Happy Canada Day

In case you thought you knew something about Canada… Or, here’s few tips about how to behave when the Americans are looking:

* In Canada’s western and Atlantic Provinces, a firm handshake and direct eye contact are expected when meeting a fellow Canadian. However, in Quebec, you should be prepared to firmly shake hands when meeting and also when taking leave of another person. ( LH: We are making direct eye contact because we are wondering wtf is going on with your hand grabbing gestures…)

* The Continental way of dining (by taking and keeping the fork in the left hand, the knife in the right) is the most common way for Canadians to eat. Still, some nationals do dine American style by shifting the fork from one hand to the other. (LH: We aren’t quite coordinated enough to do all the shifting…we hope you don’t mind….)

* To get a Canadian waiter’s attention because you want to be served the bill, make a motion with your hands as if you were signing an imaginary piece of paper. (LH: We think it’s cute when you make silly motions with your hands, luckily we’re very good at paying attention to the movements of Americans and so can figure out what you are wanting from us…)

* Most Canadian tipping practices are like that of the U.S. The exception is in most restaurants, where a service charge of 10 to 15 percent is automatically added to the tab. To reward superior service, you may want to add another 5 percent in cash. (LH: Um, that 15% is actually tax!)

* Good manners mean more in Canada. For instance, men almost always rise when women enter a room, sunglasses and hats come off during any conversation, and whenever possible, one blows his or her nose after leaving the room. (LH: I haven’t seen this in action, but okay, if you say so…and um people, anyone know why we blow our noses when we leave a room?)

* In Quebec, eating on the street is considered in very bad taste. (LH: Maybe, but it rarely tastes bad…)

* Canadian English is not always akin to the English we speak in the U.S. Often, British pronunciations and spellings take precedence although American slang is understood and often used by Canadians as well. The occasional “eh” used at the end of a sentence or an “oot” instead of an “out” are considered by some to be Canadian trademarks — though I have heard friends from Minnesota take on that very same vernacular. (LH: We are not Minnesota nice, we’re barely tolerating the way you’re slaughtering the King’s english…)

And a few other bits you might want to note:

British Columbia is perhaps the most unconventional province, engaged with a more entreprenurial spirit than you are apt to find in the Eastern provinces.

Quebec and other French-speaking areas of Canada are said to be strongly nationalistic, very much influenced by European standards. French-speaking Canadians are considered to be more reserved than their southern neighbors in the U.S. However, people from this Province tend to be more animated than they are in other parts of Canada, hence their nickname of “Latins of the North.”

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