Does Canada Have aCulture?History and Conflict:Canada is a ‘new world’ country. It’s landmass was first inhabited by the First Nations People. Then, it was “discovered” and colonised by French, English, Dutch, Irish, and United States’ “Americans”.Because of this history of many cultures, Canadians sometimes felt like they did not have a distinct culture.There’s a few other reasons Canadians felt they did not have their own culture.
Those “other” reasons: • Other landmasses “re-discovered” by Britain had unique differences: America was founded by a war with Britain; India had it’s own language and religion before Europeans arrived; Australia was separated by distance and a large population of like-minded people.
2. Canada was not formed all at once. Certain areas did not decide to become a part of the 1867 Confederation of the Dominion of Canada until they were ‘good and ready’. This meant that there were settlements which had established their own communities and identities. Because of the joining of Canada was essentially an act of parliament (and not an act of war, or a joining of culture) Canada never really created a culture that suited everyone’s culture.
We didn’t even all have the same language toshare. That’s actually why Canada isbilingual: French and English are our main languages because we had a large populace of both (and no one wanted to give up their language!)
SO Canadians often felt like they didn’t have a“Canadian” Culture . There were a number of intellectuals discussing this; many people said our history I once took a was uninspiring and because we university course didn’t have a united culture, we that debated this topic all year. didn’t have a culture! Many people said, “NO!”, we do have a culture. And they tried to articulate it. Poets Margaret It was so Atwood and Robert Frost wrote boring. about ‘snow’ and the Group of Seven painted our landscapes. But, it didn’t unite us all…
In 1980 and 1997, Quebec held a Referendum, to vote on whether or notQuebec should be a part of Canada anymore. Many of the French speakersin Quebec felt their French culture would do better outside of Canada. It wasa very sad weekend for many Canadians. The votes were tallied. It was decided! Quebec would stay a part of Canada!
But this decision only came through in a marginal percentage.Because the votes were so even (50.58% "No" to 49.42% "Yes“)there was still a strong sentiment of dislike for English-Canadafrom French Canada. English Canada was mostly glad that theywere staying (there are many natural resources in Quebec!)Overall, the Referendums left a “bad taste” in the mouths of manyCanadians.Managing to promote French and English culture in Canada at thesame time, has been a source of great tension ever since bothcultures immigrated in the late 1700s.
To Ease the tensions:•We do things like have instructions on all products inFrench AND English!•And, all of the signs in Quebec are in French ONLY. (Thisreally upsets many English speakers).•All Canadians learn French and English in school (but mostlyEnglish). I was taught 20 minutes of French a day from Grade 2– Grade 8. And I had to take French in Grade 9. I stopped afterGrade 10. That was really stupid.
But all of that Changed, when Canada foundsomething they had in Common! Beer! This is the Molson Canadian Beer Company Advertisement that identified Canadians’ Culture in the most agreeable way!
After “Joe’s Speech” Things Changed inCanada: •People started getting Canadian Maple Leaf Tattoos! •Everyone began sewing Canadian Flags onto their backpacks! •And we all ran to the top of the obesity statistics from drinking too much beer! Just kidding. (Kind of)
Things Canadians are Proud of: •Our Maple Syrup is the best (taste some!) •Our hockey players are the best (the best NHLers all come from Canada) Eg. Wayne Gretzky, Sydney… •We have the best skiing (Rocky Mountains in Calgary and British Columbia) •We can snow-shoe to neighbours’ dinner parties. •We have ski-dooing highways. •We have Neil Young, Sarah McLaghlin AND Anne Murray! •Our National Anthem is one of the world’s most patriotic! •Mr. Wilms told me we produced some of the best ’80s bands!
Canadian Phrases and Slang:•“How’s it going?” or “How are you doing?” = “How areyou going?” (in Aussie…which doesn’t make a lot of sense…)•“Garbage” = “bin” (A bin for Canadians is like a plastic bin,not for garbage!)•“Grades” = “Years” (eg. Grade 11 = Year 11)•it’s McDonalds – not MacDonalds!