If I am being honest, I must admit there are ways in which I am a bad Canadian. I don’t watch or in any way follow hockey, for example; I get wildly bored watching any televised sports. Though I know how, I don’t ski or skate; in fact, with the occasional exception of snowshoeing (which is really just winter hiking), I don’t practice any winter sports. Oh, and I can take or leave bacon, Canadian or otherwise; yes, I realize that doesn’t just make me a bad Canadian but a straight-up monster.
But, then, in other ways, I am almost painfully Canadian. Here, I present to you ten ways in which I am a near caricature, a veritable stereotype of the Canadian male.
I am more at ease in the wilds than I am in cities
Given that I grew up in the country, I didn’t learn to properly navigate a city until I was well into my teens, if not my early twenties. But, for as long as I can remember, my every summer was spent camping, so I am familiar not only with the woods, but with tents and camp fires and living out of a cooler. It’s the reason watching the Blair Witch Project was more stultifying and frustrating than scary…
I learned to chop wood when I was around ten
Of course, we had electric heat, but to save money, my parents chose to heat the house using the woodstove as often as was possible. This required a steady supply of wood logs, split into stove-friendly chunks. So, yeah, spring and summer were spent chopping wood. It’s great exercise and I still love it as an activity.
I never buy maple syrup
I don’t have to buy maple syrup; my parents make their own. It’s not a big operation, the equivalent of a hobby farm or home brewing, but it’s been enough to keep me entirely syrup-independent. The stuff also makes a great gift.
I routinely wear plaid work shirts unironically
That pic is actually of my father, but I’ve got my own similar jacket. Trust me, it is not a fashion-forward item of clothing, but for those cold autumn hikes in the woods, it’s hard to beat.
I’m only moderately ambitious
To be brutally honest, Canada is not viewed as a terribly ambitious country. Globally speaking, we seem content with being invited to the big important parties; we feel no need to be the center of attention and, if ever we did, we’d probably apologize for hogging the spotlight. Sorry if this article is getting a little long, by the way…
I’m a liberal
Let’s be clear, not all Canadians are liberals or progressives, but Justin Trudeau may as well be the personification of the world’s perception of Canadians. Let’s just say that I identify with JT far more than I did the android that preceded him.
I think that “long” road trip you took is adorable
I remember, while teaching in South Korea, I showed my students a map of the world. I pointed out Korea, then indicated Canada. I explained that, having spent four days on a train from Toronto to Vancouver (and another four days back), I wasn’t too concerned with the six hour bus ride required to cross their own nation. Canada is a big country, and so, to us, any travel time under two hours qualifies as a “jaunt”.
I think your “strong” beer is adorable
A few of our local beers translate from French to “The Damned”, “The End of the World”, and “Devil’s Hole”. Make of that what you wish.
I’ve tasted multiple variations of poutine, including breakfast poutine
Breakfast poutine used hash browns instead of fries and Hollandaise sauce instead of gravy. It was a heart attack on a plate and it was delicious.
I’ve eaten beaver tail
Only fellow Canadians will understand