Canada. The land of maple syrup, igloos, and hockey. Also the land of most of your Knowable writers! If you venture to our fair land you will definitely find snow, a slight accent, and a determination to always be polite… Come visit and see for yourself!
People on Quora were asked: “What is an ‘only in Canada’ moment?” These are some of the best answers.
This is from the time when I was returning to my place from school. It was a long day at school and I was quite tired.
I showed my U-PASS (Universal – Pass for Bus, Gym and Aquatic center), through the transparent section of my wallet, to BC transit bus driver and entered the bus. As I was tired and the bus ride was about 35 min long, I decided to doze off for some time telling the driver to let me know when my stop comes. The driver did exactly as I requested. He woke me up when my stop came and I, quickly, got off the bus. On arriving to my apartment, I went to bed in no time!
Next morning, when I started to get ready for school, I noticed that I am missing something. I couldnt find my wallet with me. On recollecting events from the previous day, I realized I must have dropped my wallet in the bus as the last time I used my wallet was to show U-PASS to the bus driver. I thought that my wallet is gone with all my money and I will have to go though the pain of applying for all the IDs and cards again!
Even though I had lost all my hopes that time, I remembered signs of lost & found department in the transit buses. I thought I should at least give it a try. I found their number from the internet and called them. I was informed that someone had returned my wallet to the bus driver and they have my wallet! I was relieved a big time to know that my wallet was safe as it had my Credit Card, University ID, Care Card, cash, U-PASS and other reward cards. They verified my information and told me that I can pick it up from their office at my convenience.
Well, you must be thinking by now that this can happen in any country and any honest person would not keep others stuff with them. Youre not wrong! But I think what happened next would rarely happen in any other country.
I explained the person on phone that I cant take transit because I dont have my U-PASS and I also cant take a cab as my credit card and cash were also in my wallet. Honestly, I was expecting the reply that it was my problem and I should find a way out!
However, this is Canada, things work differently here. Understanding my situation, the transit person drove to my place to return my wallet! I also found that everything was intact in my wallet including every penny of my cash! Wow!
Now this is my Only in Canada moment!
I once was at the mall, and there was a lady standing in front of me in a line. She was holding a coffee from Tim Hortons, and she was on the phone with somebody. They seemed to be arguing about hockey, something about the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Vancouver Canucks. She eventually hung up the phone, turned around, and apologized to me for her behaviour.
I was walking downtown with my daughter and a homeless man politely asked if we had any change. In both official languages. I gave him a fiver.
Ive visited Canada twice a year starting in 2010. My fianc was born in Winnipeg, grew up in the Okanagan Valley, B.C. And now lives and works in Edmonton. People ask me all the time what the Canadian people are like. I struggled with an answer for years. Great, Polite, Friendly, Awesome….those words just didn’t do it. Finally this last hockey season something occurred that struck me as a shining example of Canada and its people.
The Edmonton Oilers hadn’t made it the playoffs since 2006 so the new Rogers Place Arena was packed to the gills with orange, white and blue. It was game 3 of the Stanley Cup playoffs against the Anaheim Ducks and the players were lined up on the ice ready to sing both teams national anthems. Canadian country singer Brett Kissel had the honor of performing both anthems that night and the crowd roared as he stepped up to the mike with his guitar. The Ducks were the visiting team so Kissel prepared to sing the tricky The Star Spangled Banner and then belt out O Canada for the home crowd. Except something went wrong and Kissel could be seen on both tv camera and jumbotron trying to making adjustments. He let loose a few Ohhhhs trying to get things working and then held spread his arms wide and yelled to the crowd off-mike, Lets sing it together!
And they did.
18,000 Canadians stood and belted out the United States anthem word for word, from start to finish.
And then, of course, sang O Canada.
I don’t think there is anywhere else in the world where a group of sports fans could spontaneously stand up and sing another countrys anthem in its entirety.
