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're Insulted By Fox News

Not much needs to be said, except:

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They'll Watch Anything Played on Ice

Maybe it's because it's freezing cold for the majority of the year. Maybe it's because they're looking to be different than the United States. Maybe there is something in the beer. It's not known why, but Canadians will watch anything that takes place on ice.

First of all, there's hockey. It's the most obvious example of Canadians being obsessed with an ice-related activity. Hockey to a Canadian is a sacred tradition. It's a religion. It's life. Without hockey there are no Canadians, only Americans that have wandered too far north.

But the Canadian love of ice does not stop there. No, it continues on to figure skating. While less blatant, Canadians treat figure skating with incredibly high esteem as well. The country's citizens were close to declaring war when controversy initially cost a pair of Canadians an Olympic gold medal in pairs figure skating.

But those interests generally make sense. Hockey and figure skating are popular around the world, not just in Canada.

However, there is one ice sport that defines Canada's bizarre obsession: curling.

While the game was not invented in Canada, it is a definite part of Canadian culture.

Though interesting and difficult to play, the sport of curling looks absolutely insane to outsiders.

Teams take turns throwing rocks down a sheet of ice trying to place their rocks closer to a goal than their opponent's. At first it sounds like a completely normal game, right? Wrong. In order to direct the rocks to the goal two team members shuffle slightly in front of the rock, sweeping the ice in front of it with brooms. Yes, brooms.

Household cleaning supplies aside, the game gets weirder.

In order to assist the sweepers in positioning the rock close to the goal, other members of the team scream instructions at them. That isn't an exaggeration. They scream. Loud. What you are left with is one person (having thrown the rock) sprawled on the ice, screaming uncontrollably as two other people awkwardly shuffle along, frantically sweeping a path across the ice. It looks just about as crazy as it sounds.

But Canadians love it.

While curling is played around the world, it has a huge following in Canada. There's just something about brooms and screaming that gets Canadians excited.

When trying to spot a prospective Canadian, mention curling. If the person mumbles something about how their hairstylist doesn't have time to fit them in for a good appointment, carry on with your day. That person isn't from Canada. However, if they immediately start sweeping and/or yelling, you've found yourself a Canadian. Congratulations.

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The Tim Hortons Roll Up Victory Tracker

Roll Up The Rim To Win time at Tim Hortons is like a second Christmas for Canadians. Okay, it's like a second Christmas where 90% of your gifts are nothing but a "Please Play Again" tab, but it's still exciting.

This year the creators of How To Spot A Canadian is keeping track of their Roll Up record. Over on the right sidebar you will see the "Tim Hortons Roll Up Victory Tracker."

The odds of winning a prize are 1 in 9. Let's see if we can beat those odds!

How are you doing in the contest this year? Post your records and your thoughts in the comments.
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Their Cultural Dishes Could Easily Kill You

One of the first things you notice when going to a different country is the food that they eat. In most major cities you will find Indian restaurants and Chinese restaurants and Italian restaurants and many other types of restaurants. You rarely find a Canadian restaurant. In fact, it's possible that such thing does not exist.

Therefore, many people would assume that there is no such thing as Canadian food. Due to the country's close relationship with the United States the two countries share many foods. (Contrary to popular opinion, apple pie and hot dogs are quite popular in Canada as well.)

But there is such thing as Canadian food, and we're not just talking about Tim Hortons. However, much like Canada itself, popular Canadian food is more of a combination of different foods than original creations. There is no typical "Canadian meal" which is probably why there are no Canadian restaurants. Canadian food also differs greatly across the country.

For a nation that is known for being outdoorsy, rugged and athletic, a lot of Canadian food is strangely unhealthy.

First, starting on the west coast of Canada, you will find Nanaimo bars. Named after a city on Vancouver Island, these chocolate squares filled with custard are absolutely delicious.

Staying with sweet food, you will find the the beaver tail. Beaver tails are fried dough topped with a variety of sweet toppings. Again, they are delicious, and they are also quite bad for you. One of Canada's favourite foreign politicians, Barack Obama, recently stopped for one while visiting Ottawa.

Another great Canadian sweet is the butter tart. Reportedly the first Prime Minister of Canada, Sir John A. Macdonald, called butter tarts his favourite treat.

Switching away from sweets, one of Canada's best known exports is Kraft Dinner. A favourite of university students and anyone with limited cooking ability, this macaroni and cheese dish is definitely a Canadian treasure. Yes, it's available all around the world, but Canadians will always consider this low budget meal their own. There's something about incredibly orange powered cheese that Canucks love.

