Perceptions of Canada

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by MrsC, May 1, 2010.

  1. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    For an activity my students are doing next week, they need to think about what it means to be Canadian and how Canada is looked upon by people outside of the country. Would you mind helping us out a bit by giving me some words or phrases of what comes to mind when you think of Canada or Canadians? Thanks :)
     
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  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    First, my background:
    My mom's parents and her oldest brother were born in Newfoundland. We visited once when I was about 12 and had a delightful time.

    And while I don't know anyone who was grounded in Canada on 9/11, the whole incident has left a mark on me in a million small ways. I've seen documentaries about the kindness of the Canadian people to the air travelers who unexpectedly found themselves guests of the Canadian people and will forever remember the kindness and hospitality that were shown to them by strangers.

    OK-

    I think of the cold weather, and a love for winter sports.

    I think of kindness and welcoming.

    I think of maple leaves.

    I think of an appreciation for the beauty and power of nature. (My grandmother, who died in 1986 at the age of 93, told the story of seeing, from the cliff up above, a tsunami destroy a village down below. I have no idea when, probably the late 1800's in Newfoundland? But I can vividly picture that event from the way grandma told it.)

    I think of a hardworking people. (Probably fed by tales of my grandparents growing up.)

    I think of Harry Hibbs, "I'se the Boy", Newfoundland Screech, and "zed."

    I remember our newfound (well, at least to us) cousins joking about our NY accents, and us rolling with laughter as we responding by asking them to say "Park the Car."


    I think of a beach full of gorgeous blue rocks. All 4 of us (my youngest sister was too young to make the trip) collected a bunch with the intent of bringing them home until dad mentioned the weight limits for airline baggage.

    I think of the Atlantic Ocean being far, far colder even in July than it is in NY.

    I remember falling off Aunt Kitty's fence, where I was sitting with my friend, when a "bear" (OK, it was a Newfoundland dog... who knew THEY existed???) wandered into the yard.

    I remember practice for the regatta taking place in the lake near Aunt Mer's (short for Mercedes) home.

    I think of Father John, my mom's cousin, who has returned to Newfoundland after a lifetime as a missionary in Peru. He was the one who, when babysitting for us once, taught us to play Titanic: we jumped off the refrigerator into his arms. He visits every few years and we love him dearly. He's now the chaplain of a nursing home in Newfoundland.

    I remember the awe inspring Reversing Tide (New Brunswick maybe??)

    I remember traveling to Quebec as a small child and ordering "un euf"-- "one egg" for breakfast-- the only French I learned.

    I think of the book "Death on the Ice" about some sealers who died after being accidentally left overnight on the ice. It was written by someone my mom knew as a child.
     
  4. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    I use to live in Michigan, so Canada was only a half hour drive east. We shared our radio stations with you guys!

    When I think of Canada, I think of peace. Anne of Green Gables. Riding the train to Toronto to see Phantom of the Opera. HOCKEY! I became obsessed with the London Knights after they played a local team (weird, I know). I also think of gov. run liquor stores-first time I had encountered them. And I think of miles and miles and miles of road with nothing but Tim Hortons (yes, I road tripped through Canada for my honeymoon). And strange foods like mayonnaise on things I wouldn't expect it to be on.
     
  5. bros

    bros Phenom

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    I think of maple syrup, hockey/winter sports, cold weather, "eh", French Canadians, "zed" instead of "zee", and kindness.
     
  6. newbie87

    newbie87 Comrade

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    Hockey, French people, Celine Dion, and polite/neighborly.
     
  7. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I don't know much about Canada.

    I think of winter sports and ice sculptures.

    I will tell you the interesting thing about Canada for me is that it is portrayed in some hollywood shows as where we tell people we are from if we are from another dimension or another earth so people won't ask questions. To that end, it makes me feel Canada is a bit private, reserved and separate.

    Now I know a few Canadians so I know that's not true but that's a perception I get from watching T.V. shows.

    (I grew up in the south so I was not around anyone Canadian until later.)
     
  8. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    The Olympics
    Hockey
    Snow
    Quebec (never been there, would like to...)
    Niagara Falls
    Naiaimo bars- have seen several recipes online, are they really as great as everyone says? I'm tempted to make for a party or gathering so I can have a bitty bite....
    Eh?:haha:
     
  9. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    I think of a place really far away. Now, in my defense, I lived in Miami until a year ago. For me, growing up, Canada was a far away place on the map. Sure, we might share a continent, but it might as well have been England or Egypt. It wasn't until I was all grown up that I thought of Canada as a real place, different from what I knew, yet not so different.
     
