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Culture of Canada

It has been said in jest that a fair percentage of Canadian culture rests in the effort to distinguish itself culturally from its southern neighbour, the United States. However, while the two regions share some aspects of a common cultural heritage, there is certainly a separately identifiable "Canadian culture." This is marked by such elements as a greater integration of Native American cultures than elsewhere in the Americas; the retention of traditions descended from those of French settlers; and a notable infusion of Celtic settlers in later phases of the region's history.

One matter of contention in the effort to study Canadian culture rests in the fact of Canada's bilingualism; there is little reason to question the distinct identity of the English- and French-speaking peoples of Canada. However, John Ralston Saul conjectures that Gabrielle Roy and Denys Arcand[?] are better known in anglophone Canada than in France, and more French-Canadians than Americans know of Margaret Laurence[?] and Atom Egoyan[?].

Table of contents

Canadian literature

See Canadian literature and List of Canadian writers.

Canadian film and television

Although often eclipsed at cinemas abroad and at home by Hollywood, Canada has a vigorous film industry that has produced a variety of well-known films, actors, and auteurs. In fact, this eclipsing may sometimes be creditable for the rather bizarre and quite innovative directions of the works of such auteurs as Atom Egoyan[?] (The Sweet Hereafter, 1997) and David Cronenberg. Also, the distinct French-Canadian society permits the work of directors such as Denys Arcand[?] and Denis Villeneuve[?].

A number of Canadian pioneers in early Hollywood significantly contributed to the creation of the motion picture industry in the early days of the 20th century. Over the years, many have become quite famous as actors both at home and abroad (see also Famous Canadians).

Furthermore, Canada's film industry is in full expansion as a site for Hollywood productions. The series The X-Files was famously shot in Vancouver as is Stargate SG-1, and The Outer Limits. The American Queer as Folk[?] is filmed in Toronto. Montreal, due to its European appearance, has served in a great variety of mainstream movies, attracting the loyalty of industry people such as Bruce Willis; there are plans to build the world's biggest film studio on the outskirts of the city.

Canadian television, especially supported by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, is the home of a variety of locally-produced shows. French-language television, like French Canadian film is buffered from excessive American influence by the fact of language, and likewise supports a host of home-grown productions. The relative success of French-language domestic television and movies in Canada often exceeds that of its English-language counterpart.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission's Canadian content regulations dictates that a certain percentage of a domestic broadcaster's transmission time per day must include content that is produced by Canadians, or covers Canadian subjects.

Canadian comedy

Canadian TV is noted for cutting political satire such as This Hour Has 22 Minutes, Talking To Americans[?], and Royal Canadian Air Farce.

There are plenty of eminent Canadian humorists. The Kids in the Hall were a popular Canadian sketch group. Also the comedy group Second City[?] originated in Canada and produced many comedians that went on to success worldwide, including John Candy, Rick Moranis[?], Dave Thomas[?], Katherine Ohara[?], and others. The troupe's most famous production was the television series Second City Television

Other Canadian comics and comedy groups include Jim Carrey, Mike Myers, CODCO[?] (the precursors to This Hour Has 22 Minutes), Maggie Cassella[?], and Elvira Kurt[?]. The Just for Laughs Festival[?] in Montreal is one of the world's most important comedy festivals.

Canadian music

Canada has developed its own brands of traditional musics, including the Scottish-derived Cape Breton Violin Music[?] of the Maritimes, the Franco-Celtic styles of Quebec that often include foot percussion and a scat style called turlutte; and other national styles from the Ontario Valley to the west. Noted proponents are Buddy MacMaster and his niece Natalie of Cape Breton and Madame Bolduc of Quebec, whose recordings in the 1930s lifted her people through depressing times.

In the realm of popular music, Canada has produced a variety of internationally successful performers, such as the Barenaked Ladies, Dream Warriors, Guess Who, Rush, The Band, Finger Eleven[?], The Tragically Hip, Prozzak[?], Shania Twain, Alanis Morissette, Celine Dion, Roch Voisine[?], Avril Lavigne, Paul Anka, and Gordon Lightfoot.

Canadian stereotypes

Part of Canadian culture is awareness of the stereotypes and assorted cultural highlights, for example Canadian French, Canadian English, eh, the RCMP, joual, poutine, winter, the Canadian Arctic, First Nations people and Inuit (to the extent to which the cultures of these groups are mapped onto that of the country as a whole), maple syrup, ice hockey, and beer.



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