“How many times have you thought: ‘There are so many cultural differences!’ It is common to feel a sense of wonder and fascination when exploring the traditions and customs of other parts of the world.”
The richness of Canadian culture is the result of over seven decades of immigration policies that have allowed for the creation of a unique and unparalleled blend of cultural differences and traditions, which have shaped Canadian culture.
In this sense, Latinos have very marked cultural differences in some aspects of our lives, and if you have just arrived in Canada, this article will help you understand some aspects of Canadians’ daily life.
Let’s start with the most important aspect of our lives, family. Canadian culture values independence and individuality. Canadians often focus on their own career and personal life, and may not always have a close relationship with their family, the daily contact that a Latin American might have is much greater.
This does not mean that they do not value their family, but their focus on individuality may be different from what is expected in Latin culture. Instead of spending time at large family gatherings, Canadians may prefer to spend time in individual activities or in small groups of close friends.
On the other hand, while Latinos tend to be more protective and affectionate with our children, child-rearing in Canadian culture can be more permissive and focused on the child’s autonomy. Parents may be more relaxed about rules and discipline, and encourage independence and decision-making by the child. In addition, the family is not always as involved in the children’s lives, and it is common for young people to move out for university or to start their independent life.
Generally, in our culture, children take into account the opinions and advice of their parents in important decisions, while in Canadian culture, children can make independent decisions and seek their own path without the need to follow their parents’ advice at all times.
Another notable cultural difference is regarding the care of elderly family members. In Latin culture, it is expected that children will care for their parents in their old age and provide them with emotional and financial support. However, in Canadian culture, care for the elderly is based on a combination of healthcare and social assistance services provided by private institutions or by the social security system of their provinces, and children may not have the same responsibility in caring for their parents.
Religious beliefs are also one of the important cultural differences. In Latin America, the predominant religion is Roman Catholicism, prevalent in many countries of the region influenced by the Spanish Empire’s conquest. However, Canada is a diverse country when it comes to religion, with a wide variety of beliefs and religious practices.
According to the 2011 census, the majority of the Canadian population identifies as Christian (67.3%), followed by those with no religious affiliation (23.9%), Muslims (3.2%), Hindus (1.5%), Sikhs (1.4%), Buddhists (1.1%), and Jews (1%). Additionally, there are many other religions represented in the Canadian population, including Taoism, Confucianism, Zoroastrianism, and Baha’ism, among others.
In Canada, the Christian religion is divided into several denominations, with the largest being the Roman Catholic Church, followed by Anglicans, United, and Baptists. Other Christian denominations include Methodists, Lutherans, and Presbyterians.
Regarding non-Christian religions, Islam is the largest, followed by Hinduism, Sikhism, and Buddhism. The Muslim population in Canada is very diverse, with people of different ethnic backgrounds, including Arabs, Pakistanis, Africans, and Southeast Asians. Most mosques are located in Canada’s largest cities, such as Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Calgary.
Hinduism and Sikhism are religions originating from India and have a significant presence in the Indian-Canadian community. Hindu and Sikh temples in Canada are important places for the community and can be found in cities throughout the country.
Buddhism is a religion that has become increasingly popular in Canada in recent decades, in part due to immigration from countries where Buddhism is the predominant religion, such as China, Japan, and Korea. There are also many Canadians who have converted to Buddhism.
In general, Canada is a very tolerant country with respect to religion, and freedom of worship is protected by law. Religious diversity is an important part of Canadian identity and most religions are represented in the population.
Passion for Sports
Unlike our countries of origin, Canadians do not have football, basketball, and baseball as their main sports. Although Lacrosse is the national sport of the country, for decades, the quintessential national sport has been hockey. Few countries in the world can boast of having a sport so deeply rooted in their culture as Canada.
Over the years, a passionate atmosphere has surrounded this beloved game, and as a result, people of all ages come together on an intimate level to watch and enjoy it. However, this fervor goes beyond mere observation, as there are numerous professional or amateur leagues for different age groups, with the main hockey league being a notable example.
