When I grew up in Canada there was very little of that. You typically went to a local university, maybe in the next province over, but often in your home town. I knew very few people who said "It's McGill or nothing".
Yes, there are really highly ranked universities in Canada, but there wasn't the mad scramble of "if I don't get into a top school my life is over" attitude. Most of the universities were middle-of-the-road and you know what? That was ok and people turned out just fine.
There is a pervasive attitude in the US that unless you're going to a top school, you are severely handicapping your future.
This is mostly only among the upper middle class who worry about how non-upper class they are.