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Synopsis

The fabric of society

The nation aspires towards a “cultural mosaic,” something like a patchwork quilt, whereas Americans have aimed for the “melting pot.” Canadians are essentially practical, and have figured out that the bat-brained idea of a melting pot would simply never work in a country where 50% of the land never completely thaws at all. A quilt is a much more pragmatic idea: it's cold outside.

 

On a clear day you can see forever

Having so much land has a great effect on the character, customs, and culture of the nation. Take, for example, the prairies. The plains of Canada stretch out endlessly. The flattest spot in the world can be found here, with nary a tree to obstruct the view, which leaves the prairie observer with a remarkably huge view of nothing. In Saskatchewan it is said that you can watch your dog running away for three days.

 

Honesty is the best policy

In the settling of the Canadian prairies, the early pioneers had no-one to rely on but themselves and their near neighbors. Honesty and integrity were important, not to mention things like a good reputation and a virtuous character. It's an attitude that persists to this day. In areas with sparse population, one cannot underestimate the power of public opinion (and the potential damage of the rumor mill). Peer pressure promotes public propriety. Politicians are expected to live up to their promises (and are regularly voted out when they regularly don't).

 

The bear truth

Canadians are down-to-earth, even earthy, people, and there are fewer extremes of class in Canadian society than in many others. Arrogance is curtailed by a lack of things about which to brag, although in your presence a Canadian might have caught a larger fish or climbed a higher mountain than you have, and killed a more ferocious grizzly bear (with his bare hands, naturally).

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