Grab some back bacon and belt out some Celine Dion: Putting Canadian clichés to the test, eh?

June 29, 2015

For some Canadians, worrying about our national identity – or perceived lack of one – is a habit almost as old as the country.

TORONTO – June 29, 2015 – For some Canadians, worrying about our national identity – or perceived lack of one – is a habit almost as old as the country.  But in the eyes of others, there is no shortage of clichés about Canadians: we are variously stereotyped as a nation of hockey-obsessed igloo dwellers who regularly commune with beavers and bears.  As Canada marks its 148th birthday July 1, a new Historica Canada poll conducted by Ipsos Reid put those and other related  clichés to the test.

Some are accurate. Most Canadians (81%) admit to using “eh,” including a quarter of Canadians who confess they say it daily. And we are certainly home to hockey lovers – two in ten Canadians (18%) call it the greatest sport on Earth, and another 40% consider themselves casual fans (which leaves close to half of Canadians that are just as happy to change the channel from Hockey Night in Canada).    

To the surprise of almost no Canadians however, most of us do not live in igloos. Only 16% of Canadians have even been inside an igloo, while most (73%) have been in a canoe

The online survey of more than 1,000 respondents also found that Canada is home of the beaver, at least judging by the number of Canadians who have seen one in the wild – 64%, beating out moose (60%), loon (59%) and bear (55%).

Other findings include:

  • A third of Canadians (35%) named back bacon as the national food, beating poutine (30%) for the top spot
  • When asked which musician they were proudest to call Canadian, four in ten (38%) bestowed the honour upon Celine Dion – in Quebec that climbed to six in ten (63%)
  • Half of Canadians (50%) say the toque is the “most Canadian” item of clothing
  • Seven in ten Canadians (71%) plan to celebrate Canada Day, with 40% planning to watch a fireworks show – here’s hoping the weather holds

‘Somewhere out there on Canada Day, perhaps someone will be eating back bacon in an igloo in their toque, listening to Celine Dion in between periods of a taped hockey game with their pet beaver close by,’ said Anthony Wilson-Smith, CEO of Historica Canada. ‘To that person – and everyone else – we wish a happy Canada Day, whether filled with clichés or not.’

Historica Canada is the country’s largest organization dedicated to enhancing awareness of Canadian history and citizenship.

Full survey results available here.

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos Reid poll conducted between June 12th and June 15th, 2015, on behalf of Historica Canada. For this survey, a sample of 1,005 Canadians from Ipsos' online panel was interviewed online. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval.  In this case, the poll is accurate to within +/ - 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadian adults been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.


For more information:

Andrea Hall, communications coordinator

T. 1-866-701-1867 x 261 / cell 416-317-5331