search of another one. They are an experience unlike any other. I just hope the store here in Ottawa won't be too close to my house, or I'll be there all the time!

A couple of US places that I wish were in Canada are Boston Chicken (or I guess it's called Boston Market), and (not restaurant related) Target. I see the commercials on the US networks, and am so envious. And of course Krispy Kreme... mmmmmmm...
post #21 of 32
Just wanted to say that I always tell distance in time "turn right and go for about 5 minutes then turn left at....."

I love salt & vinegar potatoe chips, they are my favorite. I have always spelt doughnuts like that and not donuts, which one is which?

I love vinegar, and will soak fish & chips in it whenever I have the stuff.

And I swear that when I was younger that red ribbons were first and blue were second and then somewhere along the line when I was in elementary school they changed it! I remember this because it took me until junior high to remember that blue was first and not red.

Maybe alot of this has to do with the fact that I spent my younger years in Michigan?
post #22 of 32
I love living in Canada! Toronto is a great place & I feel very safe, even though it is Canada's largest city. Have you ever heard of Red Rose Tea. They have an ad line "only in Canada eh?" Well only in Canada can we insult our politicians on nation TV and have them participate. There is a show on CBC called "This hour has 22 minutes".
http://www.22minutes.com/index_2.php. It is hysterical. They go to Parliment Hill and even get the members of parliment to sing songsd with them. They started a petition to have the opposition's Leader from Stockwell Day to Doris Day (Day wanted a resolution passed in gov't that if enough people signed a petition then the gov't would have to hold a referandum on the subject). Over 1 million people signed the petition on line. They also had a section called "talking to Americans" - sorry, but it seems most Americans no nothing about Canada. They got the governer of Iowa to congratulate Canada on switching from the 23 to 24 hr clock!
post #23 of 32

I love This Hour has 22 Minutes! Those people are absolute riots!! I have to admit the 'Talking to Americans' part is pretty funny :laughing:But, I'd have problems answering specific questions about the States too(however, I DO know they use a 24 hour clock ) Its pretty neat that various people in political positions will go along with their silliness, definitely good sports!
post #24 of 32
Originally posted by Melissa

But, I'd have problems answering specific questions about the States too(however, I DO know they use a 24 hour clock )
You think American's use a 24 hour clock?

That would be no. Militaries use a 24 hour clock, and my grandparents have one just for fun, but we go 12 hours of AM, then 12 hours of PM, just like normal people everywhere.
post #25 of 32
We don't use a 24 hour clock here either. I was thinking in terms of 23 hour days not what appears on an actual clock.
post #26 of 32
Oh, we have 24 hours in day here!
post #27 of 32
Wow, lucky you guys, actual 24 hour days!

I'm pretty sure my days only have 19 or 20 hours and that's why I'm always exhausted and behind!

Is Red Rose available only in Canada? I know it's not a big deal here in the South where iced tea is a thing, but my Grandpa used to drink it all the time. He was from Nova Scotia but lived in Massachusetts.

What I really miss, is Carr's Table Water Crackers, the big ones that are like 6" in diameter and have the perforations like graham crackers have to break them into 4 sticks.

I used to miss Coffee Crisp candy bars, but there is a strange grocery store down here that carries all kinds of unusual items, and they got a shipment of Coffee Crisp last week so I stocked up. Don't know how they got to Texas, they had "Product of Canada" and "Nestle's Canada" written all over them. But it was so good! Literally been 20 years since I had one and it really brought back memories!
post #28 of 32
post #29 of 32
Sorry Sunlion,

Red Rose Tea is only available in Canada. It has to be one of the best teas out there! (I don't drink coffee).
post #30 of 32
I wonder where my grandad got it, then. He didn't drive any farther than the grocery store and the VA hospital. He must have still known someone in Yarmouth who sent it to him.

Moot point now, he was 83 when he died in 1987.
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