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Old Posted Oct 13, 2018, 2:43 AM
Razor Razor is offline
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How Sophisticated Is Small Town Canada?

I'm old enough to remember when Walmart first came into Canada, and I remember reading an article around that time where apparently the buyers had to change their buying patterns and marketing approach for the Canadian market..In the article they stated that, through market research, small town Canada was generally more sophisticated then small town U.S in areas like fashion for one. This article I read stuck with me for all these years, and I'm just wondering what other's thoughts are on this?..When it comes to general worldliness or staying on top of pop culture trends or fashion, How does small town Canada compare to some of the small towns in Europe or other comtinents others on here may have visited? I have noticed that, just in my own experience, people in even small town Quebec really dress up compared to other small towns I have visited.
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Old Posted Oct 13, 2018, 2:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Razor View Post
I'm old enough to remember when Walmart first came into Canada, and I remember reading an article around that time where apparently the buyers had to change their buying patterns for the Canadian market..In the article they stated that, through market research, small town Canada was generally more sophisticated then small town U.S in areas like fashion for one. This article I read stuck with me for all these years, and I'm just wondering what other's thoughts are on this?..When it comes to general worldliness or staying on top of pop culture trends or fashion, How does small town Canada compare to some of the small towns in Europe or other comtinents others on here may have visited? I have noticed just in my own experience that people in small town Quebec really dress up as one example.
If we are to classify small town people, we need to first agree on what constitutes a small town.

Less than 10,000 people:

I found small town young women to be quite sophisticated and in tune with pop culture vs the young men. Small town men and older small town women tend to be stuck in a time warp (still living in the 80's) that I found quite bizzare.

Over 100,000 people:

Not much difference from bigger cities, pretty sophisticated.
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Old Posted Oct 13, 2018, 2:53 AM
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I'm old enough to remember when Walmart first came into Canada, and I remember reading an article around that time where apparently the buyers had to change their buying patterns and marketing approach for the Canadian market..In the article they stated that, through market research, small town Canada was generally more sophisticated then small town U.S in areas like fashion for one. This article I read stuck with me for all these years, and I'm just wondering what other's thoughts are on this?..When it comes to general worldliness or staying on top of pop culture trends or fashion, How does small town Canada compare to some of the small towns in Europe or other comtinents others on here may have visited? I have noticed that, just in my own experience, people in even small town Quebec really dress up compared to other small towns I have visited.
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Originally Posted by mistercorporate View Post
If we are to classify small town people, we need to first agree on what constitutes a small town.

Less than 10,000 people:

I found small town young women to be quite sophisticated and in tune with pop culture vs the young men. Small town men and older small town women tend to be stuck in a time warp (still living in the 80's) that I found quite bizzare.

Over 100,000 people:

Not much difference from bigger cities, pretty sophisticated.
Yes, a small town of about 10,000 is probably a good benchmark..I'm curious about people who may of visited small towns across the pond, or in middle America, and their thoughts on that article's assessment.

Last edited by Razor; Oct 13, 2018 at 5:45 AM.
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Old Posted Oct 13, 2018, 3:07 AM
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Your typical resident of a small town in Canada (<10,000) is about 10X more sophisticated than your typical Alabama redneck living in a city of ~ 50,000.
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Old Posted Oct 13, 2018, 5:50 AM
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Originally Posted by MonctonRad View Post
Your typical resident of a small town in Canada (<10,000) is about 10X more sophisticated than your typical Alabama redneck living in a city of ~ 50,000.
Walmart's study seemed to agree with that.
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Old Posted Oct 13, 2018, 11:30 AM
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In general...



But there are just so many factors involved. A middle-class person in a hipstery/touristy town such as Bonavista or Brigus is likely to be much more sophisticated than a working-class person in a town off the beaten path where up to half the population is on social assistance such as Lamaline or Wabana.

But even then, there are so many exceptions that it's hard to justify there actually being a rule. All of the class markers here - accent, religious background, surname, etc. - are far from absolute.

There are just as many girls like this from St. John's as there are from St. Lawrence:

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Old Posted Oct 13, 2018, 12:35 PM
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Baymen wear rubber boots in circumstances where they aren't trudging in mud (or expecting to do that in the immediate future) or in water more than several inches deep...?!?

Like as a fashion accessory? Even when you know you're spending the day in town?
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Old Posted Oct 13, 2018, 12:39 PM
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Great graphic. By the way, how did the plaid/flannel jacket become so universal in Canada? In either red/black or blue/black? It's practically a uniform for the blue collar "Canadian". Last weekend my neighbour behind me was wearing the blue/black and his friend that came over to help in his little construction project had the red/black. Both with hoodies under. Should point out my neighbour isn't typical blue collar but closer to that than white collar.

