Originally Posted by Centropolis
Les Stroud, aka "Survivorman," Ontario native. Noticable Canadian accent to me. It would be interesting to see if you guys think he has much of an accent. It is true that some/a lot of Americans think that Canadians have the "Fargo" accent...but to me a general Canadian english accent is much more clipped without those kinds of protracted, midwestern nasal-whines. I probably couldn't tell the difference between western and eastern Canadian english accent, but I have been in rural NW Ontario, where there was what seemed to me to be a heavier rural accent that sounded more, to me, like the Yooper accent.
Les has a very mild Ontarian accent but it's pretty flat to my ears. People from the populated areas of southern Ontario usually have a much more pronounced accent that is similar to, but distinct from, the upper Midwest accent - someone described it above with "hay-at". Ontarians aren't quite like that, but in some regions it's pretty close. I can usually spot a Hamiltonian within a minute or so because of this. They're the most noticeable (to my ears anyway) but plenty of people from Toronto also sound like this. We joke with them that they like to go day-an-cing at night. Stuff like that. Oddly enough, I notice a similar vowel shift in the less urban parts of Oregon of all places.
You probably can tell the difference between Western and Eastern Canadian - what sounds to you like a "Canadian" accent is somewhat Eastern. Western Canadians sound closest to the flat, average "Hollywood" accent from decades past. Most people in the US don't pick up my Canadianness from my accent alone, they often think I'm from LA or Seattle or something. Currently in Houston and I've had at least a dozen "wow, you don't sound very Canadian" comments this week.
Speaking of the weird little things that continually remind me that I'm Canadian - just shared a car ride with someone who got to explain to me the intricate state-by-state variations in gun laws. Where you can carry them, how you can carry them, what kind is allowed where, and every little detail in between. I mean, this guy isn't a gun nut or a hunter or anything. He's your average dude who just happens to own a gun (I'm not entirely sure why, but he talked like it's just something one does). It's something that as a Canadian I've literally never thought of - when living rural, we just carried our rifles wherever and however the hell we felt like it. And when living urban - who the hell has a gun?? And yeesh, why?? The gun thing alone is a strong reminder that culturally, there's a huge divide between our 2 countries.
And this is just one of dozens if not hundreds of tiny things I notice on a daily basis. Like the taste of food/candy/soda - anyone who thinks Canadians "just eat American food" has either NEVER eaten here or has a very poor sense of taste. Until Canada starts adding HFCS to everything, or until my taste buds rot away, I can always tell the difference. And it's so striking with many products that they might as well be an entirely different flavour. Coke, for one thing. Man I miss real Canadian Coke. And bread and mayo that don't taste like candy.