Make Canoe my Homepage

Land of hippo races & spontaneous fire

- January 25th, 2008

Canadians are an oft misinterpreted bunch. Plenty of people think we cuddle up to polar bears in igloos at night and in 2008, Australia even listed Canada as dangerous to visit.

The land down under’s travel advisory website suggested Aussies “exercise caution” when travelling to the great, white, avalanche-infested abyss known as Canada.

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade lists snow, terrorism, ice and forest fires that can burst forth “at any time” as some of our many grave dangers.

Chile, Latvia and South Korea are all listed as being safer to visit than Canada.

This reminds me of an email a co-worker forwarded to our editorial team recently. These queries were made in light of the upcoming Vancouver 2010 Winter Games, and while the answers are sarcastic, the questions are very much real!

Q: I have never seen it warm on Canadian TV, so how do the plants grow? (England)
A. We import all plants fully grown and then just sit around and watch them die.

Q: Will I be able to see polar bears in the street? (USA)
A: Depends on how much you’ve been drinking.

Q: I want to walk from Vancouver to Toronto – can I follow the railroad tracks? (Sweden)
A: Sure, it’s only four thousand miles, take lots of water.

Q: Is it safe to run around in the bushes in Canada? (Sweden)
A: So it’s true what they say about Swedes.

Q: Are there any ATM’s (cash machines) in Canada? Can you send me a list of them in Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton and Halifax? (England)
A: What, did your last slave die?

Q: Can you give me some information about hippo racing in Canada? (USA)
A: A-fri-ca is the big triangle shaped continent south of Europe. Ca-na-da is that big country to your north… oh forget it. Sure, the hippo racing is every Tuesday night in Calgary. Come naked.

Q: Which direction is north in Canada? (USA)
A: Face south and then turn 180 degrees. Contact us when you get here and we’ll send the rest of the directions.

Q: Can I bring cutlery into Canada? (England)
A: Why? Just use your fingers like we do.

Q: Can you send me the Vienna Boys’ Choir schedule? (USA)
A: Aus-t ri-a is that quaint little country bordering Ger-man-y, which is…oh forget it. Sure, the Vienna Boys Choir plays every Tuesday night in Vancouver and in Calgary, straight after the hippo races. Come naked.

Q: Do you have perfume in Canada? (Germany)
A: No, WE don’t stink.

Q: I have developed a new product that is the fountain of youth. Where can I sell it in Canada? (USA)
A: Anywhere significant numbers of Americans gather.

Q: Can you tell me the regions in British Columbia where the female population is smaller than the male population? (Italy)
A: Yes, gay nightclubs.

Q: Do you celebrate Thanksgiving in Canada? (USA)
A: Only at Thanksgiving.

Q: Are there supermarkets in Toronto and is milk available all year round? (Germany)
A: No, we are a peaceful civilization of vegan hunter/gathers. Milk is illegal.

Q: I have a question about a famous animal in Canada, but I forget its name. It’s a kind of big horse with horns. (USA)
A: It’s called a moose. They are tall and very violent, eating the brains of anyone walking close to them. You can scare them off by spraying yourself with human urine before you go out walking.

Q: Will I be able to speak English most places I go? (USA)
A: Yes, but you will have to learn it first.

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14 comments

  1. Roberta | October 23, 2010 at 8:00 am

    Thanks for making me laugh with my first coffee of the day. So funny.

  2. Mario L. | October 23, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    My favourite question was from a guy in upstate New York, he asked me if we celebrated Christmas in Canada and if we did it in December. My reply to him was, no, not December, too cold. I told him we had Christmas in July. Believe it or not his reply was “Cool”.

  3. Raymond Tarte | February 13, 2011 at 7:03 am

    A long time ago I was a guide on Parliement Hill in Ottawa. Here are a few questions that American tourists really asked me:
    What cathedral is this?
    Where is your copy of the American constitution?
    Where is Mr. Nixon’s room?
    How is your president Mr. Destaing?
    Do you have money up here?
    Will the indians hurt us?
    How much does the building wheigh?
    How many people work here? I said 4% because I was not sure.

  4. Garry G | February 13, 2011 at 8:46 am

    If you ever get the chance, try getting someone from the south, especially Texas, to pronounce Saskatchewan. Hilarious.

  5. Jay Bee | February 13, 2011 at 11:36 am

    Granted this is humourous, it is not factual at all. A quick Google query of any such stuff usually reveals if there is any truth to such emails or not.

    http://www.snopes.com/travel/foreign/olympics.asp

  6. MacKenzie | February 13, 2011 at 11:49 am

    HAHAHAHAHAHAAH Thank you soooooo much this just made my day…

  7. Paul | February 13, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    Hilarious! Thank you for this. I had an American ask me what we did with the animals in Banff Park at night!

    And, while at the Casino in Sarnia, Ontario, I had a U.S. citizen ask me what that ‘island’ was over there. There was no island, she was looking at the U.S of A. The U.S. is no more than half a mile away across the St. Clair River. She said no, that is not possible. We are not that close to you people.

  8. Philo Skinner | March 1, 2011 at 3:04 am

    Everyone pounding on the Americans. Several yrs. back while on leave in London England, sitting in a pub in civvies (civilian clothes) a young Einstein told me if I wasn’t ‘actually’ an American, but if I was ‘actually’ a Canadian, I’d know his cousin (‘Christopher’, or whatever) cousin living in Ottawa.
    Advised our boy ‘Nigel’ that he lived as close to Ottawa as I did in Vancouver.

  9. Gerry | March 18, 2011 at 11:15 pm

    A few years ago I was in a small town in north eastern Ontario in mid July when a car with Florida plates and snow
    boards on the roof stopped me and asked where the nearest ski hill was. This part of north eastern Ontario is very rugged; in the Pre Cambrian (Norhtern Shield) Shield.The temperature at the time, and I remember this so well, was +30 or approximately 88F.

    They did not beleve me when I told them that we had summer in Canada and we swam, boated and fished during the summer.

  10. Darren | February 20, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    Check out Rick Mercer “Talking to Americans”

  11. Grim | June 27, 2012 at 4:41 am

    It is not just people from the US, UK or some other country. Canadians can be just as stupid about other parts of Canada. The best though is when you confirm a persons misconceptions.

    Yes, those questions may be fake but that does not mean that such stupid questions are asked. I tried to explain while working in South East England that I where I am from is closer to England than Toronto.

    As I grew up in Labrador I also had a hard time explaining that yes it does get up to 30 in the summer but as cold as -50 and lower in the winter.

  12. mikel | June 27, 2012 at 8:55 am

    I always suspected moose were the zombies of Canada.

  13. olds | June 27, 2012 at 11:36 am

    We emailed a company in Quebec to see if they ship to Calgary. They said “No, we only ship within Canada”.

  14. Marnie | June 27, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    When I once explained to an American that our Thanksgiving was in October not in November like theirs – they then asked me when we celebrated Christmas and New Years’s Eve. The same Bozo also thought our money was Monoploy money because it was various colours. I loved it – have laughed about it for decades……

    Ever watch Jay Lenos’ “Jaywalking” segments?? They know nothing about their own Country either. Don’t these people go to school????

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