And I must say, it doesn't look bad. I kind of like the look. And it does have a manly vibe to it. I just wonder why it's so universal because there's always the danger that your friend or coworker is going to be wearing the exact same thing when you meet up.

In York Region, they have another name for it. The Keswick dinner jacket. Keswick is on the very northern fringe of the GTA.

Last edited by megadude; Oct 13, 2018 at 1:01 PM.
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Old Posted Oct 13, 2018, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by lio45 View Post
Baymen wear rubber boots in circumstances where they aren't trudging in mud (or expecting to do that in the immediate future) or in water more than several inches deep...?!?

Like as a fashion accessory? Even when you know you're spending the day in town?
Not all or always, of course, but sure. Brightly-coloured Hunter rubbers are actually popular with urban women here also. They basically occupy the niches that Uggs, knee-high leather boots, and winter boots do on the mainland. So they're VERY common, year-round.

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Old Posted Oct 13, 2018, 12:50 PM
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As for sophistication, I agree, Canada more so than US. And I've stopped off in many, many small towns in my travels to college ball games from the Midwest to the Appalachians to the Rockies to the high desert to the South and to the Northeast.

I have witnessed a 400lb man riding an ATV on the road in just overalls with no shirt on in Kentucky. I have witnessed people walking barefoot from their hotel rooms to the breakfast room. Their high school hoodie is a dead giveaway after googling where that HS is located.

I've only been to small town Ontario. A couple dozen of them. And I'm really impressed how well they generally keep their homes in the rural areas. It would be easy to neglect given the sheer size of the task at hand plus the effects of winter. Though, in the town centres, it's not always the case. In the US, especially in mountain towns and the South, so many of their homes look like they haven't been painted or roof re-shingled since it was built decades ago.

But ya, I am under the impression that small town Canadians are more likely to have traveled abroad to Europe and Asia than Americans where they may only have vacationed in Branson, MO or Myrtle Beach.

As for Walmart, in small town US you can just stock up on camo gear and nearby Division I college football team gear and that's half your sales. Have to diversify your offerings in Canada.

Last edited by megadude; Oct 13, 2018 at 1:23 PM.
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Old Posted Oct 13, 2018, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by megadude

But ya, I am under the impression that small town Canadians are more likely to have traveled abroad to Europe and Asia than Americans where they may only have vacationed in Branson, MO or Myrtle Beach.

As for Walmart, in small town US you can just stock up on camo gear and nearby Division I college football team gear and that's half your sales. Have to diversify your offerings in Canada.
Our social safety net is stronger so you generally don't encounter the crippling type of poverty here, off-reserve, that is relatively common in the United States.
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Old Posted Oct 13, 2018, 1:05 PM
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Our social safety net is stronger so you generally don't encounter the crippling type of poverty here, off-reserve, that is relatively common in the United States.
True.
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Old Posted Oct 13, 2018, 1:13 PM
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Our social safety net is stronger so you generally don't encounter the crippling type of poverty here, off-reserve, that is relatively common in the United States.
Supply management helps too.
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Old Posted Oct 13, 2018, 1:31 PM
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Originally Posted by mistercorporate View Post
If we are to classify small town people, we need to first agree on what constitutes a small town.

Less than 10,000 people:

I found small town young women to be quite sophisticated and in tune with pop culture vs the young men. Small town men and older small town women tend to be stuck in a time warp (still living in the 80's) that I found quite bizzare.
I would tend to agree with this. I don't understand the male time-warp. Maybe it has something to do with what is considered to me masculine, and trying to fit in to this idea in said small towns. It wasn't uncommon to be called an unflattering f-word describing homosexuals if you didn't enjoy spending your teenage years ripping around on the quad, eating baloney, and listening to jiggs and reels. Young women from small towns don't tend to suffer from the same problems.

Difference being of course, that the people who fit this mold don't really ever leave said small towns. The contemporary young male (and female) often do leave though, and blend in quite well with their urban counterparts.
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Old Posted Oct 13, 2018, 1:31 PM
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As for Walmart, in small town US you can just stock up on camo gear and nearby Division I college football team gear and that's half your sales. Have to diversify your offerings in Canada.
Ok, that made me chuckle. They really do love that stuff down there.

