Jun 2011 7

Things Canadians (Are Rumoured to) Dislike

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Giant Canadian Flag on Robson Square Vancouver by Cheuk man Kong
Giant Canadian Flag on Robson Square,
Vancouver by Cheuk man Kong

Everybody knows jokes about Canadians’ extreme politeness and peaceful nature. Every time there’s a character from Canada in a movie or TV series, he or she has the “truly Canadian characteristics” that have become stereotypes over the decades. Take Robin Scherbatsky from How I Met Your Mother, for example.

Most people who visit Canada also quickly notice little, weird things that Canadians seem particularly fond of. At least they think they do — and they like to promote them as “very Canadian.” The Canadian dollar (“the loonie”), Tim Hortons, camping, curling, lacrosse, using “eh” at least three times per sentence… we all know these stereotypes, so why don’t we try something different this time? Although we are a very calm nation, there are things that annoy us — or at least people say there are.

Vancouver 2010 Snow by BBC World Service
Vancouver 2010 Snow
by BBC World Service

“There is too much/too little snow outside.”

In 2007, Canada experienced its coldest winter in 15 years! There was snow everywhere — even in Vancouver — in front of the house, behind the house, on your car, under your car, even inside the coffee you grabbed at Tim’s. Flights to warmer parts of the globe reached record heights, and everybody was complaining. Suddenly, in 2010, the situation was very different. There was nearly no snow in Vancouver and the Winter Olympic Games were banging at the door! Vancouver had to import the snow to save the games and its face. Canadian weather can be very mischievous! You can’t blame Canadians for not liking it, can you?


No Loitering Sign by Paul Wilkinson No Loitering Sign by Paul Wilkinson

Believe it or not, it is unusual to see a sign saying “No loitering” in other parts of the world. Many foreigners confuse it with similar words, since they don’t know what it means. You can find signs forbidding you from loitering pretty much everywhere — inside fast food chains and cafés, outside various buildings — warning you not to waste anyone’s time by standing around, doing nothing productive. This is nothing special for Canadians, but imagine people from Europe coming here and seing it for the first time. I would pay 100 dollars to see their expression!

Taxes by Beatrice Murch Taxes by Beatrice Murch

The Canada Revenue Agency

It is only natural that people don’t like paying taxes, but this isn’t what bothers us. You have to pay taxes to maintain a high standard of health care and social welfare in the state. The thing that makes the Canada Revenue Agency Archenemy Number One in the hearts of most Canadians is the paperwork. Paragraphs, subparagraphs, sections and subsections, tons of forms to fill in — their purpose seemingly a mystery even to the agency itself. Every single Canadian would tell you that he or she would rather pay everything the agency asks for just to avoid the paperwork.

Cell phone Money and Coke by espensorvik
Cell phone Money and Coke
by espensorvik

Cell Phone Companies

Let’s just say that a customer tends to be dissatisfied when the services provided are poor, and cell phone companies are considered to be one of the worst. Paying for every single thing you do with your phone — and even for the things you can’t really control, like receiving incoming calls — is something that makes even the calmest Canadian angry.

Bumpy roads

Potholes and bumps are one of the most unfortunate results of winter weather. In spring, you can see construction signs everywhere, simply because there is something wrong with the road approximately every one mile or so. So be prepared for detours, closed streets, and traffic jams that will drive you mad!

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