Magazine topic: 
Life around the world

Differences between Canada and England

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Recently, I moved from England to Canada to teach English in a French-speaking school. Having grown up surrounded by US culture, in music, TV shows and films, I was convinced that North America would be a 'home-away-from-home'. However, despite speaking the same language, it turns out that there are some differences they don’t show you on programmes like Desperate Housewives! Here are the top five differences I noticed between Canada and England:

1) Electrical plugs.
In England, electrical plugs for your laptop, phone, etc. are heavy and solid. In North America, they’re quite delicate and always fall out of the wall. Not great when you’re drying your hair! (Who decided to make British plugs so heavy, anyway?)

2) Water.
Seriously, in Canada water fountains are everywhere! Somebody told me this is because water is Canada’s greatest natural resource. It’s really convenient, especially in places like Walmart. Running around searching for bargains is thirsty work!

3) Deodorant.
It seems that spray-on deodorant is a rare species in Canada. Instead, it’s all roll-on, which can take ages to try and leaves stains on your clothes, but smells ten times nicer.

4) Adverts on TV.
A one-hour TV show in North America is actually only 43 minutes; the other 17 minutes are adverts. That means that for every three minutes of your TV show you watch, you have to sit through one minute of adverts. I’ll never complain about adverts on British TV again, especially when you consider that some British channels don’t have any adverts at all!

5) Stop signs.
Even when driving in the middle of the night, every Canadian I’ve seen dutifully obeys the stop signs in the street. This is definitely not true in England, where (a) there are far fewer stop signs, and (b) everybody ignores them anyway! It seems that Canadians are much more cautious drivers.

In conclusion, I have found Canada to be a better-hydrated and sweeter-smelling country than England. Just don’t work up a sweat sitting through all the adverts on TV!


If someone from the UK came to live in your country, what do you imagine would be really different for them? 


Leraket's picture
Leraket 11 February, 2017 - 12:26

If a Brirish came to live in me country- Ukraine,he/she will amazing this beautiful country in the east of Europe and he/she will amazing Ukraine because it is a very big country!!! Ukraine has incredible mountains Carpathians and many beautiful places in the west of Ukraine.

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sona's picture
sona 30 November, 2015 - 11:14

If a British came to live in my country,he would be prepared for many changes. First of all,in Albanian,cars move in the right side of the road and I think it would be a big change to him. Secondly,we always stay in our house without shoes and we wear them only when we go out. In addition,relating to adverds,I would say that thay last 10 minutes(I am sure you will say that I am kidding,but this is the truth).However,I think he would be impressive by the hospitality that only Albanians offers.hahhaha

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MALINE's picture
MALINE 24 December, 2013 - 17:56

I had never thought that ads on tv where different in other countries here in México we have to stand 5 minutes of ads for every 7-10 minutes,that´s a lot.
Another difference it would be candies but I thnik that difference aplies for all countries, each have their own food.
A really good one is that we don´t use train for transporting instead we use only the subway and herewe can use a ticket or a card.what do you use in your country?

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Toma English's picture
Toma English 12 October, 2013 - 21:52

omg is a 1 minute of adverts a long period of them? -_- ,, okay I can say that not all our programs in Egypt have many adverts ,But in fact there are many Adverts in RAMADAN !!! every new program or series have a long period of adverts more than 2 min , I think sometimes it can be more than 5 min -_- it's unbelievable for you I know, but our media is so bad! :D
If someone from the UK came to live here , I think he'll be amazed of people! :D
many people here are so good and love foreigners ,, maybe he'll find people talking to you in a weird English that we call here (Egyptian English) ,, he'll hear people talking to him with weird phrases like (You speak English?) , (How are You?) ,(How old are you ?) , (Where are you from?) don't say these aren't weird "except the first one" but maybe the person will feel annoyed of these question specially when he hears the terrible Egyptian English accent !!!
but let's look for the pros ,, if u asked them for help "even they can't understand what u say" they'll try as much as they could to help you and that's the best thing about Egyptians :)
another thing he'll be amazed of ,, The looking of the streets ,, maybe it's a bit dirty ,, no very dirty and some of them looks dull that he'll feel the difference between the UK and Egypt ,, but it's not like that everywhere in Egypt,, there are many good places that look like The UK (but sunny :D )
Egypt is Soooooo Sunny special in summer , it's so hot!
in winter it's good but it gets very cold in a certain time of the winter -specially in northern cities -
then he'll find a huge difference between the weather here and in the UK

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Jonathan - Coordinator's picture
Jonathan - Coor... 13 October, 2013 - 03:46

Egypt sounds like a very friendly and hospitable place! Do you get many foreign visitors in your city?
Jonathan (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

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Toma English's picture
Toma English 13 October, 2013 - 22:11

Yes It is , everyone who visits us says that :D
Foreign visitors are not many in my city because my city doesn't have many monuments
I live in Alexandria so our monuments are the citadel "Qaytbai" , Alexandria Library (but it's the new one) and some roman monuments , beside that Alexandria is a new city that was built by Alexander the Great so it doesn't have any Pharaonic monuments and most of tourists prefer the pharaonic monuments , they are more exciting than the roman ones! :D
so they visit in Cairo > the Egyptian Museum
Giza > the Pyramids and Sphinx
Luxor and Aswan > Many temples and Monuments that I can not remember all of them right now :D
Luxor and Aswan have the most pharaonic monuments in Egypt , Archaeologists say that they have about third (1/3) of all the pharaonic monuments in Egypt :)

but unfortunately , tourism suffers from a lack of tourists because of the new government :(

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Lavender's picture
Lavender 7 October, 2013 - 17:43

I hate adverts on TV is all I gotta say. All the channels here have adverts (including free channels and paid channels). Adverts are much longer if it is a hot movie or a reality TV show like The Voice, about 5 even more minutes for each time. International channels are better in this advert stuff but anyway 'that some British channels don’t have any adverts at all!' makes me surprise!

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