How To Tell You’re A Small-Town American in Canada

When I moved to Canada, I didn’t expect many aspects of the culture to be different from American culture. Especially growing up 30 minutes from the Ontario border, I was no stranger to Canada. However, once I settled into my Montreal life, I found many small differences from my Michigan life that I was not quite accustomed to. Here’s how to tell if you’re a small-town American in a Canadian city.


  1. Pennies? Not here

You’re still a little lost and amazed at the lack of pennies in your wallet. Recently I’ve been asking why America even still uses pennies. At first I was always confused why I could pay with a toonie and get no change when my total was $1.98, now I realize it is just so much more convenient.


2. Change is actually valuable

            You realize the change piling up in your wallet is actually more valuable than you think, thanks to loonies and toonies. I never consider my American dimes, nickels, and pennies to be as important. When I feel a mass of coins at the bottom of my bag, I frustratingly transport it immediately into my change jar, barely realizing there’s $1 coins and even better--$2 coins!

3. Public transport is baffling

            Coming from a small suburban town where there’s no metros, buses, or light rail systems, taking the metro for the first time was an adventure. Trying to figure out what bus to take, in what direction and to which stop is like reading another language. Plus, you can reach the suburbs by public transport, which isn’t possible where I’m from, I’ve always found that fascinating!

4. No post on Sundays….or Saturdays

If you’ve never received mail on Saturday, well...that’s because Canada doesn’t deliver mail on Saturdays! It embarrassingly took me a year and a half of living in Montreal and checking my mailbox each weekend to realize this.  


5. The Ketchup

Contrary to many beliefs, the ketchup in Canada is sweeter and 200% better. As an avid lover of fries, I’ve known this my whole life and consider it one of the many perks to living in Canada.



6. You try to figure out celsius but just...can’t

No matter how hard you try, you just can’t understand celsius. When your friends tell you it’s going to be 30 degrees, you’ll always wonder why it’s going to be that chilly in August.



7. “It’s cheaper in USD”

You probably justify all your purchases with saying “Well, it’s cheaper in USD!” right? That $7 latte is actually only $5.34, so it’s totally okay. Right?



8. Beans for breakfast?

In the States, baked beans are commonly eaten with dinner, yet I always get a small cup of baked beans with my brunch. Why? How is it a breakfast food in Canada?



9. There’s sooo much to do

It seems like every weekend there is a festival, exhibition, concert, or some other type of entertainment to go to. Contrary to the suburbs, you’ll never be bored in the city.