As a born and raised Vancouverite, I am never lacking when it comes to opinions on our fair city. So when Matador Network asked me to contribute to their series, "How to Piss off a _______," I jumped at the chance.
For many, the city you live in is like a sibling -- you know their best and worst sides so intimately because of shared space, and ample time together. Therefore, you have every right to point out their flaws and shortcomings when they get on your nerves. But should anyone -- any outsider -- start to pick on your sibling, well, you go on the defence. Well, that's me and Vancouver.
This list is certainly not exhaustive -- as it turns out, there's a lot of ways to piss us off -- but it contains some surefire ways to ensure you get the job done.
Call us sore losers.
So, we have a history of rioting. You're all thinking of losing the cup to Boston in 2011, when cars were flipped and lit aflame, and the downtown core looked like a scene from The Walking Dead. There were also incidents in 1972, 1994, and 2002. You know what? Inside scoop: Being the polite Canadian all the time is hard. And sometimes you just need to f*$k some shit up.
Two points. No. 1, the majority of people involved came in from the suburban cities around Vancouver. They weren't flipping their own cars or messing up their own city because they're not from Vancouver (see below). They all got escorted back to their outlying municipalities, while most of us who live here looked out our windows and thought "WTF?" Which leads me to No. 2, what didn't make many papers was the 5,000+ people -- people who actually live here -- who turned up the next day, brooms in hand, to clean up the city and scrawl hopeful messages on the boarded-up windows. Now that's Vancouver.
Call us bad hockey fans.
OK, listen. When the Canucks let us down, we let them know. Some call it "bitter" or "flip-flopping" or "shallow." It's a love-hate relationship. Much like real relationships, not only is every single one different -- thereby playing by different rules and different values -- but like other relationships in your life, if you're not in it, it's none of your business. You deal with your hockey team, and let us deal with ours.
Refer to yourself as a "hipster" OR make fun of "hipsters" when you are one.
Referring to yourself or identifying yourself as a hipster is the ultimate way to reveal that you are in no way a hipster, but a poser. Equally annoying is making of fun of, or complaining about, hipsters while looking, acting, dressing, and whining just like one.
Not annoying: real artists, musicians, and change-makers, donning used clothing out of budget necessities (often in a fashionable way since, well, they are creative thinkers), and consuming Pabst Blue Ribbon because it's cheap.
Annoying: rich kids moving to basements around the city and dressing like they're homeless to be ironic OR paying top dollar for "vintage" clothes (which is ironic, in an annoying way), and drinking PBR because it's cool.
Point out that it rains a lot.
Thanks. We didn't notice. Nobody moves here for the rain. We move here (or stay here) for a million other awesome reasons. Side effects of rain include: proximity to an ocean, a mild climate, year-round greenery, snow-capped mountains, and lush, dense, ancient rainforests. Wow, that does sound pretty awful. Let's all leave. But ...you go first. Don't worry, we'll be right behind you.
Ignore umbrella etiquette.
Umbrella etiquette comprises the following:
So to all who decide to tote an extra-large golf umbrella, charge down the street smacking people in the face with it while staring at your iPhone, shake it off in close proximity to others, and/or allow it to burst open in a small space (worst: on a bus) thus soaking all nearby -- cut it out. And buy a fking rain jacket already.
Ask us if we like "BC Bud."
Nobody doesn't like marijuana grown in this region. It's potent and often organic if you have the right connections. It's probably the best in the world. So yes, we like it. What we don't like is people calling it "BC Bud." It's called pot. Just pot. Also if you smoke it, smoke it in the province. We take no responsibility for you taking our pot somewhere you're not allowed to smoke it.
And FYI, no, we don't ALL smoke it. It's decriminalized, not legalized (yet). More than that, actually, we're just a healthy city and there's more than enough people who simply refuse to inhale smoke, of any variety.
Story continues after slideshow:
Canadians are normally pretty nice but there are things you just don't want to say to a Canadian... (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Nathan Denette)
(AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young)
(AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Fred Chartrand)
We asked our readers to tell us more things that you shouldn't say to a Canadian. We collected the best responses.
@HuffPostCanada #AngryCanadian Wasn't it wonderful that Ben Affleck thanked Canadians at the Oscars? Were Canadians in Iran?