Only in Canada.
It was summer of 2002, and I was part of the pilgrims visiting for the World Youth Days. We were a large bunch of Indian and Pakistani pilgrims from Dubai in the Middle East.
One afternoon, we were at the subway station near Rogers Center and some of us stopped to rest near the supermarket underground. Right next to the supermarket was a doughnut kiosk. I was hungry, so I trotted down to it and ordered a couple of doughnuts. There was an older Canadian lady with beautiful silver hair and a face of someone whod seen it all. Kind eye. I knelt on one knee to get my money from my wallet which was in my backpack. Took a couple of minutes.
When I got back up, I handed over the money to the cashier and he declined, saying “That lady who was just here saw your backpack with the event logo, realised youre a tourist and asked if she could pay for you!
To date, I dont know who she was. I do know, however, she anonymously paid for a hungry lads snack out of the goodness of her heart.
Anthony J. Permal
I lived in New Brunswick, Canada for 3 years from 2012 to 2015, which happened to coincide with the coldest and snowiest winters the region has seen in decades. Temperatures regularly fell below -20C.
Anyways, it was on the winter of 2014/2015 that the region experienced some of the heaviest snowfall in 50+ years; I still recall coming back to my basement apartment only to find part of my bed, and entire pillow, covered in snow.
Anyways, the snow that winter was so heavy there was nowhere to shovel it. The road signs were practically all in snow, and anymore shoveling would have covered the houses in snow. Soooooo, some towns decided You know what, dump it into the river… lets just push it all the way to the river. That was my only in Canada moment.
Ahmed Y. Khiari
I was looking to buy an iPad, as they had just come out. We walked in to Future Shop and the salesperson greeted me with the standard Allo which allows one to respond in either French or English. I speak halfway decent French, and detected the salespersons accent, and spoke French. He detected my English accent and spoke English. We carried on a five minute conversation, him speaking his second language, me speaking mine, all the while helping each other find words in English or French.
My father was visiting us last year when he had a heart attack. First, the nurses insisted that the family go home each night so we were also rested. They said they would call if we were needed. My father was covered by insurance, but we were worried whether it would cover everything. I tried asking the social worker about how much the whole hospital stay and surgery would cost, that I needed an estimate to at least plan if I need to arrange more funds. She said Don’t worry! Lets get your father well first. We will think about the money later. And if needed, we can arrange a monthly payment plan to simplify things for you.
I have never seen this attitude – from the nurses, the social worker and the overall system which focuses on the well being of the patient and the family. I understand there are wait times, but even then, the system is a safety net which doesn’t let you fall.
Absolutely, only in Canada.
We just got back from Toronto on Wednesday, and I know exactly what my only in Canada moment will be from this trip.
We were in Dollarama last weekend (already, you know its a Canadian story if its set in Dollarama!) I was pushing my cart along and got distracted and at the end of an aisle, I turned badly and bumped into somebody coming the other way.
AND SHE APOLOGIZED. Just for existing.
It was awesome. Of course, I apologized to her as well, since, hey, Im the one who almost ran her down.
Sigh… Im back in Israel now, where nobody apologizes for anything, and missing Canada already.
Jennifer Tzivia MacLeod
As a frequent American visitor to Canada, I would say it is the moment I captured in this picture:
OK, its a hockey game. So what? That tells you as much about Canada as a picture of Americans watching a baseball game.
… as you can tell from the clothes the spectators are wearing, its summertime outside.
As you can tell from the size of the players, its a youth hockey game.
And you cant tell this in this picture, but the white rectangle behind the guy with his son at upper left is, on its reverse, a sign warning people to stay on the other side of the netting for their own safety.
This was at the Brick Invitational Youth Hockey tournament at the West Edmonton Mall in late June 2015, a couple of weeks after that years NHL season was over.
