How to Spot a Canadian

Tracking down Canadians one toque at a time.

About this Site...

Canadians are a tricky people to distinguish. They are often able to blend into a society and appear to be American, British, French or any other number of nationalities. This site will provide you with some tips and tricks to help you recognize a Canadian no matter where you are.


This site is for entertainment purposes only. "How to Spot a Canadian" is filled with humour, satire, hyperbole, parody and sarcasm. All statements here should be taken with a grain of salt or a bottle of maple syrup, whatever the case may be.

They Have Retail Stores That Print Their Own Money

Canadian money is weird. It's all a mass of different coloured bills and there are far too many coins. Americans, in particular, are confused by such a bizarre form of currency.

It gets worse.

In Canada they actually allow a store to print its own money.

It sounds insane. But it's true. Okay, it's not actually money. It's "money." The quotation marks are very important.

You see, Canadian Tire, a large retail store in Canada, has been handing out its own money for years. Whenever you purchase anything from a Canadian Tire store you receive Canadian Tire "money" back along with your change. This "money" can be used during future visits to Canadian Tire in place of real money. It's quite strange, but this practice has been going on in Canada for generations.

It's always interesting to see the reactions of tourists or new Canadians when they are handed this "money" back along with their change for the first time.

Usually the reaction is a look of confusion at this weird custom. Some people will think they are being ripped off and given fake money back in lieu of their actual change. Some people think they're being given foreign currency. Some think it's a joke. They will eventually understand this bizarre custom and leave the store.

There is a good chance some of those Canadian Tire virgins will attempt to spend the money at another store and be ridiculed.

In that way Canadian Tire "money" is kind of like Canadian hazing.

The first time you experience it, it's confusing and painful. You're laughed at for not understanding the ritual. You're humiliated. With time you learn to understand the custom and soon you are joining in, snickering in line as another newbie is handed his first fake dollar with his change.

This initiation is a cruel part of Canadian society that is as important to the Canadian culture as igloo building and polar bear racing.

Of course, the underlying fact is that no one - not even the most Canadian of Canadians - actually has a use for Canadian Tire "money." A typical purchase will get you about five or ten cents back in fake currency. In a strange role-reversal from standard Canadian currency, all Canadian Tire "money" is in bill form. There are no coins.

Upon receiving the bills all Canadians will take them carefully and vow to put them in a safe place until the next time they visit Canadian Tire. Of course Canadians, being a forgetful people, will inevitably leave the money at home when they make their next trip to the store. The ritual then begins again.

Every Canadian has a drawer or a shoe box filled with Canadian Tire "money" at home. It's usually kept right next to their snowshoes and dog sled. This "money" never gets spent (and yet this practice has somehow never caused Canadian Tire "money" deflation.)

When looking for a Canadian, try to gain access to your subject's home. It will be easy. Canadians, being incredibly trustworthy, never lock their doors (Michael Moore has probably already told you this.) If your subject lives in an igloo it is even easier to enter. Doors to igloos rarely have locks.

When you've entered the home, check for the drawer of Canadian Tire "money." There will usually be several stacks of five and ten cent bills in there. Take some on your way out. A true Canadian won't miss it as they will have forgotten how much was there quite long ago.


  1. Katie said...

    I never really realized how ridiculous Canadian Tire "Money" is...hahaha. This site is great!

  2. Dawn said...

    Back in the day, Mr. Sub used to take Canadian Tire money. I think some bars still do.

    I have a box filled with Canadian Tire money at home... I'm hoarding it until I can afford something big.

  3. jamEs said...

    We do eventually spend it. Usually we end up taking the ridiculously large wad of bills and spending it on something large like a lawnmower. The purchase is always awkward since it's like you walked in and are paying in nickels and dimes for something that is $300.

    There are places that do take Canadian Tire money at par. Pioneer Gas used to have their own Bonus Bucks money but that got phased out for a card based system.

  4. said...

    I worked at Canadian Tire for a summer while I was in high school.

    There was nothing worse, as a cashier, than someone walking up with $150 in 5 cent bills.

  5. Venom said...

    I'm saving my Crappy Tire bucks for my daughter's dowry...

    Does CT have a bridal registry??

  6. said...

    They do actually!

  7. Anonymous said...

    omygosh! you nailed it!
    5cents at time i made my way to 45.65 to buy a baseball mitt or something, lol..
    i give cdn tire money as a gift, but one year someone told me $30 worth of 5 and 10 bills looks cheap, so i turned it into a 30$ gift card, same thing, lol, mais maitenant, cest CHIC, lol...

  8. said...

    Buying a gift card with Canadian Tire money and giving it to someone is a GREAT IDEA.

    I can't believe I've never thought of that.

  9. Canadian Coupons said...

    sweet free coupons!

  10. Free Stuff Canada said...

    Nice article!

  11. Anonymous said...

    wow, another stereotypical article written by an ignorant red-neck american. what else is new?

  12. said...

    Yeah!!!! LOL..... Can only be at Canadian Tire!!!
    they let you use Coupons for Canada as well but not printable coupons!

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