Oprah’s looking for “quintessential Canadian”

Note to readers: This is an actual form you can fill out on oprah.com. I am not making this up. If you want to participate in this contest, please follow the link, here. Otherwise read on.

Live in Montreal? We Want to Hear From You!

We want to know what life is like in Montreal for a typical Canadian family and how it’s different from those of us in the United States.  How is your daily routine different from a typical Americans? Are there customs or traditions you follow that are unique to your family, Montreal or Canada? Does your family speak French at the dinner table? Are you a hockey fanatic? How is Montreal different from say life in Cleveland, Ohio? If you or someone you know is the quintessential Canadian, we want to hear from you! Tell us your story.  If we were to spend an average day with you or your family, what would we see?

Dear Ms. Winfrey: I am a Canadian citizen who lives in Ottawa, Ontario, and I believe you are much misguided by assuming that the “quintessential Canadian” lives in Montreal, is a hockey fanatic and speaks French at the dinner table.

Perhaps you have failed to visit the rest of our country, which is fabulous.

If you have not, let me fill you in.

Like the United States, Canada is a diverse country where you are more likely to hear Farzi or Italian or Greek than French. (The exception, of course, is in Quebec and some parts of Atlantic Canada.) You asked how we are different than people in Cleveland, Ohio, and I ask you whether you would dare ask a New Yorker or a Californian the same question. People in Toronto have little in common with people in, say, Whitehorse, other than being hardworking, decent folk who love their families. So I would say that Canadians are like Americans in that sense.

Not all of us like hockey, hoser! Some of us like a nice, dry glass of wine or a martini. Lots of us like to go out and listen to music and we don’t all necessarily eat poutine and drink Molson Canadian. A lot of us do smoke, though, I can say in all sincerity, most of us are trying to quit.

The difference between us and Americans is largely based on the fact that we know how to keep from defaulting on our loans and houses. That’s because we have a sound banking system and a system of government that would not allow “debt ceilings”. We also have universal access to medicare. We have our problems with it, but we like it.

Unlike the US of A, our country was founded, not by the wild west, but by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and some bureaucrats who built towns, constructed railways and paid foreigners to come here. For that reason, we are a well-managed lot who don’t get into much trouble.

Wild and west only happen in Canada when the Calgary Stampede is on.

Most Canadians don’t say much around the dinner table. The kids are too busy playing XBox and dad and mom are too busy either making up soccer schedules or working two jobs to pay the rent. We eat lots of things because we are a multicultural society, and everybody eats Greek, Italian and Chinese with the odd trip to McDonald’s or Wendy’s thrown in.

If you spent a day with my family, you’d be spending it watching me type this stupid blog while my husband and kids all go to their jobs. In other words, you’d be spending your day alone. At night we sit around, barbecue and watch some tube. I used to watch you, but now you’re gone, I’m going to have to decide between Anderson Cooper and Rosie O’Donnell (guess who wins?)

That’s all for now.

Oh yes, and don’t piss Canadians off by offering up another contest like this one. It goes to show you haven’t done your market research for OWN Canada. If you did, you’d realize that most of your viewers don’t live in Montreal.




12 Replies to “Oprah’s looking for “quintessential Canadian””

  1. As a Canadian who lived in the United States for twenty-five years, commencing in 1977, to this day it still astounds me how completely and hysterically unaware Americans are of the rest of the world (195+ countries) never mind the one next door … we are the second largest country in the world (St. John’s Newfoundland is closer to London, England than it is to Vancouver); never had a civil war, keep politics, religion, sexual orientation and our reproductive choices to ourselves …

    When I lived in Atlanta I was asked by a complete stranger … “Have you discovered Jesus Christ as your Saviour?” to which I replied “No, ma’am, I have no imaginary friends.” and headed to the bar. I lived in New York for about twenty minutes and was asked how I was going to vote … I was aghast as I don’t know how my parents voted.

    Cold? Mounties? Igloos? Point Pelee, in Lake Ontario, is farther south than the most northly point of California; When actress, Shelley Winters was told she would be filming a movie with Marilyn Monroe and Robert Mitchum near Lake Louise in Canada, she replied “Canada … what street is that on?”

    A Canadian invented basketball; America’s sweetheart, Mary Pickford, was born on University Avenue the present site of Sick Children’s hospital where pablum was invented; we invented insulin and the first long distance phone call in the world was from Brantford, Ontario to Paris, Ontario, seven miles away; Barack Obama uses a Blackberry, origin obvious.

    I finally came home, for good, last November, geographically and culturally exhausted.

  2. Then again, some of us do live in Montreal…do love hockey + sometimes watch it sipping dry white wine. Our kids are bilingual (+ were never allowed to bring their electronic/digital toys to the table. ) Why are we any less the “quintessential Canadian” than someone living in Ottawa or Calgary or any other town or city in Canada?
    Just asking….
    Edith in Montreal

  3. Couple of things: 1)”Most Canadians don’t say much around the dinner table. The kids are too busy playing XBox and dad and mom are too busy either making up soccer schedules or working two jobs to pay the rent.” I don’t know if you can say this about “most Canadians.” This is not founded and therefore is just as misguided as Oprah’s contest form. 2) I’m so sick of Canadians saying there’s only French in Quebec and Atlantic Canada. There are so many Francophones in all provinces, especially in Ontario. You should know that, you live in Ottawa!

  4. I’m pretty sure some one has made this up. I searched Oprah’s site and I searched Google: not a trace of a quintessential Canadian. This looks like a completely made-up tirade.

  5. You are obviously not the quintessential Canadian that the show is looking for. I did not read the question to imply that the person has to be from Montreal; that just happens to be the city that the question is being asked.
    I am the quintessential Canadian who happens to be from Montreal; I do plan on replying!!!
    Thank Oprah for you interest

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s