Yes. Canadians love hockey so much that they will disregard safety warnings en masse in order to watch a youth hockey tournament during the summer regardless of whether their own children are playing in it or not (This hockey tournament captured so much attention that people at the Starbucks overlooking the rink from the second story were eagerly following it too).
The only in Canada moment I experienced was in a little town called Niagara-on-the-Lake. While I was browsing around a shop I wandered down a random aisle. All I could see from the moment I entered that aisle was the golden bronze of maple syrup. There were bags of chips, candy, syrup bottles, and even drinks that were maple syrup flavored! Regrettably, I didn’t buy any of it.
Canada day in London, UK this year.
While we were standing in the Tim Hortons line in Trafalgar Square (at least 2 hour wait), a Muslim mom with a stroller came by and asked if this is the line for Tims. Everyone turned around and confirmed with a sad tone that it is and it’s a long line. At the same time as this mom was asking, a family was passing by with a few boxes of TimBits. The mom of this family quickly approached the mother with the stroller and gave her her box of Timbits and said, “Here you go. You can have these” and then the mom with the stroller hugged her and she hugged her back and it was so sweet. Everyone around went Ahhhh.
As they were walking away, the daughter turned to her mother who gave away her Timbits and said “You’re gonna make me cry”. And that ladies and gentlemen is why we are proud of Canada and very proud of how Canadians represent our country anywhere in the world…
Before riding the bus, there was an elderly woman who did not know how to speak English in front of me. As she approached the door, she started asking the driver about the bus route and if it was to stop where she wanted to get off. All in a language that the driver had no clue about. Even then, the driver was trying to help her with hand gestures and street names until another person came to the womans rescue. But the driver put in his full effort to answer the woman and make sure he did not board the wrong bus.
Robertson screws and screwdrivers are standard only in Canada. I rejoice every time I use one.
With other sorts of screwhead, one must push the screwdriver against the screw to make it hold the screw while exerting high torque. Ones wrist quickly becomes exhausted. But with Robertson screws, one only has to supply the torque. The torque actually tightens the bond between screwdriver and screw.
With other sorts of screwhead, the head fails at much lower torque than with a Robertson head. Thus for a Robertson wood screw, one can use a smaller pilot hole, resulting in more security.
When removing a screw that has been in place a long time and is stuck, a Robertson head makes the difference between simply unscrewing it and having to drill it out.
The screw can be pushed onto the screwdriver before driving, and will stay there while offering up the screw to its home, greatly simplifying driving in tight spaces.
Sometimes, even in Canada, stores sell equipment with Phillips-head mounting screws supplied, because they were made for the U.S.A. market. I throw those screws away. I would rather waste a few screws than waste my time trying to drive inferior screws.
I am an international graduate student at the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon. I am from India. This happened on the first Saturday of January 2017. I was working in my research lab till late night and I had parked my car on the road outside university campus. While parking the car I did not realize that I am parking my car in ice and walked towards university. When I came back to my car around 2 AM, I entered in my car and started it but car was not moving an inch. I tried and tried but it was not moving. I came out to see whats going on.
I was tired and it was really cold. I looked here and there and found no one. I checked in my car to find some tools to break the ice. I had two of these snow brushes. Thats it.
Winter term had started but most of my friends were still on vacation. I thought it was also not a good time to call. I started to break ice around tires using snow brush and tried to drive the car out of it. I kept on breaking ice for straight 30 minutes but it was not helping. I was exhausted.
Then suddenly a car stopped and two drunk guys came out who were heading back from a club downtown. They asked if they could help. I guess it was around -30 degrees celsius and realizing that they were not wearing a jacket/sweater, I requested them to go back in their car. They did not listen to me and were really nice. Those guys were from Vancouver, BC and were visting a friend at the University of Saskatchewan. They took out two snow brushes from their car and start breaking ice. Meanwhile they introduced themselves and were asking me about myself.
