17 Things About Canada Unknown to Most Americans

The US and Canada may be right next to each other, but many Americans don’t actually know that much about their neighbors. Whether it’s incorrect assumptions or cultural differences, there are plenty of things Americans struggle to understand about Canada, including the following 17 examples.

Free Healthcare

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One of the greatest benefits of living in Canada is free healthcare, something that most Americans would love to see. Canadian healthcare is universal and funded by taxes, so massive hospital bills like those Americans receive are unheard of in Canada. This makes life much more secure for Canadians.

Multiple Work Breaks

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Many Americans are not aware that Canadians enjoy multiple work breaks throughout the day. Business Insider reveals that Canadian employees are entitled to a 30-minute break every 5 hours, as well as an entire day off each week. Meanwhile, we Americans usually only get one break per day for lunch.

Non-Native Leaders

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In the US, all presidential candidates must be born Americans, but this isn’t the case in Canada. Not only do they have a Prime Minister instead of a President, but candidates aren’t required to be Canadian. In fact, four of Canada’s Prime Ministers so far have been non-Canadian by birth.

Bagged Milk

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Americans drink plenty of milk, usually packaged in cartons or bottles, but Canadians take a very different approach: bagged milk. Also called a ‘milk bladder,’ this bagged milk is more cost-effective and creates less waste. Even if Americans are baffled by bagged milk, Canadians have no plans to stop buying it.

Bunny Hugs

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Like Americans, most Canadians call hooded sweatshirts’ hoodies’, but in the province of Saskatchewan, they have a much cuter name: bunny hugs. This is because Saskatchewan was once overpopulated with rabbits, and clothes were lined with rabbit fur. The name has persevered, though it may puzzle Americans.

Maple Syrup Obsession

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Everybody knows Canadians love maple syrup, but most Americans don’t truly understand how deep this obsession runs. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada reports that Canada produces 85% of the world’s maple syrup, thanks to the country having the perfect temperatures for growing maple sap.

One Cent s Don’t Exist

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Canadians used to use one-cent coins, but the country stopped producing them in 2012. The one-cent coin, known as a penny, cost more to manufacture in Canada, and inflation completely eroded its value. Now, Canadian prices are rounded up to the nearest nickel instead, with this process known as ‘penny rounding.’

The Letter ‘U’

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In American English, the letter ‘U’ is omitted from many words where it would usually feature in British English. Canadian English combines both American and British English rules, though it favors British spelling when it comes to including ‘U.’ Canadians spell ‘color’ as ‘colour’ and ‘honor’ as ‘honour,’ something Americans never do.

Constant Apologies

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Everyone talks about how much Canadians apologize, but their constant apologies have a far larger bearing on everyday life than Americans realize. Canada actually has apology laws in place, such as Ontario’s 2009 Apology Act, which protects people from having an apology used as an admission of guilt in courts of law!

The World’s Longest Road

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Canada’s principal highway, the Trans-Canada Highway, is the longest national road in the world. Britannica notes that it stretches across the country for a mind-boggling 4,860 miles, passing through all 10 Canadian provinces. It’s also unique because it’s a mostly completely straight road.

Surprising Celebrities

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Many celebrities are often assumed to be American but are, in fact, Canadian. Celine Dion was born in Quebec, Keanu Reeves was raised in Toronto, Ryan Gosling was born in Ontario, and Michael J. Fox was born in Alberta. It’s not just Americans who make this mistake, though—it’s a worldwide misconception.

Tim Hortons Fixation

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Coffee is the most popular drink in Canada, with more people drinking it than tap water. However, Canadians particularly love coffee from Tim Hortons, the largest chain in the country. There are over 4,000 Tim Hortons coffee shops across Canada, and the franchise’s popularity is certainly not waning.

Waterproof Bills

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Canada has been using plastic bills for years, which puzzles any Americans who see them. They are so well-waterproofed that they can survive any rainstorm or even a wash cycle if you leave them in your pockets. Frustratingly, this means there are never any excuses for not paying bills.

Moose Sightings

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Moose are found in almost every region of Canada, but that doesn’t make seeing one any less shocking. Some Americans assume they are commonly encountered, but it’s actually rare and terrifying. Moose are generally docile animals but have the potential to become aggressive if they feel threatened.

Hockey Mania

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Hockey is to Canadians what football is to Americans. Canadian winters are perfect for playing hockey, but it’s also played in warmer months on artificial ice rinks. The history of Canada’s hockey mania stretches back to the 1800s when it was played on frozen lakes and ponds.

Paying at the Table

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In America, it’s normal for servers to swipe customers’ cards to pay for their meals, but Canadians always pay at the table through portable payment machines. This keeps the customer’s cards far safer than those in America, but there are disadvantages, with Dallas Observer pointing out how paying at the table discourages tipping.

Slang Terms

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Finally, Canadian slang baffles Americans. ‘Eh,’ pronounced ‘ay,’ is used like ‘sorry’ to get somebody to repeat what they’ve said. ‘Loonie’ and ‘toonie’ refer to the Canadian one-dollar and two-dollar coins. ‘Timmies’ is a nickname for Tim Hortons. It’s confusing for Americans, so brush up on slang before you visit!

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