Around the world, Canada is considered to be the same as the United States, but colder and further north. It is true that these two countries share a common history and geography and have experienced very similar circumstances, but even so, their national identities are very different.
However, there are some similarities, for example: these two giants are located in the North of America, and share a total of 8.893 km of land area, or approximately 18.527 football fields, making them the largest in the world. They also share the fact that both nations were founded by Europeans, who are the ones who took the indigenous people off the land, yet in the last century they were hugely multiracial societies. However, what are the differences between these two great countries?
1. They use different systems of units of measurement: Canada, like most of the world, uses kilometres and metres, speed is measured in kilometres per hour and temperature in degrees Celsius (ᵒC), while the USA measures distance in miles or feet, speed in miles per hour and temperature in Fahrenheit (ᵒF).
2. We know that both countries speak English, but in terms of official languages, we see that, unlike the United States, Canada also has French. The United States does not have an official language as such, it is called the de facto language, i.e. the one that is used as a standard.
3. From the point of view of government, we know that both countries live in a democracy with federal governments, but the difference is that Canada has a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary regime where the queen is Queen Elizabeth II of England. She is represented by the governor general who is also the head of state and the head of government is the prime minister who is the one who actually runs the country.
In contrast, in the USA we find that the head of government is the president and their system of government is a representative democracy where there is a congress and they are the ones who choose the subtraction of the government.
4. Looking at the population of the two American giants, we see that the difference is quite abysmal. Canada is the second largest country in the world in terms of size after Russia and has a population of 36 million. On the other hand, the USA is the fourth largest country after China and has a population of 323 million inhabitants, that is to say 9 times more than Canada.
5. One of the most controversial issues worldwide is the issue of guns, and these two countries approach the issue very differently. In Canada, guns are used for hunting, one of the nation's most popular sports, and getting a gun is not so easy. In the United States, however, the sale of guns is completely legal and many families have them at home.
6. For most Canadians, it is very important to emphasise that the country is secular and that religion is separate from government. In contrast, in the United States it is very common to see politicians talking about religion and to see people who are very radical about it. Moreover, they use religion as a political platform.
As we have seen, there are quite a few differences from one country to another. Even so, if you would like to know more and experience the differences first hand, don't hesitate to consult our offer of courses for foreigners. You can live a great experience in Canada living as a Canadian in a family for a semester or a whole academic year or if you prefer the United States, you can live in Boston in a residence. Do not hesitate and come with us and get to know the world!