Happy Canada Day


[youtube width=”560″ height=”304″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjiwBwBL4Qo&feature=related[/youtube]

Today is the anniversary of the British North America Act of 1867, which united three British colonies into a single country — our great neighbor to the north — Canada. And locally, Canada Day holds special significance to us this year as we welcome the Linamar Group, Canada’s second largest automobile parts manufacturer, to its new home here in the mountains.

And should you find yourself in a position to influence further economic development for our city — or if you’re just out there looking for a job, here’s a handy-dandy guide on how to speak like a Canadian:

  1. End every 4th or 5th sentence with the very fast question “eh?”, as in “That sounds like a good plan, eh?”
  2. Practice a slightly different intonation of vowels and emphasis on different syllables. The oft-cited and extreme case is where “abOUT” becomes more like “abOOT”. One I run into all the time is where the American “praw-CESS” become “PRO-cess.”
  3. Never say “I went to college” as that implies a lower-level, more trade-type school. Say instead “I went to university” even if the school you went to was, in fact, called a College.
  4. Drop out “the” in certain key phrases like “the accident victim was sent to hospital” versus “to the hospital”. You won’t really have any idea where you should drop out the “the”, so just do it randomly.
  5. Realize that the capital of Canada is, in fact, Ottawa, despite the opinions of those who live within the greater Toronto area. (Editor’s note: And “Toronto” is pronounced “Trah-no.”)
  6. They have a “Prime Minister” instead of a President. Their current one is Stephen Harper who is basically a more polite version of George Bush with nicer hair. He probably won’t last long – and they at least have a system where they can bring down governments they don’t like.
  7. Learn about hockey, as it will factor into many if not most conversations. … Also realize that while most Americans might be playing baseball, football or soccer right now, many Canadians are playing “ball hockey” which is essentially hockey without the ice… this helps them prepare for hockey season which will start in a month or two as soon as everyone returns from their summer “cottages”.
  8. Obsess about the U.S. and what Americans think about Canada and the latest Canadian political moves. (Even though 99% of Americans generally don’t think about Canada at all and would be hard-pressed to provided any information whatsoever about Canadian politics or who is in charge.)
  9. Remind any American who uses the term “American” that the term is arrogant and forgets the fact that “the Americas” also includes Canada, Mexico and a host of other countries.
  10. Complain about the health care system. Everyone has a story of their great aunt Millie who had to wait eight months to get an MRI scan. (Don’t point out that they could just buy more MRI machines – and whatever you do, don’t bring up the massive spreadsheets you have to maintain under the US system to ensure adequate reimbursement, the large out-of-pocket expenses you have to spend or the massive gaps in coverage… let them continue to suffer under the delusion that its better down here.)
  11. Be polite. Be very polite. (Unless, of course, you are engaged in a televised political debate or are getting into an argument about hockey.)

A couple of Canadian podcasters indicated that the list should also include these facts:

  • Canadians don’t talk about guns because they don’t have/carry/need guns.
  • Canadians have real beer.
  • Canadians generally don’t talk about murder or drugs because those generally aren’t issues.
  • Many Canadians will nod their heads and be polite to US colleagues, but once they’re out of earshot they will say things like “could that guy be any more of a Yank?”
  • Canadian money comes in multiple colo(u)rs, not just all green. They also have a $1 coin (“loonie”) and a $2 coin (“toonie”).
  • When you go into a restaurant in Canada, never ask for the check (which they spell “cheque”). A check means you’re getting money. Ask for the “bill”.
  • Finally, one podcaster suggested that you weren’t a true Canadian until you could understand the sentence: “Please pass me a serviette. I’ve spilled poutine on the chesterfield.”

Excerpted from How to talk like a Canadian – a 12-step program, culled from various sources and originally posted by Dan York.


  1. trifecta says:

    Without Bryan Adams, Justin Bieber, and Alan Thicke our cultural lives would be empty. Thank you Canada!

  2. Tom Buckner says:

    Reminds me of something I read the other day (quote not exact): “I just flew ten times in six weeks and never once got x-rayed or intrusively searched by the TSA. What’s my secret?”

    “I live in Canada!”

  3. Deus Ex Machina says:

    Rush is my favorite band, despite Neil Peart’s stiffy for Ayn Rand…

  4. Deus Ex Machina says:

    Venetian Snares is also from Canada.


  5. John says:

    “Ok, uh, we found this mouse in a bottle of Elsinore beer that we bought
    at your beer store, eh? And we heard that when that happens you get
    your beer free.”

    Ha! I love that movie.

  6. TJ says:

    “Ha! I love that movie.”

    Love that movie, too… classic

  7. Hey, as it happens I’m in the middle of writing an epic, sure to sell and be made into a movie-please-oh-please novel, with heavy autobiographical overtones about the Toronto punk scene in the late Seventies, and I found, just today, references to my old neighborhood, the Jane-Finch area, as “The Toughest Neighborhood in Canada”. Now, I knew it was pretty ghetto at the time, but that’s wicked bollocks, eh? I dint even know I was so gritty. Get out you hose-heads!
    Happy Canada Day, and don’t f*ck w/me ’cause I’m from you-know-where.

  8. Deus Ex Machina says:

    “He’s seen ‘Jedi’ seventeen times, eh?”

  9. M L says:

    Hey Mike:

    There’s a mistake in your article. Canada started out with FOUR colonies: what are now the provinces of Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia.

    Also a word of advice to anybody hoping to score a job at Linemar. I wouldn’t use “eh” at all during the interview. Only “back woods” Canadians use “eh” as often as American (and Canadian) comedians like to joke about. Using “eh” might lead your interviewer to believe that you don’t think he or she can speak proper English or is not well educated.

  10. Tom Buckner says:

    “Luke! I’m your father, eh. Give in to the dork side, you knob!”