How to be Canadian: a practical guide
Last year, I got to live in Toronto, Canada for 4 months. That is a relatively short amount of time, but in those 4 months I have learned a lot about what makes a Canadian, Canadian – and what it takes to be a good Torontonian. I decided to compile a list of lifestyle habits you should adopt in order to avoid making any Canadian faux-pas.
And since today is Drake’s birthday, I thought this post could not come at a better time. (You’ll understand why in a minute).
Here is a practical guide to blending in in Canada.
Step 1: You love Drake now
Drake is not just a rapper.
Drake is not just an artist.
Drake. Is. Everything. (And more.)
Drake shows up at every major Leafs (ice hockey) and Raptors (basketball) game. Drake’s music gets played in malls, bars, restaurants and clubs. Drake gets interviewed every night, just cause.
Drake loves the 6, so if you’re feeling the Toronto love, listen to any of his albums – especially Views – and that’ll be a perfect soundtrack.
Drake represents the rough, sentimental part of your soul.
Drake is love.
You love Drake now.
(Happy birthday Aubrey love u)
Step 2: One does not simply go to Starbucks
Oh, honey – ohhh, honey. Once you find your local Tim Hortons, you will never want to visit any other coffee shop.
Tim Hortons is an establishment. A legacy.
A way of life.
Tim Hortons brings you homely, friendly, traditional coffee.
Timmy’s is your number 1 provider of donuts, or even better: Timbits.
When the weather starts getting really cold, do not miss out on the chance to get a hot chocolate, or even better, a white hot chocolate.
(If you want your drink to taste like an incredible muffin, add a blueberry teabag into the mix. Dear god. It’s so good).
Step 3: Support the Toronto team
And wear your pride.
If it’s summertime, support the Blue Jays! If you’re not sure when they are playing, don’t worry: other Torontonians will let you know.
On game days, the whole city dresses in Jays jerseys, t-shirts, caps and sweaters.
(Here’s a fun game: spot the Jays player that looks like Drake. Spoiler: it’s Bautista.)
If it’s wintertime, begrudgingly support the Maple Leafs. Sure, they’re terrible, but they’re from Toronto. Therefore, you must be a good sport and cheer them on with your best impression of excitment.
But really, make sure you go see a game in person. The fan atmosphere alone is worth it; ice hockey is fun to watch even for those that don’t know anything about it.
And baseball… well… just go for the fan atmosphere.
Step 4: Eat like the locals do
It comes from the French-speaking province of Québec and basically consists of French fries, gravy and cheese curds.
For extra deliciousness, add some meat to the mix and Oh-Canada, you are guaranteed to fall in love.
But Poutine isn’t the only good food you can find in Toronto. There are all kinds of small restaurants that offer cheap, delicious food. My favourite restaurant was this small burger place that combines Vietnamese food with burgers. YUM.
Step 5: Take friendliness to the next level
Say: “Hi, how’s your day going?” and go on to have an extremely friendly conversation with every other person you meet. Imagine you two are old friends reconnecting after a few years of silence.
I don’t care if you’re getting on the streetcar (the Toronto version of trams) and there’s a bunch of people waiting to get in. The driver will ask you how you’re doing and it would be very rude not to return the favour.
I don’t care if you’re shy and don’t want to tell your waiter about your life – it’s just the more courteous thing to do.
Just join in on the friendly fun.
You’ll be fine.
Step 6: Bathe in multiculturalism
Toronto is the most multicultural city in the world. Half of its inhabitants were born outside of Canada and the city hosts 140 different languages.
That’s something that Canadians are proud of.
They let people in. They learn from each other. And they don’t really care that you’re not from Canada; as long as you’re nice and as accepting as they are, you’re cool. You’re here now, that’s all that matters.
Canada is a wonderful place and Canadians will make you feel right at home.
They can’t help the temperature dropping to -30C in the winter, but their friendliness will warm your heart.