24
   

Canada: the English & the French ...

 
 
Francis
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Dec, 2009 04:11 am
@msolga,
See? My agenda works...
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Dec, 2009 04:12 am
@msolga,
OK, then ...

Canada.
We were talking about Canada. Smile
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Dec, 2009 04:12 am
@Francis,
Francis wrote:

And I can be myself, at times, a chauvinist pig...
Quote:
Dans les années 1960 et 1970, le terme chauvinisme fut employé par le mouvement féministe pour taxer le système familial d'être patriarcal.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Dec, 2009 04:14 am
@Walter Hinteler,
Jeez, Walter, don't you start!

I think I might go watch some TV till the Canadians wake up! Wink
Francis
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Dec, 2009 04:16 am
@Walter Hinteler,
J'étais pas père, dans ces années là...

And I'm not a patriarch either..
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Dec, 2009 04:46 am
@msolga,
Francis wrote:

J'étais pas père, dans ces années là...


Encore calculant ... Wink


msolga wrote:

Jeez, Walter, don't you start!

I think I might go watch some TV till the Canadians wake up! Wink


It's finished now (have to make the meal).

There's a really good Wallander film on 'Prime' just now ...
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Dec, 2009 04:49 am
Enjoy it, Walter. Smile

Now, a little musical interlude, followed by a message from our sponsors ...:

0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Dec, 2009 04:57 am
@msolga,
Until recently in Canadian history, Americans have been the largest immigrant group. They began arriving almost immediately after our revolution, too. During and after the War of 1812, many Americans were suspect, and many were hanged--quite a few in no better than a lynch mob mentality. The same thing happened in the uprisings of 1836-38. A lot of Canadians went the other way, too. Despite any rough spots in the road, Canadians and Americans both profited from opportunities in one another's countries.

Most things are similar between the United States and Canada, the differences are minimal. Many of those differences, those which aren't glaringly different (such as in the "ethnic" communities--Chinese, Vietnamese, West Indian, Indian, Pakistani . . . you know, non-European--which you have in some American cities, too) come from the "Englishness" of Canada. You can buy crumpets in the supermarkets, bangers, tea cakes, a gazillion kinds of tea (although they use tea bags, just as the Americans do)--but you also see items and brands familiar from the United States, that you wouldn't necessarily see the rest of the English-speaking world. The automobiles on the streets are just about identical--the "big three" brands of General Motors, Ford and Chrysler, as well as the German and Japanese competition. The chains of gas stations are completely different, except for Flying J, a highway-type fuel center for passenger cars and transports, which is also found in the U.S.

And some words are slightly different, too. Canadians go to a gas bar for the same purpose that Americans go to a gas station--to fill the tank with what i believe you call petrol. What Canadians and most of the English-speaking world call transports, Americans call "Semis" (from semi-tractor trailer)--although "truck" is used in both countries, rather than lorry. Canadians also can't properly pronounce the word schedule, and chronically misspell words such as center, color, humor, etc. Some of their pronunciations are unique Canadian, though. When Canadians (or at least people from Ontario) say about, or house, it's noticeably different, although i don't think i could say it exactly as they do. Older, "English" Canadians (i.e., of European descent even if not actually English) in Ontario make a two syllable word of such words as known, shown, grown--which they pronounce know-wen, show-wen, grow-en; and, many of them make a two syllable word of iron, which they pronounce eye-run, and which Americans pronounce as one syllable: eyern.

The metric system is a slight difference, although there it gets hilarious sometimes. At the gas bar, you buy anti-freeze or windshield wiper fluid in four liter containers, which is a close to a gallon as makes no difference. Although the package may be labeled 454 grams, they are still selling butter by the pound. If you walk into a supermarket, go to the deli counter and ask for pound of ham, that's what you'll get. I have yet to encounter a Canadian, no matter how young, who didn't know what i meant by that. There is a chain of butcher shops call M & M Meats, who don't quibble--they offer their products weighed and marked in pounds and ounces. Even when marked in metric measurements, many items are just the same size as they are in the United States when measured in pounds or ounces. If you go to the "home center" and start talking inches and yards, they know what you mean--although this is one area in which you might get a blank look from younger Canadians.

