Posted by: devonhamilton | August 13, 2010

How to treat Canadians

Yesterday while reading the paper I came across the following article: “British told how to treat visitors – including Canadians – to the 2012 Olympics.” It is definitely worth a skim as it summarizes the dos and don’ts of Canadian culture, apparently directly from the VisitBritain website

Canadian Etiquette

  •  Lining up, or queuing: People normally line up or queue according to the principle of ‘first-come, first-served.’ They will be angry if you push ahead in a line-up instead of waiting your turn.
  • Not smoking in private homes: Most Canadians do not smoke.
  • Smart shopping: Stores compete on price with one another to attract customers. Note: the price marked on goods in stores does not include taxes, which add from 7-15% to the cost of an item, depending on the province.
  • Shaking hands: It is customary that you always shake hands at a first-time meeting and always in business situations.
  • Many in Britain treat Canadians as Americans even though they are quite different from their American neighbours. Canadian may take offence if labeled as American. Canadians often identify themselves as Canadians by wearing a maple leaf pin, or a maple leaf on clothing, etc.
I found this helpful to read (I especially enjoyed the mention that Canadians do not wanting to be mistaken for Americans) because I have been reading an overwhelming amount of information on all the dos and don’ts of Ghanaian society. After reading the do’s and don’ts about my own culture, I realize that not only are some of these things not extremely taboo, but also that I would be pretty forgiving of a foreigner for making “mistakes” with respect to Canadian etiquette. I think the most important thing is to make an effort to respect the culture, which probably means asking a lot of questions in the beginning. I will post some of what I have read on Ghanaian culture at a later time as I am currently away from home without my books. Hopefully those of you who have been to Ghana can let me know which ones are the most important!
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