I will say though, I visited France a few years ago and during my trip I spent the better part of a week in the Loire Valley. I stayed in Amboise, a town of about 13,000. Up until then I had only visited Paris. And I was surprised by how much Amboise was like a Canadian town of a similar size... I went to a local big-box to stock up on some groceries and I swear the people there looked like they could have been from someplace like Selkirk or Portage la Prairie. The only thing that was missing were Indigenous people.

So for all the stereotypes of "European sophistication", the people in that small town didn't look much different than the small town folks back home.

(I've been to small towns in other European countries and noticed similar situations, but the example in Amboise always stood out in my mind given France's reputation...)
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Old Posted Oct 13, 2018, 1:34 PM
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I come from a small village from Northern NB and as a mutt, I've only seen tolerance. Even back 25 years ago, the mayor was openly gay, and in my HS about 20% of the kids were gay. Heck I know two families where all children are gay. You wouldn't expect that from a rural area.
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Old Posted Oct 13, 2018, 1:38 PM
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Originally Posted by SignalHillHiker View Post
Not all or always, of course, but sure. Brightly-coloured Hunter rubbers are actually popular with urban women here also. They basically occupy the niches that Uggs, knee-high leather boots, and winter boots do on the mainland. So they're VERY common, year-round.

That's hilarious. Urban women with rubber boots in the city...

FWIW, I had rubber boots on all day yesterday, working in a cooling tower basin that had about a foot left of water at the bottom that we couldn't manage to pump out. I sometimes have them when going to my land depending on what I intend to do over there (if it doesn't involve the beaver ponds, usually I don't bother and stick with my usual running shoes). The thought of putting rubber boots on on a morning when I'm in the city and knowing I'll be in the city all day, is incredibly alien. Though, the part of me that refuses to admit it could be just for show kinda likes the idea of cute St. John's women in rubber boots and plaid...

(edit - learning such strange things about other places from locals of these places is one of the things I love about SSP)
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Old Posted Oct 13, 2018, 1:47 PM
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That's hilarious. Urban women with rubber boots in the city...

FWIW, I had rubber boots on all day yesterday, working in a cooling tower basin that had about a foot left of water at the bottom that we couldn't manage to pump out. I sometimes have them when going to my land depending on what I intend to do over there (if it doesn't involve the beaver ponds, usually I don't bother and stick with my usual running shoes). The thought of putting rubber boots on on a morning when I'm in the city and knowing I'll be in the city all day, is incredibly alien. Though, the part of me that refuses to admit it could be just for show kinda likes the idea of cute St. John's women in rubber boots and plaid...

(edit - learning such strange things about other places from locals of these places is one of the things I love about SSP)
I refuse to believe they wear them because they like them, because they're ugly (as all rubbers are). Since Hunters cost like $200 a pair I suspect its a show of disposable income, much like Canada Goose jackets, since it never getting cold enough here to ever need to wear one of them. 99% of the time you won't be dredging through knee-high water while walking around the city, so they serve no other purpose than to show people that you have money to spend (or give the illusion that you do. Whether you do or not is another question)
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Old Posted Oct 13, 2018, 2:14 PM
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Originally Posted by MonctonRad View Post
Your typical resident of a small town in Canada (<10,000) is about 10X more sophisticated than your typical Alabama redneck living in a city of ~ 50,000.
I live in a CITY OF 15,000 that feels like a small town, I spent 4 months in an ontario city of 150,,000. that felt like a small town. To me it is a matter of perspective or image that the town projects. As for the Alaabama city reference, Education is paid/run by the towns or counties in the USA. In general, the poorer the area the education system usually suffers. US family members have mentioned this to us numerous times.
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Old Posted Oct 13, 2018, 3:36 PM
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Originally Posted by PEI highway guy View Post
I live in a CITY OF 15,000 that feels like a small town, I spent 4 months in an ontario city of 150,,000. that felt like a small town. To me it is a matter of perspective or image that the town projects. As for the Alaabama city reference, Education is paid/run by the towns or counties in the USA. In general, the poorer the area the education system usually suffers. US family members have mentioned this to us numerous times.
My mother was born in Rumford ME. I've driven through that town a number of times and it always feels depressing, claustrophobic, shabby, poverty stricken and smelly (paper mill). I thank my lucky stars every day that she was sent back to PEI to be raised by her grandparents, so I could be born there rather than a hell hole like Rumford.

It's not just because Rumford is a pulp and paper town. Pictou NS is a pulp and paper town too. Aside from the stink, Pictou is a delightful town populated by engaged citizens, pretty churches and interesting shops and restaurants. There's a world of difference.........
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