The metric system seems to have taken most in distance measurement and temperatures. You'd have to convert miles before most Canadians (except for the older ones) knew what the hell you meant. And they use centigrade for temperature measurement, so habitually that i've had even middle aged Canadians give a look like i'm a shameless liar if i talk about temperatures in the 60s--when you start talking about temps in the 80s or 90s, though, it seems to click for them and they understand that you're talking about that other system of measurement. You'd have to convert it for most of them to understand it.

The last big difference is that Canadians are unfailingly polite--and really snarky if you get under their skin. For example, a guy came to the door once representing himself as a representative of a firm of lawyers (you know, solicitors) working for the bank which holds the mortgage (it was all a misunderstanding, as it turned out). I asked him for identification (don't try to get in the door, or even talk to me unless you produce ID), and he got upset. He finally left at a point at which it might have gotten really acrimonious between two Americans, but he wished me a good day--although in a truly hostile tone of voice. He remained courteous, but only in a "technical," superficial way. He was boiling mad (which i rather enjoyed).

There is a motion picture which the late comedian John Candy (a Canadian) made, called Canadian Bacon. He is one of the protagonist, playing a small town Sheriff from the United States. In one scene, he and his cronies are pushing through a crowd in Montreal. They are shoving people out of the way, even knocking some of them down. All the Canadians they are shoving or knocking down are muttering things such as "Excuse me," "Oh, sorry" (they pronounce "sorry" differently than we do, too)--which is a joke only Canadians and a handful of Americans would very likely get.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Dec, 2009 05:21 am
These days, the Canadian dollar hovers around par with the U.S. dollar. I learned long ago that it's best to just judge prices by the local standards, and not try to convert them to U.S. prices. But at the beginning of this decade, the U.S. dollar was trading at around two dollars U.S. to three dollars Canadian. I would often buy a lot of non-perishable groceries, or frozen foods i could put in a cooler, before i crossed back into the U.S. The first time i stopped in a grocery store in Windsor before i crossed back into Detroit, i went kind of crazy. The prices were incredible. There is one product which you find on both sides of the border, called a "macaroni dinner." The high end product is made by Kraft. In the store i stopped at, Kraft "dinners" were selling for 75 cents each. Converted to U.S. at that time, that was 50 cents. In an American store at that time, it would have cost you $1.29. I got a cardboard box and filled it with boxes of macaroni dinner--the people in the store looked at me as though i were slightly balmy, but the border guard in Detroit understood completely. They were selling microwave popcorn for two dollars for a box of three. That's less than the American price, even before you applied the exchange rate, and it said clearly on the box, "product of the United States." It was cheaper to buy American popcorn in Canada than it was in the United States.

Once, crossing from Queenstown, Ontario to Lewistown, New York, there were U.S.D.A. (U.S. Department of Agriculture) inspectors working along side the border guards. I had boxes and boxes of groceries in the back of the jeep. I knew what was allowed (no fresh fruit or vegetables, no meat unless it was frozen--things like that), so i got enthusiastic, and was telling the USDA inspector about the great prices: "Look at these packages of fresh pasta--only 99 cents for a pound!" The border guard got a sullen look on her face and started saying things such as "I know where you can get that cheap in New York," and "Not everything in Canada is cheaper." The USDA inspector and i ignored here while we discussed the great bargains i had gotten.

These days, with the dollars at or near par, many Canadian food items are still cheaper, but it's nothing like it was five years ago when the U.S. dollar was so strong against the Canadian dollar.
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Dec, 2009 05:35 am
@Setanta,
Thanks, Setanta. Interesting ...

I can relate to the metric conversion thing! It took a time (for some reason) for Australians to properly adjust to metric weights & measures, too. The only way I got my own head around it, in the end, was to stop converting the old to the new. Just totally block out the old. Only way to go!

Quote:
There is a motion picture which the late comedian John Candy (a Canadian) made, called Canadian Bacon. He is one of the protagonist, playing a small town Sheriff from the United States. In one scene, he and his cronies are pushing through a crowd in Montreal. They are shoving people out of the way, even knocking some of them down. All the Canadians they are shoving or knocking down are muttering things such as "Excuse me," "Oh, sorry" (they pronounce "sorry" differently than we do, too)--which is a joke only Canadians and a handful of Americans would very likely get.


