Jul 1, 2011

A little insight into Canadians on Canada Day

My husband thinks I make too much of the differences between Canadians and Americans. But I believe there are fundamental difference that are harder to spot than "eh"s and "aboats" (I still don't think we say it like "aboot" even now that I've been out of the country for four years and can finally hear the difference).

For one, Americans are taught to dream big. To believe they are each capable of anything. Anything! Can you imagine? Here's what we were taught by the beloved Ernie Coombs on the long-running CBC children's series "Mr. Dressup":

(I transcribed this from an episode on the Mr. Dressup DVD box set, which my friend Neil very thoughtfully gave my daughter when she was born. I have no clue how to rip a clip from a DVD or else I would share it here, though CBC seems to be pretty aggressive on removing its clips from unauthorized sites).

Mr. Dressup is drawing a dandelion and talking to Casey about wishes.

Mr Dressup: When you blow on the dandelion top, these seeds all blow away on little floaty strings. And people like to make wishes on them.

Casey: Do you think, if you wish really, really hard, that the wish will come true?

Mr Dressup: Oh (he chuckles) I don't think they really come true. But if you're lucky, you wish for something that is really going to happen, so that would be lucky that you made that wish.

Then Mr Dressup and Casey talk about wishing on birthday candles, and wishing on a star:

Casey: And people say, "Starlight, starbright, first star I see tonight. I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight!"

Mr Dressup: That's right. And if you don't wish for anything impossible, then it might come true.

So there you have it, Canadian kids. The only wishes that come true are ones that you can be sure were going to happen eventually anyway. Like lunch. Or death.


  1. The differences between Americans and Canadians are almost as vast as the differences between Canadians and Newfoundlanders. The traditional response to a child here wishing on a star would be, "Don't be so foolish, ya fool child, ya." We're also taught that if you express affection for your child the fairies will be jealous and steal her/him in the night, so... make of that what you will.

  2. children really do need to brought down to earth every once in a while.

  3. You can hear the difference? I thought that was an American myth. I can not tell. P

  4. As an Australian, I can assure you the vowel thing is true. It is the one easy way for me to tell the difference between the accents (unless the AMerican has a really strong regional accent ie a Southern Accent or the character in Fargo).

    Fraggle Rock was Canadian and I think the Uncle in that really taught people to dream big



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