There are many myths about Canada or Canadians that are untrue or partially untrue. Many of these myths have to do with topics such as weather, culture and history.
Myth #1- Canadians do not have paved roads.
Canadians drive cars, ride bikes, walk and use public transit to get around, just as Americans do. In some more rural areas, there are roads that are unpaved, but in most areas the roads are covered by asphalt.
Myth #2- Canada’s national sport is hockey
Canada actually has two national sports: ice hockey and lacrosse. Lacrosse claims to have been a national sport of Canada far longer than hockey. It is said that lacrosse was declared to be Canada's national sport in 1859, but no official record of that has ever been found. In any event, it is worth noting that 1859 was eight years before Canada came into being as a nation.
In 1994, Bill C-121 made hockey the official Canadian winter sport and lacrosse became Canada’s official summer sport. Although both sports are officially national sports, hockey is generally considered Canada’s most popular sport. Canadians also invented basketball in addition to hockey.
Myth #3- Canadian Policemen all dress in red.
Mounties wear red on special occasions, but are otherwise dressed in regular policing uniforms. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) is best known for its musical ride where policemen perform in costume. The RCMP is Canada’s national policing force that is employed by over 190 municipalities, 184 aboriginal communities and three of Canada’s international airports.
Myth #4- All Canadians speak both official languages, English and French, and the words "eh" and "aboot" are commonly used by everyone.
Some Canadians have an accent that consists of saying "eh" at the end of questions, but not all Canadians speak in the same way. Canada is a large country consisting of many cultures and languages. The most popular language in Canada is English followed by French, then Chinese. There are over 100 different languages spoken at home by Canadians. Not all Canadians speak French, just like not all Canadians speak English, although both are Canada’s official languages. A 2001 census reported that 9/10 Canadians speak either French or English at home, 59% of Canadians say that English is their mother-tongue (language spoken from childhood), while 23% of Canadians say that French is their mother tongue.
Myth #5- Canada is covered in several feet of snow all year round, and temperatures are always below freezing.
Although Canada does receive snow in the winter in most areas, highs above 30 degrees Celsius are often reached in the summer. Canadian temperatures are extremely varied from location to location. The northern parts of Canada receive considerably more snow than cities closer to the United States border.
Stereotypes from Canadian History
Cultures and people are often portrayed in stereotypical and frequently untrue ways, due to the fact that broad generalizations are often made, despite the fact that each person is different. Many of the people belonging to each category did exhibit some or even all of the stereotypical traits at one time or another, but very few, if any, showed all of these traits all of the time. Some of the most common misconceptions about historical people in Canada are listed below.
British: Inconsiderate brutes at some times, and at other times they are perfectly saintly "good-guys." Some textbooks portray the British settlers as either destroying the Indian way of life and culture and decimating the land, or being the heroic warriors who have gained territory or other assets for their glorious country. In actuality, some were inconsiderate or brutish, perhaps by nature or because of the environment they were in, but the belief that these people had no respect for other cultures was more the fact that many felt their society to be superior to others.
French: People whose entire purpose is to ruin the plans of the British and to oppose their rule of North America.
Indians (First Nations): War-loving, sneaky, savage, innocent to the point that they were robbed of their land and furs by Europeans, cheated into trading luxurious furs for cheap and worthless trinkets and beads, heathens with no faith or religion, filthy, ferocious, superstitious peoples.
Metis: Robbed of the buffalo by white settlers, when in fact they were also actively involved in the depletion
- "A Short History of Lacrosse in Canada". Canadian Lacrosse Association. http://www.lacrosse.ca/Default.aspx?cid=83&lang=1.
- "National Sports of Canada Act"
- Bellis, Mary. "History of Basketball - James Naismith." About.com: Inventors. About.com. 25 Mar 2009 <http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/blbasketball.htm>
- "About the RCMP." Royal Canadian Mounted Police. 25 FEB 2009. Royal Canadian Mounted Police. 24 Mar 2009 <http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/about-ausujet/index-eng.htm>.
- "Climate and Weather in Canada : Trail Canada." Trail Canada. Perargo Media. 25 Mar 2009 <http://www.trailcanada.com/canada/weather/>.
- Cranny, Michael, Graham Jarvis, Garvin Moles, and Bruce Seney.Horizons: Canada Moves West. '1st ed'. Toronto, ON: Pearson Education Canada, Inc., 1999.
- Francis, Daniel. National Dreams. illustrated. arsenal pulp press, 1997.