The Weirdest Things About Canadian Culture

The Weirdest Things About Canadian Culture

Moose roaming the streets, strange letter pronunciation, horrifying PSAs—Canada comes with its own culture and we’re here to break down some of the strangest things about it. 

1. Poutine is a Thing

French fries? Check. Cheese curds? Check. Gravy to top it all off? Also, check. There, you just learned all about one of Canada’s favorite dishes, and it’s called poutine. It’s so popular, in fact, that not only are there restaurants dedicated to poutine dishes only, but food trucks and fast food joints also sell them. 

Poutineee@withlovefromchile on Unsplash

2. Strange Banknotes 

In 2011, Canada threw caution to the wind and got rid of paper money. What replaced it was a plastic banknote that’s see-through, waterproof, and smells like syrup. No, we’re not kidding. 

Piggybank-Pxla Z0Iq24-UnsplashPhoto by PiggyBank on Unsplash

3. Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons may be a below-average coffee place, but it’s well-loved by Canadians everywhere. The moose people insist on getting their coffee and donuts here—and put up with the chain’s attempts at pizza, sandwiches, and soup. 

Conor-Samuel-6Tj8Wubdxjk-UnsplashPhoto by Conor Samuel on Unsplash

4. Overly Polite

“Oh, sorry.” “Excuse me, sorry.” “Sorry about that.” Expect this and more if you ever venture to Canada because just about everyone apologizes for everything. (All bets are off if you’re at a lacrosse or hockey game, though.)

Brooke-Cagle-Norsyxmhgpi-UnsplashPhoto by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash


5. Weird Chip Flavors

Ketchup chips are very much a thing in Canada, but additional weird flavors also haunt shelves. “All Dressed” is exclusively a Canadian thing and as the name suggests, its flavor can combine anything from ketchup, vinegar, and onion. 

Ketchup ChipsClovermoss on Wikimedia Commons

6. Bagged Milk

Say hello to the most impractical packaging of all time. Yes, bagged milk—three bags, to be exact, that come in a larger bag and are sold in stores everywhere. You then cut a small hole in one of the bags, place it in a pitcher, and pour from there. 

Bagged Milk In Store (3293358107)Kevin Qiu on Wikimedia Commons

7. Their Own English

We know that Canadians have their own way of saying things (like the letter Z for example), but they have their own way of spelling things, too. Words like color, fiber, and theater are spelled colour, fibre, and theatre respectively. Sadly, that’s not even where it ends. 

Esperanza-Doronila-T3Lfwvu3Ixw-UnsplashPhoto by Esperanza Doronila on Unsplash

8. Free Healthcare

Say what you want about Canadian culture, at least healthcare is free. That’s right, no more selling a kidney to pay for hospital births. Oh, and free healthcare includes ambulance rides, too. 

Martha-Dominguez-De-Gouveia-Kf-H9Hmxrkg-UnsplashPhoto by Martha Dominguez de Gouveia on Unsplash

9. Grade 8, Not Eighth Grade

Canadians don’t really have the whole sophmore and senior thing. From grades one through 12, it’s literally “grade one, grade two, grade three,” and so on. Additionally, though middle schools technically exist in Canada, they’re not as prevalent and grades one through eight often attend the same school.

Redd-F-9O8Ydygtt64-UnsplashPhoto by Redd F on Unsplash

10. Love of Kraft Dinner 

Upon first glance, Kraft dinner isn’t much to look at. It’s a simple blue box filled with noodles and the brightest cheese sauce you ever did see, but Canadians swear by it. Evidently, it’s even better if you add cut up hot dogs or your own seasoning to really give that mac and cheese some flair. 

1024Px-Kraft Dinner, Classic Prep 2Bodhi Peace on Wikimedia Commons


11. Different Currencies

For those unfamiliar with Canadian Tire, think of it as the north’s Home Depot. What really makes it special is that each purchase comes with its own banknote coupon—currency branded with fictional character Sandy McTire, an old man who looks a cross between Colonel Sanders and Ed Gein. You’ll need to spend a lot of dough to make a little back, though, because amounts only range from five cents to two dollars. 

Canadiantire2900Majormackenzie3Raysonho @ Open Grid Scheduler / Grid Engine on Wikimedia Commons

12. Terrifying PSAs

PSA, also known as public service announcements, are meant to stick with you. After all, they’re all about keeping you safe in the workplace or during playtime, but Canadian PSAs are in a league of their own. We’re mainly thinking of that one poor chef who slipped in the kitchen with a pot of boiling water…and that’s all we’ll say about that

Pinho-Yjxatmcpdgs-UnsplashPhoto by Pinho . on Unsplash

13. Smarties Aren’t Candy

Americans know Smarties as delicious chalky candies, but that’s not the case for Canadians. In Canada, those candies are called “Rockets” and Smarties are candy-coated chocolate pieces akin to M&Ms. Good luck explaining that one. 

Smarties Redone 2 (20546225)Mark Probst on Wikimedia Commons

14. Random Moose

It’s hard to defend against a stereotype that’s literally true. Moose don’t only wander on highways—these two-ton animals are known to frequent backyards and rural streets alike, often caught on video for wide-eyed viewers to see. 

Shivam-Kumar-Mviqwqvkwg4-UnsplashPhoto by Shivam Kumar on Unsplash

15. Hockey Obsession

Canadians are some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet…until you go to a hockey game. Stanley Cup playoffs led to riots for several years there, with no police car or brick-and-mortar store safe from damage. 

Mariah-Hewines-S3Biuan-Wjo-UnsplashPhoto by Mariah Hewines on Unsplash

16. Everything’s More Expensive

There’s a reason Canadians travel south to shop. Everything from groceries right down to housing costs an arm and a leg (and maybe your first-born). So, even if you’re only planning to visit, you may want to pack a little extra spending money. 

Jacek-Dylag-Jo8C9Bt3Uo8-UnsplashPhoto by Jacek Dylag on Unsplash


17. Rude Geese

Moose may roam around, but at least they keep to themselves. Geese, on the other hand, are notorious bullies who chase down pedestrians for no reason. They honk, they hiss, they snap their ugly little mouths at you, and absolutely no one is safe.

Michael-Walker-Vcfnryrpkci-UnsplashPhoto by Michael Walker on Unsplash

18. Exclusive Snacks

Exclusive Canadian snacks don’t stop with chip flavors. Chocolate bars like Coffee Crisp and Crispy Crunch are off the table for Americans—and in the most Canadian thing ever, they also have maple syrup on snow candy, also known as maple syrup taffy. 

Maple Syrup Popsicle (6974621697)Jaime Walker on Wikimedia Commons

19. Clamato Cocktails

Don’t expect Bloody Marys in Canada. Sure, you can order one, but their national drink is the Caesar, which is basically the same thing except it swaps out tomato juice for clamato juice (a mix of tomato and clam juice). 

Another Smokepit Caesar At Dusty's (26892137501)Ruth Hartnup on Wikimedia Commons

20. Funky Coin Names

Oh, you’re used to half-dollars and dollars? Not in Canada! 50-cent coins aren’t circulated there and one-dollar coins are known as loonies. Canada also has a two-dollar coin known as a toonie. Thankfully, it stops there. 

Kanada- 2010 - Münzkabinett, Berlin - 5506937Reinhard Saczewski on Wikimedia Commons