Don’t get me wrong, I like (most) American people. And I completely understand it being difficult to distinguish between the Canadian and American accents. But when British people treat me as an American without even asking where I’m from, it gets rather frustrating. A typical conversation can run something like this:
– Hey, you all right?
– Yes, I’m fine, how are you?
– I’m all right… Hey, I heard Obama got elected – that’s brilliant! Did you vote?
– Well, I voted in the Canadian national election a year or so back…
– Oh, you’re not American?
– No, I’m from Canada.
– Oh…I really shouldn’t have said that, then…
– Yeah, everyone makes that mistake…
– So does England seem really warm to you, then?
People are always so chagrined when they realize they’ve confused Canadians with Americans – I guess word gets around that we don’t like it! But really I have no problem with the confusion – it’s just when people make assumptions that it gets annoying. Why, oh why, doesn’t anyone think to ask questions like: Where are you from? Are you from the USA or Canada? It’s almost like Canada doesn’t even exist in some people’s minds…
Fortunately, there is a solution! I present to you…
GOING ON EXCHANGE – EDUCATING OTHERS ABOUT CANADA, ONE DAY AT A TIME!
Common points that are great conversation-starters:
YES, Canada can be seen as America’s hat… BUT, if true, you also have to accept that America can be seen as Canada’s underwear.
YES, Canada has bears. NO, the black bears in Ontario are not likely to kill you, unless they are starving and you perish in defence of your camping cooler.
YES, Canada has snow. YES, even in southern Ontario it gets below -20C. NO, we do not get half the winter off school because snow happens to be on the ground.
YES, Canadians say “about” differently from Americans. NO, we do not say “a-boot.”
YES, the affairs of the British royal family are quite popular in Canada. And YES, Canada has fireworks for Queen Victoria’s birthday – something even the British don’t celebrate!
YES, Canada is one of the safest, most tolerant, and democratic countries in the world to live (despite the fact that we always complain about our government). NO, we are not often overtly patriotic (except about hockey). But YES, we are proud to be Canadian!