Canada is a wonderful, unique country. I came here as a musician and a stereotypical tea drinking, Marmite enjoying Brit to live, work and study for a masters degree at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. I was immediately struck with the country's immeasurable beauty, vastness and diversity, but I was even more struck with how culturally different it was to my country.
One could assume that we share more than we differ. After all, we both speak the same language, we both have "her maj" on our money and we both provide the world with, ahem, "wonderful" pop music and movie stars. Yet, upon living here and observing Canadian life, I have noticed some key differences in daily routine between our countries that I've endeavoured to record and construct into a handy 10-point list. A humble guide for Brits and Canadians alike on the difference between our two nations.
1. Canadians want you to "have a nice day." Brits want you to fail
One can't walk around any Canadian city as a Brit without noticing the boundless positivity that seems to exude from those of all walks of life. When they say, "have a nice day," you almost feel like they really mean it! In Britain we judge our own successes on the failure of others. Seriously, I'll feel better if you fall over or something...
2. Canadians eat sushi. Brits cover fish in batter and fry it.
Stroll around Vancouver and you will notice swarms of health conscious, attractive people lining up for their nearest sushi fix. It's light, it's fresh, it's good for you... pfff... we Brits are having none of that. If I can't see my own reflection in my food's grease it's not worth eating.
Coming from a country smaller than British Columbia and with a population almost twice that of the whole of Canada, we can't help but roll our eyes when you say Toronto is heaving.
3. Canadians go out for one beer. Brits have six before leaving the house.
Perhaps it's our significant number of overcast days, but we Brits do long for that pint at the end of the day. And the next one. And the next eight. Canadians are content with one small refreshing beverage (seriously why doesn't it come in pints... real pints?). After all, they're already in a great mood!
4. Canadians think Britain is a place of magical castles and princesses. Brits think Canada is basically America, right?
I must admit, the romantic illusions of Downton Abbey and Harry Potter esque grandeur that Canadians have for England does amuse me. I mean, yes we have a lot of old stuff, but we also have plenty of the wonderful comforts of North America. After all, what you never see in pictures of Windsor Castle is the McDonalds and Starbucks opposite. Furthermore, we Brits do kind of assume you are American. I mean, you sound American, and you play baseball. You're like America's Scotland!
5. Canadians think Toronto is crowded. Brits thought the London Olympics were "a bit busy."
Canada is wonderfully un-crowded. Even your biggest cities have empty subway carriages and you don't have to be a multimillionaire to live in a detached house. Coming from a country smaller than British Columbia and with a population almost twice that of the whole of Canada, we can't help but roll our eyes when you say Toronto is heaving.
6. Canadians enjoy definite seasons. Brits enjoy a three-day summer.
I understand that much of Canada is inhospitable and miserable. BUT, in your major cities you experience wonderfully long summers! In Britain, everybody will rush to the sad beach (that's not a typo, I do mean sad) if the sun is out for a few hours, and still probably catch cold.
7. Canadians head to yoga. Brits head to the kebab house.
We don't really do the whole yoga thing. Really, what's that about? Mystery meat and spicy sauce, there's some good exercise right there... I'll stretch afterwards.
8. Canadians love the Royal Family. Brits ironically love the Royal Family.
From a foreigner's perspective it really looks like Brits love the Royals. However, in all honesty it is all drenched in irony. We couldn't care less. We like a day off work when there's a marriage or a jubilee, and if that means we have to get hammered and wave a union jack around then so be it!
9. Canadian dollars look like monopoly money. British pounds look like ancient scrolls.
British pound notes are ridiculous. They're too big; they don't fit in ones wallet and they seem to be made out of children's craft paper. Still, Canadian dollars look like children actually designed them. All those pretty colors and cool things like spaceships and hockey players...
10. Canadians say "thank you" to the bus driver. Brits will argue with him for not letting them on when they're out of cash because they've spent their last £3 in their local Wetherspoons.
We love an adversarial life in the UK, and there's nothing we'll like better after our standard Thursday night binge than a good old shouting match with our ride home, because that's a totally logical thing to do! Canadian's have the right idea. Even an insincere "thank you" is better than none at all.
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