Speaking of cheese, one cannot discuss Canadian cuisine without mentioning poutine. Along with Montreal smoked meat, poutine defines the province of Quebec.

You would think that fries coated in cheese curds and gravy would be disgusting, but you would be wrong. You would also think that this meal would be terrible for your health. In that case you would be right. As started earlier, Canadian food is not good for you. At all. Tough Canadian bodies are able to withstand things like fried dough and fries with cheese and gravy. Average non-Canadians are not.

If you're trying to spot a Canadian give them some poutine followed by a beaver tail. A real Canadian will devour the meal. A non-Canadian will likely have a heart attack, so it is good to have emergency response personnel on the scene for this test.

An alternate method is to give the suspected Canadian some beer. A true Canadian will be able to knock back a two-four without flinching. The previously mentioned emergency response team could once again come in handy here.
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Paper Coffee Cups Provide One of the Most Exciting Times of the Year

First of all, that commercial above is genius. If this website was going to get into the advertising business that is exactly the kind of commercial we would produce. Actually, if we were going to get into the amusement park business Canada Land would definitely be our first investment. There's no better way to catch Canadians than by creating an entire park for them to play in.

By now everyone knows that Canadians love Tim Hortons. What people do not know is that a Canadian's love of Tim Hortons is so strong that they will complete the most redundant and ridiculous tasks out of love for the company.

Hence the promotion known as "Roll Up the Rim to Win" (or more accurately "Rrrrrrroll Up the Rrrrrrrrim to Win.")

If you ever want to see two Canadians come to blows over a paper cup, this is your contest.

The premise is simple. For a limited time each year the rim on Tim Hortons paper cups can be rolled up to reveal a possible prize. The prizes range from cars and bikes to cash and barbecues to free Tim Hortons coffee and doughnuts. Canadians love this contest. Every year when the bright red cups with the giant yellow arrows on them start to appear it's like a second Christmas has struck Canada. People go crazy, buying coffees and rolling up rims.

A "Roll Up the Rim to Win" cup is second only to the Stanley Cup (and possibly the Grey Cup) in terms of valuable Canadian cups.

Unfortunately, very few of these cups are winners. It's a Canadian rite of passage to excitedly roll up the rim on a cup of Tim Hortons coffee only to see the words "PLEASE PLAY AGAIN." It's like they're sitting there mocking you. They're laughing at your failure. They're shattering your dreams.

Nothing, outside of badly played hockey game, causes feelings of anger inside a Canadian like a losing cup.

Actually, the only thing that brings more range and bitterness than a losing cup is a winning cup.

You would think that a winning cup would be a good thing. But you'd be wrong. Sure a winning cup is good if you bought it yourself, but many coffees are bought during a coffee run (locally known as a "Timmies Run.") This is when one person from a group of friends or a workplace goes out and gets coffees for everyone in their group. When a winning cup is produced from a coffee run the real chaos begins. Canadians start to argue about who paid for the coffee or who distributed the cups. Winning cups are so rare that every Canadian wants one. Sure, they might not need it but that free doughnut is theirs and no one is going to take it away! Canadians have even taken to lying about their wins in these situations. It is one of the only times you will see a Canadian be dishonest.

There have even been lawsuits due to the prize-winning cups.

In 2006 a 10-year-old girl found a Tim Hortons coffee cup in the garbage. The rim had not been rolled up. Finding an unrolled-up rim is like discovering gold for a Canadian, even a 10-year-old knows that. Unfortunately, the girl had not yet completed her mandatory Canadian roll up training and thus she was unable to roll up the rim on her own. She asked a 12-year-old friend to help her. This was her mistake. She allowed an unrolled-up cup to leave her hands. When the 12-year-old rolled up the rim she found that the cup was a winner. The girls had won an SUV.

Of course, when their parents found out they both claimed ownership of the winning cup. It got more confusing when the janitor that had originally thrown out the cup claimed that the car should be his. He even requested a DNA test to prove that his spit remains were still on the cup! How the janitor, who claimed to be Canadian, allowed an unrolled up cup out of his grasp will never be known.

Tim Horton's eventually awarded the prize to the girl who found the cup and her family.

A good way to spot a Canadian is to buy a coffee from Tim Hortons. Empty out the coffee (we suggest you should do this by drinking it.) Leave the rim unrolled and place it on the sidewalk. Any Canadians in the immediate area will sense that a Tim Hortons cup has been discarded unrolled and will charge for the cup. The people that charge are Canadians.

You can now track Roll Up The Rim To Win stats with our Tim Hortons Roll Up Victory Tracker
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Do you have your own unique way of spotting Canadians? If you'd like to share it with us, please contact us by email. We're always looking for new tips!