Quiz: Are You A Polite Traveller?

Remember The Ugly American? It’s a term that became popular in the 1960s with a book and movie with that title.

The phrase was first used by photographer Constantino Arias for his portrait of an American tourist in 1950s Havana – an older man in a tight swimsuit who sports a protruding hairy belly, hairy nipples and hairy knees, a phallic cigar, pencil moustache, straw sombrero the size of a tractor tire and bottles of liquor held high.

Soon, Ugly American came to refer to the attitude and behaviour of American tourists as much as to their appearance.

Of course, there’s no such creature as the ugly Canadian. Of course there isn’t.

We’re always polite, soft-spoken, considerate and well-groomed wherever we go. Of course we are.

But perhaps you’ve encountered a few Canadians in your travels, in snowbird land, for instance, who aren’t quite so perfect, who may be uncharacteristically cocky, bumptious, fractious, brash or even – can you believe it? – passive-aggressive.

Dare one suggest that maybe you are an imperfect Canadian?

Take this quiz to find out! (Click through for the quiz.)


  • When the temperature drops in Florida and locals complain, you say, “You call this cold? You don’t know what cold is! Where I come from, we’d turn on the air conditioning.”
  • You make sure everyone you meet knows that you know someone who knew Aubrey before he was Drake.
  • At a resort, you get up at dawn every morning to leave a towel – ideally one with a Canadian flag – on a lounge chair in the best position near the pool, and then you wait until noon to occupy the chair.
  • Every time you make a purchase with a credit card in the U.S., you say, “How come you people don’t have the chip yet? Are you ever backward down here! We’ve had it for years in Canada!”
  • Whenever you take American paper money out of your wallet, you complain loudly about how dumb it is to make all the denominations the same colour. Ditto for complaints about dealing with American pennies. You say, “We were smart enough to get rid of ours years ago.”
  • You not only try to use Canadian coins at the laundromat and parking meters in the U.S., you leave them as tips at restaurants.
  • In the U.S., you wear a T-shirt that proclaims, “Canada: The American Dream.”
  • You complain about American beer. You say loudly to your pub companions, “American beer is no better than piss water.”
  • You tell people in line at Dunkin’ Donuts that Timmy’s has better coffee and pastry, and they should get more Timmy’s down here pronto so people can see what a really good doughnut shop is like.
  • While you’re doing all the above, you make sure people know that Canadians have a reputation all over the world for being the nicest, most courteous and most considerate tourists.

If 3 of these statements apply to you, read some travel books or sites with special attention to information about tourist ettiquette.

If 5 apply to you, take your vacation in Canada.

If 8 or more apply to you, take a bodyguard if you travel out of Canada.