@HuffPostCanada #AngryCanadian To someone from Toronto: "I have a friend named .... In Vancouver, do you know them?" "No, it's a 3hr flight"
@HuffPostCanada The old chestnut You guys all live in igloos right? #AngryCanadian
@HuffPostCanada #AngryCanadian "Is it warm there in summer? Do you drink maple syrup? You say roof (ruff), tour (tore), and bar (ba) weird."
#AngryCanadian Can't I just call you an American?
@HuffPostCanada "How would you feel about statehood?" #AngryCanadian
@HuffPostCanada #AngryCanadian "You're from Canada? Vancouver is beautiful!" Me: "I wouldn't know." "So, is Newfoundland close to Toronto?"
@HuffPostCanada @rebellionisjoy "So what's the deal with Tim Horton's? I don't get it." #AngryCanadian
@HuffPostCanada Donuts are bad, curling's not a sport, and Bettman is a great NHL commissioner. #AngryCanadian
I DONT SAY ABOOT“@HuffPostCanada: 'Say aboot for me' other things you don't want to say to a Canadian #AngryCanadian http://t.co/8ndPg2UNrX”
@HuffPostCanada -Do you celebrate 4th of July? #angryCanadian
When Fox won a contract to broadcast the NHL in 1994 it <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FoxTrax" target="_blank">decided people needed the puck to glow in order to be seen</a>. This was stupid. As Canadians know you do not need laser to see a puck. You just need eyes. The stupidity of Fox's move was immortalized in a Molson Canadian commercial. FoxTrax was retired in 1998, around the time Fox gave up on hockey.
<a href="http://blog.constitutioncenter.org/2013/03/when-canada-was-invited-to-join-the-united-states/" target="_blank">America's less-famous first Constitution included an invitation to Canada to join the U.S.</a> It remained open from 1781 until the U.S. Constitution everyone knows was finalized in 1789. A <a href="http://www.annexation.ca/reports/2004%20Leger%20Marketing%20-%20Canada%20US%20Relations.pdf" target="_blank">2004 poll from Leger marketing</a> found just 7 per cent of Canadians were even vaguely interested in merging with the U.S. So obviously, Canada made the right call. America didn't learn its lesson. For proof, see the next slide.
While many historians have labelled the conflict a draw, we're not sure how <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_of_1812" target="_blank">repelling a foreign invader and then burning its national monuments qualifies</a>. And it wasn't all because of luck or American strategic incompetence, although that played a part. Canada also outsmarted the U.S. on a number of occasions. Take the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Detroit" target="_blank">fall of Detroit</a>, when a much smaller force of British soldiers, Canadian militia and First Nations fighters convinced American General William Hull to stand down by using subterfuge. British General Sir Isaac Brock's forces allowed fake letters to fall into American hands. The missives suggested the size of their aboriginal force was much larger than it really was. Militiamen were dressed in the uniforms of British regulars. Encamped troops built more fires than were needed and troops marched in and out of sight of the U.S. fort to create the illusion of a larger army. The result? Hull surrendered more or less without a fight. Brains over brawn for the win.
America has maintained a trade blockade of Cuba since the missile crisis of 1962. Canada, not so much. In fact, former Cuban leader Fidel Castro was enough of a friend of former prime minister Pierre Trudeau to show up at his funeral in 2000. While America may have had good reason for maintaining sanctions against Cuba during the Cold War, the fall of the Soviet Union has raised serious doubts about the wisdom of the ongoing policy. While a series of U.S. administrations have avoided angering Cuban expats in the electorally-important state of Florida by maintaining the blockade, they have also passed up trade opportunities that could greatly benefit both nations. On a side note, it's hard to imagine Canadian literary legend Mordecai Richler without his beloved Romeo y Julieta cigars. If Canada had joined the blockade it's possible nobody would have ever heard of Duddy Kravitz. Did we mention vacations in Cuba are cheap and beautiful? America, you're missing out.
