WanderingTrader

Culture Shock Canada-Arriving in Toronto

canada attractions, CN Tower, things to do in toronto,

The CN Tower

I decided to head to see Toronto Canada because I don’t planning on coming back to this side of the world after I head east.  I already have a draft of my itinerary around the world and wanted to make sure I get to see at least part of the great country.  I honestly was expecting an extension of United States.  With American culture engrained so deep in so many countries around the world I assumed the country right next to it should be just like it.  Don’t ever tell a Canadian that because they hate to be called American because in their defense they really aren’t.

Once I arrived I really had a case of culture shock.  I’ve lived in many different places and have been lucky to experience many things in my life.  An experienced traveler generally expects the unexpected but when you are travelling to Canada could you honestly expect something other than an extension of America?  What I experienced is what I call European America: not quite America but not quite Europe either.  Canada has developed its own culture right in-between and at the center of that is diversity.  You thought America was a melting pot?  Go to Canada and see what a real melting pot is like.

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things to do in canada, fireworks, fireworks pictures, canada attractions

Fireworks during Canada Day celebration-Toronot, Canada

In the United States there are many different cultures but they all seem to become Americanized at some point and their all minorities (although the Latins are catching up since their breeding like rabbits).  In Toronto, 50% of the population is not white.  Being the largest city in Canada and one of the top 5 Canada attractions its incredible to actually think that half of the population isn’t Canadian.  I recommend you go Dundas Square (one of the popular Toronto attractions) to sit down have a coffee and people watch.  If you can see the whole world walk by in Paris, then you can see every culture walk by in Toronto.

They have the best of both America and Europe with a twist (diversity);  Dundas Square is a miniature version of Times Square in NYC, all major retailers like Best Buy and Subway are common, instead of Dunkin Donuts they have Tim Hortons, Canada’s official languages are English and French, and the CN Tower can be compared to the Empire State building.  Again you can see Toronto is a mini New York but with a European twist.

I would highly recommend getting to see this multicultural city because it’s a true culmination of cultures from every walk of life.  I met a Guyanese person for the first time and learned conversational Persian at the local Starbucks;  South Americans, Africans, and even Europeans.  It would be a great experience for anyone from any walk of life.  Check out our top 5 things to do in Canada and around the world!

14 Comments

  1. I live in Toronto, what a great city eh! 🙂

    Liked you're line about melting pots, but Canada is like a salad bowl. Different cultures don't melt together into one in Canada, but just co-exist with each other. That's what makes Canada so great!

  2. these are my impressions I am not claiming to be an expert.
    If these kinds of things offend you then
    A. Your way to sensitive
    B. You have no sense of humor
    C. You need to get a life
    D. I am not America, does my name Marcello Arrambide give you hint?

  3. these are my impressions I am not claiming to be an expert.
    If these kinds of things offend you then
    A. Your way to sensitive
    B. You have no sense of humor
    C. You need to get a life
    D. I am not America, does my name Marcello Arrambide give you hint?

  4. Glad you enjoyed your Toronto experience! Canadians like to say that America is a melting pot – they assimilate all cultures into “Americanism”. Canada, on the other hand, is a mosaic – we don’t erase those cultures in favour of Canadianism, but each individual culture is part of the bigger picture that is Canada. A combination of distinct pieces that make up one beautiful whole.

    At least, that’s what I learned in school! 😉

    1. I dont know if I would agree with that because 50% of the people in Toronto aren’t originally from Canada and the people I have met that are my age consider themselves Canadian.. no Indian or Chinese or where ever they are from. I do also consider that Canada and USA share a very similar culture

  5. “In Toronto, 50% of the population is not white. Being the largest city in Canada and one of the top 5 Canada attractions its incredible to actually think that half of the population isn’t Canadian.”

    I’m not sure what you’re using as a definition of Canadian. Just because they’re not white, doesn’t mean they aren’t Canadian.

    1. Thanks for the note but I never meant to imply that just because they are not white that they are not Canadian. The stereotype outside of the west is that Canadians are white. This is especially the case when you go to places that aren’t familiar with Canadian culture such as S. America, Africa, and many parts of Asia.

  6. ” In Toronto, 50% of the population is not white. Being the largest city in Canada and one of the top 5 Canada attractions its incredible to actually think that half of the population isn’t Canadian ”

    …..So you assume because half the population of Toronto is not White that it must mean they are not Canadian? What kind of logic is that?!? Being Canadian is not an ethnicity. The first people in this country were not white to begin with (i.e First Nations)! Your assumption is quite Naive. Canada is not Europe; its a land of immigrants including every single white person in the country being descendants of immigrants.

    1. Your taking this a little personal Jasmine. Foreign born citizens and the like is what I was referring to. I didn’t literally mean just because someone is “not from” Canada that they are not Canadian. We are talking technicals here.

      1. She’s not taking it personal, she’s stating facts about Canada
        1. Just because someone in Toronto is white doesn’t mean they are Canadian. They could have been born in the states or in Europe or elsewhere. There are many foreign born white people in Canada.

        2. Just because 50% of the population is not white doesn’t mean they are not Canadian.
        3. In Canada just because someone is not white does not mean they are foreign born. They are just as likely to have been born in Canada. Their parents and grandparents and beyond may have been born in Canada. You cannot determine this based on skin colour.
        3. In fact, the only true original Canadians, like Jasmine said above are the Native Aboriginal Canadians and Inuit who are not white.

        Just letting you know to clarify

  7. I’m from Toronto and find it funny that you see our city as a combination of the United States and Europe. If you want to see a Canadian city with a true “European” feel to it, then you have to check out Quebec City.

    Otherwise, Toronto is like a mini-United Nations as we have significant European, Carribean, African, Indian and Asian communities here. In fact, we have not one, but two Chinatowns here. Glad you enjoyed our city!

  8. I am happy that you liked the city. It is good that you saw it through your own eyes but this article is a seriously disappointing depiction of what my country is really like.

    Your constant reference to Canada as being a mini- USA or Europe is downright insulting and condescending. Your gross assumptions and opinions make it clear that you have not spend significant time in Canada and are just that a traveller making a quick visit and huge judgements. As an avid traveller myself I never assume I know a country without living there for a sufficient amount of time and getting a feel for the locals and culture. Your, what appears to be, quick visit clearly did not give you a good education of what Canada is really like.

    P.S This is coming from a Black Canadian with Caribbean roots. And yes this makes me Canadian.

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