Canada sits right above the United States, making up a big part of North America. The countries are so close so many people in Europe assume that Canada and America are very similar, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Canada United States of America
Capital Ottawa Washington, D.C.
National Anthem O Canada Star-Spangled Banner
National Language English & French (official) English

(De Facto)

National Animal beaver bald eagle
Political Leader Justin Trudeau Donald J Trump
Measuring System metric imperial
Regional Divisions 10 provinces & 3 territories 50 states and

5 overseas territories

How to write the date 24 March 2020 March 24, 2020
Motto A Mari Usque Ad Mare (Latin for „From Sea to Sea“) In God We Trust


I love the United States, in fact, my husband is American, and we often travel there on vacation.  Besides politics, currency, and food, there are lots of other differences between the two countries. Let me explain a few:

  • Paid vacation days

It depends on how many years the employee has been working for the company, but Canadians with one year of service are entitled to two weeks of paid vacation. After five or six years of working, that number goes up to three weeks. In the US, employees are typically given much less. In fact, the US doesn’t legally require companies to offer paid vacation to their workers.

  • Milk in bags

If you’re visiting Canada and you walk into a grocery store, you’ll notice one huge difference from the USA.  Canadian grocery stores sell milk in bags, mainly in Ontario, Québec and the Maritime provinces. The milk doesn’t stay in the bag — when Canadians bring it home, they open it up with scissors and then pour it into pitchers. Because it isn’t properly sealed, it doesn’t last quite as long once the bag has been opened. Americans would probably be very skeptical of milk in bags.

  • Taking off your shoes when entering someone’s house

It is polite to remove your shoes when entering someone’s house, or to at least ask the host if they would like you to. 

Most people will make a motion to take off their shoes when they enter someone’s house but, often, the hosts will say something like “No, no. Please leave your shoes on.” I

This practice is not as common in the United States.

  • Canadians are extremely polite

It is said that Canadians are incredibly polite and I guess I do agree with that to some point.  When it comes to mild physical faux pas, such as stepping on feet or bumping into others. Canadians  will briefly apologize, including the person who was bumped. 

A few years ago, while visiting  my son in Kelowna Canada, I rushed to the elevator as the doors opened, and bumped into the man coming out. The man said, „I’m sorry.“ to which I replied, „No, it was my fault, I’m the one who should say ‚I’m sorry.'“ The man replied: „Oh. I’m sorry.“ 😊

On the other hand, during rush-hour traffic in Toronto, politeness takes a back seat. An American friend of mine who lives in Florida said this about Canadian drivers from Ontaria, “They are notoriously the rudest, they cut people off, hog the road, take illegal turns across lanes.“ So, I guess people are people.

  • Money

Canadian Money is very colourful, I have often heard Americans say it looks like it is fake. Generally Canadian money has the same denominations as American money ( nickels, quarters, dimes and dollar bills).However, Canada got rid of pennies because production costs outweighed the value of the coin.  the major difference is that Canadians don’t have one-dollar bills, they have one- and two-dollar coins. These coins are called “Loonies” ( one-dollar) and “ Toonies”( two-dollar).

  • Measuring System

Canada, like Europe, uses the metric system. Americans, on the other hand, use the  Imperial System of Measurement ( inches, feet, gallons, etc). When I was growing up in Canada we also used the imperial system but by the early 1980s, the metric system was fully adopted in Canada.

  • Canadians love Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons is Canada’s  shop for coffee, breakfast, lunch and doughnuts. Of course, Starbucks can also be found in Canada. But Canadians love their  Tim Hortons not only because they have great doughnuts but also because it’s cheaper and they have more affordable coffee.

  • Free health care

Healthcare is one of the biggest difference in the two countries. In the US, healthcare can be very expensive. In Canada, people don’t have to worry about healthcare, the only thing they need to be concerned about is where to get their healthcare needs. A  lot of people have trouble finding primary care physicians because of long waiting lists.

  • Queuing

When Canadians go shopping or are waiting in line at a counter, they form a queue. Others are expected to take note of who has come ahead of you and are expected to wait their turn.  If someone should try to jump the queue, you can be sure that several people will make you aware of your mistake.