Canadian Traditions — What, Where and Why?

Every country has its own traditions and Canada is no exception to the rule. We’ve rounded up some of the things that Canadians do in their own way, or in a way that no other country does at all!

1. Give a Lucky Loonie

Ever since the men's and women's Canadian hockey teams both won gold medals at the 2002 Winter Olympics, the Royal Canadian Mint has released a limited edition Lucky Loonie $1 coin for each Paralympic and Olympic Games. The tradition stems from a Loonie being embedded at centre ice ahead of the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City.

The lucky symbol is now used in a lot of different sports, and it's customary to be given a Loonie coin to a sportsman or woman for luck before they compete.

2. Canadian Thanksgiving

Just like in the neighbouring USA, Canada celebrates Thanksgiving every year. However, it does so on a different date – in Canada, Thanksgiving is always the second Monday in October and it's an official holiday, so no-one needs to go to work. However, the Atlantic provinces aren't so lucky – as it's not a holiday there. Up until 1957, Thanksgiving had been celebrated on different days each year, but in that year it was decided by Parliament to celebrate Thanksgiving on the same day each year, to give thanks for the harvest.

3. Canada's Lotto Tradition

Source: Pixabay

Anyone under the age of 50 in Canada might assume that the lotto has always been a Canadian tradition. The two national lotteries Lotto/49 and Lotto Max have been played week in week out for years. But, in comparison to a country like Spain, where a lottery has been played since 1892, the Canadian lotto tradition is relatively new. Up until the 1960s, lotteries were actually illegal in Canada, but one was actually introduced in Montreal as a way of raising funds for the Expo 67. Thanks to a change in the law in 1969, the first public lottery was held in Quebec in 1970. Nowadays, of course, millions play the lottery every week, but only some people can claim to have made a tradition of winning the lottery. In April last year, a couple from Alberta won for the lottery for a third time. The third win was the biggest by far for Barbara and Douglas Fink, as they won over $8m.

4. Quebec – A Hello kiss, Not a Handshake

In most of Canada, if you greet someone, it's usual to do so with a handshake. However, in Quebec, thanks to its French influences, it's far more common to greet people with a double kiss (left, then right). Also, when speaking to each other, two acquaintances will use the more formal “vous” until one of them suggests using the more informal “tu” instead.

5. Quirky Government Traditions

In Ottawa, the newly elected Speaker of the Commons makes a big show of not really wanting to take their new seat. They'll do the usual acceptance speech, but then their colleagues ceremonially drag them by their tie, or collar, to their chair. It's supposed to show that though they're ready to lead, they're not doing so because they have a lust for power.

The Canadian House of CommonsThe Canadian House of Commons (CC BY 2.0) by scazon

On Budget Day, the Canadian Minister of Finance has traditionally worn a new pair of shoes for the occasion. However, the origins of why this tradition came about are unclear. And not every Minister of Finance plays along. In Manitoba last year, Cameron Friesen instead asked members of the government to donate to the Shoebox Project for Shelters, so he still kept the shoe theme going!

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 4.00 out of 5)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail.