Canadian Tire still doesn’t wave the flag in Quebec

Canadian Tire’s Quebec flyer for this week: Mentions Canada Day, but no Canadian flag on sale

I guess we should be used to it: Canadian Tire is still downplaying its Canadianness in Quebec.

I wrote about this a year ago when someone spotted that the chain was running different flyers inside and outside this province, with the ones inside the province being noticeably less patriotic. At the time, the company said it wasn’t hiding its Canadianness in Quebec, even though the bilingual flyer outside the province had “Canada Day” on it and the one inside didn’t.

Canadian Tire’s bilingual flyer for eastern Ontario. Canadian flags are on sale.

This year, at least the words “Canada Day” appear on the flyer, but Canadian flags that are front and centre in flyers elsewhere in the country are missing in the one for Quebec.

In Alberta, more Canadian patriotism

I’m sure it’s just a coincidence.

Canadian Tire isn’t the only company to do things like this. I showed other companies that downplayed the holiday inside Quebec. Walmart didn’t mention Canada Day in its flyers this week either inside or outside Quebec.

Loblaws, which only operates in Quebec and Ontario, also had different flyers for the two. They weren’t similar like Canadian Tire’s are, but it’s funny how one has Canadian flags and the other doesn’t:

Loblaws Ontario flyer: “Happy Canada Day”

Loblaws Quebec flyer: “Stores open July 1”

26 thoughts on “Canadian Tire still doesn’t wave the flag in Quebec

  1. Waiting for HD feed

    I would have loved to have that delicious-looking Canada Day red-velvet cake for only $13 at Loblaws. That sounds like a good deal in any province (except Quebec).

    Are we really that paranoid what the separatists think of us? I think we can have our cake and eat it too.

  2. ProudFlagWavingCanadian!

    I am NEVER disappointed by the big boys who play the game of “let’s not offend anyone but the anglos”. I know I can count on them year after year to ignore Canada Day here in Quebec

    I buy from Canadian Tire only when it is something not avilable elsewhere (on the planet)
    Loblaws has been off my buy list for years and Walmart – well there are not enough things that I can say about them… and none of them favorable. Thye taught us how to buy it for less and damn the consequences.

    And lest anoyne think me a bigot, I celebrate SJB day, speak French, am married to a French Canadian and have both Quebec and Canadian Flags flying on my property!

  3. Marc

    Why should any of them mention it? They never have and never will; it’s just not good business to do so. That’s most especially true for Canadian Tire now that they’re being forced to change their name to something else. You can be sure Target has taken note of that, too. They’ll do pretty much the same thing whenever they decide to open up here; was to be late 2013 but it’s on indefinite hiatus now as they don’t know what name they’ll use.

  4. Vahan

    No, no you have it all wrong. Canadian Tire knows how, we here in Quebec, still hold a high degree of respect for Pierre Elliot Trudeau, and to show our respect for him, on our country’s holiday, we rather go out and canoe. Plus we have more disposable income in Quebec and we will spend the two hundred bucks on something useful, than a buck on a plastic flag. See, lemons, lemonade. Also Loblaws,they know we in Quebec don’t eat crappy, sugary cakes and ice cream, we rather eat healthy cherries from the U.S. supporting our suffering neighbours to the south.

    1. wkh

      I think this is dead on actually.

      FTR I was in Canadian Tire this weekend with a friend of mine, picking up some, wait for it…. camping supplies… guess what was on sale? Canadian flags. My friend, very much a federalist francophone, jokingly asked me if I wanted one. I reminded her that I, like all good Quebecers, still have a stash from 1-888-FLAG. I mean really why the hell would I buy a flag? (FTR I do have plenty of them).

      Also, foods are marketed differently here. This is why we don’t get KFC mashed potatoes here and why the delicious mashed potato/corn/popcorn chicken with gravy combo bowl at KFC lasted all of one week here before they turned it into some poutine abomination. :-/ This is also why we don’t have KFC biscuits, and a host of McD’s foods. Sadly, red velvet cake is on that list as well. IME the 80% majority in this province just does not have the same culinary appreciation we do (try, just freaking TRY to get a decent country fried steak in this province) and stuff like red velvet cake, french fried onions (yeah I know, blows my mind too) and basically all the food their lovely Acadian cousins introduced to us via Louisiana is on the “ew” scale for them. They just didn’t grow up eating it, and worse, in many cases, were taught specifically to NOT like it (in the case of anything fried, like say, country fried steak, which noooooooooooo I am not bitter about at ALL).

      And don’t even get me started on the patheticness of the cheap texmex options in this town that thinks of itself as a foodie haven. Two solitudes my ass. Two menus more like it.

    2. Vachon Cakes Anybody

      Quebecers invented crappy cakes. Mind you they also have killer patisseries. Unfortunately they only export the Vachon crap to the rest of the country.

      1. Jean Naimard

        That’s because the killer pâtisserie doesn’t travel well, like anything made with love.

  5. MTLskyline

    I remember working at a grocery store as a teenager, and being the only Anglo there. I was never scheduled to work on Canada Day any of the 3 years I worked there. my sovereignist boss always jokingly said it was my national holiday.

  6. Clive

    “You can be sure Target has taken note of that, too. They’ll do pretty much the same thing whenever they decide to open up here; was to be late 2013 but it’s on indefinite hiatus now as they don’t know what name they’ll use”


    On February 1, 2012, it was announced that Fairweather Ltd. and Target reached and agreement concerning the use of the Target name in Canada. Under said agreement, Fairweather would cease use of the Target Apparel name by 2013, giving Target Canada complete ownership of the Target brand in Canada.[35]

    I guess they will be using Target.