While America has been involved in many dubious conflicts over its history, Vietnam is widely considered the nation's greatest military blunder. Despite being closely allied with the U.S., <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canada_and_the_Vietnam_War#cite_note-7" target="_blank">Canada managed to stay out of the conflict</a>. In 1965, prime minister Lester B. Pearson even called for a cessation of bombing in North Vietnam, a move which is said to have angered president Lyndon B. Johnson. Nevertheless, Canada-U.S. relations were never seriously damaged over Vietnam. The period is an enduring example of how two allied nations can disagree and still remain friends.
Ten years after the U.S. invaded Iraq, it has become clear the war was something of a mistake. The rationale to invade was the presence of weapons of mass destruction that didn't exist and the management of the country after the invasion led to bloody sectarian warfare. Canada, despite heavy pressure from the U.S. and a commitment to Afghanistan, stayed out of the conflict.
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/01/11/house-prices-canada-overvalued_n_2457058.html" target="_blank">While there are signs Canada is headed for a housing crash of its own </a>in the second decade of the 21st century, it did manage to avoid the crisis of the late 2000s that brought America's economy to the brink of total collapse. Canada avoided many of the questionable lending practices that saw low-income families take on homes they simply couldn't afford. But while Canada avoided the out-of-control leverage that characterized America in the 2000s, Canadians may not have learned the larger lesson. Since the financial collapse, international and domestic observers have grown increasingly concerned Canada is headed for its own housing meltdown. The federal government has made it more difficult to get mortgages with long amortizations and discouraged banks from lending at ever lower rates in an attempt to cool markets. Whether these moves will be enough to allow Canadians to continue to boast of their financial crash superiority remains to be seen.
<a href="http://www.usdebtclock.org/" target="_blank">America's national debt</a> stands at roughly $16 trillion and climbing. <a href="http://www.debtclock.ca/" target="_blank">Canada's national debt</a> is roughly $600 billion. Even after adjusting for the U.S. population being nearly 10 times that of Canada, it's clear which nation is doing a better job at keeping debt under control. The situation isn't an accident, but a result of policy. In this case, smart policy from Canada and a near total lack of policy from the U.S. In the mid-90s, Canada significantly lowered its debt-to-GDP ratio with stiff cuts. While the cuts slowed economic growth to a crawl, they were seen as necessary by the Liberal government of the period after Canada's credit rating was downgraded by Standard & Poor's and Moody's. While the drop in growth lowered tax revenue, nearly to the point of making the cuts revenue neutral, they did shift Canada's economic balance away from the public sector and toward private business, a change credited with fuelling Canada's subsequent economic success. The U.S., on the other hand, took the surpluses of the Clinton era and turned them into massive deficits during the 2000s. President George W. Bush's massive tax cuts, two wars and the financial crisis have left America with a dire financial situation its political system seems unable to address. America's status as the global reserve currency has kept its debt from becoming a lending issue, but almost everyone in the political class agrees something must be done. The bipartisan Simpson-Bowles report commissioned by President Barack Obama in 2010 called for a combination of revenue increases and cuts to alter America's debt curve. Since then, most Republicans have steadfastly refused to trade revenue increases for cuts, arguing that cuts to spending and taxes are the way to kick-start the economy. Maybe checks and balances aren't so great after all, eh? Maybe the Founding Fathers should have given the Westminster system and majority governments a shot.
It's almost universally recognized that campaign finance has become one of the most detestable aspects of America's political system. Congressmen, senators and presidential hopefuls now spend absurd amounts of time raising cash. The <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/08/call-time-congressional-fundraising_n_2427291.html" target="_blank">situation has gotten so out of hand</a> that phone-banks are now available just steps off federal property in Washington D.C. so politicians can easily make calls to donors without violating federal regulations. The <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/gareth-edmundson/us-elections-seven-billion-dollar-scandal_b_1655425.html" target="_blank">cost of the 2012 federal election campaign has been estimated at roughly $7 billion</a>. But even calling it the 2012 campaign is a bit of a misnomer. Campaigning for president never really ends now. In contrast, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2011/10/04/ending-per-vote-party-subsidy-canada_n_995143.html" target="_blank">Canada passed laws banning donations from corporations and unions and setting a low cap on personal donations</a> in the mid 2000s. The Liberal and Conservative parties were both part of the legislative effort. Campaigns are much shorter than in the United States and there are fewer allegations of corporate lobbying. Which way of doing things sounds smarter to you?