Luckily, I had an extra sweater in car and I was wearing a parka jacket and sweater. I gave an extra sweater and my parka jacket to those guys. I kept on requesting them to not worry and leave as they were tired after party. But no, they insisted on staying and helping me. They asked me to put some music on car stereo.
After that for straight 20 minutes we three were breaking ice near car tires. After ample amount of ice was removed, we placed car mats under each tire to gain traction. Then one guy started pressing accelerator and other guy and I started pushing the car from back. After around 10 minutes of this, the car finally came out of ice.
I felt relieved and we three went to nearby Tim Hortons and enjoyed Double-Double. That night I knew I made the right choice of choosing Canada for higher studies.
I dont want to say that people in other countries dont help strangers but Canadians never fail to surprise me with their politeness and helpful nature. I read somewhere on the Internet When Im in Canada, I feel this is what the world should be like.” I feel the same.
When I traveled there solo several years ago I had heard of helicopter tours around Niagara Falls. So I decided that doing that would be the first thing I did when I arrived. When I went to the girl at the counter she asked if I had any discounts. I just replied no and expected her to tell me the price.
Well instead of giving me the price she said Nothing? Coupons? Memberships? This? That? and named probably 10 different ways to get a discount. My first thought was you have that many discounts available?, but while beginning to laugh I told her Nope. No discounts.
That’s not even the only in Canada moment. Instead of just charging me full price she did a wave as if to disregard my no answer then says in a cheery voice, We’ll find you a discount! The price ended up being about $20 to $30 less than the full price of ~$150.
Some years ago – maybe ten – at around 10PM a Safeway store in Calgary was left unlocked by its manager on closing at 9:30. Even the lights were left on. People entered the store to shop and it soon became apparent that the place was without staff. A few people called yoo-hoo – anyone here? and when there was no response the now about ten people decided they had best call the police. It never occurred to anyone to take some groceries – maybe some prime cuts of beef – while the opportunity was there.
A car stopping for red traffic lights, at 3 am, on a quiet one way street, in a residential part of town where there is literally zero cars passing after 10 am. There were no surveillance cameras at the time.
Met a guy in Kingston, while I was travelling from Toronto to Ottawa. This guy was biking the whole way from Toronto to Ottawa. He was carrying a hunting knife, and loads of other survival tools. Only in Canada.
Back in the late 80s my friend who sold rare & bootleg media and the like took me & two other guys with him to Montreal (from Indianapolis, Indiana) for a convention. We got a flat tire in some white-bread looking suburban neighborhood, the kind that would have gates and security if it were in the US. We were a motley crew to say the least, and nervous about the reactions we expected from the locals, especially considering some of the substances that we had on our persons at the time, so we hastily set about changing the tire.
Turns out his model of minivan (I believe it was a Mitsubishi) had the spare, as well as the JACK, in a spot under the rear end that was inaccessible when this particular tire was flat.
This is way before the internet & cell phones, so we were at a total loss as to how to extricate ourselves from this situation. Did I mention it was winter? Oh yes it was, and montreals winter was a bit more wintry than we were used to even; about a foot of perma-snow over everything and around 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Before the squarest-looking guy among us could muster the courage to go knock on someones door, a lower-middle aged couple (straight off the set of the Bob and Betty Show, if you get my drift) came out their front door with a tray full of coffee and donuts, walked straight over to us and set it down in the back of the van.
I see you got that Mitsubishi there, eh? Terrible place for the spare to be, eh? I dont think the Triple-Eh (get it?) is gonna get here before you get frostbite. Youre welcome to come inside, and youll be on your way in a jiffy.
One guy went in to use the bathroom, the rest of us ravenously attacking the snack and growing ever more paranoid, not having ever encountered such unsolicited helpfulness and suspicious of their motives. Our friend comes back about the same time as two other neighbors from separate houses stroll up with boards & a bottle jack, as well as more snacks and some beers.
