Canada is on the rise globally and with Australians. The latest tourism figures show that Australian arrivals to Canada grew by 17 per cent in the last year. So what is it that Canada does so right? According to Vancouver-based Aussie expat, Alissa Jenkins, here are eight signs that you ‘get’ Canada.
1. You actually like the prime minister. Like, reeeeally like the prime minister
Progressive, charismatic and, eh hem, easy on the eye, few national leaders have gained the adoration and popstar status of Canada’s own PM, Justin Trudeau.
When he’s not celebrating LGBT rights at Pride festival or sending the Twitterverse into overdrive by proclaiming his feminist views, he’s ensuring a gender-balanced and ultra-qualified cabinet and inviting Syrian refugees to cross Canada’s safe borders (a bold move in response to Mr Trump’s anti-Muslim fear mongering). What’s not to love?
2. Your weekends always involve the outdoors
While Australians are no strangers to the joys of having beautiful sandy beaches on our doorstep, Canadians are just as or (dare we say it) even more outdoorsy when it comes to weekend pursuits. And the reason for that is simple — it’s just so damn accessible and enticing!
From Ontario’s litany of glistening lakes or Alberta’s world-class ski slopes to British Columbia’s Instafamous hiking trails, Canadians have some of the most picturesque landscapes and thrilling activities, within just an hour or two of most city centres. The outdoors is so ingrained in their psyche, even the saddest potato couch can be lured outside to enjoy Canada’s splendors.
3. You know when you’ll need a toque, eh
Just because both Canada and Australia are part of the almighty Commonwealth, it doesn’t mean we’re exempt from the odd cultural collision when it comes to the English language. Save yourself the blank stares and confused conversations with these fun Canadian names.
- Beanie = Toque (rhymes with fluke)
- Jumper = Sweater
- Swimmers = Bathing suit
- Thongs = Flip flops
- Toilet = Washroom
- Capsicum = Peppers
- Fizzy drink = Pop
- Coriander = Cilantro
- Roquette = Arugula
- Esky = Cooler
- Bottle-o = Liquor store
- Take away = To go
And yes, if you’re in Canada long enough, the intonation of how you say “eh” will change.
4. Apologising is your default response
There is some truth to the stereotype that Canadians profusely apologise for, well, everything, and that’s not a bad thing. Unlike their less hospitable southern neighbours, Canadians are resolutely polite, caring and if even to a fault, apologetic for ever being anything less than positively friendly. Surely we can all agree that the world only needs more of that.
5. You’ve seen a Hollywood blockbuster being filmed
Enticed by cheaper costs, fewer crowds and a likeness to many of New York City’s neighbourhoods, Vancouver has long been the third largest centre in North America for film and television production (right behind Los Angeles and the Big Apple itself).
So seeing streets sectioned off for filming, or celebs in action, isn’t out of the ordinary. Why, some of the latest big-budget blockbusters filmed in Vancity include Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Power Rangers, War For the Planet of the Apes, Star Trek Beyond, Tomorrowland, Deadpool, and Fifty Shades of Grey.
Similarly in the east, Toronto is also becoming an increasingly popular film location for Hollywood’s latest and greatest productions, ranking in North America’s top seven film locales.
6. You’ve traded Maccas for Timmy’s
While we’re all guilty of the occasional McDonald’s indulgence, the Golden Arches aren’t nearly as prevalent in Canada as beloved fast food giant, Tim Hortons. Once renowned for its coffee and doughnuts (Timbits are a must), Timmy’s now boasts a full menu to satisfy a snack attack any time of day.
Keep look out for RRRoll Up the Rim — a regular competition where prizes are printed on coffee cups, earning a national following more enthusiastic than the Canucks hockey team’s.
7. You approach your car from the right, not the left
Like the rest of North America, Canadians drive on the right-hand side of the road, which brings with it a whole suite of different road rules to Australia (like you can usually turn right on a red light).
But there are also different norms for when you’re not behind the wheel — pedestrians can expect cars to happily stop and allow them to cross the road, with or without a designated crossing. Of course, it’s always safest to cross when signalled, though.
8. You know exactly what that herbal scent is
Yes, cannabis is legal for medicinal purposes in Canada, which means you’ll often see (or smell) regulated dispensaries alongside everyday shopfronts. While cannabis tourism is tipped to be the country’s next travel trend as laws relax, be aware that possessing and selling marijuana for non-medical purposes is still illegal everywhere in Canada.
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