This week, for the first time in 18 years, I went on a Canada fishing trip with my family. We were remote enough that it was nearly impossible to post as scheduled this week, so I thought I would post some random observations about Canada that I didn’t know before this trip while my son drives the last leg of a long drive.
The metric system. Are we still the only modern country not completely using this? The best parts about it are that buying gas by the liter seems cheaper even though it’s not and I really enjoyed driving 130 (though it was km/h).
Currency. Canada no longer has pennies, uses one dollar coins (“loonies”), two dollar coins (“twoonies”) and their smallest paper unit is the five dollar bill. If paying in cash, prices are rounded up to the next $.05. I think I am for this–at least the penny elimination and rounding part.
Solar panels. Rural Ontario puts rural Indiana to shame with regard to the number of solar panels in use. They are everywhere. Why is that?
French. I wasn’t ignorant of the French influence in Canadian culture but let me describe it. Road signs are in both English and French. Our 65 year old fishing guide Jerome, who has lived in the rural area where our camp was located his whole life, speaks fluent French, but has never met anyone that actually is French. We ate no food remotely influenced by the French, and the rural Canadian English accents would not remind anyone of their last visit to Paris. Maybe Canadian cities are different, but on our trip, the French thing was just awkward.
The word, or expression, “hey” with the silent h. I spell it “eh.” It can be used to mean almost anything, and in modern times, it equates to LOL, wtf, what did you say, yes, no, up, down…but sounds like a spoken question mark when actually it is the proclamation that the sentence is over regardless of type.
The Maple Leaf Flag. It is everywhere. If I didn’t know better, I would think Canada was at war. Every house has one flying, some houses had two. It was cute at first, but I found myself paying closer attention to the local news as the week went on just in case.
Sportscentre. That isn’t a typo. Canada has it’s own ESPN, complete with Canadian accents, and extensive pro and amateur hockey coverage. Weird.
Early hours. I had to drive forty minutes to the closest grocery store, twice during the week. The second time, I arrived at 7:00 PM and barely got in before they locked the door. 7:00 closing? The store was in a town of 5000 people and was bigger than the Marsh in Lockerbie.
Border management. It was harder getting into Canada than it was to return to the USA. We were bringing fish back which I thought would complicate things, but it didn’t at all–even after I told the guy at the border about all of the flags…
And finally, the Canadians I ran into were quite unimpressed with Americans (at least the four of us). I really thought that most of the locals would have been at least mildly interested in where we were from, what we did for a living, what was cool, etc. Turns out, not one Canadian person even asked any of us where we were from. Some of the other Americans did, but not one Canadian. Crushingly, we discovered we weren’t all that.
In summary, Canada is not the northern USA that I thought it was. They kind of look like us, kind of talk like us, and that is just about it. Good for them.
Oh, and the fishing was great. But good fish stories require hand gestures that don’t translate into this blog.
Ever caught a fish this big, eh?