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.

A Prejudiced Sports Commentator is a National Icon

If you know anything at all about Canada, you know who Don Cherry is. For those who don't, Don Cherry is a former NHL hockey coach who now provides commentary during the first intermission of CBC's Hockey Night In Canada program. The fact that a former coach is now working on television isn't strange or unique to Canada at all. Many coaches and players take up broadcasting positions at the conclusion of their sports careers.

What is unique is that Don Cherry is incredibly controversial. He has called Russian hockey players cheaters and quitters. He's insulted French-Canadians and Europeans do for wearing visors. And he does all of this on the country's national public television broadcaster: the CBC.

Don Cherry definitely isn't politically correct. He was on a seven-second delay for a while due to his comments. He has been investigated by the Commissioner of Official Languages. He has been criticized frequently by pretty much everyone.

You would think this sort of attitude would be frowned upon in Canada.

You would be wrong.

Most Canadians love Don Cherry. He came in seventh in a recent "Greatest Canadian in History" poll. He beat out Sir John A. Macdonald (Canada's first prime minister), Alexander Graham Bell (one of the inventors of the telephone) and fellow hockey icon Wayne Gretzky.

It's strange.

Canadians are generally very polite. They are very accepting. They don't like to create controversy. And yet Don Cherry, a man who breathes controversy, is a hero. A man who goes against the very Canadian idea of celebrating the differences of the country is, for some reason, loved.

In 2004 rumours that he was not going to return to the CBC drew huge complaints from the Canadian public. For some reason this man is incredibly popular. But why?

We've already mentioned how Canadians take on completely different personalities while watching hockey. Even the most gentle Canadians cheer at the sight of a fight. Polite Canadians forget their manners when they're screaming at referees. Their culture of acceptance and tolerance disappears while watching hockey.

That probably explains why they like Don Cherry.

Average Canadians do not insult other cultures. They do not typically request more violence and less art. They don't take shots at people based on their names or their appearances. But while they're watching hockey they do. And so does Don Cherry.

And most Canadians love it.
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  1. Pam said...

    How can you have NOT mentioned the fact that what he wears, on said television channel, is atrocious enough to cause your eyeballs to BLEED?

  2. freetheunicorns said...

    I still can't believe he is #7 on the "Greatest Canadian in History" list. That blows my mind. I know I'm in the minority, but I can't stand the guy. Never could. Don't even get me started on his clothes.

  3. hindleyite said...

    See, people love moaners and offensive people. Take that, Commies! :)

  4. said...

    You're right Pam.

    I'm not sure how I forgot to mention his insanely-coloured suits.

  5. Mr. Condescending said...

    i wanna see this guy!!!

  6. Skye said...

    I am not speaking for myself nor for all Canadians here, but I am speaking from observing a lot of hockey fans.

    These hockey fans love Don Cherry because he says things that they are thinking but are too scared to say for themselves. I admit, Don certainly knows hockey, but his controversial comments leave a lot to be desired in my books. However, these fans of hockey are very controversial people themselves only they aren't even remotely outspoken outside of a hockey rink unless they're in a bar rip-roaring drunk. So saying, the appreciate Cherry's comments for what they are, their own thoughts voiced nationally.

  7. Maureen said...

    Hey, I could be IN the Don Cherry movie... they're filming here and have asked for extras in 70's clothing. I am sure I could still dig some up. The movie is being done by his son and sounds like it could be interesting...

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