Study in Canada

7 Things That Define Canadian Culture a…

7 Things That Define Canadian Culture and Traditions

canada culture

It is well known that Canadians are among the world's most courteous, diplomatic, and peace-loving people. In fact, a stereotype of Canadians is that they apologize even when they are not at fault. This is accurate to a point. Canadian society places high importance on nonviolence, honesty, and tolerance.

Here are some things that define Canadian culture and traditions:


The two most widely used languages in Canada continue to be English and French. Around 90% of Canadians at least occasionally speak one of the two official languages at home. Francophones, sometimes known as French-Canadians, are considerably less common among Canadians.

The only province where French is regularly spoken is Quebec, where more than 90% of them reside. In Quebec, 3.2 million people speak both French and English, compared to 3.8 million who only speak French. Together with a few uniquely Canadian features, the pronunciation and spelling of the English language in Canada is significantly influenced by American use.

Learn more about what languages are spoken in Canada.

Social Etiquette

In general, Canadians are taught to treat both friends and strangers with courtesy, respect, and friendliness. In terms of things like greetings and gift-giving, Canada mostly follows standard western cultural customs.

Here are a few social norms followed in Canada:

  • Unless requested to be less formal, last names and relevant titles should be used.
  • In Quebec, it's customary to kiss each cheek once, similar to France.
  • Keep eye contact while exchanging handshakes.
  • Men can extend their hand to a woman without having to wait for her to do the same.
  • Canadians value their personal space and keep a respectful distance when chatting to others.
  • Canadians are reluctant to talk about their personal life with coworkers.


The diversity and freedom of religion are supported by Canadian culture. In Canada, everyone is free to practice any religion as long as doing so does not violate the law. Although no recognized national religion exists, Christianity has dominated the country since colonization.

For example, most court proceedings include swearing on the Bible, and many public gatherings begin with prayers. People are supposed to accept religious diversity in the government and society, and atheist alternatives are also practiced.

The topic of religion is welcome, although some people might not enjoy others defending their ideas, including atheism, or pushing their own. In social settings, preaching could be considered unpleasant.

According to Statistics Canada, this is the distribution of religions in Canada:

Religion Percentage
Christian 63.2%
No religion or secular perspectives 26.3%
Muslim 3.7%
Hindu 1.7%
Sikh 1.4%
Buddhist 1.4%
Other religious and spiritual traditions 1.2%
Jewish 1.0%


Regional differences in Canadian cuisine are significant. Native American, English, Scottish, and French influences can be found in Canada's four earliest cuisines. English Canada's native cuisine shares a lot of similarities with British cuisine.

Here are some traditional Canadian dishes:

  • Butter Tarts. A popular tiny pastry dish in Canadian cuisine is the butter tart. A butter, sugar, syrup, and egg mixture is cooked in a pastry shell until the filling is semi-solid and the top is crunchy.
  • Poutine. Poutine is a dish of cheese curds, fries, and brown gravy. It first appeared in Quebec in the Centre-du-Québec region in the late 1950s. However, its precise origin is unclear, and various conflicting theories exist.
  • Nanaimo Bars. The Canadian city of Nanaimo in British Columbia inspired the creation of this bar treat, which needs no baking. A wafer, nut, and coconut crumb base, a layer of custard icing in the middle, and a layer of chocolate ganache on top make up its three layers.
  • Montreal Bagels. A unique type of handmade, wood-fired baked bagel is the Montreal-style bagel. The Montreal bagel is smaller, thinner, sweeter, denser, and has a larger hole than the New York-style bagel. It is also always baked in a wood-fired oven.
  • Tourtière. Originally from Quebec, tourtière is a French Canadian meat pie meal typically cooked with potatoes and ground pork, veal, or beef. It is a customary component of the Quebec New Year's Eve feast and the Christmas réveillon.


Each region of Canada has its own style. Compared to other provinces, Vancouver has a more relaxed dress code, while Toronto has a more British-influenced look. French Canadian clothing is far more casual than the rest of Canada, reflecting a carefree European style. The climate in Canada causes many Canadians to dress warmly.

Canadians often dress in layers, allowing them to adapt to the country's changing climate. Many Canadians now layer their clothing and wear sweaters or cardigans over their shirts. Because cotton takes so long to dry and is so easy to get wet, Canadians tend to wear less cotton.

Wool, on the other hand, is more popular since it dries quickly and is warmer. Because they can trap body heat, hats are popular clothing among Canadians. In addition, Canadians usually wear strong boots, denim jeans, and flannel jackets.


  • Canada Day - July 1. All those who consider Canada their home and native land celebrate Canada Day on July 1st. The Constitution Act of 1867 united the three territories, Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, into one country known as Canada.
  • The New Flag of Canada - February 15. Queen Elizabeth II formally designated the maple leaf flag as the country's national emblem in 1965.
  • Canada’s Independence - December 11. The Statute of Westminster grants Canada political independence from the United Kingdom, including the freedom to pursue its own foreign policy.


Canada, a leading sports nation, has influenced how sports are played today by combining its four distinct seasons with its geographic and social variety.

The summer national sport of Canada, lacrosse, has been played by Indigenous people for a thousand years. Basketball was created by Dr. James Naismith in 1891 to keep young athletes in shape during the winter, and hockey was created in Canada in the 1800s.

Soccer is the most played sport among kids. Canadians of all ages can engage in sports activities at every level and in a variety of formats as a part of a healthy, active lifestyle.

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