Americans like to think they know their northern neighbors, but how much about Canada do they truly understand?  Unfortunately, there are some misconceptions that, although humorous, need to be cleared up.

Canada and America are very similar until they aren’t, so get to know these differences before you travel to this magical country!

Everyone Is Incredibly Friendly

There’s a cliche that everyone is incredibly friendly in Canada.  Although they can be nicer, they’re not going to give you free St. Albert real estate simply because you asked for it.  Most people in Canada are polite, not friendly, which can be a misconception most people deal with.  Being polite means avoiding problems or issues and being kind even when you’re mad.  This is closer to what most Canadians are like.

The Winters Are Harsh Everywhere

Some think of Canada as a winter wonderland and have trouble shaking that idea.  Some parts of Canada are warmer than other parts of America, though! For example, Victoria, British Columbia, has great winter weather that only rarely dips below freezing.  Although some areas are colder than others, this allows you to live in Canada without dealing with all of the snow and slush.

Milk Only Comes In Bags

Ten to fifteen years ago, it became public knowledge that in some areas of Canada, bagged milk is a popular item to get instead of cartons or jugs.  This surprised a lot of Americans: and now many of them think that milk only comes in a bag in Canada. But, unfortunately, although this fantastic way to get your calcium is popular in areas like Ontario, it’s not the case for most of the country. Much of Canada uses jugs and cartons the same as any American city.

Toronto is the Capital of Canada

A surprising 73% of Americans think that Toronto is the capital of Canada.  Although this can be a little funny and makes sense if you consider that Toronto is the most discussed city in the country: Ottawa is the capital.  Just a five-hour drive away, the correct capital of the country offers endless museums and art galleries that have earned its reputation as an intelligent and creative city.

The Whole Country Speaks French

Although it’s important to be able to speak either English or French if you’re in Canada: not everyone speaks both languages.  Only 21% of Canadians speak French, and 67% speak English.  This means that if you speak English, you should be mostly covered and understood, but you should be aware that some areas in eastern Canada do speak primarily French.  You don’t have to be bilingual, but you should be mindful of where the language barrier may be.

Canada will surprise you time and time again, even if you think you know what to expect from the country.  Get to know these differences between the country and your assumptions, and quickly learn that there’s much more to Canada than happy smiles and hockey!