General Question

dannyc's avatar

The world constantly criticizes Americans lack of knowledge of other countries, and to that end I ask,(without looking it up of course), what is the capital of Canada?

Asked by dannyc (5228points) May 21st, 2009

Canadians and others constantly moan about Americans lack of “worldly” knowledge. I am not saying this is true or not, but perhaps this simple question might be revealing. A suggestion to get some value to this might be as follows. Try and answer to yourself, look it up if you don’t know, then respond with your musings or responses . This question is not meant as any kind of judgement. I have a percentage of respondents who I am predicting will answer correctly. It will also challenge my own biases. I have asked several Canadian friends of their predictions of accuracy (which are all over the map, not surprisingly to me, may be to you). I will share them later if there is interest in same. Who knows, there may be a lot of Canadians who can’t answer it, so don’t feel badly if you don’t know.

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43 Answers

Jeruba's avatar

Ottawa, of course.

Jeruba's avatar

(But @Mtl_zack, we do know that you’re a Canadian.)

Facade's avatar


Mtl_zack's avatar


@Jeruba Ya, but I’m still allowed guessing

MrItty's avatar

You know, they’re constantly criticizing our lack of knowledge of our own language too. Like failing to put an apostrophe after a plural posessive adjective ending in ‘s’....

casheroo's avatar

Are you asking each person, to see how many get it wrong? You know we can read all the answers, right?


wildpotato's avatar

Ottawa, but I wouldn’t have known this except that I watched the Southpark episode where they go to Canada.

Darwin's avatar


I’ve been there. I even know why all those tulips are planted there.

Les's avatar

Canada has a capital? ~
Seriously, is this even a ‘flutherable’ question? It doesn’t seem like there is much of a discussion here…

Darwin's avatar

@Les – Yes, the first letter is a capital C.

fireside's avatar

I’ll admit, I had to look this up. Canada’s capital is derived from:

Agriculture – products:
wheat, barley, oilseed, tobacco, fruits, vegetables; dairy products; forest products; fish

transportation equipment, chemicals, processed and unprocessed minerals, food products, wood and paper products, fish products, petroleum and natural gas

gailcalled's avatar

I knew it is Ottawa but only because my daughter’s SO for twenty years was raised in Toronto.

PapaLeo's avatar

@casheroo LOL!!! Actually I was going to say Toronto until I started reading the answers.

Okay, I’m an idiot or . . . Canada’s just not that important

cwilbur's avatar

I used to be proud of myself for being able to name all the provinces. Then they went and rearranged them.

PapaLeo's avatar

@cwilbur So . . . um, same names, different order? again shows how little I know about Canada

tinyfaery's avatar

European, the Americad, and most Asian capitals are easy, as well Don’t ask me anything about Africa.

critter1982's avatar

What’s Canada?

dannyc's avatar

The honour system (whoops British spelling) either knew it or not..then post..

dynamicduo's avatar

That would be Ottawa. Then again I live there and am a Canadian, so of course I would know that.

This is not an accurate representation of Americans. People here are more intelligent. Not to mention those who don’t know the answer won’t answer, thus your method is completely flawed. I would not find much value in interpreting the answers you get here.

Darwin's avatar

Evidently nobody cares about the tulips, not even the Canadians. But they are really pretty when they bloom – it is sort of like the cherry trees in Washington.

dannyc's avatar

True..lousy question. Except 7 out of my ten employees thought the answers would be wrong, which made me ask..not sure what that says…

dynamicduo's avatar

It says that the Canadians you asked have a bias against Americans and assume they would not know the answer to this question. No surprises there.

cwilbur's avatar

I know why the tulips are in Ottawa too.

mattbrowne's avatar

If Europeans expect Americans to be able to list the roughly 50 European countries, ask those Europeans to list the 50 US states (and the 10 Canadian provinces for good measure). My guess is most Europeans will fail. Same for naming the capitals of course.

But American news reports could still cover more of the events outside of the US.

dynamicduo's avatar

They are quite beautiful, I do admit. I was down at Dow’s Lake recently enjoying them in the lovely sun. Combined with the sparkling water, it really is beautiful.

dannyc's avatar

@mattbrowne I agree. And, Canadians, who consider themselves, more knowledgeable, would score about the same. Stereotypes, so alive, even amongst those who would scoff at the suggestion they have any.