    1. Marc

      You completely missed the point.

      What you state there has nothing to do with what I mentioned. I’m talking about what name they’ll be using in Quebec. It’s a reaction to the OLF’s decision that tradenames must conform to 101. This comes to me from a family member who happens to be one of Target’s VPs.

      1. Jean Naimard

        There is plenty of advertising talent in Québec that will find a good name for “Target”.

        Let’s hope they gonna use that, instead of the agency in Toronto who’s gonna ask the intern to work on the Québec file…

      2. Jerry

        They are going to be called Target just like everywhere else in North America. Does anyone honestly believe retailers give a flying truck what the OLF thinks about anything?

        Trademarks are except from language legislation, whats so hard to understand?

        I work at a company that has 450 employees in Montreal, gets provincial governments grants for payroll (originally by the Bernard Landry PQ government) and the entire office works 100% in English. But somehow we have a OLF certificate. In 8 years I have never heard a word of French in the office.

        Just like I rarely hear a word of French in the Metro. Just 20 other languages.

        1. Marc

          They are going to be called Target just like everywhere else in North America.

          Obviously, you didn’t read my comment.

  7. wkh

    FTR, perhaps it’s my background as a USian by birth, but I’ve always found the lack of “Team Canada” rah rah rah football game type patriotism here refreshing and charming. Preferable.

    This is a simple marketing decision. Even the rah rah rah federalist types I know here would be all “flags? on sale? fucking really?” And would then go on about how they don’t get why anyone would like something as disgusting as red velvet cake with all that revolting dye that you can taste (to be fair, this is a valid criticism most of the time. However, I must say IGA’s Compliments brand is now marketing a red velvet cupcake in the bakery section that is full of win) and how creme cheese frosting is an abomination. And the latter is often a valid point as well, since cheaper places tend to way overdo the artificial flavourings and sugar and it tastes gross (I’m looking at you Betty Crocker and Duncan Hines). And anyway, proper red velvet cake has a milk/flour based frosting, but the creme cheese has been marketed so heavily people think THAT is the proper coating. Le sigh. This isn’t about not pissing off separatists or being scared of separatists (who do not, as we have learned twice now, form a majority here) it’s about marketing in a way that resonates with Quebecers.

    Speaking of Quebec and food differences, can someone explain to me why Harvey’s is so revered here, and is this just a Quebec thing? I know they’re everywhere but here it seems people view Harvey’s as like, the best place to get a meal in the entire universe and I’m baffled because try as I might I can’t find one thing on that menu that’s even worth eating if I was starving. Everything tastes horrible, especially the burgers (the meat has some bizarre after taste I can’t quite pinpoint). I kept thinking it was ME because everyone else raves about them but I’ve had the chance to go there more than any human with taste buds should be forced to thanks to being married to a Harvey’s lover, and well, no, it’s not me. There’s nothing good on that menu at all. I thought once the onion rings were great, but I realized that was because I was just comparing it to the rest of the (horrid) menu.

    1. lagatta à montréal

      True, it is simply a marketing decision. There are MANY differences in advertising campaigns, images and copy between Québec and the RoC, and the majority of these have nothing to do with flag wars.

      Quebec-based firms also adapt their advertising when targeting (sorry) an anglophone audience. Target is Cible in French, but I don’t think would fly as a business name.

      I’m trying to imagine an equally disgusting Fête nationale cake with blue cake layers and blue and white frosting. I have never eaten a red velvet cake, and certainly don’t intend to. I may have had a Vachon cake years ago, but thought it was disgusting (sweet desserts were rare at my house, and either homemade or a splurge on something from a real pâtisserie).

      1. Jean Naimard

        You just need to have a vanilla sponge layer cake with blueberry “glue” between the layers.

        Voilà, Québec St-Jean-Baptiste cake.

  8. silhouette

    I’m thinking they design their flyers so it’s geared more to the french/separatist population, but I’m only speculating. Maybe they’ve gotten ‘complaints’ in the past for being overly canadian in QC :/

    They probably do the same thing in other provinces to some degree, designing their flyers to appeal to certain demographics.

    At least their website is not biased… it has CANADA DAY ads.

    1. Marc

      No. They have Quebec flyer and a rest-of-Canada flyer. It’s very very bad business practice to plaster the flag of a foreign country all over the place.

      They don’t have the time nor resources to design 93 different flyers…

  9. dan

    it’s quite funny to see this all-year round on certain products and ads as well. the president’s choice brand of coffee is something like “the great canadian coffee” in english, but in french it’s something along the lines of “le meilleur café au pays”. “canada” is regularly replaced by “pays” or, my personal favourite, “d’ici”. how delightfully ambiguous!

  10. Jean Naimard

    Canadian Tyre is not stupid; it knows better than alienate it’s clientèle…

    Plastering “Canada” all over a place WILL piss-off a lot of people.

  11. Singlestar

    I hear that Canadian Tire will finally be accommodate the requirements of the Charte de la langue francaise as far as incorporating a French-language generic into their name (following the hypothetical example of Les cafés Second cup).

    In Québec the store will soon be called: Ken et Diane Tailleur.

  12. Vahan

    I know it is fun to comment on the subject of Quebec and the “R.O.C”, but honestly, don’t the majority of us really think this whole subject of Anglo/Franco debate has gotten a little boring? Look around the city, since the P.Q and their option has been out of power, we have seen cranes come back up into the skyline, the roads are finally being repaired, the super hospitals are finally a go and house prices are back to healthy if not overpriced levels. I suppose as Quebecers we can’t be too happy and prosperous, it must still be the religious mentality after-burn, so we will probably have the P.Q. back in power mucking things up again. Self-flagellation for good times.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *