Malorie Reimer is an International Ambassador at the International Degree and Education Abroad (IDEA) office. She is currently studying Environmental Economics and Policy and Business and Entrepreneurship.  As a native Canadian, Malorie gives an unique insight to the differences in the  American and Canadian culture.

Right above United States of America, on the world’s longest land border, is an enormous country full of rich culture. Although it is the second largest country on the planet, Canada is often referred to as the upper half, or ‘Hat’, to The United States. Even though it is nearby, there are many differences between the two nations that are interesting to learn about.

Fun Fact: Canada has the 4th lowest population density in the world. An average of roughly 3 people live in one square kilometer.

Before traveling to Canada, here are a few quick facts to start you out and help you learn about this diverse and wonderful country.

Population: 35 million (Nine tenths the population of California)

Official Languages: English and French


Canadian Word

American Translation

Tuque Beanie or Knitted Hat
Loonie One dollar coin with the common bird called  a loon on it
Washroom Restroom or Bathroom
The States United States of America
Pencil Crayon Colored Pencils
Tim Horton’s The Canadian Equivalent of Starbucks, Famous for their donuts and coffee
Garburator Garbage Disposal
Bunnie Hug A hooded sweatshirt without a zipper
Kraft Dinner Kraft Mac and Cheese
Chesterfield Couch or Sofa
Brown Bread Wheat bread
Parkade Underground parking lot
Housecoat Robe
Zed The letter Z pronounced ‘zee’ in United States


Canadian Cuisine:

Poutine: A French Canadian Dish including fries smothered with cheese and hot brown gravy.

Smarties: Instead of the American Smarties that are a small powdery sugar candy, Smarties in Canada are like flatter M&M’s.

Nanaimo Bar

Nanaimo Bar: A dessert square that requires no baking. It contains three layers of deliciousness. The base is a chocolaty, wafer crumb layer topped by a layer of light vanilla or custard flavored butter icing and topped with melted chocolate.

Ketchup Chips: Possibly the most popular flavor of potato chips in Canada. Ketchup chips are a must try.

Butter Tart

Butter Tarts: Like a mini American Pecan pie but without the nut topping. They consist of a sugar, syrup, and egg filling all within a pastry shell. Sometimes raisins are added in.

Timbits: These are essentially donut holes that are bought from Tim Horton’s that come in a variety of flavors.

Myth or Fact?

We say ‘Eh.’ On American TV shows and movies Canadians are often ridiculed for the way they talk. Our most common word is thought to be the word ‘Eh.’ Although it may not be used in every single sentence, they truth is that it is used quite often. FACT

We all speak French. Canadians are often asked if they speak French or not. Although it is mandatory for grades 4-6 to study French, it is not commonly a fluent language for most people living in Canada. In the 2006 census, it was recorded that only 21.3% of Canadians have declared that their first language is French. MYTH

We don’t have an Army.  Due to Canada’s neutral nature we are assumed to have no army. The reality is that we actually do and they are called the Canadian Forces. The force consists of sea, land and air elements that include the Royal Canadian Navy, The Canadian Army and the Royal Canadian Air Force. MYTH

It is always cold. Many people think that we might live in Igloos. People outside of Canada imagine that the country is covered in year-round snow. The truth is that only the very north of the Northern Territories contains snow year-round. Instead, most provinces contain a summer season which can average around the mid 80’s Fahrenheit. MYTH

 Our national sport is hockey. Due to the winning nature of Canadian hockey teams, hockey receives high recognition. Hockey was invented in Canada, is very popular, and is our national sport. But what most Americans don’t know is that hokey is our national winter sport. Our national summer sport is Lacrosse which was also invented in Canada. MYTH/FACT

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