Before I start I need to make a correction from my last post “Things that Infuriate Me”. I complained about Kim Kardashian’s “book” being the best-selling book shortly after being released – two things, I should have pointed out that the best-selling list I was referring to was in the US and secondly I made an error by saying “the best-selling book” when it should have been “a best-selling book”. (Are you happy now Boca!). Also that best-selling list I was referring to came out only a couple of weeks after Kim’s book went on sale, in recent updates we’ve learned that the book was actually a flop, so there is hope for humanity and the art of reading yet!
So onto the topic hand the age-old question “Are Canadians boring?”. This is a question I’ve come across a lot since I decided to move to Canada. Firstly when I told people I was going to Toronto, a surprising amount of people responded with “Oh right, aren’t the Canadians supposed to be awful boring though?” and since moving here, a few people have asked me if in fact the Canadians are as boring as we Irish seem to think. I also read an article a while ago about how boring Canadians are – and it was written by a Canadian. He wrote about theories that Canadian journalist Jeet Heer has for why Canadians are so boring. The first being that Canadians are almost purposely boring just to distinguish themselves from their noisy neighbours – the Americans (no offence to any Americans reading!) and that they actually work at being boring, it’s not inherent. The second theory was that the image of boringness actually is just another way of saying “white” – as in Canada is a white Anglo nation. Not sure I agree with that second theory at all given that Toronto is probably the most multi-cultural city in the world. And also Ireland is a white nation – and we are loads of fun! The first theory probably has some merit – not necessarily regarding boringness but regarding their society as a whole, I think they work pretty hard to make sure they are different to America. Myself and Phil are members of this Facebook page “Irish & New in Toronto” which as the name suggests is for Irish people who have just moved to Toronto and recently someone posted a question on it asking what’s the biggest difference between Toronto and home, or the thing we have found the hardest to get used to. This simple question generated hundreds of responses. Some were humerous saying things like you can’t get taytos here or the Canadians wouldn’t know a good chicken roll if it hit them across the head! But I noticed a common theme; a lot of people commented saying Canadians are boring or Canadians are no craic.
For anyone who is not Irish who is reading this, craic, pronounced “crack” is a huge part of Irish culture and no, it’s not the kind of crack that you are thinking of! It has nothing to do with drugs, craic merely means “fun”, “having a laugh” or “having a good time”. Irish people enjoy “having the craic” immensely, it’s all we care about really, going out and having a good time with your pals, that’s what life in Ireland is all about. And let’s be honest, most of this craic is experienced while we’re out drinking. If you’re in Ireland “Any craic?” or “What’s the craic?” are common greetings between us. There are different kinds of craic that you can have too. There’s “mad craic” – this would mean you had a particularly fun time, “great craic” – still a really good time “good craic” – it was a good time with a reasonable amount of fun and then there is the dreaded “no craic” – meaning it was boring and no fun and worse still “zero craic” – meaning it was really awful and then, the absolute worst of the worst “minus craic” – meaning it was truly the worst time you ever had and there was no fun to be had anywhere. If an Irish person ever tells you that you are “minus craic”, you’re in big trouble, that’s the worst insult you could EVER be given by an Irish person. But anyway, now that I’ve described what craic is, back to the question at hand. I said I sensed a theme with people commenting about Canadians being no craic so I decided it’s about time to blog about the question on everyone’s lips – Are Canadians boring?
Firstly, let me just put this out there, I think we can all agree that us Irish people measure how much craic someone is by how much they drink, and how much fun they are when they drink. So usually, when an Irish person says “ah, he’s no craic” it means “he doesn’t drink much so he’s boring”. So continuing with that line of thinking when Irish people say “ah sure are those Canadians not all boring?” they really mean “sure they don’t drink much over there in Canada so they must be boring auld fuckers”. We equate fun with alcohol, it’s just what we do and because Canadians are world-renowned for being friendly and polite rather than for partying, Irish people then tend to assume that no one in Canada is any fun and that all Canadians go just about their boring lives saying “sorry” to one another over and over again. Well I’m here to stand up for the Canadians and tell you that guess what? They aren’t boring! I know, I can hear you all gasping in shock, but stick with me for a bit!
It is true that here in Canada there is not as much emphasis on drinking as there is at home, it’s not as big a part of their culture as it is in ours and if they saw how drunk young people in Ireland get every weekend, some of them might be shocked. Actually on my recent trip home to Ireland I realized how different the drinking culture really is. At home, on a night out, whether it be a club or a pub or a late bar that we were in, we aways got chatting to random strangers and having a laugh with them. In one club, at the end of the night myself and a friend (Emma) went around shaking people’s hands and thanking them for coming out for our birthday – just for the craic. It was hilarious, we got chatting to so many people and just had a good laugh. I’ve a feeling if we did that in Toronto people would think we had just escaped from some sort of institution. That doesn’t happen in Toronto, I don’t think random people just end up making new friends on a night out in the pub, it just doesn’t work like that here (probably because they aren’t as drunk as us on a night out!) After work drinks doesn’t seem to be much of a “thing” here and going out and getting off your face drunk really isn’t that popular either..but that’s probably not a bad thing! But they do go to the pub, they are big into brunches (with alcohol involved) and barbeques in the summer are really popular here and we all know barbeques usually mean spending more time drinking than actually eating the bbq food, well it’s the same here! Sometimes I think we Irish as a nation judge other people – and countries on their drinking capabilities – or lack thereof, and that’s not necessarily fair because you can have fun without alcohol (or so I’m told). Although Canadians’ lives don’t revolve around drink like ours do, believe it or not, you can still have fun with a Canadian person – dare I even say it, sometimes, you can even have some craic with them :O !!
Canadians are more into doing “stuff” than we Irish are. They are always trying new things, going to some weird and wonderful festival, trying new foods and they are just very active in general. And I think we don’t understand that, so it scares us, the fact that they do other things that don’t necessarily involve alcohol is a new idea for some Irish people. Who knew you cold have fun without drinking eh?! Canadians have a different way of life here, in the summer, it’s all about escaping the city and spending weekends at the cottage, hiking, jet skiing, paddle boarding by day and having a few beers by camp fire at night. And winter is all about ice skating and snowboarding (or skiing), playing ice hockey and going to ice festivals and the like. So really, how can we call Canadians boring? Plus believe it or not I definitely know some Canadians who can drink their fair share of alcohol and are great craic too, so, maybe if you think Canadians are boring, you’re just hanging out with the wrong Canadians!
Until next time 🙂