As a Canadian, how do you view culture?  Do you feel that culture is something that is created through our Canadian identity?  Do you see yourself as Ukrainian, German, Dutch, Canadian, Irish, etc and identify that as your culture?  Is it possible to have a Canadian culture?  If so, what does it look like to you?


Discussion:  I am struggling at defining my own identity within culture.  I am hoping that I can be inspired by responses to these questions.  Feel free to just answer one, two or any that strike you.  I will be using this material to create a video and so if I am inspired you could possibly be have  a role in a movie!  I am thinking that taking a bit of time to reflect on what it is to you may be beneficial…. that is how I do things.  I understand that others have different methods.  I welcome any and all responses.


5 thoughts on “Culture

  1. I think Canadians DO have a culture. Unlike Americans, we had to compromise and negotiate amongst various groups in order to create what we now call Canada. It isn’t an easy relationship all Canadians have with each other but we know that if we don’t get along on some level our country will be swallowed up by the United States.

    I remember going to school in the early 1960’s in Saskatoon and being part of the British Empire / Commonwealth was still a big deal; we saluted the British flag at school and sang “God Save the Queen”. Pierre Trudeau was a prime minister who really forced the issue of what it means to be Canadian; in the 1970’s British citizens could no longer live in Canada without having to decide if they were Canadian citizens or not. He patriated the Canadian constitution (Charter of Rights and Freedoms).

    Probably the best way to find out what it means to be a Canadian is to leave the country for a bit and go somewhere else. I visited Australia and New Zealand about 20 years ago; I found I had a lot in common with these folk because all three of our countries are part of the British Commonwealth.

  2. (focus on the question of culture as created through our Canadian identity)

    I think that identity within culture is much more than identifying with nationality. Culture can be characterized by a multitude of aspects–tradition, language, values, religious beliefs, geography, and so on. But the most notable aspect of a particular culture is, in my opinion, relationships and how people of a particular culture communicate within that culture and with those of another. As a Canadian citizen, I experience the naturally friendly, forward, relational nature of other Canadians daily (a friendly “hello” passing by in the hallway, a short conversation with the clerk at the grocery store, etc.). It is in our relationships, of varying significance to us, that we find our identities. Therefore, I believe that my Canadian culture is not only a part of my identity, but my identity is also part of my Canadian culture.

  3. Focusing on the question of, “How do you view culture?’, I researched the definition in Wikipedia and discovered culture to be “the behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular social, ethnic, or age group.”

    I believe others could see a Canadian culture in those of us who have only lived in Canada but could I/would I/do I want to/do I need to? How much time and thought would it take me to identify this culture for myself? What purpose would it serve me?

    I would rather look at the culture of my family – the behaviours and beliefs characteristic of our particular family group. I personally stand firm with the statement, I AM CANADIAN (and I don’t drink beer!). As far back as I know my family – and my grandparents were born in the late 1800’s, we are all Canadian born – both French and English speaking – but born on Canadian soil. In tracing histories for school assignment, there are indications that geneologies could be traced to Ireland, Scotland, England, France but they are so distanced for me, that I have never endearvored to that. I am content being Canadian.

    In being Canadian then, what do I see as the Canadian culture? What I see as my family culture is a particular family from a Nelson/Critchlow/Frain/Leahy heritage who have strong Christian moral values committed to honest, responsible societal values. This family, with all adult childern, is now in the next phase of extending the family base to include other family heritages. Each new member – boyfriend, girlfriend, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, grandson, granddaughter add another welcome and new dimension.

    Our original family is unique in that there are eight children in a time when two point two is the norm. Our family is unique in that of the eight children, only one is a son. Our family is unique in that all these children have the same father and mother who love and continue to love each other in spite of the current need to live in separate households!

    What would my Canadian culture be? The freedom to make the choice of who to marry, when to marry, how many children to have, where to work, when to work, where to live, how to live is an essential part of my being Canadian.

    Thus, the freedom to choose to ‘be me’ is my Canadian culture.

  4. Thought provoking questions Kenna.

    Here are my thoughts on the posed questions
    1) As a Canadian, how do you view culture?
    2) Do you feel that culture is something that is created through our Canadian identity?
    To me the beauty of being Canadian is that we really truly are free to create our own culture. I am third generation Canadian so when people ask where my family came from the answer is Canada. That is a huge part of my self-identified culture. When I think about it further I realize that being a Saskatchewanian is even more a part of my culture than being Canadian. I love love love being from Saskatchewan and I will tell anyone and everyone that I am from Saskatchewan. As far back as I know my family has lived in Saskatchewan!!!

    3) Do you see yourself as Ukrainian, German, Dutch, Canadian, Irish, etc and identify that as your culture?
    As mentioned above, I do see myself as Canadian and readily identify that. I also mentioned that even though I identify myself as Canadian I do identify myself as being from Saskatchewan first and foremost.

    4) Is it possible to have a Canadian culture? If so, what does it look like to you?
    There is absolutely a Canadian culture in my eyes. I, personally, love the stereotype about being hockey loving, Tim Horton’s loving, and living in Igloos!! I think a lot of people identify with being a hockey loving nation, and that may have a slight addiction to Tim Horton’s. I still have never had to opportunity to see an igloo so that is not really a part of our culture!!! I do believe that as a whole people in Canada are really proud to be Canadian and will show that off no matter where they go in the world!!! It seems that a big part of the culture is being friendly, polite and nice.

    My idea of what Canadian culture is about people who embrace all of the beauty that we have been blessed with! We have out pockets of people that are absolutely in love with winter and everything that that brings and then we have another pocket of people that love the heat (whether that be the dry heat that we have or the humidity of those who have a touch more water than us!). We have our people that love only mountains and our people that love only the prairie land and then we have people that are somewhere in-between. I think the greatest example of when our Canadian culture is at its best is last February (2010) at the Olympics when Canadian pride was pretty much written on everyone’s face. Beautiful.

  5. Culture…..I have been thinking about these questions alot and they have been bugging me. Really, how do I view culture?? I had to think about it! To me I don’t define my culture necassarily by being Canadian, but more along the lines of how I was raised. My “culture” is hopefully not that different that people from all around the world – my culture was determined from my parents I believe – they are the ones who guided me when I was younger and helped me see things that I would not have learned otherwise. I want to teach my own children that every single person views culture differently and thats alright – none of us are wrong!!Thats beautiful!
    What I am saying is that I view my culture first and foremost by my family. Second, view myself Canadian. I have always been proud of that, however, it wasnt until the Vancouver olympics that I truly realised what an absolute great country we all belong to!!! We all came together – different races, ages,genders, etc. we all saw ourselves as Canadians first! It was amazing!
    Does this make any sense?? Does it even asnwer one of those questions – I told you, this one had me baffled!!

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