Twenty Things I Learned About Canada

March 24th, 2015 | Posted in General

toronto comicconMe, Mike Cope and Sandra Bell-Lundy at Toronto ComiCon

Just returned from Toronto after spending a long weekend manning the National Cartoonists Society’s first-time booth there with freelance cartoonist Mike Cope and the creator of the syndicated daily comic strip “Between Friends” Sandra Bell-Lundy. Despite living within 400 miles of the border, I’ve never actually been to Canada until now. I learned the following twenty things while there:

  1. Canadians really do say “eh!” at the end of certain sentences.
  2. Canadians will deny this, shortly before saying “eh!”
  3. They have a lot of really good beer
  4. The dollar coin is called a “loonie”
  5. The two dollar coin is called a “twoonie”
  6. Neither of those will buy you much in Canada
  7. They don’t pronounce the second “T” in “Toronto”. It’s “Torono” there.
  8. “Poutine” is a thing. It’s french fries and cheese curds drenched in brown gravy.
  9. I have significantly less arterial function today thanks to poutine.
  10. Attendees of Toronto ComiCon don’t buy much stuff
  11. Soft drinks like Coke or Pepsi are called “pop” rather than “soda”
  12. The sales tax in Canada is about 100%, or at least seems like it
  13. I think the government might tax the second “T” in “Toronto”, which is why Canadians don’t pronounce it
  14. “Back Bacon” is a thing. It’s cured bacon sort of like dense ham often rolled in cornmeal
  15. I don’t know what back bacon tastes like since I never found any… might be a myth
  16. “Tim Hortons” is the “McDonalds” of Canada
  17. Do not disparage hockey within earshot of a Canadian
  18. A “kerfuffle” is a commotion, dust-up or confrontation of some kind
  19. The “Metric System” is a thing
  20. Canadians are extremely nice, friendly, and charming people

Sadly the NCS booth had a bad location at the con. Our neighbors included two of the roughly 20 booths selling swords and other stabbing weapons, a fetish wear vendor, the promoters of a low-budget action movie which looped the film’s trainer endlessly driving us crazy, and T-shirts sellers. The good news was that the few who did happen by us were great.

sandra and fansSandra talking with some of her many fans

Sandra had many people get excited to meet her, “Between Friends” has a huge following there. It was fun to hang out with her and the talented Mike Cope for a few days, even if we didn’t sell much stuff. If one super-fan of mine hadn’t attanded specifically to buy a couple of original MAD pages, I might have had to hitchhike home.


Me doing a caricature

Ah well. I had a great time and even got to have dinner one night with a bunch of Canadian cartoonists… all of whom were female except for Mike. I had a very tasty shank of lamb and learned as much about menopause as I care to know. Also had a lot of laughs.

Thanks for the fun times, Canada! Who knows, I may be back, eh!


  1. Crowden Satz says:

    Tom, in my experience, attendees to most any Con these days don’t buy much stuff. Cartoony, art stuff, at least.

    • Tom says:

      That is not my experience. Usually I sell dozens of prints, at least two dozen books, a piece or two of original MAD art (sometimes more) and I draw a lot of caricatures and commissions at a decent convention. In places like New York and San Diego Comic Cons it is insanely busy, but those are the 800lb gorillas. There were pretty good crowds in Toronto. I should have done much better than I did. I sold one print. ONE! I think I did a total of five drawings. Sold four copies of the book. It was pretty bad. Some of it was our location (no artists around us at all) but I talked with several artists in the Artists Alley area who said it was dead on Saturday, where it was shoulder to shoulder inthe walkways.

      • Bruce says:

        Hey Tom,

        It was great to see yuo at Toronto Comicon. I didn’t realize you were drawing on Friday night or I would have had you do a caricature of me. Oh well, maybe next time. We’ve all had shows like that, at least you got to Toronto. Take Acare!

  2. Stan says:

    McDonalds is the McDonalds of Canada…

  3. Michael E. Vernon says:

    As a former Torontonian, I apologize. I think the timing was wrong as well as your location. If you were here in the summer, things would have been a lot different. This winter, Not having Rob Ford as mayor anymore, really put a damper on the people of Toronto. If you had been here a year ago, you could have made a killing on Rob Ford caricatures. As a matter of fact, I’m pretty sure Rob Ford himself would have autographed them. Here’s a sample of my caricature of Rob Ford: I know, bad taste. As I said before, I wish I could have made it out there. Maybe next time.

  4. KYonamine says:

    Canadian politeness’ fame goes far….
    As for the metric system, sorry USA:

  5. KYonamine says:

    Whoops, wrong link…this one’s the one:×4931.jpg

  6. Bart says:

    Come to Romania. 😀

  7. David Lubin says:

    Funny stuff Tom, nice “save” with the last one, #20‚Äö√Ѭ∂LOL. We have Tim Horton’s here at our Tampa Bay Lightning games, great coffee and only $2.50 for a giant cup. Even less as a season ticket holder, best bargain at the Arena, except, I guess, for the water fountain.


New profile pic courtesy of my self-caricature for the Scott Maiko penned article “Gotcha! Mug Shots of Common (but Despicable) Criminals” from MAD 550

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