I realize that as Canadians we have a hard time defining ourselves anything but in oppositions to our much larger neighbour to the south. The fact that healthcare is continuously brought up as something that defines us as a nation only serves to illustrate how captivated we are by the Americans- and fail to notice that they are the ones defined by that fact (all other industrialized countries have universal healthcare, Canada is one of the pack). The world’s largest producer of seductive culture is going to be the standard as to which we are different.
However, I wish that Canadians would realize how similar we really are the the Americans and stop believing the simplistic notion that we are always apologizing for everything and simply the nicest folk around. Having traveled across the border on many occasions I can say that things are not much different north to south and if anything people are more friendly down there. Judging by the comments on this CBC site it doesn’t appear that many people are able to consider the fact that maybe there are rude Canadians.
I tend to believe that the North American continent is culturally different north and south but that it does not occur at the 49th parallel. On the west coast, for instance, the cities of Vancouver, Seattle, and Portland are all very similar and could easily find more cultural links between them than their respective brethren on the eastern seaboard (the same could be said of the interior parts of BC, Washington, and Oregon which are all much more culturally conservative and unlike both the coasts). The Southern part of the USA is very different from anything that exists in Canada but it’s no different from the northern US states which are also very different from it.