With all the talk about people moving to Canada if Donald Drumpf gets elected President of the United States, (POTUS) they now have a dating site where men can find a Canadian girl for the purposes of MATRIMONY! (The better and quicker way to get into Canada legally!)
That's all fine and good, but what about the poor slob that goes the other way and has to move down to the States?
We got some answers from a publication called "Quora Digest:"
- The attitude toward guns changed from night to day. All my life I thought guns were this thing that you should stay away from at all cost. I would be fine if even police officers didn't have a gun. Here in the South, people think going to the range to shoot is a nice weekend activity. The whole gun debate in the US just blows my mind. Even after two years here I'm in complete disbelief at the whole situation, I have no understanding whatsoever of the other side's arguments, and I don't even try to start a discussion on the topic with any American. They also think my position is incomprehensible.
- Showing my ID every time I want to drink is kind of a pain. I started to drink the day I turned 18 (legal drinking age in Quebec) and by 20 a lot of places didn't even asked for my ID anymore. Then I moved to the US and they ask the IDs of 70 years old men. It's just annoying and a bit pointless.
- I didn't realize that, but the folks in Quebec are very homogeneous in terms of beliefs, values and opinions. I thought we were different, I thought we had debates on stuff all the time, then I moved to the US and I started meeting people whose opinions and beliefs were so far removed from mine, dialogue was barely an option anymore. I didn't realize I could offend people by simply saying something completely accepted in Quebec. (Like "abortions should be accessible" or "There's no problem for the Prime Minister to be an atheist" or "Why would any women change their family name to take their husband's name ? Who would ever do that ?"). Overall, not offending anyone became a huge deal.
- I stopped reading the news or watching news channels on TV. American media are biased, paranoid and just overwhelming. I still read a Quebec newspaper instead. If anything important happens in the US, Canadian newspapers will eventually pick it up and talk about it.
- I had to get used to not have any popular culture even though people around me assumed I had. I didn't know that PF Chang was a restaurant chain (who doesn't know that, right ?). I didn't know 90% of the music played on the radio (country music is a big deal here... not so much in Quebec). I didn't watch the same kids tv shows than everybody else from my generation (I mean, who hasn't watched The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air?). I don't understand puns. I don't understand a lot of the local expressions and slang.
- Spicy food is a big thing here, and back in Quebec it's totally not. I had to start ordering the "mild" version of everything, and even that was pretty spicy. People laugh at me a bit for that. I think they have burnt so many of their taste buds they can't taste anything anymore. It's just different local cuisines.
- Guns, and gun culture: Few Canadians will understand this. You'll be surprised how many of your neighbours have guns when you were certain that it was not feasible. And when another mass shooting occurs, you'll stop being surprised that no one does anything that might change it.
- Health care: Canadians see it as a right, Americans as a privilege. As a Canadian, it is hard to grasp this. You'll also be shocked by the price of health services and medicine. Even though Canadians never see the bill, you'll quickly realize that the biggest problem here is the price of services; insurance cost and administrative bloat is secondary.
- News: You'll miss the international coverage and lack of bias of the Globe & Mail, CBC, even CTV.
- Hockey: There's no Hockey Night in America. You'll have to buy a premium package to see any games. Even during the play-offs, coverage is minimal.
- Mail: If you still use it, mail service in the US is fantastic. Saturday delivery, pick up from your house, and typically next day delivery here in Northern California! (Compare that with Canada Post taking four days to deliver a letter from Mississauga to Guelph, at twice the cost.)
- Alcohol: Choices abound, and prices are so cheap compared to Canada. My local Safeway has more wine selection and stock than any Vintages LCBO, and typically 30-45% cheaper. (Not sure how prices in Canada have changed since the dollar crashed.) And beer prices are comparable to Quebec, much less than Ontario or BC.
- Products: The selection is amazing, from groceries at Safeway to home decor & furnishings, to clothing, etc. Prices are obviously better in the US, and people will ship you anything from anywhere.
- Shoes: After 20 years, we still take our shoes off when visiting guests. (And we're not clean freaks!)
- Restaurants: free soft-drink refills virtually everywhere not just Swiss Chalet.
- Food: Incredible Mexican food, at all price points!
- Grammar: Americans' grammar is degrading. Even newscasters and journalists make many more obvious mistakes than their Canadian counterparts.
- Money: In Canada, being wealthy is frowned upon, and the difference between top and bottom is much narrower than in the US. In the US, there is much more individual wealth and individual poverty. If you're well educated and have a good profession, you'll be much better off in the US.
- God: Compared to Canada, God is everywhere. Not only on the money, but in Presidential speeches, presidential debates, the spokesman for the sports team winning at half time, you name it. Listen closely, and you'll be shocked at how many people say that they've been blessed, when in reality they mean that they are fortunate.
- Canada is very much English/French and then everything else. New York is English/Spanish and then everything else. I went from being able to read all signs to being able to read half signs. It was weird, but not really a big difference I suppose.
- The black people in the US were so welcoming. It was weird because there is no black Canadian community - we are very much group by ethnicity/origin, not skin colour. In the USA, your groupings are skin colour oriented, so to the black Americans, I was one of them.
- The white Americans did not think of me as black because I did not fill any of the stereotypes they had. that was weird as well. in Canada, it is quite obvious I am black, and it is even more obvious that it does not matter. People are more interested about my family background.
- The patriotism. Canadians are big on Canada, but we dont have many Canada days, we just have small moments, here and there were our national pride pops out. in America, there are parades, and festivities year round so that if you ever forget which country your loyalty is to, something will soon remind you.
