Culture

All about Canadian culture, from people and language to food, drink, books, music, and film

Daily Life

From health care and education, to local eating and shopping, to festivals and things to do, get the scoop on life in Canada

Housing, Jobs, & Money

Finding a home, working, saving, and investing in Canada – here’s how

Immigration

What you need to know to live in, work in, or immigrate to Canada. Citizenship information, too.

Travel

Travel ideas and tips for visiting, touring, and deciding where to live in Canada.

Home » Culture

Are Canadians really nicer than Americans?

Submitted by on August 18, 2011 – 9:20 amOne Comment

Straw people, Manitoulin Island, OntarioAre Canadians really nicer than Americans?

That’s the ques­tion that USA Today writer Jayne Clark asked recently. And her conclusion?

After spend­ing a week in Atlantic Canada and out­lin­ing three instances where she expe­ri­enced “the kind­ness of strangers,” she writes:

…I’d have to say, in gen­eral, Canadians are nicer. Or at any rate, they’re more trusting.…

None of these instances involved big-​​ticket items. But they do illus­trate a ten­dency to assume the other guy (or gal) isn’t out to get the best of you. And that atti­tude was as refresh­ing as the cool sum­mer tem­per­a­tures up north.

In another arti­cle, “Top 10 ways to spot a Canadian,” Globe and Mail colum­nist Judith Timson weighed in on the nice­ness issue, too. Among her comments:

You’re a Canadian if you’ve politely said, “I’m sorry” at least once in the past week to some­one who jos­tled YOU in the sub­way, but you pri­vately swear more than Americans, Brits or Aussies. (It’s true! We’re the best damn swear­ers around.)

You’re a Canadian if you refile your taxes to cor­rect a tiny mis­take, wait patiently at a red light to cross the street even though no car is com­ing, and address a surly American cus­toms guard as Sir even after he has men­ac­ingly threat­ened not to let you into his coun­try because of some minor omis­sion on your cus­toms card.

…In short, you’re a Canadian if you’re nice but not too nice, def­er­en­tial to author­ity but still ready to insist on jus­tice, espe­cially when it comes to rogue cops, and if you don’t need a UN quality-​​of-​​life sur­vey to con­vince you that you live in the best damn coun­try in the world.

You might also be inter­ested in these posts about Canadian “niceness:”

Living in Canada…an expe­ri­ence that per­ma­nently changes most American expats

Say “please,” please

We’re not bor­ing — really!

What do you think? Do Canadians deserve their rep­u­ta­tion for niceness?

Please leave a com­ment and share your experiences.

Happy cou­ple on Manitoulin Island (ON) photo ©Carolyn B. Heller

 

 

One Comment »

  • Zhu says:

    I find Canadians very polite and gen­er­ally nice to each other. I.e. peo­ple queue, help each oth­ers, chat with strangers, are gen­er­ally patient when wait­ing etc. French aren’t!

    I guess it depends if you are in a large city or in a small town. I found peo­ple nice enough in LA for instance, and I was surprised.