Some Things Are Just Different in Canada?

English: Map of Canada
Map of Canada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


No matter where you travel  to, you will find the differences between home and where you visit. Canada has its own style.  Because we are neighbours, we are sometimes put in the same “box” as the United States.  But even though we are all in North America, we certainly differ in a few ways.  What am I rambling on about?


Well, there’s the grammar.  We are more like the British, finishing “or” words as “our”.  For example, “neighbour” and “colour”.  There’s the check / cheque, and centre / center.


There’s also different pronunciation.  For instance, we pronounce “roof” as in “oof”, the Americans pronounce it as “rough”.


There’s food and drink differences too.  I’ve yet to taste New York’s pretzels with mustard; and I would guess not too many Americans are familiar with Poutines or Beaver Tails.  Lay’s potato chips join in the difference: Flavours only available in Canada are Ketchup, Baked creamy dill, Dill pickle, Smokey bacon, Sea salt and pepper, Old-fashioned ketchup.  They also only sell  Roasted Chicken and Fries ‘n gravy (only in western Canada), and Old-fashioned barbecue (only in western Canada).


I remember that on my last trip to the United States, I asked for vinegar for my fries (a given here in Canada) and not only did I get a funny look, but the best they could offer was cider — not the same.  Other treats that are hard to find elsewhere?  Crispy Crunch, Coffee Crisp, Mr. Big, Wunderbar, and Bounty chocolate bars.


Then there’s a difference in Pop /Soda drinks:  We use sugar, where the Americans use corn syrup.  Believe me, that makes a big difference!


I’m sure you can find other differences as well … Let me know what you think.  And if you also know of differences with other countries, let us know.




  1. My goodness can I relate to this post! *LOL* I am a Canadian who lives in Chicago! I am always amazed by the differences between ‘my home and native land’ and ‘Chicagoland’ (or the US, for that matter). Excellent post and as equally excellent blog! I am happy to have found it and now follow as well! 🙂


  2. Yes, there’s differences! Canada is relatively sane, compared to the U.S. I’ve done a fair amount of hitchhiking in Canada, but I would never hitchhike in the lower 48 of the U.S. I’ve spoken to Australians traveling in both countries, and often they welcome the calm of Canada after being in the U.S. That’s not to say I don’t LOVE my country. However, you can love someone and still admit their shortcomings.


  3. There are SO many differences between the US + Canada! I still get culture shock living in Vancouver! And I still giggle when my husband says something is “skookum” or that he was really “choked”. And I always pause when ordering breakfast at a restaurant + the waitress asks if I want white or brown bread. I’ve never heard it called “brown bread” in my life!


    • Really? Wow, that’s interesting. “Skookum” is not one I’ve heard before. Choked, oh yeah, especially, believe it or not, during some really touching ads! LOL What would you call the “brown bread”?


        • Wow, Shelli, that’s interesting! Seriously. Some things we take for granted, eh? Just last night I watched a Maclean’s tv show about “Canadisms” and the guy asked Americans if they knew the definition of some Canadian terminology (ie tuque, two-four …) and it was amazing to me. Thank you for that, I appreciate it!


  4. Here’s something I’ve always wondered about. I grew up in Southern Ontario and lived there til I was 25. Whenever I passed someone on the street, I always made brief eye contact. I live in Southern Maryland now near the DC border and that is considered a challenge. After ten years here, I still fight the urge to do it. My question: was I wrong to do it even in Canada? Do Canadians, by and large, make more eye contact with strangers than the average American does?


  5. I saw a graphic the other day of 55 Canadianisms that apparently confuse Americans and people of other countries. Eavestrough was on the list, which I found odd (but the wordpress spellchecker doesn’t like it either). Once, when I was vacationing with my parents in Maryland, I asked a waitress in a restaurant where the bathroom was. She balked: “You wanna take a bath?” I consented to use “restroom” with a disgruntled sigh. I was 17. I live in Maryland now and it hasn’t happened again. I think I just find the bathrooms by myself now.


  6. Occasionally, Lays puts out flavors in the US that may or may not join the standards. Among them was ketchup-flavored chips. I am a ketchup lover (“Ew! Ketchup on steak!?” “Ew! Ketchup on scrambled eggs!?” “Ew! Ketchup on mashed potatoes!?” …and so on.) but the ketchup-flavored chips were a step too far for me. On the other hand vinegar and sea salt flavored chips were very tasty, but, apparently, not a success in this market: I haven’t seen them lately. They had a cheeseburger-flavored on for a time, too, that was blah.

    Pronunciation varies a bit more than that (roof-rough) from you and within the US, but is sufficient to alert you (or us) to an alien in our land when we hear it. Ha!


    • LOL! So much for disguise, eh? I just cannot imagine cheeseburger-flavoured chips! And, I should point out, I love Ketchup too!! Don’t forget it’s great with shepherd’s pie, too! Thanks for the comment, appreciated! 🙂


  7. One thing in US of A, everything is SUPER size. Here in BC, just enough food on the plate. Definitely, the accent is very noticeable when listening to my american cousins.


  8. As a native of Vermont, Canadian influence is everywhere. In some spots, signs are in, both, French and English and we pronounce “roof” with the “oof”. We know what poutine is and no one would think twice if you asked for vinegar for your fries!


  9. Old Fashioned BBQ, Fries and Gravy are both available here in NS. Also all our pop out east is made with syrup not sugar. Only sugar ones we get are when they have the throw back pepsi available!

    Great blog, love reading!


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