Tim Horton's, eh - Lila Huang

Illustration: Lila Huang


Dear World,

As patriots of the home and native land, we would like to begin with a “sorry,” our national motto. Although the official paperwork is still pending, Bob (you know, the one from Saskatchewan?) has sent his moose to deliver a message to John (the one from the province of Toronto?). Additionally, a live broadcast from Justin Bieber had shut down the entire country for a week, but now there will be no further delays, eh.

This, it has come to our knowledge, is the way Canadians are perceived outside of our little bubble of snow. With the numerous stereotypes that have attached themselves to Canada, it may seem as though we are inhabitants of a completely different planet. In fact, some have even approached us with these absurd ideas and demanded to know why we intoxicate ourselves with Tim Hortons coffee and ride polar bears to school. These false accusations are a matter of great concern, and a confrontation is quite necessary. This letter is written to address common stereotypes about Canada, in hopes of eliminating a false identity that represents our country.

One common misconception that is associated with Canada is the idea of an endless winter. It is assumed that we live in igloos with polar bears and pet moose and temperatures that make Antarctica blush. Although Northern parts of the country see a habitual decrease in temperature, Canada’s most populated regions do not experience a year-round winter. All four seasons are enjoyed in Southern parts of the country. In fact, some summers witness so much heat, that Canadians can be seen praying for the cold.

Moreover, some believe that Canadians inhale, breathe, and die without Tim Hortons; our patriotism for the nation allows us to buy nothing but Canadian coffee. When asked, residents of the country definitely do not define drinking their coffee as a patriotic act. The abundance of Tim Horton shops on Canadian streets may be the only reason why we drink a little too much of their coffee. Although these shops are located at the corner of almost every street, other chains are also visible. Starbucks, Second Cup and many others cafés are around town, and are a popular choice with many Canadians.

Our music, according to other nations, is composed entirely of Justin Bieber. His preppy songs play on repeat in our streets and one of them could even replace our national anthem. This, of course, is a false accusation that Canadians have heard one time too many. Canada has produced many renowned artists who have gained fame at an international level. Drake, whose songs have reached out to youth all around the world, is a Canadian-born artist. Other Canadian legends, like Bryan Adams and Celine Dion, have produced powerful ballads and gained worldwide recognition for their work.

Generally, we are nice people. But some stereotypes simply have us rolling our eyes. There seems to be a widespread illusion that our population is so small that we all know Sally from Brampton, or Bill from Newfoundland. Canada, FYI, is the second largest country in the world,  and it has a population of 35 million people. Sorry to break it to you, but we do not know your great aunt Emma.

The usage of the word ‘eh’ is described with quite some exaggeration when defining Canadian speech. Want to imitate Canadians? Simply add ‘eh’ to every single sentence you utter and you will fit right into the typical Canadian crowd.  Please, don’t embarrass yourselves. In reality, the only thing that you will achieve by doing this is angering Canadians. Yes, we might throw around a couple of ‘ehs’ here and there in our conversations, but this is quite rare. In fact, many Canadians do not ever use ‘eh’ in their speech. Shocker, right?

The entire world seems to believe that ice hockey is the only known sport in Canada. This is a misconception that might anger some Canadians. Canada has, throughout its history, gained worldwide recognition for its ice hockey skills, but proclaiming that this is the only sport we know is generally not the truth. We enjoy a variety of sports. We watch them, and play them, just like everyone else. And it’s not just winter sports we know to play. Basketball, baseball, soccer and all other types of sports are enjoyed by Canadians (did you know that basketball was invented by a Canadian??).

Finally, the standard of Canadian politeness is one of the biggest stereotypes that we hear about our home and native land. I will admit that this cannot be denied—we are generally really nice people. A lot of “sorry’s” and “thank you’s” can be expected in a Canadian conversation, but just as all other humans, Canadians do experience rare bouts of anger and irritation. Keep that in mind when you next decide to venture up north.

So the next time you approach a Canadian, remember that we are quite sensitive about the absurd stereotypes that we are falsely accused of. Please do not ask us about our abnormal caffeine intake or pet polar bears. Thank you for your consideration.

Frustrated Canadians

P.S. Sorry, sorry, sorry if we sounded too harsh.