  10. MuggleBug

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    I think of the red clay sand on PEI. And lobster! And Cow's Ice Cream. Most of what I think about from my PEI vacations is food.

    I also think of what we call "Canadian speak" - Oot (out) and Aboot (about), for example.

    Colorful money and Loonies and Twonies (sp?)
     
  11. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    This made me laugh--one of the "Canadian Rants" I found on-line emphasizes that we do not say "aboot" (I know that I don't).

    Most of us spell it "toonies" to match with loonies.
     
  12. Toak

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    perception: "its a nice 51st state."- Too bad there isn't a country like canada. It would probably be a nice place

    Explanation: Not just the negative jokes about the country, but what other country is there where you can mix their coinage with ours, have the shopkeeper notice, and still be able to pay with that combination? Starting in the mid-90s all of our field trips were to Canada and it never once felt like going to another country, not even in Montreal, though the "Put loonies here" signs plastered over the machines in many locations was quite funny considering a loony is a crazy person.

    As for their speech, it drives me crazy that they are unable to distinguish the two different words involved in saying "at all". No matter how you look at it, you will not find justification for saying "A tall"

    But it is much cooler to be obsessed with Canadian actors than American ones. I used to write famous people alot in high school, and the canadian ones often had "personalized" letters, glossy 8x10 color photographs with my name on them, and a piece of cardboard included to keep the picture from bending, wheras the American ones typically sent out a form postcard.

    The canadians in Edmonton definitely met the "due south - Fraser" stereotype - the traffic in both directions stopped and waved me across when I was standing on the edge of the freeway (but I hadn't been planning on crossing, I was just trying to get my directional bearings), and another man approached my friend while he was taking my photograph and asked if we wanted him to take one of the both of us. However, every Canadian stranger I talked to there, was originally from the US
     
  13. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    I think of Calgary, Mogul skiing and Jean-Luc Brassard. I had a major crush on him when I was in HS. He skied with my aunt and uncle for a few years before they retired.

    I think of Fernie, and Banff. And of all the Canadian people that come down here to visit during the summer months. I always wonder why they speak French more then English.
     
  14. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Oh, wait...something else I just thought of....

    "The Battle of the Brians", in the 1988 winter olympics. For the longest time, I couldn't think of Canada without thinking of that.
     
  15. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    I don't really think I have any perceptions of Canada. I had some Canadian pen pals when I was younger, and we always seemed to have a lot in common.
     
  16. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    If I had to create a brainstorming web with Canada in the center, it wouldn't have many arms! Maple leaves, hockey, French, the That 70s Show episode when they enter Canada (yeah, that's random)...which leads to Mounties, the expression Eh? which I use and love, a few Canadian celebrities, and that's about it.
     
  17. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    goldmining
    grizzly bears
    snow covered mountains
    flannel shirts and faded blue jeans
    friends Tom and Sue
    government health care, cheap but crowded waiting rooms
    camping
    racoons washing their faces
    french-looking villages in Quebec (lots of stone buildings, a tall spired church steeple, long winding road down into the village)
    kind old man who only spoke French who helped us fix the car (for free)
     
  18. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Thanks, everyone. Some of these made me chuckle; I think that it will be interesting for my students to read about how others think of our country.
     
  19. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Disturbing on a number of levels.

    But the only point I'll address is this one: I've used American dollars in both Bermuda and the Bahamas without a problem.
     
  20. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    I've used American dollars in Tanzania.

    I love this idea MrsC!

    Also, I got real excited when Alice mentioned the reversing falls rapids, which I drive over quite frequently!
     
  21. Toak

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    That's completely different from what I said though. What you describing takes place in the tourist areas of almost every country to some extent.

    What I said was that Canadian and American money can be mixed together and still have it all accepted as American even if the shopkeeper notices it isn't. Try paying with a bermuda dime in the US- if the shop keeper notices it, they won't accept it with your other money
     
  22. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    I think of pictures - my parents took me on a tour of the Thousand Islands when I was a toddler. Beautiful, beautiful pictures.

    Maple syrup - a friend of my dad's brought us some "real" maple syrup from Canada. Until that point, I had literally NO IDEA how sweet and delicious the real thing is. I grew up on Mrs. Butterworth's... but never looked back after that.

