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Old 06-04-2008, 08:00 PM
 
Location: St. Joseph Area
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Here's a question:

Since the WWII, Canadian identity has gradually moved away from being "child of the mother country" to "land of the maple leaf" (ie, it has formed its own identity). How much residual British identity is there in Canada today? Do older Canadians more likely to feel British/Canadian as opposed to just Canadian? Obviously this question applies to English Canada.

Signed,
Very Curious
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Old 06-04-2008, 08:22 PM
 
Location: Manitoba
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My grandma is that british Canandian, and was mad when they change the red ensign flag to a dead leaf in 1965, My mom and grandma, faught against it back then.

I know a few people in Canada, that don't even know the Queen is still the head of Canada.

I think we are more becoming Americanized then Bristish.
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Old 06-05-2008, 01:14 AM
 
Location: Vancouver, BC
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Honestly? This generation (ie: the babies of baby boomers) don't think of Canada as British at all. A country that developed from British colonies? Yes. A country whose identity started off as "being British". Yes. But currently, Canadians that speak English (ie: the majority of Canadians) don't identify contemporary Canada with being British or being like Britain.

However, going by what I've read across a multitude of online forums, many Americans still look at Canada as a particularly "British" place... perhaps based on the fact that it was a country founded by the British. My assumption is that they're not quite sure what to make of a country that's so similar to the USA, but it's not the USA. The logic, I assume is, "clearly, if it's not American, it must be British"... but I think it's more of a failure of recognizing it as "Canadian".

There are many signs of Canada's British colonial past - ie: British inspired architecture in cities like Victoria or in southern Ontario. Similar nameplaces as places back in Britain (ie: Windsor, London, York, Cornwall, etc). British names like "King George Highway" or "British Columbia". Having the monarchy as a figurehead and the queen on the money. Being a part of the commonwealth, etc. We speak English here and still spell in the "British" (ie: original English spelling) of certain words (ie: theatre, centre, colour). Of course, we don't boast it as being the "British" way, but the Canadian way.

Saying all this, anyone who has been to Canada and has been to the UK recently knows that Canada is nothing like it. Canadians who travel to the UK experience culture shock, as do British people who travel to Canada. (To see what I mean, just go to the BritishExpats.com forum and search up the Canada forum to hear from the hundreds of British people who have moved to Canada who speak in length about the differences in clothing, driving, housing, food, architecture, education, employment, socializing, etc - it's endless!). Canada is not a particularly British place these days. It's distinctly a different place from Britain just as it is distinctly different from the USA. I'd even argue, having visited both the USA and the UK, that Canada is way more American than it is British, at least superficially.

Canada's demographics have also been shifting ever since immigration restrictions based on race were lifted back in the 1960's/70's. This isn't to say that prior to the 60's you were either of British or French heritage. Black people, Japanese people, Chinese people, Indian people (Indian from India), etc, have been immigrating to Canada even before the country's initial Confederation in 1867... but immigration was heavily restricted based on race for many decades. As a result, unlike the 1940's where the majority of immigrants arriving to Canada were white Europeans, the majority of immigrants arriving in Canada since the 1960's have actually been from outside Europe.

Because of this, Canada's demographics no longer suit the old fashioned idea that if you speak English, your relatives are probably British. In my home city, for example, the average person's grandmother was likely born in Hong Kong, China, the Phillipines, India, or Japan. As a result, the British aspect of Canada's past is less of a personal thing to Canadians these days... it's less about "I am British" but more "Canada's founders were British and saw themselves as British"... but as we can seedjf863000's post, the British identity holds more relevance to older generations. Statistically, these older generations were a part of the immigration stock who were white Europeans (many of whom were British). But Canada defines itself as "multicultural" these days.

But even saying all this, how does one measure "Britishness"? How does one begin to measure how "British" Canada is? Compared to what? The USA? Canada will always seem "more British" than the USA based on several facts that I already spoke about. But identifying the Canadian identity as "British" is clearly a thing of the past in today's Canada.

So says I!

Last edited by Robynator; 06-05-2008 at 02:16 AM..
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Old 06-05-2008, 01:45 AM
 
Location: Southwest Washington
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I personally never considered Canada to be very British in my head. Nor did I ever really jump to the assumption that it was "just like America!" Though I do know quite a few people who do assume that...

I read something that described America as a melting pot of different cultures, while Canada is a mosaic of different cultures. Canada is Canada, but part of that entails being a collection of all these bits and pieces from all over, plus a big chunk from England. America's chunk is getting larger though, I have to agree. Even so, it is definitely not England and definitely not America.
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Old 06-05-2008, 07:47 AM
 
Location: Toronto
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how british is canada? not at all.
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Old 06-05-2008, 08:03 AM
 
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Quote:
However, going by what I've read across a multitude of online forums, many Americans still look at Canada as a particularly "British" place... perhaps based on the fact that it was a country founded by the British. My assumption is that they're not quite sure what to make of a country that's so similar to the USA, but it's not the USA. The logic, I assume is, "clearly, if it's not American, it must be British"... but I think it's more of a failure of recognizing it as "Canadian".
Well would you rather we think of you as simply a more G rated version of our country?

