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How to properly greet people in Canada?

I have some questions about Canada, I hope our venerable teacher Tara or other people knowing Canada will be able to help me.

I won't ask them all in that post, but my main misgiving today is  how to properly greet someone?
  I've been in different countries and the greeting gestures, rituals as well as languages are rather different. For example in France, in most of the cases, two men perform a handshake, two females or a male and a female would air-kiss, which consists in touching each other by cheek to cheek and making the kissing noise, then alternating the cheeks, two to four times; the lips don't actually touch the cheek. It's very usual to cheek kiss with your friends, coworkers, your boss or even complete strangers, but of course you won't kiss the post office employee when you're in the line...It may still happen in villages though. The same ritual is applied when you leave.
  When I was still in school, I remember every morning all the classmates had to greet each others, it took at least half an hour to greet everyone...

  In China, cheek kissing someone is absolutely inconceivable, men may perform a handshake the first time they meet but in other cases there's no physical contact,  nevertheless there are very complicated ways to address distinct people and you MUST do it, It differs from province to province and even from town to town.Maybe I'll write something about this matter, I'm sure it will drive you nuts...

  I'm not really sure how to greet someone in Canada, I guess it may be very similar to the USA, except in Quebec, perhaps??  I can see that in American soaps people frequently hug each other, I would feel very awkward to hug strangers or even friends....pretty female friends? :-)
  Another thing I've heard from a stand-up comedy by Jim Carrey who is Canadian is that Canadian don't say" Hi" but "Hey" and tend to overuse that word, putting "hey" at the end of the sentences...I'm not sure if he was exaggerating to make the caricature more vivid or if Canadians really speak that way. If it's the case, I'll have to train myself finishing all  my sentences with a "Hey"!
Thank you for reading me , I'm waiting for your help, have fun hey!

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Comment by Hani on December 2, 2012 at 17:45

Hey, Thomas ,

I learnt some new knowledge even of new words also a brief of greeting in France,China and surely Canada :) that is  carved on my mind so that whether i visit them will accomplish and for this Thanks a heap .So glad to read your post .

@Dear Tara , your page that prepared benefits me and to your response to Thomas' question ,Thanks very much :)

Comment by Thomas on December 2, 2012 at 6:36

@Expector Smith

Thank you. I guess I will feel more confident talking with Quebeckers since most of them speak French, my mother tongue.

Comment by Thomas on December 2, 2012 at 6:29

Thank you, Tara! Yes, it's a big country... I guess I'll go with the formal way of  greeting people in all cases at first and observe how people behave.

Comment by Expector Smith on December 1, 2012 at 22:42

A: "How are you?"

B: "Good."

You will hear this dialog in Montreal, Quebec!

Comment by Tara Benwell on December 1, 2012 at 14:22

Great question! 

Yes, it is common for Canadians to use "Hey" in greetings. But, I think you're also referring to "eh," which is used as a tag in questions: "Nice weather, eh?" Some people actually do pronounce that form of "eh" with an h sound (hey): "It's pretty cold out, hey"? I think you will find this pronunciation in some provinces more than others. Many people like to make fun of Canadians for using this expression, but even though it is a "stereotype," it's true that we use it.

If you're going to meet someone for the first time in a business situation, put your hand out to shake the person's hand. You can say, "Nice to meet you, _____(name)." In an informal situation, you may not shake hands. However, if someone puts out their hand, most Canadians will take it and shake it. Since we are a mosaic of cultures here in Canada, you will find that some people might try to kiss your cheek. This is not common, but you never know who you'll meet! If you know the person well, then a one arm hug may be suitable in a greeting. 

Here is a page on greetings. Since I'm from Canada, and I wrote this resource, it's probably exactly what you need before coming to Canada: Greetings. 

I look forward to more questions like this. 



Comment by Thomas on November 30, 2012 at 9:39

Is it? Where are you, I mean besides "Deathland"...?

Comment by Thomas on November 30, 2012 at 7:45

If you guys see very obvious grammatical mistakes feel free to correct me...Just pick the most hideous one you found! I'd appreciate!

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