What are some of the common stereotypes associated with Canada that you might encounter while traveling, directed towards people who aren't Canadian?

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belarafon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Because Canada is part of North America, and because much of its custom and culture is similar to that of the United States, many people view the two countries as virtually interchangeable. However, there are a lot of common stereotypes associated with Canada, and these can be seen both in media -- film and literature -- and in everyday life -- conversations with ordinary people.

For example, there is a common myth that all Canadians pronounce the "out" sound as "oot." This is seen in words like "about," which would be pronounced "aboot." While Canada has a slightly different pronunciation base than the U.S., partially because of their British/French heritage, it is not as overt as commonly thought. While a person living in the French sections of Montreal might have an obvious difference in pronunciation, most Canadians speak English roughly the same as in the U.S. or Britain.

Other misconceptions include the size and role of the Canadian military, which is satirized as being tiny and ineffectual; in fact, Canada's standing army is about average for its population size, and is active around the world, supporting Allied missions. The role of Mounties is commonly parodied: the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are not all Dudley Do-Right, and do not wear the red uniform; instead, they are a high-profile police force like any other country, and are considered top-level in their field. French as a second language is taught throughout school, but most Canadians not living in Quebec don't use it every day, and many never use it again. Canada is also not a country in a state of constant snowfall; most of the southern parts of Canada get as warm as their contemporary sites in the U.S., and it is only the high Northern climates which remain cold year-round.

However, most Canadians agree that love of hockey and curling is universal. Canadians are also rumored to be much more placid and genteel than Americans, and that is not altogether untrue; certainly, Canadians are better sports about being lampooned.