More seriously, I have read many times that Canadians are the Queen's biggest fans because the monarchy is one of the few tangible symbols that serves to differentiate Canada from the US, at least Anglophonic Canada (I doubt the Quebecois have many good vibes for the Queen). That is certainly understandable to some extent.

Canada has not, as Australia did, held a referendum to do away with the Queen and declare a republic. That says something.

I reckon most Americans do not think of Canada as British at all. Most, if they think about Canada at all, which they probably do not, think of her as a hybrid- a fusion of of the English and French legacy with some aspects of Europe that are absent in the US- universal health care, metric system, etc.

And all in all, that is not such a bad image to have, eh?
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Old 06-05-2008, 08:50 AM
 
Location: St. Joseph Area
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Interesting answers! While I've always thought Canada was more British than the U.S. I never thought of the country as UK-esque either. A better way to say it...Canada to me is what the U.S would have looked like if we didn't have/lost the Revolution. With a residual amount of Britishness (a parliament, queen on the money, british town names) but enough of its own identity to be considered "Canada" and not "British North America"

That's my south-of-the-border perspective
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Old 06-05-2008, 08:52 AM
 
Location: Gatineau, Québec
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I am not that old, nor am I and English-speaking Canadian (French is my first language), but I grew up for the most part in English Canada, and I can recall as late as the 70s lots of people referring to french fries as chips, and depot was not pronounced "dee-po" and schedule was "shedule" rather than "skedule". Among the Canadian-born, all of these British-influenced pronunciations have pretty much disappeared. Regarding the last letter of the alphabet, Zee is making a lot of progress, though I'd say it hasn't completely supplanted Zed just yet.

Now, one should remember that modern Canada has never been completely British in its language usage. A truck has always been a truck, not a lorry. Canadians call it a trunk rather than a boot, and a hood rather than a bonnet. Always have. And the trend these days is definitely towards the rapid elimination of any remaining Britishisms (if such a word exists). Canadian spelling is a mix of American and British: colour, harbour, authorize, centre, etc. These are the official Canadian spellings, though color, harbor, authorise and center are also regularly seen in Canada.

Now, Canada is still quite British on an institutional level, particularly its political and legal systems. But that is pretty much it. Culturally, American influences dominate way more than, say, in Australia and New Zealand. Canadians get American Idol, not Pop Idol. They watch the American version of The Office, not the British one. Like their American neighbours, most Canadians are probably unaware that Idol, The Office, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, etc. were actually originally British TV shows. Sometimes the original British versions of certain TV shows are available, but they're shown on cable specialty channel number 865 (or whatever) and draw fringe audiences. Generally speaking, British stuff that is popular in Canada is generally popular in the U.S. as well. Cliff Richard's only hit songs in Canada are the exact same hits he had in the States if I recall...

Popular British sports like cricket are nowhere to be found in the Canadian mainstream, and if they are played it is by people from abroad who have moved here. Rugby is played in some circles but it isn't really much more popular than it would be in the U.S.

Soccer is on the rise in a big way but that's really a function of the recent soccer-mad immigrant influx (and spillover from the Americans finally getting interested) rather than a British heritage thing. Soccer had very limited popularity during the decades when English Canada was more solidly English-Scottish-Irish demographically. The most popular sports in Canada would be ice hockey by a wide margin (so popular no uses the word "ice" to distinguish it from the other variations), then Canadian football (similar to American football but actually the original North American variation of the game that inspired the U.S. version), and then a toss-up between basketball and baseball, with soccer rising fast and perhaps vying for third place in a few years' time.
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Old 06-05-2008, 10:47 PM
 
Location: Both coasts
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Canada is more British-influenced than the US (you're more likely to hear british accents in Canada than basically anywhere in the US) but it is its own country and is a combination of many cultures being such a diverse nation- influences from the US dominates, moreso than from the UK. It's really very different from the UK, as it is from the Southern States.
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Old 06-06-2008, 03:44 AM
 
Location: Toronto
215 posts, read 1,567,273 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mackinac81 View Post
Interesting answers! While I've always thought Canada was more British than the U.S. I never thought of the country as UK-esque either. A better way to say it...Canada to me is what the U.S would have looked like if we didn't have/lost the Revolution. With a residual amount of Britishness (a parliament, queen on the money, british town names) but enough of its own identity to be considered "Canada" and not "British North America"

That's my south-of-the-border perspective
The UK and the US both have good points, and bad points. We've managed to take the good points of both and build a country without the bad points of either

of course, such a unique combo lead to unique troubles...
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