    Horrible drivers - we have a lot of snowbirds from Quebec in my area. Florida roads become a terrifying place when they descend on us. They are very polite in all other respects, though :)

    Anne of Green Gables - some of my very favorite childhood books that I still read over and over again to this day.

    Fishing and wilderness - my grandfather used to take my dad fishing to some freakishly remote lake in N. Canada. He always talks about how beautiful and still it was up there and how much he'd like to see it again.

    "eh?" - Seriously, I think every Canadian I've ever met has said this.

    French accents - because most of the Canadians I meet are snowbirds from Quebec.

    Hockey - I thank the Canadians for this. It's the only sport aside from football that I will actually watch AND enjoy.
     
  23. Grapeless

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    Wait! You mean Canada is a country? When did that happen?

    I grew up in New York and no one there considered Canada to be a different country - just a continuation of the US and a great place to go for the day's shopping trip. I imagine that will change with the next generation though since they'll actually need passports to enter (and the War of 1812...well you have to let your weaker counterpart think they've won sometime ;) )

    As for phrases/things that are different from here:
    Washroom
    Eh (and the joke about how canada got its name - C-eh-N-eh-D-eh)
    Tuque - I've never heard this word outside of Canada
    Chinook
    Inukshuk - especially the little sculptures you see in places like shopping malls
    Knapsack
    Beaver Tails (instead of Elephant Ears)
    Back Bacon
    Curling
     
  24. Grapeless

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    I just want to say that it is interesting to see that some here are actually shocked about the "Canada isn't a country" jokes. I thought those were standard across the US, but it appears that is only the case with northerners who live where they can frequently cross the border. I get the impression that some here don't even understand the "canada is a state, not a country" is a good natured ribbing that frequently occurs whenever there is social interaction between US and Canadians - something that I would think would always go without saying
     
  25. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    Form vacations there (Toronto, Alberta and BC) from a Brit perspective.

    It's big! No really, it's big!

    It's not America. The US is definitly a foreign country to the Brits but Canada is more like Britain with a North American accent.

    Tim Hortons!

    Hockey!

    Did I mention it's big?

    I know quite a few canucks (and Yanks). On vacation in France last year there was a large group of North Americans staying in our hotel. It turned out they were a touring Hockey team but we didn't find that ut till later.

    Anyway we got in a lift (elevator) with a group of these youths and one refered to his friend as a 'retard'! Straight away we recognised them as Canadians rather than Americans as this 'term of endearment' is heard all the time from our Canadian friends but I've never heard an American use it!
     
  26. MuggleBug

    MuggleBug Companion

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    Unfortunately, they use it quite often here, too. :mad:
     
  27. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Yes, Blazer, my American students find everyone retarded and or gay. I discuss this at the beginning of each year and students know it is not tolerated, yet ... :(
     
  28. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    And I could probably count on one hand the number of times I have heard it in the past 10 years.
     
  29. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    Since I played Hockey against Canadians I have some "sweet" Memories of them :dizzy:

    and most of my thoughts are that Canada is like a sibling we can fight amongst ourselves but we stand together against our foes

    I thought that North Dakota and Minnesota were part of Canada
    you betcha
    Calling Canada "America Jr" and "America's Attic" are terms of endearment I am sure Canada has some sibling like names for us.

    I grew up with "Sergeant Preston of the Yukon"
    [​IMG]
    Sgt. Preston and his dog King 1955-1958 so I thought All of Canada was all pine trees and snow.
    He was right up there with "The Lone Ranger" and "Zorro"

    Again Canada is our Friend, Ally, Little brother, Big brother, and Sister all wrapped up together. And what the heck any country that spawns the Red Green Show can't be bad
    [​IMG]
     
  30. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    Our family takes an annual fishing vacation to Canada, so my first thoughts are of beautiful lakes, bears, and mosquitos. My favorite place in the world is a rock along the beach off an old side trail at the lake we go to in Ontario. I've never really been to any of the big cities, though.

    I find the moose crossing signs extremely hilarious--the way the moose is standing, his front legs look all tiny and T-rex-ish. It just always makes me laugh.

    My sister fell in love with poutin (sp?) and Tim Horton's.

    When we were little, we thought seeing an M&M package in English and French was the coolest thing ever!

    And, yes, we are constantly amazed by how many different ways our friends from Ontario can use 'eh' in a sentence. I seem to remember hearing that it's partly a regional thing, though--like our southern y'all. Am I remembering correctly?
     
