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Is shoe removal a Canadian culture thing?

Posted by lobotome Calgary 3b ? (My Page) on
Tue, May 23, 06 at 10:37

I was in the bathroom forums (on the decorating side) and there's the old shoes on/shoes off discussion happening again (it all started over asking guests to squeegy their showers). I know that there's alot of contention on this subject but getting involved in the discussion got me to thinking....

I'm Canadian and I've NEVER visited a home where it wasn't just a natural occurence to remove our shoes in the entryway. From the time I was a child to now (mid 40's) it's been something that's always been a given when entering someone's home.

I was raised in Southern Ontario, spent summers in Quebec, lived 8 years in BC and have been living here in Calgary for 8 year now. I've had a taste of the customs fom one end of Canada to the other and the custom has always been the same... people remove their shoes at the door.

It's funny since I am having a whole house remodel this year (next year we tackle the outside) and all the trades that have come into my home have tried to take off their shoes. Last weekend my granite was going in, my house is down to bare plywood floors and I noticed that he was just about to remove his shoes! I have to make sure to catch and tell them to keep their shoes on. After all who in their right mind would go walking in stocking feet in a construction zone LOL!

So, is this just a natural part of being Canadian? Is this another difference we have from being Americans or English?

Your observations and opinions would be great.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Is shoe removal a Canadian culture thing?

  • Posted by mora 6b (My Page) on
    Wed, May 24, 06 at 15:31

Hi Lobo, yessiree .shoe removing is second nature here! If one is attending a party where shoes are part of the overall "look" people either bring "indoor shoes" or wear a hole in the welcome mat and invite at least two other guests and the hostess to which point the hostess says not to be silly (meaning "they had better be clean after I spent a week getting this place spotless for this party" LOL What are we like, eh? M

RE: Is shoe removal a Canadian culture thing?

It was always the case with my family and friends in NS that you removed your shoes when you came in. Most people here in Montreal do it too, but not everyone. As Mora said, dress shoes for a party or dinner are fine, as long as they're clean. The default is you remove outdoor shoes unless you are told to keep them on.

My parents have lived in Florida for the past eight years, and it's very uncommon there to remove your shoes when entering a house. I have a bunch of cousins down there too, and one of them married a guy that is insistent on having guests remove their shoes. People consider it very odd that he askes this. My mum would love it if people would remove their shoes, but is too old fashioned polite to ask them. She just mutters after everyone has gone about the mess :-)

I don't really care about our floors being marked up or scratched anymore - the place needs new flooring throughout, but I'm not going to ask the landlord to fix them because the rent will go up a lot. But we still have a shoes off policy because I don't want dirt and dog crap tracked in. Having shoe trays full of shoes by the door helps to give the message :-)


RE: Is shoe removal a Canadian culture thing?

I would imagine that this 'Canadian custom' comes from our winters since tracking boots in the house during that season is simply not acceptable. I can only imagine if my siblings and I (9 of us) had been allowed to keep our boots in the house... What a mess!! Mother would not have been pleased.

But on nice dry days in other seasons, we were not required to take our shoes/sneakers off.

RE: Is shoe removal a Canadian culture thing?

I'm Asian and you'd probably think shoe removal is a custom from where I came from. It's not actually. We wear our normal walking shoes in the general high traffic areas - even to our bedrooms. Interestingly enough I encountered the shoe removal culture only here in Canada. And the most obvious reasons is how the homes were built. The larger the homes, the more solid flooring, the less need for shoe removal. The smaller homes, the type of flooring (wooden and carpeted), are the likely culprits. Wall to wall carpeting is not as common back there. It is here. It accumulates dirt fast and is far more difficult to clean. It was common sense to remove street shoes at the entrance and to change to slippers when entering one's home. You track in less dirt. Back home, the floors were made of very solid materials like tiles, cement, or even marble. It was easier to clean and even when made muddy or wet, it didn't harm the floors. In Japan where the practice of shoe removal is very entrenched, you find homes made primarily of wood and usually very tiny. Dirt simply accumulates faster if you do not take that extra step.


RE: Is shoe removal a Canadian culture thing?

I wish i new,but i hope it is not a Canadian culture thing from aestethic reason and hygienic reason.I do not think it is a Canadian custom.I personally wouldn't dare take my shoes off Usually i visit my friends wearing dress shoes.When i must walk on snow i wear boots,then i carry with me my dress shoes and change if i am allowed.I do not allow people to take theirs shoes off.Me and my family ware house shoes around the house.Never touch the floor with bare feet.

RE: Is shoe removal a Canadian culture thing?

This is an interesting topic to me

I am Canadian, retired now
My family have always removed shoes

But as someone mentioned in the U.S. at least in Florida, people seem to be offended if you take your shoes off when entering their house

I have a home there the past seven years. In a retirement community

Several Canadians there and they are getting easy about the subject, as am I. It is kind of funny though, that when an American comes to visit, or a group of them they all take off their shoes even though I say or we say, Oh, now, that's okay.

Then they still take their shoes off

When a Canadian though goes to one of the American owned homes, we now try to leave our shoes on, and they say, the Americans that is, Oh, you can take your shoes off, if you feel that you should.

So, whatever the custom or whatever it is about. It seems people do want to please one another and go with what the home owner will be happy about

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