Darwin's avatar

The cherry trees were a gift from another country, too.

LKidKyle1985's avatar

ha it reminds me of that movie Canadian Bacon where they want to attack the capital of Canada, and they go to Toronto and then on their way or after they get there they find out Ottawa is the capital.

oratio's avatar

@mattbrowne Very true. Many say that. I guess the myth of stupid americans make people feel better.

I knew Ottawa, but just a couple of provinces of Canada. I can point out all the states of the US, but only a few of the capitals. That could improve greatly. Then again I can only name a few Oblasts of russia, and I have no idea about the subdivisions of china.

PapaLeo's avatar

@mattbrowne “roughly 50 European countries”?

Are you counting politically or geographically?

mattbrowne's avatar

@PapaLeo – Geographically. There are 49, if you count Vatican City as a country. 27 of them are members of the European Union.

oratio's avatar

It also depends. Georgia and Azerbaijan are transnational, and part of Kazakhstan lies in europe as well. Tricky. Turkey is transnational but is often considered europan

mattbrowne's avatar

@oratio – Stupidity is a global phenomenon. Arrogance as well. But there’s less of it every year thanks to global tourism and global business travel. All Germans I know who come back from their first trip to the US (or Canada) are looking at things from a different perspective. The clich├ęs are gone.

Let’s hope we can find a carbon-neutral way for global travel. Because it’s actually a very good thing.

ubersiren's avatar

I absolutely will admit that I didn’t know. I’ll bet several of the above people didn’t know without looking at other peoples’ responses either! :P

HOWEVER, I do know a lot of capitals of other countries, if that makes up for it. Also, I could kick your ass on Jeopardy. I dvr that shit.

PapaLeo's avatar

@mattbrowne Kudos, man! A well informed answer.

dannyc's avatar

I can tell you for sure that there are a ton of Canadians who can’t name “who is the Prime Minister” here, so nobody should feel stupid about not knowing our capital. My intention was not to criticize or cause that feeling in you.

oratio's avatar

I found a homepage with many interesting games to test and improve knowledge here. Some of them about guessing countries and cities. Thought it might be interesting.

covedude's avatar

You know what I am Canadian living in North California and I have been learning a lot about people in the united states and I have to say there are good people and there are bad people, smart and dumb just like in Canada. One thing I know is there are many Canadians that are just plain rude and uneducated about the united states. They think every American is pro war and carries a gun in the back of there truck, which is totaly nonsence. I have noticed a lot of Americans are just like the average Canadian with the same moral beliefs and knolege about the world around them, but I have also noticed a lot of Americans have no idea what so ever about the Muslim faith( they think all Muslims are terrorists) and know very little about the wars right now, are very racist and just plain uneducated about current affairs. There are about as many steriotypical Americans from the Canadian point of veiw as there are canadians with politicaly incorrect knolege on the average American so it cancels it self out. There are morons in every country that’s just the name of the game. People are people so basicaly we are all the same. I love both Canada and the united states of America, I just don’t like the goverments. But hey… Did you like the gouverments when you were 19???.... Ps. Legalize it!! And we will all shut up and bug you about something else Obama :)

covedude's avatar

Although one thing is in the USA you can find any steriotype that exists which just makes it a more interesting place.. I’m sure you could find plenty in Canada to

eupatorium's avatar

The world is right criticizing our ignorance. I’m American, and I’ve been going to public schools here all my life. I am daily shown maps of the world where North America is the second-largest continent by far (!!), and had no idea what the capital of Canada was until I read this thread. Not that all Americans are like me. I just used to think I was one of the less ignorant ones.

AnonymousWoman's avatar

Ottawa. Then again, I live here. I don’t think people should feel bad if they aren’t sure or assumed it was Toronto. I live in the capital city of Canada, and I remember people in school when I was younger thinking Toronto was the capital city of Canada. If people who live here don’t always get it right, then it doesn’t make sense to hold it against people who don’t live here who aren’t sure.

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