Consul General Emmanuel Kamarianakis Image Credit: Supplied

Which stereotypes about Canadians are true/not true?

That we say “eh” all the time? Not so true. Many of us don’t use “eh” to end every sentence. I hope you understand, eh?

Another common stereotype about Canadians is that we are very polite. This is true. Canada is a very polite country. I can confirm that. But please don’t confuse politeness with being pushovers. Canadians stand up for what they believe in. They just do it politely, if possible. Thank you for reading this article.

What makes you proud to be Canadian?

I am very proud to be Canadian for many reasons. Canada is a diverse and tolerant society that encourages people to achieve their potential. We encourage our citizens to live and work in harmony with their neighbours and to achieve their professional and personal goals.

I am also proud of the fact that Canadians are very welcoming of newcomers. They welcomed my parents and family when they immigrated to Canada in the 1950s and 1960s and allowed them to build a future for themselves and their children. This is also one of the main reasons I’m proud to be representing Canada in the UAE, a country that has consistently promoted the value of diversity and tolerance.

What is unique about Canada?

Canada is a country of diversity. Founded by the French and English and by our aboriginal peoples, who we call our “First Nations”. From the outset Canada came about as a country because of our founders’ willingness to compromise and to accept a federal system of government that would recognise both French and English and also respect religious and cultural diversity.

What is the Canadian cultural identity?

We know from experience that our success as a country depends on our ability to integrate a broad diversity of people into the mainstream culture of our country. In Canada, more than 20 per cent of our citizens were not born in our country, the highest percentage of the G7. In the metropolitan area of Toronto, the fourth-largest city in North-America, 46 per cent of the population was not born in Canada.

Tolerance and the integration of newcomers is a key component of modern Canadian culture. Celebrating Eid Al Adha, Chinese New Year, Diwali and Christmas can all be considered reflections of modern Canadian culture.

A common commitment to the rule of law, the importance of individual human rights and the value of pluralism help bind us together.

Of course, we also love hockey! We have seven NHL teams in Canada, including everyone’s favourite, the Montreal Canadiens. We have great musicians (Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Bryan Adams, Neil Young, Céline Dion, Arcade Fire, and yes, Justin Bieber among many others). We also love humour and there are many great Canadian comedians (Jim Carrey, Mike Myers, Russel Peters, Rachid Badouri, Dan Akroyd, Seth Rogen and many others).

And finally, our actors are among the world’s greatest (Ryan Gosling, Ryan Reynolds, Rachel McAdams, Michael J. Fox, Keifer Sutherland, William Shatner, Christopher Plummer, Keanu Reeves and many others).

What is your hometown like?

I have two hometowns. I was born in Montreal and lived there for 12 years. Montreal is a jewel of a city. Bilingual, cosmopolitan and with great ethnic and cultural richness.

My other hometown is Calgary, in the west of Canada. Calgary is a dynamic an energetic city that is becoming a major business and cultural hub in Western North America. In many ways, I have been fortunate to experience the true diversity of what Canada has to offer by living in these two great cities separated by more than 3,000km.

What’s your favourite Canadian food, and why?

I would have to say that Montreal Smoked Meat is a favourite food of mine and I always make time for a smoked meat sandwich whenever I am in Montreal. I like mine simple, with some mustard and a dill pickle. The great thing about having so many cultural traditions in Canada is that you could probably ask 100 people that same question and get 100 different answers.

What sights or experiences in your country are not to be missed?

There are many great sights and experiences to not miss. From great festivals and street culture in our great metropolitan cities like Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver to great nature and unspoilt scenery across the entire country.

You will find fantastic hospitality and warmth in Atlantic Canada. The provinces of New Brunswick, Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island boast spectacular and pristine coastlines. Here you’ll find lush vistas and uncrowded beaches, breathtaking scenery and a vibrant and welcoming culture that will ensure you feel like a local in no time. Quebec is a jewel with wonderful culture and a great mix of urban and rural vitality and a strong francophone culture that makes the province unique in North America. Ontario is a dynamic and engaging province which also offers amazing urban and rural options. It is also our largest province and Toronto is our largest city. Western Canada offers spectacular vistas from the Great Plains of our prairie provinces to the Rocky Mountains of Alberta and British Columbia. There are also some unique and still unvisited regions of northern Canada that are “off-the-beaten path” to say the least and offer great experiences for those seeking to enjoy pristine natural environments.

When your country stretches from the Atlantic to the Arctic to the Pacific and constitutes the second-biggest territory in the world, there is an awful lot to explore. You can learn more at caen-keepexploring.canada.travel.