Canada Files | Observations
- People in Canada definitely tend to be more liberal in Canada than in the US… actually I would characterize the average Canadian as a rabid-bleeding-heart-liberal. In fact, the entire political spectrum in Canada is shifted to the left relative to that in the US. The most right-wing conservative Canadian is considered maybe just right of center in the US, while the most left wing liberal Canadian is a borderline Communist.
- There were much fewer cell phones and the average phone was much larger and clunkier than the average US phone. Further, none of the Canadian cell phone plans included free domestic long distance or free roaming, a standard feature of most US plans. I am just amazed to find a country that is more backward in cell phone technology than the US.
- The Canadian telecoms did however roll out the unlimited domestic long distance on land-lines quite a bit before it became popular in the US, and for less too. Man, did Mumtaz and I milk that!
- The preferred way of cooking most food is deep frying it. This is not considered to be a bad thing.
- South of the border doesn’t mean Mexico and a “run for the border” doesn’t mean going to Taco Bell.
- The trash cans on the street are all *tiny* – this is probably due to the fact that people recycle the hell out of *everything*!
- I have never seen a female construction worker before I came to Canada.
- This has to be said, the name of Saskatchewan’s capital city rhymes with vagina (Regina).
- Speaking of vaginas, I saw this in the newsstand in the Toronto airport (YYZ), maybe this is just really telling about where my brain is, but when I saw a magazine entitled “The Beaver”, I would not have thought that it was “Canada’s Historic Magazine”.
- Someone please explain the Canadian health insurance system to me. It is universal coverage – but it’s not, because it only covers certain services. Many basic things are not covered so you still have to have private health insurance – in addition to what you pay to the government… So in addition to being taxed up the ass, you still pay for health insurance out of your paycheck. Oh well, I’m sure that I don’t understand the issue fully, and there is a better explanation out there.
- For some reason, the chivalrous man does not kill spiders and bugs, he has to save them – pick them up and let them go outside…
- It was a neat practice to show a daily news feed on Air Canada flights. One thing however which I found extremely amusing, was that the sports update during the time when the CFL playoffs were going on, included all of the NFL updates but *NO* CFL updates!
- Speaking of the CFL (the Canadian Football League for the uninitiated)… I found it an interesting experiment to watch the CFL when I was up there… you know ‘When in Rome…’ and noticed quite a few differences between it and American Football:
- I think that the quality of play is lower than the NFL, the smaller budgets the CFL has to work with is probably a large factor in this
- The play is faster
- There are more long passes
- Scores tend to be higher
- Receivers much more likely to reverse direction and run backwards or laterally briefly to avoid tackles
- It feels like there is more camaraderie between teams – opposing team players seem much more likely to help each other up and/or patting each other on the head/ass.
- I definitely noticed that the broadcasts were decidedly lower tech
- There were fewer instant replays and when they came, they took longer to queue up than they do in the US which come almost immediately
- There was no score/down indicator that lived permanently in the bottom corner of the screen. It’s amazing how much you miss that once it’s gone
- Helmets were definitely not as well secured as they are in the NFL as they kept on coming off.
- I have met more than a few Canadians that get a little worked up about teasing them about saying “a boot” instead of the word “about”… I find this interesting because just because *all* Canadians don’t say “a boot” doesn’t mean that some don’t. In fact I met quite a few that did.
And despite any vehement protestations, Canadians do say the word "out" and words that rhyme with it (about, scout, lout etc.), slightly funny.
Speaking of Canadian language, I haven’t yet cracked the code – but there is definitely a difference between the use of the words “Eh?” ("aiye") and "hey". Upon initial glance it looks like the two words can be used interchangeably, but I don’t think that this is the case.
Brands and McDonalds…
I was very surprised to see that the McDonalds golden arches, one of the most recognizable brand names in the world, has been adulterated with the maple leaf. I have travelled a fair amount and nowhere in the world have I seen the golden arches changed to suit or appeal to the local population. I mean, it is the blatant Americanism that is the draw in so many places.
Well I was travelling in Europe for a bit afterwards… and to double check my theory, I paid special attention to the McDonalds that I passed by. Sure enough, not a single McDonalds in the countries I visited (Spain, Ireland, England) had a mark that deviated it from the standard.
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