Wednesday, September 11, 2013

What About Canada, Eh???

So about a million years (or just over two months) ago I invited you to ask me any questions you wanted to about Canada. And then I promised to respond to them in a timely fashion. And then I promised that again. And again. And possibly, even one more time. I don't know why you're still reading but I thank you for it :) Anyways, I am finally getting around to answering your questions and because this post got long I am also including some random pictures from Canada Day (July 1), which is when I first got you to ask me Canadian questions.
We drove over the last wooden covered bridge in Ontario.
Erika asked: Here is my 'question' (not really a question): How would you, or most Canadians, respond to the following Robin Williams quote about your country? (I must admit I heard this years and years ago and it pretty much has influenced my thoughts about Canada ever since) "Canada is like a loft apartment over a really great party."

I will speak personally because I can't even imagine what other Canadians would think about this quote. For me, I think the party is awesome and fun but I think there are many characteristics of the loft which are appealing in their own, quieter way. I sometimes think the loft inhabitants don't value their own unique space because they just want all the advantages of the party. If you take time to really explore the loft, there is a lot of cool stuff there too.

Tracy asked: What do you think the biggest difference is between Canda and the US?

I think one of the biggest differences is that Americans have a very visible national pride and Canadians rarely do. I think we are proud in a more understated way and I wish we would be a little more vocal about it sometimes. We really do live in a great country and we should be proud of it.

Canada is also very divided into regions (BC and Alberta, The Prairies, Ontario, Quebec, the Maritimes and The North) and I think that can have a really negative effect sometimes on our country as a whole, especially for the regions which aren't as powerful. Maybe some Americans can speak to if the US is as divided regionally...

Bekah asked: So if Ryan and I are going to visit Canada - where should we go????

Well besides the obvious answer of "my house" I would highly recommend three of the less popular spots in Canada. I love The Maritimes -- New Brunswick (which shares a border with Maine), Nova Scotia, Newfoundland (which more like Ireland and a lot less like the rest of Canada) and Prince Edward Island (home of Anne of Green Gables). I also think you should check out the Yukon, one of Canada's territories. I went there right before I entered Grade 9 and it's landscape is amazing. And I really think you should spend some time in Saskatchewan -- there are a lot of hidden treasures there. (And yes, I'm completely biased because that's where I grew up!)

Amy asked three questions!: Do you live on the west or east side? My Canadian geography is atrocious. Hopefully the east so that we have a possibility of meeting some time! :) What is your favorite thing about living in Canada? Your least favorite thing? O.k. that was 3 will survive :)

Currently we live in the Eastern part of Canada. We do have a possibility of meeting sometime because I really want to do a Southern US trip. We live about three hours north of Detroit if that helps anyone with their Canadian geography. When Dave and I lived in Edmonton, we were north of Montana.

My favourite thing about living in Canada is our wide open spaces. Statistics vary but between 75-90% of Canadians live within 100 miles of the US border. But we have 2, 773 miles of space above that. And parts of it are very empty of people which I find just beautiful.

My least favourite thing about living in Canada is how spread out it is. Canada is 9,306 km (5, 780 miles) long. I have people I want to see more often living all over Canada and it's a long way to travel.

Just FYI Amy, I barely survived answering all those questions :)
Sam and Rachel eating cake at our friends' Canada Day party which we had RSVPd to that we weren't coming but then randomly crashed just in time for dessert. We're awesome friends that way!
Here are a couple of questions which people have asked me in comments or on Facebook which relate to Canadian things. When I wrote about the humidex a few people asked what it was. I would have thought that Americans living in The South would have invented the humidex but it's a Canadian thing. Who knew???

From the Environment Canada website: The humidex is a Canadian innovation, that was first used in 1965. It describes how hot, humid weather feels to the average person. The humidex combines the temperature and humidity into one number to reflect the perceived temperature. Because it takes into account the two most important factors that affect summer comfort, it can be a better measure of how stifling the air feels than either temperature or humidity alone.

The link then goes on to explain the risks inherent in the different humidex readings. For today, for instance, our high was 34C (93F) and the highest humidex was listed at 42C (108F), which according to the risks means "great discomfort, avoid exertion" so I probably shouldn't have pushed Sam and Rachel in the stroller for 20 minutes to pick up our CSA food. Oh well :)

Also, at one point I wrote about Timbits and someone wanted to know what a "Timbit" was. Well, Canada's national doughnut chain is named after a hockey player -- Tim Horton. So a Timbit is what you get at Tim Horton's instead of a doughnut hole. Lots of times we just talk about "going to Tim's." Ironically, while Dave and I love Tim's, neither of us are huge doughnut fans. Ha!

And with that, j'ai fini! (Just thought I'd throw a little French in their for you since we are officially bilingual and all that.)


  1. Well this was SUPER educational! I did not know about the regional differences, especially in power. But if I recall correctly, it didn't sound like those regions you named necessarily matched up with the official provinces, did they? But I guess there could still be some parallels to regionalism in America that crosses state lines. I think it is sad that there isn't more national pride in Canada-- now that I actually know some Canadians (thank you, blogging!), I think yall have a great country and that you should be proud! And I think that the US is failing its own people by never telling us about yall. Haha. Surely we are allies and stuff...and next-door-neighbors...and yet no one ever talks about yall (except for hockey) (and the Winter Olympics a few years ago). Sad!

  2. Thanks for answering all those questions! I loved learning more about Canada. I'd love to go some time!!!

  3. Oh and thank you also for explaining what a Timbit is! I don't know who Tim Horton is, but I guess I'll have to do some googling. =) I'm sure you would feel the same if you came to Oklahoma and saw a Billy Sim's BBQ. =)

  4. Well you are fancy speaking French and all :)...we are "mono-lingual" like most Americans it seems...(I think I may have made that word up!!) So much fun reading questions and answers!

  5. Thank you, Natasha! I can't remember why I asked no questions. Probably because I have too many. I know I talk all the time of wanting you to come here but I really want to go to Canada too. I know it is a beautiful place. I think having a quiet pride can actually be a good thing. I think some countries think our people are a little too "stuck on themselves" because we are so outspoken about our national pride. And we are such a young country too. I have so enjoyed our developing friendship through blogging and getting a glimpse of life in Canada. I do think there are some regional divisions and states with more people do seem more powerful, but I do think some of Canada's provinces think of themselves more like individual countries than united as one....probably has a lot to do with the different languages, right? Oh and we call our humidity and temp measurement the heat index. It is usually very high down south. Man, you've been getting hit hard with the heat lately! :-)

  6. I'm with Erika - I learned a LOT from this post! And now I realized I should have been more in-depth in my question than "where can we vacation?" LOL!!! Anne of Green Gables-land is on my bucket list but I LOVE your other suggestions too. I MUCH prefer picking a place that is lesser known, or perhaps just lesser populated???

    1. I too like finding the off the beaten path places to visit. There are some hidden gems out there. Although I think part of their amazingness is that they are a little more hidden.

  7. I've never heard of a humidex before, but they use it all the time here in the South, just call it the heat index instead. So they'll say it's 95 degrees outside but with the heat index feels like 105.


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