You likely heard of some common Canadian stereotypes, like that we worship Tim Hortons and live and breathe hockey. But what other misbeliefs do people have about Canada?

We asked ChatGPT to break down eight common misconceptions about Canadians, and the AI system delivered some truly eye roll-worthy beliefs about Canucks.

If you’re not familiar with ChatGPT, the OpenAI system is an artificially intelligent software model that can answer questions and generate content that seems like it was written by a real person.

You can give ChatGPT prompts and have it return things back, and people have used the model for things like writing cover letters for jobs, putting together emails and even creating a thesis for a master’s degree.

While some of these notions about Canadians may seem outlandish, others might have some truth to them. And others might just reinforce your love for the True North.

Here are eight common misconceptions about Canadians and the truth behind them, according to ChatGPT.

“All Canadians are polite and friendly”

A classic Canadian stereotype — that all Canucks are just too nice for our own good. The truth is, the country is a mixed bag, like anywhere else, and ChatGPT seems to agree.

“While many Canadians are known for their politeness and friendly demeanour, it is not fair to assume that all Canadians share these traits,” it says.

“Just like any other country, there are individuals who may not exhibit these qualities.”

While the stereotype is just that, Jim Carrey once summed up why it may be such a prevalent idea.

“They can be nice because they have health care,” the comedian said in a recently resurfaced clip.

“Canadians only eat maple syrup and poutine”

One of the more outlandish notions of being Canadian is that all Cancuks consume on the regular is poutine and maple syrup.

While poutine and maple syrup are definitely staples of Canadian culture, it pretty much goes without saying that the two foods don’t make up the entirety of the Canadian diet.

“While maple syrup and poutine are popular Canadian foods, they are not the only things Canadians eat. Canada is a diverse country with a wide variety of food options,” ChatGPT says in debunking the misconception.

And while you can definitely find foods from tons of different cultures in Canada, there are some Canadian snacks that you could say are quintessential parts of being a true Canuck, like Ketchup Chips and butter tarts.

“Canadians live in igloos”

Do people really still think Canadians live in igloos? Apparently so.

According to ChatGPT, a common misconception about Canucks is that we all live in houses made of snow.

“While igloos are a part of Inuit culture and history in Canada, the majority of Canadians live in modern homes and buildings,” it says, sagely debunking the belief.

However, it’s important to note that while igloos are no longer a common type of housing, the igloo is still an iconic structure that’s part of the Canadian identity, and remains culturally significant in Arctic communities, according to the Canadian Encyclopedia.

“Canadians say ‘eh’ all the time”

Unlike others on this list, this “misconception” has some truth behind it.

“While some Canadians may use ‘eh’ in their daily conversations, it is not a ubiquitous feature of Canadian speech,” says ChatGPT. But the AI might be wrong about this one.

“Eh” is a word that has become synonymous with Canadian culture, and the unique interjection is said to be used here more than in any other country.

Interestingly, using “eh” in speech may be a marker of Canadians’ kindness.

According to Jack Chambers, a linguist at the University of Toronto, these forms of “eh” have a common purpose: “they all show politeness,” he wrote, as Atlas Obscura reports.

The “eh” added to a statement or question is a means of expressing solidarity with the listener. So it looks like Canadians really are nice!

“Canadians are all hockey fanatics”

“While hockey is a popular sport in Canada, not all Canadians are passionate fans. There are many other sports and hobbies that Canadians enjoy,” says ChatGPT.

As Canada’s national winter sport, it makes sense that most Canadians are into hockey, although obviously, one person’s taste won’t be the same as the next.

However, it’s been said that there are more “passionate fans per capita” here than can be found in any other country worldwide.

Canada has also been called the best hockey country in the world — so while, of course, not everyone in Canada is a “hockey fanatic,” it’s definitely not untrue to say the sport has a large place in the hearts of Canadians.

“Canada is always cold”

It makes sense why a common misconception is that Canada is always cold. Canadian winters can often see wind chills of -40 to -50 C.

However, Canada actually experiences some of the planet’s most diverse weather systems, with the weather going from extreme cold in the winter to blistering heat in the summer.

The country can experience everything from torrential rainfall and deadly tornadoes to massive blizzards and droughts.

“While Canada is known for its cold winters, the climate varies greatly depending on the region,” ChatGPT says in response to the belief.

And, as the AI notes, some parts of Canada — like Vancouver, Abbotsford and Victoria — have mild weather all year long.

“Canadians are all bilingual”

“While Canada is officially a bilingual country, not all Canadians are fluent in both English and French,” ChatGPT says.

True! While Canada is home to two officially bilingual provinces and nearly 1.7 million young Canadians are studying French as a second language, not all Canadians are bilingual in English and French.

According to the latest government stats, almost 10.4 million Canadians can carry on a conversation in French. This is not a huge percentage when you consider that Canada’s population in 2022 was 39,292,355 people.

However, while this is the case for English and French, there are many other languages present in Canada, and many residents are able to speak more than one language, according to 2021 Census data.

As the data shows, the number of Canadians who reported being able to hold a conversation in more than one language rose from 39% in 2016 to just over 41% in 2021.

“Canadians are just like Americans”

Say this to any Canuck and they likely won’t thank you for it.

Canadians, generally, are proud of Canada’s culture (things like our food, our natural landscape and our people) and the things that set it apart from the U.S.

Some have even said that Canada’s identity “revolves around NOT being American.”

For instance, when the topic of U.S. health care comes up, you’ll likely see Canadians praising Canada’s free health care system.

However, the similarities between the countries also can’t be denied, and researchers say the two nations are more similar than most people assume.

According to Pew Research, Canadians and Americans share many similar values, with nearly two-thirds of both countries believing that people determine their own success in life and over 70% of each believing that the government should take care of the poor.

And some of the things that are part of Canada’s identity — like hockey — could be seen as equally loved in the U.S. So, maybe, Canadians are kind of like Americans.

“While Canada and the United States share many cultural similarities, they also have many differences. It is important to recognize and appreciate these differences,” says ChatGPT.

We couldn’t agree more!


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