What are some misunderstandings about Canada

Canada: Curiosities from the second largest country in the world

Country names

It's nice when misunderstandings lead to country names - as happened in the case of Canada. When the French explorer Jacques Cartier was preparing to set off for the New World in 1534, he came across a native inhabitant in Newfoundland. The polite Mi'kmaq Indian showed him the way to the next village - called "Kanata" in his language.

Cartier was naive enough to believe it was the name of the country and adopted the name. The Quebecers don't seem to blame him for the mistake - the highest mountain in the province and countless streets in the Francophone part of Canada are called Cartier. Embarrassing for the discoverer: The Mi'kmaq know very well today that these place names are not derived from a jewelry manufacturer.


Canada is notorious for its bizarre laws - and quite a few of them are relevant to travelers. Since the vast majority of them come by plane, they should know that Canadian law prohibits passengers from getting off the plane during the flight. If adverse circumstances make it absolutely necessary, a "life-saving device" is required. Anyone who hits Canadian territory without a parachute can expect a traffic fine. In contrast, those arriving by ship are legally protected from collisions in Canadian territorial waters. A federal law says that "two different ships can never be in the same position at the same time".

If you travel on to Hudson Bay in the far north by rental car, you will quickly notice that Canadians are not afraid of car theft - but polar bears. In Churchill, it is forbidden by law to lock your car because a local population of 1200 bears is threatening the residents. An open car is often the only place of refuge. Drivers also have to be prepared for the fact that some parts of the country have variable speed limits. In some small towns in Alberta, drivers are prohibited from traveling faster than a horse or a carriage. Shouldn't it be better to change the saddle right away?

Absolutely, because accommodation problems are also solved in Canada with a horse: Depending on the region, hotel owners are obliged to always provide accommodation to a guest with a horse under threat of imprisonment. Riders should only pay for their room. If they don't, Ontario hoteliers have the right to sell the guest's horse.


The politeness of Canadians is almost frightening to the inexperienced. The word "sorry" is used in practically every situation - if someone is jostled on the bus, they are guaranteed to apologize to the aggressor.

And because bus travel is obviously not a matter of course for Canadians, they always say "thank you" loudly and clearly to the chauffeur when getting out.


Around 35 million liters of maple syrup (see test) with a total value of more than 300 million euros are produced annually in Canada. The sap that is obtained by drilling into the trunk cannot be obtained from every maple tree. Only the sugar maple and, more rarely, the black maple provide the coveted raw material, but these trees grow in only four regions of the country.

Most recently, the Asian longhorn beetle threatened maple trees, which led to a significant shortage of raw materials. So it is not surprising that one of the most spectacular thefts in Canadian history concerns maple syrup: In 2012, unknown persons surrendered 2.5 million liters for almost 15 million euros. One can only hope that the symbolic tree does not disappear entirely. The world-famous maple leaf has only graced the Canadian flag since 1965.


Canadians are innovative people - travelers have many useful things to thank for them. The invention of kerosene goes back to the Canadian doctor and geologist Abraham Gesner. In the middle of the 19th century he experimented with coal and petroleum in Nova Scotia, with aviation fuel being produced as a by-product.

The first snowmobile designed for all snow conditions was built by Joseph-Armand Bombardier from Québec, who later founded the company of the same name for rail vehicles and aircraft. Only the "Canadian", an open canoe, is almost certainly not a Canadian innovation. North American Indians also sewed such boats from birch bark, but the oldest finds come from the Euphrates.

Eat Drink

There's nothing luxurious about Hummer in Canada. In the past, surpluses were used to fertilize poor soil, today they are crushed and fed as fast food. Québecers are more "French" than the French in many respects - except in the kitchen. They of all people are said to have invented the Canadian national dish poutine: French fries made with gravy and pecked by soft cheese.

The drinking culture doesn't look much better either: To be accepted into the exclusive Sourtoe Cocktail Club, you first have to empty the house specialty: a whiskey cocktail with an inlaid human toe. There is currently no risk of becoming a member - the toe was stolen by a guest.

House rules

Doesn't sound logical in a country where minus 63 degrees Celsius have already been measured, but it is imperative that you take off your shoes. As in most Asian countries, invitees leave their street shoes on the doorstep - in Canada this sometimes even applies in offices and doctor's offices.


Canada is the second largest country in the world after Russia. Ten percent of the forest area on our planet and twenty percent of the global drinking water reserves are located there. Anyone who thinks they have to cross the huge country can do so on the longest national road in the world. At a top speed of 100 km / h, you spend almost 80 hours on the 7,604 km long Trans-Canada Highway.


Canadians have a peculiar relationship to their money, the Canadian dollar: They honor the five-cent piece with a nine-meter-high, ton-heavy replica in Ontario, while they have completely canceled the one- and two-cent coins as change. Prices in the country are relative because they are always shown without - very different - taxes.

In the oil-rich province of Alberta, as in all provinces, a five percent federal tax is levied, but no sales tax, while the Prince Edward Island adds a ten percent provincial tax.


Justin Trudeau, who competed against a Conservative Senator in the boxing ring in 2012, not only won this duel. Three years later, he helped the Liberal Party of Canada to an absolute majority in the 2015 general election. Shortly afterwards, the now 45-year-old became Prime Minister.

The avowed feminist and admirer Fidel Castro is committed to the full legalization of cannabis and campaigns for climate and refugee policy. Canada took in 25,000 civil war refugees from Syria within a few months and even set up airlifts for them. Trudeau is celebrated as a rock star by its own party. The US magazine Rolling Stone is likely to see it similarly - the Canadian premier graces the cover of the August 2017 issue. (Sascha Aumüller, Rondo, August 25, 2017)