There are some snacks that define a nation, but not many that taste good to only those who live there. What do we love? The fact they leave our fingers dyed red after we've had a whole bag. Ketchup has never tasted so salty, non-tomatoey and outright good. Our U.S. friends may go nutty over Doritos, but we love our ketchup chips.
Many Canadians will point to the fact that Superman has a strong connection to the Great White North, but we'd like to reintroduce you to the real thing. <a href="http://www.lesstroud.ca" target="_hplink">'Survivorman</a>', while it was on in the late 2000s, showcased Les Stroud, a gritty Canadian who shot his own show in snow, sleet, heat and rain with nothing but random household objects and a trusty knife. We like to think that in a country that's increasingly urban, the outback is still our domain. Les, he's the best of us.
It was the scream heard around the world, and has been imitated - although never duplicated - several times since. <a href="http://www.williamshatner.com/" target="_hplink">William Shatner</a>, who in his own right is a great Canadian, uttered the famous scream '<a href="http://khaaan.com/" target="_hplink">Khaaaaannnnnnnnnnnn!</a>' in a scene during 1982's 'Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan'. Was it the close up on Shatner's face or the fact he shook while he screamed that made it so powerful? Thirty years later, filmmakers and actors are still trying to outdo Shatner. But some things just can't be beat.
In warm weather, it will cool you down. If you're hungover, it's the magic antidote. <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caesar_(cocktail)" target="_hplink">The Caesar</a>, Canada's favourite breakfast, lunch and evening cocktail adds a spicy twist to the Bloody Mary. Canadians are so particular about how it tastes -- with Clamato, not tomato juice -- that many don't even bother ordering it in the U.S. out of fear of disappointment. Served with celery, a lime and, if you're lucky, a fat dill pickle, it's the perfect cocktail. Who knew clam juice could add that kind of magic to a drink? (Photo Shutterstock)
Overall, Americans can save 24 per cent if they buy their drugs from online Canadian pharmacies versus filling their prescriptions at home, according to a <a href="http://www.annals.org/content/143/6/397.abstract" target="_hplink">study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.</a> The study sought to find out why so many U.S. citizens have been taking advantage of the deep discounts north of the border, and the results showed dramatic savings across the board. "Forty-one of the 44 brand-name medications examined were less expensive in Canada." Canucks are proud of their health-care system and easier access -- in this case financially -- to pharmaceuticals. (Photo Alamy)
The debate on whether we should cut ties to the monarchy was <a href="http://www.theglobeandmail.com/commentary/why-the-monarchy-sigh-still-survives-in-canada/article4181939/" target="_hplink">all but quashed last year</a> after the outpouring of pomp and pageantry -- in Canada -- around the royal wedding. Canadians embraced the nuptials as if Prince William was their own and turned out in droves to see the newlyweds during <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/news/royal-visit-canada-2011" target="_hplink">their cross-country tour last July.</a> From trying to get Pippa's butt to putting in their two cents on whether Prince Charles deserves the throne, Canadians love their Queen and all of the gossip that goes with her. (Photo Rex Features)
When it comes to food, Canadians concede there's far more selection in the U.S. but we're fiercely proud of the candy bars that can only be found here. <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coffee_Crisp" target="_hplink">Coffee Crisp</a> is a great example. Consisting of a crunchy wafer, milk chocolate coating and slightest hint of coffee flavouring, the chocolate bar is true to its marketing slogan of making 'a nice light snack' and is adored by all moms and seniors. Rumour has it they've been spotted in a few U.S. border town convenience stores. We want proof!
Smoke or litter in public.
We will stare judgmentally for as long as it takes for you to put out the cigarette and/or pick up that piece of trash. We're an extremely healthy and eco-friendly city that doesn't take kindly to open acts of either.
Say Nickelback is from Vancouver.
They're not. Because they suck. And also because they're from Alberta. Vancouver has a healthy and thriving indie music scene, though, helping put that "Pacific Northwest Sound" on the map, along with Seattle and Portland.
Ask us if we if do yoga.
Because the answer is yes. Or if not yoga, probably something else trendy. With such an enormous amount of outdoor activities waiting for us, and so many mild-to-warm months in which to do them (yes, sometimes in the rain), we gotta be in tip-top shape.
