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Top Rumours about Living in Canada
Hello JIm Bunting here in Toronto.
Canadian Myths are numerous and generally have to do with either the winter weather, or a mis-understanding of our system of justice.
Americans are constantly being "Denied Entry To Canada" for having guns in their baggage, or in their vehicles. They fail to understand that "WE" are a seperate and sovereign country, with our own laws and regulations, including a strong aversion to "people with guns". Another reason that many Americans are sent back at the Canadian border is because they have criminal records in the USA. WE don't welcome criminals, regardless of how long ago you were in prison.
Visitors to Canada are expected to obey our laws, including the road traffic laws. I have seen people visiting here try to argue with our Police that because they aren't Canadians, they can't be arrested. WRONG.
My Wife works at the University of Toronto, and deals with post Doctoral Fellows from all over the world, who come here for two years of advanced research in Bio Ethics. They arrive in the fall, and one of her first tasks is to take the ones from warm and tropical places to buy winter clothes.
She insists that they have to buy proper outter clothing and footware, and pay attention to her lecture on WINDCHILL and what it means. She points out that there are about a half a million people in this city who were born somewhere else, like the Carribbean, or Cambodia, or Africa, who have been here for 20 years or more and THEY have learned to live with the cold. She also helps them to open a bank account so they can be paid, and to apply for a Canadian Social Insurance number so they can pay taxes on that income. Some think that they don't have to pay taxes as they are not Canadian citizens. WRONG.
There is a big difference between a large city in Canada, like Toronto, and a smaller city or town, when it comes to the people's out look and point of view. Smaller places have fewer or no "visable minorities" and therefore the people are more homogenious, and tight-knit. Being friendly and open will result in being treated the same way by the "locals".
There are "regional accents" in Canada, especially in the East Coast Provinces, and the Newfoundlanders are without doubt the ones with the most easilly noticed accent. They are also the most outrageouly funny people you will ever meet, and generous to a fault. Although Newfies are the poorest people in Canada, on average, they are also the biggest givers to charities in Canada, of all kinds.
Myths about Canada? I guess that covers about 1/1000th of them.
To echo a Newfie I know.................Stay where your'e at, till I gets to where your'e to.. ( translation) Stay there till I catch up with you.
And when he is hungry.................I "m so skint, I could eat the hind leg of the Lamb Of God, without any duff to go with it. ( Duff is a pudding).
If he wakes up in a bad mood............Be off me, I'm some crooked t'day.
CHeers to all. from snowy Toronto, 12 centimetres of snow today, and minus 15 C temp, and it;s ONLY THE END OF NOVEMBER!!!.
- Forum Legend
A few additions to the "Myths about Canada", theme.
Canada is a very cold country.
Not true in the spring summer and fall seasons. Winter is a challenge, but if you take the attitude that it is fun to be out in the snow, not a thing to be endured, you will fare better here.
Canadians are not friendly.
Not true, but we are more reserved than some people, and don't make a big fuss of new comers as they are a daily fact of life here. Conversations are like a good meal, you shouldn't rush thru them. Listen and learn from others who have been here for years, and take note of their advice to you.
Immigrants are not welcome here.
Immigrants who have a attitude are not welcome here. By attitude I mean those who talk as though they are doing Canada a favour by coming here. Or those who want everything to be "just like back home". If that is what you want, why did you come here to Canada? We have a great country and get along well with the system we have now, so don't try to change things in the first year you are here. The best way to be "accepted by Canadians " is to try to blend in, and learn to do things as we do.
Canada has no culture of it's own.
Wrong. We have over 400 hundred years of history and a very definite cultural heritage, with many different types of political and social customs and ways of celebrating our country's past. One of the most revealing aspects of our heritage is the way in which we have adapted our selves to the continuimg waves of Immgration we have had here.
Canada lives in the shadow of the USA.
Yes we do, but we have found ways to be independant and unique, and to be recognised around the world for our ability to find the COMPROMISE in any situation. Canada has NEVER started a war, but we have finished all we ever were in, as victors. Canada is a middle power, not a super power and we are a leader in trying to end hunger and bring help to those who truely need it, around the world.
Canada is a white christian country.