- Military worship. Canada appreciates their military, Americans worship theirs. The reverence for their military in the USA takes a while to get used to. the fact that I was expected to give a veteran my seat or let them cut in front of me in line at Starbucks or something....
- country-centrism. Canadians often travel outside of Canada and hear non-Canadian news. Americans have such a diversity of landscape and climate that they tend to travel and vacation within their own country, rather than outside. this coupled with American news channels mostly focusing on America, leaves the average American knowing very little of the outside world. It was strange trying to plan vacations with friends and they were all suggesting: Hawaii, Las Vegas, San Francisco. in Canada you hear Cuba, Dominican Republic, (insert US destination here), (insert European destination here) etc.
- Diversity. in Canada, to show diversity in ads or where ever, you have a white guy and your token Asian. in the USA, it is your white guy and your token black guy. In Canada, Asians are the predominant minority group and thus represent all minorities. in the USA, it is black Americans. It took a while for me to get used to seeing black faces everywhere and little-to-no representation of Asians where Canada is the opposite.
- Cultural pop-icons and norms. I had no clue what Marshall's was, or why there were no Tim Horton's anywhere. The money in the US is all the same colour so I actually had to read each note to make sure I was handing someone the correct money. Basically, I was slower at pulling out a 5$ to pay for stuff at Dunkin' Donuts.
- Netflix. It has everything in the US from Disney to movies that were released like a few months prior. It was like a whole new world. Netflix in Canada is substantially less impressive. That being said though, Netflix US had English and Spanish versions of most shows, whereas Netflix Canada had English and French versions of most shows - so sadly, I could into watch shows in French.
- Things are open ALL THE TIME. In Toronto, things close. The entire city shuts down at around 9pm with the exception of night clubs. In New York, things are open all the time. It was wonderful. I could crave a hotdog at 3am, go out and get one. If I craved a hot dog at 3am in Toronto, I was stuck looking for a 7 11 that was open 24 hours -_-
Main difference for Canadians when moved to the US :-
. Universal health care in Canada versus the multifaceted and confusing (to Canadians) Obama care
. University education that's not two tiered as in the US. Canada has affordable world class ranking institutions such as McGill, U Of T, UBC, Waterloo U and etc - as opposed to the hugely unaffordable Ivy League US universities. The quality and standards of Canadian institutions are also much more even.
. Much better racial harmony in Canada.
. Much less gun and other violence in Canada.
. Trigger happy cops in Canada too - but no where to the extent of that in the US.
. Canada's largest province of Ontario has a population less than that of metropolitan LA.
. Canadian "ghettos" are essentially non existent.
. Mortgage interest is tax deductible in the US, not so in Canada.
. Property prices are much lower in the US generally speaking.
. Certain food prices are lower in the US.
. Much more hospitable climate in the US.
. Political system in Canada is modeled after the British parliamentary system, as opposed to the Republican US system.
. Monied interest plays much more smaller role in political representation in Canada.
. Most judiciary and law enforcement officials in Canada are not subject to the election system as in the US.
. Gas is cheaper in the US.
. Regional disparities are not as wide as the US in Canada. In Canada - it's the Maritimes, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba and the other three Western provinces.
. Canada's right wingers would be viewed as rabid left wingers in the US.
. US has much better highway systems.
. Canada has much less number of fervent religious groups (Christians) than the US.
. Major Canadian cities are much more multi racial - as opposed to the US.
. There are actual Communist Party candidates running regularly in elections in Canada.
. Canadians are much less rah rah than Americans in chest thumping expression activities regarding "patriotism".
. Canadians are passionate about Ice Hockey and comparatively blasé about other professional sports (an obsessive madness among Americans) -except the present Toronto Blue Jays baseball pennant run which for once unites the country !
. Much more dynamic entrepreneurial business environment in the US.
. Restaurant serving portions are much bigger in the US.
. Liquor sales are much accessible in most of the US - versus the restrictive Canadian "nanny state" attitude where in Ontario - Canada's most populous province liquor sales are only through government run outlets.
. Canadians in general are much less polarized as in the US - between the Dems and Reps. Elections are a much more tamer affair in Canada, and issues between opposing parties are much closer than that of the US.
.Trump couldn't even run for local dog catcher position in Canada.
Contrary to this in US I do have native American friends. A few weeks after arrival to US I was invited to Thanksgiving dinner by one family of multi generational Americans of German/Dutch ancestry. I never had "privilege" like that in Canada.
In Quebec, children were safe walking from home to downtown. A man could walk in the park during the evening with his wife and never be bothered. Not many Americans understand the sovereignty movement, since the Canadian (and Québecois) national consciousness was not forged by a bloody civil war, as was the case with the USA.
Returning to the States, I had no patience for the people who complained about telephoning businesses and having to press 1 for English. As an English-speaker in a sea of Francophones, I appreciated being on the receiving end of such a courtesy.
Granted, many of the differences I experienced were also due to the fact that I lived in a sparsely-populated area, where not all goods and services in larger urban areas were available. Montreal was a lot different from my little town. One of the first things you notice is that everywhere in the USA, stores stay open much later.
Edit: I noticed how food in Quebec often tends to be more bland than in the States (especially since one of the places I grew up was close to the Mexican border). Up in Québec I would attract some comments when I got caught adding a dash of Tabasco sauce to their cipaille (a meat dish with a crust on it. When it was really dry, a bit of Tabasco and a jalapeño would make it taste somewhat reminiscent of a tamale).