Some Cultural Differences Between La Rioja and Toronto


Photo courtesy of: Noozmag

  • Exiting local buses: One of the first cultural differences I realized in Spain, was the practice of exiting local buses from the back doors; whereas in Toronto, passengers exit from both the front and back doors.
  • No Second Language: When I arrived in Spain, I was very surprised that very few people spoke or understood English. Nevertheless, a professor at La Rioja University told me that there is no second language in Spain. On the other hand, French is–without a doubt–our second language in Canada.
  • Breakfast: I learned from one of my profesors that people in Spain do not give much importance to breakfast. As a matter of fact, a great percentage of the population has a simple coffee with milk for breakfast. Although breakfast in Toronto varies among each individual, our culture promotes eating a healthy breakfast every morning before school/work.
  • Dinner Time: To my surprise, La Rioja residents normally eat dinner at 10 p.m. Although dinner time in Toronto varies within each household, it is “usually” served between 4:30 and 6:30 p.m.
  • Siesta: Siesta is a daily, habitual practice in Spain, which occurs from 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. During this time, most stores are closed except malls (centro commercials) and supermarkets (supermercados). Employees use this time to eat and sleep before returning to work again.
  • Stores closed on Sundays: Most stores are closed on Sundays in La Rioja. As residents of Toronto, this practice contrasts our custom of shopping on Sundays. Regardless, I like their practice of closing (most) stores on Sundays.
  • Tapas: Tapas are small appetizers, which can be bought at local bars. Generally, people order tapas from one place and then go to another bar to order more tapas. To make this convenient for consumers, bars are located next to one another (or along the same strip). La Rioja residents (and others) usually go for tapas with a group of friends and/or family members. Howbeit, we do not have such a traditon in Toronto.

Below are two (of many) photos my friends and I took while having tapas 🙂


-Hasta Luego (Until Later)!

– Brittany D.

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