Not true, and in many of our larger cities, the population is now approaching a 50/50 ratio of whites and non-whites. Visable minorities are well represented in both our Federal Parliament members , as well as our Provincial Legislatures. Our local city councils have members from all types of races and religions, elected by the citizens of the area. Our newest Govenor General, who is the direct representative of Queen Elizabeth, in Canada, is a black woman, born in Hati, who came to Canada at age 11.. The religious belief of a person is their own personal affair and here we vote for the candidate that we feel will represent us well, not for their religious convictions.
OK folks, some comments from the readers would be appreciated.
Jim Bunting. Toromto.
- Forum Legend
I'm a Brit currently living in the Netherlands (my husband is Dutch) and we are about 2 thirds of the way through our Canadian immigration process. For the last 6 years now I have been a visitor to Canada, mainly Western Ontario and have quite a large friend base now.
My main impression of Canada, or should I say Canadians, is that they are the friendliest nation I have ever come across, both inside and outside of Canada. This feeling of warmth and welcoming is one of our chief reasons for wanting to be there.
I have to tell you my funniest anecdote though. Being in the company of Canadians for about 2-4 weeks a year (we volunteer on Scout camps, so properly with the locals) I have heard a lot of the jokes about Americans, ie those from the States, but of course you take them with a pinch of salt, right? Well now any more! I was sat on a plane between Amsterdam and London on one of my many frequent trips alone and found myself sat next to a man from somewhere the Southern States, on his way to a missionary ship in Africa. In passing conversation I mentioned that I was just back form my yearly visit to Canada (it was July by the way).
Gee, he says, was there a lot of snow?!!! I nearly folded up in my seat with laughter, having landed in Toronto at 4pm to 35 celsius! It really is true, some people do think that the whole of Canada is covered in snow the whole year round!
For my own mpressions, Canada really is a great and diverse country, even though I am expecting massive culture shock. Moving across the channel has taught me that it isn't something to be taken lightly. Although as a bonus I don't have to learn a language this time!
One more thing, Canada are no more or less accepting of immigrants than any other country. As long as you work and pay your way, we're all pretty accepting. I've at least 3 kind welcoming Canadians offering references if they are ever needed.
And in what other country can I have a conversation with someone just because they like listening to my accent?
Excellent contribution to the thread, had me cracking up over here!
Both, about the perpetual snowfall, and with 'conversation for the sake of the accent'. Your impressions and opinions are also greatly welcomed.
Congratulations on the progress you have made thus far, with your quest to relocate to Canada. It can be quite a venture, and because our company assists with relocating a large numer of families per year to Canada, I really know what is involved.
Some level of culture shock can be expected with almost any cross-border move, and maybe the biggest shock will be the difference between how we define culture here.
As a brit, you have the difference of much more time as a Nation and your culture is in many ways defined by a long and deep history.
Canada, on the other hand, defines our culture on a shorter time line, and we have developed our culture based on the experience of people that have arrived in Canada with their own cultures to share. It is a strong National heritage to be sure, but perhaps defined in different terms than how many European nations define 'culture'.
It sounds as though you've had much time to visit here and experience the people, and it's great that you have already found a friend network.
Thanks again for sharing your story, and if you require any assistance at all with your relocation to Canada, just let me know.
Toronto Executive Suites - Info: Here
- Frequent Poster
Welcome to the forum, and congrats on your choice to come to Canada, my country of birth.
I loved your "dumb American " story, and I have dozens more in my memory, after working in the tourist industry in Toronto, doing tour bus guiding.
Question" What, to your British ears, does a Canadian accent sound like? Have you noticed that there are "regional accents" here? And finally, what were your initial reactions on your first visit to Ontario?
Cheers. Jim Bunting. Toronto.
- Forum Legend
Hi Jim - I have begun to notice regional accents - the Nova scotians , the Newfie's (no offence) and Ontario ...anyhoo!
My brother has a mix of brit and toronto and it sometimes sounds like he roll's all his words into one and I CANNOT understand him.
I notice that I drag my words out to get understood at times when I am visiting..but then i lived in California and they used to think I was SWEDISH,GERMAN and even Ukraine!!! One day, in a bank in San Fran I was asked where I came from. I answered England and got back a reply that blew me away...the teller asked me what language we spoke in England !!!! I had to scrape myself from the floor.