Complain about: the beaches, the traffic, the expense.
Listen, if you want your beaches with soft white sand and cliche turquoise waters, we ain't stopping you from boarding the next flight out of here. However, if you'd like a dose of soaring mountains or a view of a hundred islands in the fading sun, then get a thicker towel, lie down on some pebbles, and shut up about it.
As for traffic, we admit, the traffic sucks. But it sucks for a reason. Did you know Vancouver has won awards for planning a city without a highway through it? So you're not allowed to stroll through our stunning and highly walkable downtown peninsula and then complain about the traffic. You can't have it both ways.
And yes, it's an expensive city. But that's like complaining too many people hit on your spouse because they're so hot. It's a gorgeous city in a beautiful setting with top-notch bars and restaurants, a thriving arts scene, and more. Guess what's driving the cost? People, moving here, at any cost, because it's so awesome. It's a vicious cycle. Would you prefer it be less awesome? We wouldn't.
Be a douchebag on a bike.
Actually, we don't mean tourists here. In this one case, tourists actually get nervous of the traffic, as per above, and tend to stay in or very close to Stanley Park and the Seawall, inside their marked lanes, all neat and tidy. While they may look incredibly foolish on a tandem or triple bicycle, at the very least, they are out of our way.
However, back in the real city, a solution to all the traffic has been to introduce, and promote the use of, wide city bike lanes. We've given up entire lanes so that cyclists can have a neon-green safe zone to bike along. And what do many do in return? Swerve through traffic as they please, forgo hand signals, flip you off if you so much as move an inch while they do it.
Oh, and if you're a hipster cyclist, that's even worse: draped in plaid and lacking a helmet, on a single-speed vintage bike, with one hand and both eyes on their smart phone probably instagramming their bike basket -- literally cruising through life with not an ounce of concern for anything around them.
Rollerblade the Seawall when you don't know how to do it.
The '90s are alive and well in Vancouver, and nowhere is this more obvious than when beautiful people don neon rollerblades and cruise along the Seawall, kneepads and all. Those people aren't annoying, per se, so long as they're good at it. But it's the tourists, the tourists who decided today -- today of all days -- will be the day they learn to rollerblade so as to partake in this city's (now retro) tradition.
The result is tourists on wheels rolling into everyone and everything, hunched over in fear, with no idea how to stop, wreaking havoc on a path that drops precariously into the ocean or onto jagged rocks at many bends. If you don't know how, do NOT start here. End of story.
Call it "No-Fun Couver."
We hear a lot that our nightlife sucks. You know what sucks? People going out with the attitude that the nightlife sucks. Or people who refuse to take the extra nine seconds it takes to google something more specific than "vancouver nightlife." If you're not going to do a little digging, or (god forbid) ask a local, or check out sites like Vancouver Is Awesome, then stay home. You'll miss out on underground pubs, standing-room-only micro and nano breweries, cask nights, indie music, whiskey tasting, hipster dance parties, poutine at 2 a.m., and other secrets of the night.
Is it a raging European rave? No. Is it an uber-exclusive New York invite-only hot-list thing? Nope. Is it a place for after-hour bars that open at 8 a.m. until lunch, a la Buenos Aires? Nada. But the bottom line is that if you think the nightlife sucks, it's your own fault.
Say you're "from Vancouver" when you're not.
Moving here, buying some Lululemon pants, and getting seen at 49th Parallel does not a Vancouverite make. We see hoards of people stroll in every year, stay for a few years, and then return to wherever they're really from. Until you're willing to stop complaining about the rising cost of living, low pay, and (especially) the rain, and begin to invest time and effort into city solutions for fewer cars, more bikes, less homelessness, more low-income homes, fewer condos and more gardens, affordable education and healthcare, and other issues surrounding living in Vancouver permanently, then you're just visiting.
Call us snobs.
Well, based on the above we can see how this is true. OK, it is true. We're beautiful people living in a beautiful city. We have impeccable taste and high standards. So sue us.
Say the people are mean.
Probably because you just spent 10 minutes busting out all of the above stereotypes and we're late for yoga on the beach.
Follow Kate Siobhan Havercroft on Twitter: www.twitter.com/kate_siobhan