The NHL is the National Hockey League of the United States and Canada, and features the participation of seven Canadian teams. Although the league is predominantly American, Canadian teams bring great enthusiasm and passion to hockey in the NHL, and their players are considered some of the best in the world.
There are seven Canadian teams in the NHL representing six different cities:
- Montreal Canadiens: Founded in 1909, it is one of the oldest teams in the NHL and has won 24 Stanley Cup championships, a league record. They play at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec.
- Toronto Maple Leafs: Founded in 1917, it is one of the most popular teams in the NHL. They have won 13 Stanley Cup championships, but have not won since 1967. They play at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario.
- Ottawa Senators: Founded in 1992, it is one of the newer teams in the NHL. They have reached the Stanley Cup finals once in their history in 2007, but lost. They play at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, Ontario.
- Winnipeg Jets: Founded in 2011, the Winnipeg Jets are the most recent team to join the NHL. They were previously the Atlanta Thrashers before moving to Winnipeg, Manitoba. They have not yet won the Stanley Cup. They play at Canada Life Centre in Winnipeg.
- Edmonton Oilers: Founded in 1972, have won five Stanley Cup championships, all in the 1980s. They are a team with a great tradition in the league and play at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta.
- Calgary Flames: Founded in 1972, they have won one Stanley Cup championship in their history in 1989. They play at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta.
- Vancouver Canucks: Founded in 1970, they have never won a Stanley Cup championship, but have reached the final three times in their history. They play at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Did you know?
lacrosse is a traditional and popular sport in Canada, with a long history dating back to the indigenous peoples of North America. It is believed that lacrosse originated over 500 years ago in the Iroquois nations and has been considered a sacred sport and a way to honor the gods.
During the colonial era, lacrosse spread among European settlers and lacrosse teams formed throughout Canada. In 1867, the National Lacrosse Association of Canada was founded, and the sport became Canada’s national sport in 1859.
Lacrosse is a popular sport throughout Canada, especially in the provinces of Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, and Alberta, and is also played by university and club teams across the country. Canada has had success in international lacrosse, winning the gold medal at the World Lacrosse Games in 2006 and 2014, as well as at the World Lacrosse Championship in 1978, 2006, 2010, and 2014.
Lacrosse has also had a cultural and symbolic impact in Canada, especially for Indigenous nations, as it is considered a way to honor Canada’s Indigenous heritage and history. Lacrosse has been used as a way to connect and heal Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities in Canada, and has also been used as a way to promote inclusion and diversity in the country.
Habits and lifestyles
Canadians take pride in their habits, and when you first arrive in the country, you are immediately immersed in their customs and become part of their virtues, such as the appreciation for nature, starting with a great love and respect for the environment and what surrounds them.
Multiculturalism is also a key aspect, where you can find people from different nationalities living and interacting with each other in every place you go. Due to the cultural diversity, as we mentioned in previous articles, it is common to find restaurants and food options from different parts of the world, which allows Canadians to explore different flavors and cuisines.
Health and emotional and physical well-being are also fundamental aspects of daily life, where an active lifestyle is a part of daily routine, from multiple people riding bicycles on streets and trails to people jogging in the dead of winter being some of the most common activities in any city.
As for social relationships, here in Canada we find extraordinarily friendly people who are open to any type of conversation. Family gatherings and meeting friends to chat at a bar or café after work are very common, especially in the summer where the streets and bars are crowded with people and it is difficult to find a table that is not occupied.
However, the cultural differences between Latinos and Canadians are noticeable. Canadians tend to be very organized with their schedules and appointments. They usually arrive on time and respect previously agreed commitments. Therefore, make sure to be on time!
The relationship with work also plays an important role in the daily life of Canadians. Most people work from Monday to Friday, from 9 AM to 5 PM. There is also a culture of working to live, rather than living to work, so the balance between work and personal life is very important.
We are confident that despite the cultural differences, Canada has opened the doors to a new world of possibilities, where safety, quality of life, and outdoor recreational spaces are part of everyday life. Beyond the points of comparison, we always come to the same thought where we analyze that cultural exchange and everyday hobbies are not so far from the place where we grew up.
Do you think this is true? What other differences have been impactful for you during your time in the country?