Reflecting on Canadian Symbols and Icons, Canadians Say our Wilderness (83%), Flag (81%), National Anthem (74%) and Hockey (73%) Best Reflect What Canada Really Is

Most (66%) Disagree that Canadian and American Culture are Basically the Same

Toronto, ON - As Canada's birthday is celebrated from coast to coast, a new Ipsos Reid poll - the third in a series of polls examining Canadian values, icons and culture conducted on behalf of Global Television and Postmedia News - has revealed that Canadians believe their country's wilderness, flag, national anthem and hockey best reflect what Canada really is. Asked whether or not the following are good or poor reflections for what Canada really is, the following is how Canadians ranked these symbols and icons:

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Respondents were also asked whether some of the things that might be used to describe Canada to someone from another country are among Canada's best attributes or its worst. Some symbols fared better than others:

  • Its landscape and physical beauty: 98% best vs. 2% worst
  • The diversity of its people: 88% best vs. 12% worst
  • Its history: 87% best vs. 13% worst
  • Its artists, musicians and writers: 85% best vs. 15% worst
  • Its food: 85% best vs. 15% worst
  • Its reputation on the world stage: 82% best vs. 18% worst
  • Its cultural values: 82% best vs. 18% worst
  • The public services it provides to its citizens: 76% best vs. 24% worst
  • Its economic performance: 73% best vs. 27% worst
  • Its relationship to the British monarchy: 63% best vs. 37% worst
    • In Quebec, 40% worst vs. 60% best
  • Bilingualism or the official recognition and promotion of English and French in Canada: 61% best vs. 39% worst
  • Its military: 61% best vs. 39% worst
  • Its political system: 55% best vs. 45% worst

Patriotism in Canada...

To mark Canada Day, the poll also gauged Canadians' attitudes about being Canadian. Most (85%) Canadians `agree' (47% strongly/37% somewhat) that they consider themselves `to be a proud and patriotic Canadian', while few (15%) `disagree' (4% strongly/11% somewhat). However, in Quebec, just six in ten (62%) consider themselves to be a proud and patriotic Canadian, compared to four in ten (38%) who don't.

In fact, that patriotism extends to being proud of Canada's independent culture, as most (66%) Canadians `disagree' (25% strongly/42% somewhat) that `when it comes to culture, Canada and the U.S. are basically the same', while one in three (34%) `agree' (6% strongly/28% somewhat) that it is.

Perhaps some of this pride in country stems from Canada's reputation on the world stage, considering eight in ten (84%) `agree' (26% strongly/58% somewhat) that `Canada has a great reputation on the world stage', while two in ten `disagree' (4% strongly/12% somewhat) that this is the case.

One of the areas that has perhaps caused Canada's reputation to become tarnished in the eyes of some is its environmental record. Just four in ten (43%) `agree' (8% strongly/36% somewhat) that `Canada is doing enough to protect the environment', while most (57%) Canadians `disagree' (22% strongly/35% somewhat) that the country is doing enough on this front, led in particular by those aged 18 to 34 (63%).

The Threads that Bind Canada Together...

Canada is a large and diverse place, and many see this as a positive: three-quarters (73%) of Canadians `agree' (25% strongly/48% somewhat) that `multiculturalism in Canada is a good thing', while one-quarter (27%) `disagree' (9% strongly/18% somewhat) with this notion.

With such a large country comprised of ten provinces spread out over a large geographic area, it's interesting to note that seven in ten (70%) Canadians consider themselves a `Canadian first', compared to three in ten (30%) who say they're most closely identified to the province in which they live. These numbers have remained relatively stable over time as seven in ten (69%) considered themselves `Canadian first', compared to three in ten (30%) who identified with their province first when polled over two decades ago.

  • Residents of Ontario (84%) were most likely to describe themselves as a Canadian first, compared to fewer residents of Alberta (74%), Saskatchewan and Manitoba (70%), British Columbia (69%), and Atlantic Canada (67%). A minority (47%) of Quebecers say they're a Canadian first, before a Quebecer.
  • Conversely, a majority (53%) of Quebecers say they're more closely aligned with their province, compared with fewer residents of Atlantic Canada (33%), British Columbia (31%), Saskatchewan and Manitoba (30%), Alberta (26%) and Ontario (16%) who say the same.

Perhaps reflecting the notion that most Canadians would put their country identity before their provincial identity, the data reveal that most Canadians say they have things in common with other Canadians, regardless of whether or not they belong to disparate demographic groups.

For example, most (76%) Canadians believe that Western Canada and Ontario/Quebec have things in common (14% a lot/62% a little), while one-quarter (24%) believe western and central Canada don't have anything in Common. Quebecers (37%) were most likely to believe these two groups don't have anything in common, followed by those in Saskatchewan and Manitoba (35%), Alberta (33%) and British Columbia (21%). Just 15% of Ontarians believe that central Canada doesn't have anything in common with western Canada.

Most (69%) Canadians believe that Quebec and the rest of the country have things in common (15% a lot/54% a little), while one in three (31%) Canadians believe these two groups have nothing in common. Interestingly, roughly the same proportion of Quebcers (29%) as those in the rest of the country (31%) believes they don't have anything in common.

On the urban/rural divide, most (85%) believe that urban and rural Canadians have things in common (15% a lot/70% a little), compared to just 15% who think they don't have anything in Common. Rural Canadians (18%) are more likely than those in urban centres (14%) to think that they don't have anything in common with the other group.

Regarding a generational divide, most (88%) Canadians believe that older Canadians and younger Canadians have things in common (20% a lot/67% a little), while few (12%) think that these two groups don't have anything in common, with no significant differences across age ranges.

The biggest divide between disparate groups of people concerns those who are recent immigrants versus those who are born in Canada. A slim majority (58%) believes that these two groups have something in common (6% a lot/52% a little), while four in ten (42%) believe these two groups of people have nothing in common at all. Those who were born in Canada are more likely (43%) than those who have immigrated to Canada (36%) to think they have nothing in common with the other.

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos Reid poll conducted between June 20-25, 2012, on behalf of Postmedia News and Global Television. For this survey, a sample of 1,101 Canadians from Ipsos' Canadian online panel was interviewed online. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. A survey with an unweighted probability sample of this size and a 100% response rate would have an estimated margin of error of +/- 3.0 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what the results would have been had the entire population of adults in Canada been polled. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Darrell Bricker
Ipsos Reid
Public Affairs
[email protected]

About Ipsos Reid

Ipsos Reid is Canada's market intelligence leader, the country's leading provider of public opinion research, and research partner for loyalty and forecasting and modelling insights. With operations in eight cities, Ipsos Reid employs more than 600 research professionals and support staff in Canada. The company has the biggest network of telephone call centres in the country, as well as the largest pre-recruited household and online panels. Ipsos Reid's marketing research and public affairs practices offer the premier suite of research vehicles in Canada, all of which provide clients with actionable and relevant information. Staffed with seasoned research consultants with extensive industry-specific backgrounds, Ipsos Reid offers syndicated information or custom solutions across key sectors of the Canadian economy, including consumer packaged goods, financial services, automotive, retail, and technology & telecommunications. Ipsos Reid is an Ipsos company, a leading global survey-based market research group.

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About Ipsos

Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. In October 2011 Ipsos completed the acquisition of Synovate. The combination forms the world's third largest market research company.

With offices in 84 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across six research specializations: advertising, customer loyalty, marketing, media, public affairs research, and survey management.

Ipsos researchers assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media and they measure public opinion around the globe.

Ipsos has been listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1999 and generated global revenues of e1,363 billion (1.897 billion USD) in 2011.

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