- Frequent Poster
Ah YES the Americans........................
After I retired from the Canadian Forces in 1996, I was a Expediter for a few years, under contract to a Canadian based Emergency Freight delivery company. I ran my own one ton Ford van, delivering aircraft engines parts, all over Canada, and the USA, from my home base in Ontario. I used to drive direct to the location of the plane that was "grounded " by an engine problem, to bring the technicians the repair parts they needed .
AS you can imagine, sometimes I was headed to some small airport in the middle of nowhere, and at all hours of the night. Fourtunately, the company I was contrcated to had a satellite information system that allowed me to get a exact fix on the plane, and therefore the airport where it was sitting. I could also communicate by voice to my control centre in Canada, to give them my location every 3 hours, so they could advise the customer of my location onroute, and ETA.
Aftter I had made a delivery, I would sleep and eat and wait for a return load to Canada. I would only get paid if I was " loaded with cargo " and so I wasn't about to drive back 1800 miles empty to get home for the week end. I spent lots of time at Truck Stops, waiting to get a load back to Canada. During those waiting periods I was able to have long conversations with Americans of all walks of life, not just truckers. Many locals go to the truck stop restaurants to eat out. They are from small towns and consider this a " night out ".
I made no secret of my being a Canadian, with Canadian brand smokes and a Molson Canadian beer baseball hat on my head. It went right over their heads most of the time unless I made a point of it in conversation. They automatically assumed, because I "look like them " that I am an American, too.
I speak with out an accent, and that is due to two things. One I have a good education ( Masters' in Canadian History ) and two, I have spent much of my working career in the military as a trainer/ teacher, and take care to speak clearly.
Accents................Somebody once said that everybody has a accent except YOU.
Folks in the Excited States Of America are no exception to that rule. I once had a delivery to a place in Mississippi, and I could NOT understand the guy who signed for the parts. Of course he was chewing a big plug of "Chaw" tobbacco. Even some women down there chew tobacco. Disgusting habit.
Once in Missouri, I was paying for gas at a small station, and the woman saw my Ontario plates on my van, and asked me where that was. I said "In Canada " and she asked me with a straight face......You all look just like an American, do you have white people in Canada ?" I paid and left, knowing any thing I said would have been a waste of oxygen.
Regional accents in Canada, are varied, as you noted, but I have to point out that the children of Immigrants also have their own types of accents that blend their "old language " with English. Those who come from India, have a sing song way of speaking, and the Chinese never get some of the sounds in English quite right,. I spend a lot of time listening to "talk radio" here in Toronto, and I can identify many origins, on the air, by the way they speak English. Caribbean blacks are easy to identify, and Africans are quite different in their sound. Greeks and Italians and the Portugese all have identifiable ways of speaking English, and certain words trip them up.
The way in which a person learned English is what determines their sound. If they studied it in school they will have the grammar and the use of words correct, but they may still mis-pronounce words. A person who learned "kitchen Engllish " working in a hotel or a cafe, will speak fast but with many words improperly used and the wrong tense, such as " I got to be late tomorrow, I has to be at the doctor."
One of the things that I see more amd more here in Toronto is the mis-spelling of words on signs, such as at a store, or a small restaurant, where the owners are Immigrants and they make the signs for the business. Daily meals are on a chalk board and the spelling is unusual to say the least. They simply guess at the words, thinking that people will figure it out, or not. People who run a sign printing business SHOULD proof read the finished products, but in many cases, they don't bother, as the customer doesn't read English well, either.
Our local TV stations have lots of newly arrived on/air people who come here from many other countries, and they speak English but with their own "take on it". I guess this reflects the "face of Toronto" and our multi-lingual population.
By comparison, in the USA, in smaller market TV stations, it is RARE to see anything other than white faces on the screen. The same thing with US radio stations, but a big secret down there are the large numbers of Canadians who are working in US broadcasting both on radio and TV. WHY? A neutral accent, with a good education and technical skills from our University Radio and TV arts 4 year programs.
So how often have you been in Canada, and are you planning on living here in the futur
Cheers from me here in Toronto. Today the temp high will be minus 2 with freezing rain, and the wind chill is minus 10.
- Forum Legend
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