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Canada, and Other Misconceptions

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Jean Valjean


:kaukau: I think that I should clear this up, since I'm not sure how many people think that I'm serious when I make jokes about Canada.


First of all, I really like Canada. I've been there, and half my friends are Canadian. I have multiple Canadian pen-pals whom I exchange actual physical letters with, complete with illustrations on every page. If you asked me off the top of my head to list ways in which Canadian identity is unique and distinct, I could list perhaps ten. If you gave me time and a sheet of paper, probably over a hundred. My knowledge of Canada is pretty extensive for the average American.


With all that having been said, there's a centuries old running joke that Canada is basically a loosely governed American territory, and that Canadians will be Americans someday. There are other jokes, like that Canada doesn't exist, or alternatively that if you die in Canada, you're still die in real life. I get a kick out of this humor. It gets some fun reactions, in large part because Canadians know that there are plenty Americans who are sincere about it, and they can never tell who's being sarcastic and who isn't. To set the record straight, I am definitely not one of those people. But the jokes about how Canada is/isn't America is a basic part of the relationship between our two families, and I wouldn't be a proper North American if I didn't have fun with those jokes. The trick is to make sure that such teasing is a sign of a loving relationship in which we ultimately admire our similarities and differences.


If you're a person who doesn't know the most about Canada, a Canadian Youtuber named J.J. McCullough recently put together a website about Canada, called The Canada Guide. It's as good of a start as any to learning what makes the Canadian nationality a unique and beautiful one. If you don't like reading through webpages, there are also Canadians on Youtube who will take plenty of time to explain what makes Canada special.


Finally, as for the "other misconceptions" part of this entry's title: No, the historical Buddha was not overweight. No, Medieval Europeans did not believe that the Earth was flat. No, Marie Antoinette didn't say, "Let them eat cake." No, Napoleon was not short. No, the pilgrims did not wear all black and buckles on their hats. No, Benjamin Franklin did not propose that the turkey be Americas national bird. No, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico's Independence Day. No, Albert Einstein did not fail mathematics in high school. No, "Ich bin ein Berliner" does not mean, "I am a jelly donut." No, Canadians don't all buy their milk in bags. No, not all Canadians learn French. No, Canadians don't say "aboot," but rather some take the "ou" diphthong and make the first vowel part of the onset glide, while most Americans make the first vowel the main component and the second part of the offset glide. No, Canadians don't all measure everything in metric. No, Canada's dollars do not smell of maple syrup. No, not all Canadians (particularly people from Tononto) are polite.


But some of these famous misconceptions are too funny not to perpetuate. My sense of humor has a lot in common with Jacksfilms.




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When don't the Canadians used metric?

And that maple smelling money thing was totally a thing for a while. I know, I heard about it on NPR.


I don't know about the whole "Canada is just north USA" stuff is common outside of our country. I do know that folks from Alaska will say that they're fro Canada (or at least not correct the misconception that Alaska is part of Canada) in order to avoid the negative American stereotypes.


I know in Canada they'll break your nose and then just say sorry. Tell me, what kind of freaks are that polite?



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:kaukau: Metric is what is officially used on road signs, and generally printed on products used in Canada.  However, many Canadians use the old Imperial system informally, in large part because many roads were first laid out in simple Imperial measurements.  So basically, from my experience, Imperial is more of a part of Canadian spoken language, whereas metric shows up more in Canadian written language, although I can't speak for Quebec since I've never been there.  Also, the people who use Imperial more often live on the countryside, and I noticed that people in urban areas are far more likely to give you directions in metric.  And when it comes to measuring height, I have never yet met a Canadian who has measured their height in centimeters.


As for the money, I guess that the money I've smelled doesn't smell of maple syrup, and I've heard several Canadians say that it isn't true, and apparently the Bank of Canada has denied it, and some professional psychologist has said that it's the brain playing a trick on people.  The basic idea is that apparently people see Canadian money, and if they're convinced that they're smelling anything off of it, then it would also be a small strongly associated with Canada. J.J. mentioned it on his site in the urban legends page, and I also double-checked and found something about it in the National Post.  Who knows, though; perhaps the Bank of Canada is being like the other J.J. and denying that Benedict Cumberbatch plays Khan...or when my mother tells me that those gifts by the Christmas tree didn't come from Santa Claus.



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The most fun you can have with your Canadian friends is to take potshots at each other's countries. Particularly when you're a professional history textbook editor and know more about their country than they do. Honestly, Canadians are great. I can't wait until we annex them to replace California.

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