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The Enneagram and Canadian Culture | A Guest Blog by Catherine Bell


Come relax with us in Canada; we would like some spiritual rock fuel!

I am Canadian. This statement resonates with me having lived in almost every province in Canada. So, when Ginger asked me, on her recent trip to Calgary, Canada, to write a blog on what EnneaType Canada may be, I jumped at the chance.

Canada is overall a social subtype Nine with a One wing. I state this knowing that we have many blends of EnneaTypes within our vast land. For example, Quebec is an Enneatype Four – a clearly “distinct” society, and my current hometown, Calgary, is an Enneagram Type Eight, a “maverick” city, bubbling as the world’s largest exporter of oil to the US. Overall, Canadians possess a peace making tone: a go with the flow, friendly, and positive approach to life.

“Nines seek peace, harmony, and positive mutual regard and dislike conflict, tension, and ill will.” Riso and Hudson describe Canada’s Type (9w1) as “The Dreamer,” imaginative, creative, and able to synthesize different points of view. On the flip side, people of this EnneaType configuration can get caught up in non-essential activities and busy-ness.

What are the 3 subtypes of Nine?

This section is from “The 27 Enneagram Subtypes” by Beatrice Chestnut, Ph.D.

Self-Preservation Nines
“These Nines express the need to find protection by satisfying their physical needs. Using activities such as eating, sleeping, or reading to avoid their thoughts and feelings or to forget what they really want, these Nines become lazy about paying real attention to themselves.”

Social Nines
“These Nines are very friendly and have a need to feel a part of things, born of an experience of not fitting into the group. This drives them to overcompensate by being generous and sacrificing whatever is necessary to meet the needs of the group, paying minimal attention to their own needs and being lazy about focusing on themselves. They often become workaholics in service of others, without showing their pain or stress.”

One-to-One Nines
“These Nines experience themselves through fusion with others, using relationships to feed their sense of “being” as it’s too challenging and lonely to be on their own. Although true union requires two people who also have separate senses of self, these Nines are not connected to their own passion for living and seek it through blending others.”

What makes Canada a Social Nine?

We are a cultural mosaic, not a melting pot
People are welcomed and accepted here for differences. Having different ethnicities, religions, and sexual orientations, is for the most part, accepted in Canada. And if someone does not accept it, the likelihood you will hear about it is low. Generally, people are welcomed and treated equally in Canada. For example, when you come through customs, everyone goes through the same line, unlike the EU, where there is an EU line and a “Foreigners” line up.

We are able to hold polarities – we are open. We are able to hold being liberal and being conservative. We are open as described above, and on the physical plane, Canadians often leave their doors unlocked, women put their purses on the counters when using the bathrooms (versus bringing them in with them), and crime is relatively low in Canada. Crime in Canada is much lower than our southern neighbours. We are also conservative.

We blend Socialism and Capitalism
In Canada, everyone has access to free healthcare, as a large portion of our tax dollars go toward the annual operating costs of these universal services. As a country, we want to take care of one another and we pay high taxes to ensure this occurs. Another example is that we have provincial transfer taxes. Some provinces and territories have revenue that exceeds expenses if a province is classified as a “have not” province, the “have” provinces pitch in and help, with a portion of their tax revenues.

An interesting business case study of a Canadian company is LuluLemon, a breakthrough yoga active wear company. The company’s manifesto is a snapshot of Canadian culture. Example lines include “friends are more important than money” and “the pursuit of happiness is the source of all unhappiness.” Their business aims can be seen as quite capitalistic, and they are quite socialistic in what they want to achieve. Canada can sometimes have a sweat pant culture, and Lululemon has possibly the most comfortable sweats in the world. Bliss out when you come to Canada.

We are known internationally as peacekeepers
Our role around the world has traditionally been peacekeeping. Canada has been a member of the United Nations Organization since the body’s creation and has served for 12 years on the Security Council, one of the longest terms of any non-permanent member. Canada has also contributed to more peacekeeping operations than any other member state. Lately, with the war in Afghanistan, our peacekeeping has been on the decline. Recently, we were not vocal enough to win a seat on the UN Security Council where people are chosen for their contribution to peace and security. Some blame lack of unity in the political parties in Canada for this – they are just too far apart in ideology. Canada played a key role in the establishment of the Council. For more information on Canada’s peacekeeping see:

Friendliness in Canada
In Canada, we typically say hello when passing a stranger on a bike trail or path. When in a busy downtown city, we greet each other with a gentle smile. Canadians are also very proud to wear our flag internationally, and I have heard of some Americans putting Canadian flags on their knapsacks too.

We also stop for pedestrians when we are driving. If you see a person who needs to walk across the street, you simply stop for them. Canadians are courteous. We are also very adept at saying sorry – sometimes for no real reason.

We are also very aware of community – just speak with any Canadian about the importance of hockey, a team sport often played in community arenas. Our energy is directed to community versus a relationship or ourselves. We treat each other like one big family.

Action for Canada
If I were to coach Canada using the Enneagram, it would be around feeling empowered to take effective action. What would it take for Canada to be at the National Security Council? How can we act effectively with our small population base and large land mass? We do have the possibility of being involved, engaged, and extremely vital.

Catherine Bell, an Associate Member of the Enneagram in Business Network, is an Enneagram teacher and founder of BluEra, an executive recruiting firm that also offers intensive team building services. She is the president of the Professional Enneagram Association in Canada, the Enneagram Institute’s Canadian representative, and a Board member of Opportunity to Grow, a microcredit nonprofit that helps women in developing nations.

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7 years ago

Great piece & agree with your points. I enjoyed the Quebec as a 4 & Calgary as an 8… In regards to matching ones Personality with Environment to increase the likely hood of a better “fit”, I’m curious as how you’d type each province, and the major cities & areas. I ask because John Holland’s RIASEC Model has been applied to Type & Education to help students choose their academic pursuits. Although this hasn’t been overlapped with the Enneagram, I see value in knowing your personal Enneagram Type & matching it to a location that supports your type. Being from Ontario,… Read more »


[…] very 4. Someone mentioned this on the first page and I agree. Yes, I also think Canada is 9.The Enneagram and Canadian Culture | A Guest Blog by Catherine Bell – The Enneagram in Business Quebec is 4 due to french influences. […]

2 years ago

Awesome, thanks

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