A small block party formed, with us being the excuse for them to catch up on personal affairs and the like. At one point one of these Mayberry-Riverdale central casting types says, That smells like some pretty good marijuana you folks have.
We all dropped jaws and thought the jig was up, we were outnumbered, and now we were gonna see the dark flipside of these hinterlanders. The brief but intensely awkward silence was broken when this fellow followed with, I think youll enjoy the stuff I have. At least two other people were all like, Oh sure, ya betcha. Mines pretty good too. Within minutes, large joints were were passing around, only one of which was that tobacco with hash kinda thing that I find hard to smoke. It was mostly several cuts above what we ever could get in the Midwest.
They jacked up and changed our tire, without letting us touch anything. The whole scene took less than twenty minutes to unfold, ending with us driving away with about 1012 folks waving at us in the middle of the street, carrying on with their impromptu potluck (ha-ha, eh?).
I briefly but seriously considered defecting, and Ill be damned if I still dont think about it.
A homeless person getting out of the metro station (where they spend their day sleeping on a cardboard) to smoke a cigarette they found on the floor, because it is forbidden to smoke in the metro stations.
As a European, honestly just the fact, that you feel like a properly organized and genuinely picture-esque country I could imagine myself living in.
Most of the western countries just seem like a jumble of although brilliant ideas and concepts behind it, ultimately in a bunch of dysfunctional chaos and sometimes bordering with almost gullibility.
Admittedly, my post kind of sounds xenophobic and by no means I am implying European countries are perfect (far from it), but Canada is literally the only “western” country I’d be genuinely happy to move into.
Also you’re pretty much the only “western” country, where I think of the citizens living there as actual exemplary citizens I’d be proud to live amongst. For the rest, sadly be it justified or unjustified stereotypes, I’d rather not consider myself a part of if I ever were to migrate there, but if I went to Canada, I’d be proud to be a Canadian citizen.
We had had a long day in the city and were going back to the St. Rose of Lima school where we had been lodged. On our way there in a suburb in Mississauga, we passed a water vending machine. My best friend and I struggled to find change to put into the machine, and so decided to walk away and continue on home.
5 minutes later, a Canadian man who was probably in his 40s ran up to us, panting heavily, and handed us 2 bottles of ice cold water. He said hed noticed from afar that we didnt have change for water, so he bought the bottles himself and ran over to give some to us.
He didnt need to do that! And yet, there we were.
Anthony J. Permal
My first ever flight to Canada was Cathay Pacific. Some kind hearted flight attendant upgraded us (me and wifey) to first class after hearing that we just got married and were going to Canada for pursuing higher studies. As soon as flight landed at Vancouver, I was woken up by loud clapping that lasted at least couple minutes. I was kind of bewildered on what happened and asked flight attendant. She said this is Canadian way to appreciate a smooth landing. This happened many times over but only in Canada.
As we all know, Canada is a very cold place and is only getting colder by each year (thanks climate change). This happened about 10 years ago. Twas a dark and stormy night in front of a Canadian Wal-Mart, there was tons of slushy, icy snow covering the ground. My mother and I had just came out of the store, eager to get home. We saw a crowd of people around a common van in the parking lot. We were curious as to why this van was so interesting, so we looked in through the crowd and saw that a young woman (probably going to the nearby college) had her van’s tires stuck in the mucky snow.
That was all.
And all these Canadian people, of different creeds, colours, backgrounds were praying for this random woman, shoveling around her car, helping her in any way they could. Even though they had never met.
In fact my mother and I stayed and helped too. We stayed for a good hour, my mother giving the lady one of our car floor mats to put under her tires to gain traction over the snow.
This ended up working. Everyone was cheering. Not a single person complained about the crappy weather, or how some stupid college lady wasted everyones time, or that the crowd started a ruckus in the Wal*Mart parking lot. It was just all love, trying to help strangers out with no reward wanted.
That was truly one of the most memorable only in Canada moments.
Some of this material has been edited for clarity.