  31. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    Oh, and my dad always joked about how fast he was driving, until we got old enough to realize the signs were in kilometers!
     
  32. JackTrader

    JackTrader Comrade

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    My wife (a Hong Kong native) went to high school and university in Vancouver, BC, back in the days when Hong Kongers were getting nervous about HK's future under Chinese sovereignty from 1997 and afterwards. Of course that is now not an issue at all!

    So, to kick it off - in BC, the influx of HK emigres led to the nicknames of "Hongcouver" and University of British Columbia being nicknamed "University of a Billion Chinese". I'll say that it seems that Canada is a lot more comfortable with multiculturalism as a concept and as official policy, whereas in the USA we have probably more issues with xenophobia, racism, etc.

    Also - these are more comments on the USA vs. Canadian comparisons:

    There's a general level of ignorance from Yanks about their northern neighbor, but Canadians know a lot more about the USA than the other way around.

    Canadians are seen as more self-effacing, modest in expression (compared with the Yank tendency or stereotype to brag, self-promote). At the same token, Canada is seen as a more kinder, compassionate society - thanks to more extensive health care coverage, other social programs.

    Lots of prominent Canadians work in Hollywood, and not too many Yanks know that. John Candy, Kiefer Sutherland, Margot Kidder, Shania Twain, Michael J. Fox, Dan Aykroyd are all Canadian...believe it or not. Toronto stands in for New York City a lot as a location.

    I've heard this - talking to several Canadians is that there is the national identity issue = how to define being Canadian on one's own terms, and not merely as being not the USA.
     
  33. Toak

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    That does remind me - my great-grandfather became ill in Canada the one year and ended up being in the hospital there for 2 weeks. The Canadian government paid for all of his bills even though he was an American (dang, should of thought of going up there myself when I got sick. I'll be in debt for the next 30 years at least paying on my bills and I had insurance)
     
  34. MuggleBug

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    When I was younger, I was always amazed that we had to buy milk in a bag and that all the soda was in bottles - no cans sold (that was on PEI).
     
  35. Kindergarten31

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    All the aforementioned stuff plus chicken bones(candy), 'squeaky' cheese, it being light in Thunder Bay at midnight, the cleanliness in the cities, the fiddlers in Nova Scotia, the Highland games there also, the CAT, Digby scallops, the orcas out of Victoria and the helpfulness of all of our Canadian friends. I love Canada.
     
  36. Kindergarten31

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    Oh-and about the money being accepted in the US--here in Florida where we have a lot of Canadian visitors, NO Canadian money is accepted, not even a penny. I have seen clerks toss Canadian coins in the trash. Not nice, but true.
     
  37. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    I find it interesting that a LOT more people than I ever realized are from Canada-many many celebrities that I had no idea! I remember during the Olympics when they would do those commercials thinking "He is from Canada? She is from Canada?" I had no idea!

    Not that it is a bad thing to be from Canada!

    Also, the only reference I have to Canada is that every Nebraskan boy, at some point in his childhood, will load up with a Suburban full of men and go off to Canada somewhere to fish. Then of course, he will become one of those men and take his son at some point.
     
  38. JackTrader

    JackTrader Comrade

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    If you teach in middle school/high school, many of your students may be fans of pop singer Justin Bieber - another Canadian national!
     
  39. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    Being not too far away either I think of
    -the rude border person when you only had to have your license to go over there
    -going to the casino at 18 & drinking at 18
    -Oh nuts, how many km do I need to go!!! LOL!!!
    - Michael J. Fox & Shania Twain
    -Not going over there with just my license anymore
    -Fishing (my fam would summer fish up there)
    -BIG!!!!
     
  40. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    I've always viewed Canadians as being generally modest, self-effacing, and quirky, often with a great sense of humor. Canada has produced some terrific comediens and actors. Grace Park (BSG), Sandra Oh, Jim Carrey, Howie Mandel, Neve Campbell.

    Recently I also learned basketball star Steve Nash is Canadian, and I consider him one of the most enjoyable players to watch in a long time -- maybe not MJ/Johnson/Bird great, but pretty close (he's won the MVP several times, after all). And he has some hilarious commercial clips for Vitamin Water.

    Oh, and apparently he gives quite a bit to charity. Overall, a terrific representative of Canada.
     
  41. Mart

    Mart Rookie

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    May 4, 2010

    in canada smarties are basically m and m's, and not a sweet tangy candy
     

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