Oh I can relate to that! I get it. That's what we're like, too. You walk from A to B, constantly going "sorry!" ... "Excuse me" ... "Oh sorry" "Ooops! Pardon me!" Wink Very Happy
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Dec, 2009 05:38 am
Are you beginning to feel Canadian, Setanta? Or do you feel like an American living in Canada? (I think I'd have great difficulty swapping countries at this stage of my life. But then, I guess you're just next door! Smile )
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Dec, 2009 05:57 am
I think I'm asking too many questions. Sorry to put you on the spot, Setanta. If you say you're more Canadian these days, it might not go down well with US A2Kers, would might consider that something of a defection! ... But if you say the opposite, you'll have the Canadians up in arms!: "So what's the matter with Canada, then? Hmmmm?" Perhaps a no win situation. Wink
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Dec, 2009 07:12 am
Naw, you're not asking too many questions. Canada and the U.S. are sufficiently similar that i don't really think it matters. A lot of Americans cross the border, and see more similarities than differences. A lot of Canadians work in the United States, and not all near the border, either. Many of them live in the U.S. full time while they work. People who live in Windsor and who work in Detroit always buy gasoline on the way home, because even with the high prices in Michigan, it's much cheaper than Canada. If they're willing to wait in long lines, they can buy it at the border crossing duty free. Of course, those greedy bastards jack up the price, but it's still cheaper than the rest of Michigan, and way cheaper than Canada. By the same token, Americans who live in Detroit and work in Windsor stock up on groceries on the way home.

A lot of Americans who don't live near the border have been to Canada. If you're going to go see Niagara Falls, it makes much more sense to go to the Canadian side, where the view of the falls is said to be spectacular, and better than the American side. (Ironically, although i've crossed the Niagara River dozens of times, and driven almost within sight of the Falls, i've never been there.) Many Americans visit Canada to go hunting and fishing, so make it an annual thing. Americans can go unnoticed in Canada, and Canadians can go unnoticed in the U.S.

It's no big deal.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Dec, 2009 07:16 am
@Setanta,
Quote:
Americans can go unnoticed in Canada, and Canadians can go unnoticed in the U.S.

It's no big deal.


OK! Smile

0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Sun 13 Dec, 2009 08:58 am
@mushypancakes,
Great to see you, MushyPeas, and to read your take on things.
0 Replies
 
George
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Dec, 2009 10:35 am
@ehBeth,
ehBeth wrote:

Did Whitey get a radio program?

Yep. I guess you remember my speaking of him before.
George
 
  2  
Reply Mon 14 Dec, 2009 10:45 am
@msolga,
msolga wrote:
. . . I've come across Canadians here (at home) & during my
travels who have really resented being mistaken for US citizens (which I can
understand). Canadian identity appeared to be very important. There was
obviously a big issue about a much more powerful neighbour, who they did not
always agree with.

From a few years back :
How can you tell an American backpacker from a Canadian backpacker in
Europe?
The American has two Canadian flags sewn on his pack.
George
 
  3  
Reply Mon 14 Dec, 2009 10:58 am
Several times a year my minivan crosses into Canada at Highgate Springs, VT,
loaded with canned goods and snack food. It returns loaded with baked goods
from Au Pain Dore and a Chinese bakery whose name I forget.

I refuel in Vermont. I assume the gas in Canada is expensive, but it's sold by
liters and paid for with Canadian bucks and I'm just to lazy to do the math.

I still enjoy seeing the first speed limit: 100 sign.

The exit signs in Quebec are fun. St-Amand, St-Pierre-de-Veronne-a-Pike-River,
St-Sebastien, Ste-Anne-de-Sabrevois, St-Jean-sur-Richelieu . . .
it's like driving through the Litany of the Saints.
0 Replies
 
fbaezer
 
  3  
Reply Mon 14 Dec, 2009 12:44 pm

Quote:
Americans can go unnoticed in Canada, and Canadians can go unnoticed in the U.S.

It's no big deal
.

In Mexico, though, you can tell the difference.

Canadians are whiter (some times like a sheet of paper), smile a lot, and always remind you that they're Canadians, not Gringos.

Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Dec, 2009 02:10 pm
@fbaezer,
Interesting, that.
0 Replies
 
 

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