I had a friend of a friend from Calgary stay as a house guest one weekend (our mutual friend couldn’t host her at the last minute – long story).
We took a walk along the my neighbourhood’s boardwalk one morning, and she commented that she had totally forgotten Toronto was beside a major lake. Which was strange for a moment, because like any reasonably educated Canadian she could have easily pointed out all our major cities on a map, but as we chatted I realised it was because to her Toronto = Bay Street banking towers and not much else.
Then there’s the adult learners I taught in London, Ontario, who Would. Not. Believe. Me. when I told them they were wrong and that Toronto was not the capital of Canada, just Ontario.
Some of them also argued Prince Edward Island wasn’t a province, and didn’t know what I was talking about when I said Confederation was signed there.
Only the born-and-raised-in-Canada ones, though. The new Canadians had had to learn the capitals for their citizenship test, and were astonished they knew them better than the Canadians-from-birth. They also had a much more realistic handle on what role Toronto played in the province and country.
Of course, the new Canadians hadn’t been raised to resent and dislike Toronto from birth. It was a nice example of how ignorance and hate work together.