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Do your favourite brands match up with the rest of Canada’s?

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This is an encore episode that aired originally on May 31, 2014.

From top coffee brand to favourite car make, the answers may surprise you.


What’s a morning without a cuppa joe?

Canada and the United States differ quite a bit on their coffee preferences.

Eight out of 10 cups of retail coffee sold in Canada are served by Tim Hortons, which puts as much distance between it and the rest of the pack as Secretariat did at Belmont.

In the States, Starbucks sells the most out-of-home coffee.

Interesting to note that 64% of Canadians are daily coffee drinkers, higher than the 58% rate in the U.S.

As for home-brewed coffee, the #1 brand in Canada is… Maxwell House.

In the States, the #1 brand – by far and away – is Folger’s, with a 15.6% market share. It is the Secretariat of coffees, with the nearest competitor clocking in, far behind, at 10%.


Time for a beer.

One of the biggest advertising categories is the beer business.

Having a beer on a client roster is every advertising agency’s dream – like having a big automotive brand or a piece of the fast food business. They are the flagship accounts.

So what do you think is the #1 beer brand in Canada?

The famous “King of Beers” is Canada’s top choice. The answer is a beer that was created in 1876.

And here’s another hint: The brewery was owned by a family.

If you guessed Molson Canadian, you’d be wrong.

But if you guessed Labatt Blue, you’d… also be wrong.

The number one selling beer in Canada is Budweiser.

Long gone are the days when American beer was thought to be inferior. And when Molson Canadian and Labatt Blue fought tooth and bottle-cap for the number one spot.

In 1995, Labatt was sold to a Belgian Brewery called Interbrew, which has since become part of Anheuser-Busch Inbev.

Ten years later, Molson of Canada merged with Coors of the United States to form Molson Coors Brewing Company.

Those mergers have completely changed the beer landscape in Canada.

While taste is important to beer drinkers, most choose beer based on the brand image.

You see this clearly in focus groups – where die-hard beer drinkers claim their beer is the best tasting beer in the world, then when you bring in a tray of beers with the labels removed  – those same die-hard beer drinkers can’t find their brand.

That’s because, in some categories, we smoke the label and drink the advertising. More often then not, we choose a beer based on the image it projects and how that lines up with our self-image.

And in the case of Budweiser, the Great American lager has been working hard to link itself to hockey in this country, and is winning the race with the help of large media budgets.

In the U.S. by the way, the number one selling beer is Bud Light.


Another big advertising category is pharmaceutical drugs.

You see dozens of pharma ads on TV every night, so what do you think is the #1 selling prescribed medicine in Canada?

Viagra? Cialis?

The answer… is Crestor. It’s a prescribed medication that lowers cholesterol, helping prevent coronary artery diseases, as well as heart attacks, stoke and angina.

This is another category where Canada differs greatly from the United States.

The number one prescribed medication in America… is Abilify. It is an antipsychotic medication used to treat schizophrenia, depression and bi-polar disorder.

Viagra and Cialis, by the way, don’t make the top 10 list in either country.


Onto pop culture.

What do you think the #1 best selling vinyl record was last year? Answer: Jack White’s Blunderbuss.

Number two, by the way, was Abbey Road.

Jack White had the vinyl that topped Abbey Road. (Getty Images) Do you know who the #1 best selling novelist of all time is?

She’s sold over two billion books. According to the New York Times, the answer is Agatha Christie.

The #1 most re-tweeted tweet of all time? “Four More Years,” from President Obama on Nov. 6, 2012.

And which company do you think has the most likes on Facebook? That would be… Coca Cola. As of this writing, it has 74 million likes, dwarfing Wal-Mart at 34 million, and Pepsi at 28 million.


Few purchases in life express your personality more than your car.

Even people who buy plain, non-descript cars, because they reject the notion that a car is an extension of their personalities, are in the end, expressing their personality.

The surprisingly popular Honda Civic. (nitinut380/Shutterstock) Therefore, it’s interesting to see which model is the #1 car in Canada.

If you’re listening to this in your car right now, look around and see if you can tell which is the most predominant model in the traffic around you.

Ford Focus perhaps? Chevy Cruze? Volkswagen Jetta?

Nope. The best selling car in Canada… is the Honda Civic.

Not only is the Honda Civic the best selling car in Canada, it has been the best-selling car in Canada for 15 years.

It’s the Secretariat of automobiles.


For the full list of brands, click or tap on the “Listen” tab to hear the entire Under The Influence episode.

You can also find us on the CBC Radio app or subscribe to our Podcast.


Under The Influence is recorded in the Terstream Mobile Recording studio – a 1969 Airstream trailer that’s been restored and transformed into a studio on wheels. So host Terry O’Reilly can record the show wherever he goes.

Follow the journey on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and search for the hashtag: #Terstream.

(Image Credit: Sidney O’Reilly)

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Ottawa families give mixed reviews for online schooling

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So, how’s it going with online school? Families reached by CBC Ottawa seem to have mixed reviews. 

Masuma Khan is a mother of two. Her seven-year-old, Hana Wyndham in Grade 2, is attending French immersion virtual school. Masuma is grateful it’s an option, but can’t help notice a lot of down time.

“There’s a lot of, ‘are you on mute?’ In terms of the amount of learning that’s actually happening, it does seem to be not that high,” said Masuma.

Parents who kept their children at home this fall are in the minority, but they still form a significant chunk of families in Ottawa.

In the city’s largest school board, the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB), about 27 per cent of elementary students and 22 per cent of high school students chose online learning. The Ottawa Catholic School Board says roughly a quarter of its students are online.

For Masuma, the decision to keep her daughter home was complex: extended family members are immunocompromised and she worried the in-person learning environment would be unpleasant because of precautions. She also felt her daughter might benefit from being supported at home.

“She doesn’t necessarily enjoy school. I also found out during the pandemic that she was being bullied [last year],” said Masuma. “So I thought, why not try from home?”

To help her daughter socialize face-to-face with other kids, Masuma enrolled Hana in Baxter Forest School, an alternative education program where kids spend most of their time outside, one day a week. Hana also attends virtual Arabic classes two days a week after school. 

Masuma’s husband and Hana share the living room work space, and Masuma admits he does the lion’s share of helping their daughter stay on task. There is a possibility that he’ll be required to return to his office in the new year.

“When he goes back to work … it’s probably going to be a little bit more difficult.”

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No school closures after Christmas holiday break, says Ontario education minister

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Ontario elementary and secondary schools will not close for an extended winter break, says Education Minister Stephen Lecce.

Closures aren’t needed given Ontario’s “strong safety protocols, low levels of (COVID-19) transmission and safety within our schools,” Lecce announced Wednesday afternoon. He said he had consulted with Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams and the province’s public health measures advisory table.

That ended speculation about school buildings remaining closed in January for a period of time after the Christmas break.

Earlier in the week, Lecce told reporters the government was considering having students spend “some period out of class” in January, perhaps switching to online learning.

In a statement, Lecce said that even though rates of community transmission of COVID-19 are increasing, “schools have been remarkably successful at minimizing outbreaks to ensure that our kids stay safe and learning in their classrooms.”

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Windy start to the week in Ottawa

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OTTAWA — It’s a blustery Monday in the capital with wind gusts of up to 50 km/hour expected throughout the day.

Environment Canada is forecasting a high of 4 C with a 60 per cent chance of showers or flurries before the wind dies down later this evening.

There’s a chance of flurries on Tuesday as well with a high of -1 C. The overnight low will dip to an unseasonal -9 C.  

Wednesday’s high will be just -5 C with lots of sunshine.

Seasonal temperatures return for the rest of the week..

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