Watching the Olympics over the past few days has reminded me of how much I miss living in Canada. This is my list of what makes this country so fab.
- Canadians really love us Brits. Especially the Newfoundlanders. I’m not sure why, particularly since we treated Newfoundland so badly (throwing it out of the UK in 1948, and insisting that it join another country). Despite this, Canadians genuinely seem interested to meet Brits, and our accent always seems to go down a treat. I even had one guy propose to me on the basis of my voice, outside the Second Cup on Queen Street in Toronto. In all fairness to the accuracy of this story, I think he was drunk, but hey, a proposal is not to be sniffed at.
- Poutine. I like chips, I like cheese, I like gravy, but I like them even better when they’re combined in this heavenly Quebecois dish. When it’s minus 25 plus windchill, this warms you up a treat.
- As a Brit self-deprecation is important to me and so I like the fact that Canadians aren’t afraid to make fun of themselves, cf: Canadian Bacon; How to be a Canadian.
- I love the sheer range of doughnuts in Tim Horton’s. I love the fact you can get soup, a sandwich and a doughnut for $4. Also, Timbits, little mini doughnut balls of perfection. Yum…
- Coffee shops in Canada are amazing. We’re catching up in the UK, but we’ve got a long way to go before we match the general cosiness and delicious range of drinks on offer. I also like the fact honey is on offer as a sweetener and that it often comes in bear shaped containers.
- Canada has any landscape you need: mountains, cool cities, the sea, rainforests…
- Canadians are so damn friendly. Without exception, every one I have ever met is lovely and oh so welcoming. I was also shown some amazing hospitality – my housemate’s family took me out for dinner on Thanksgiving; my friend’s mother put me up in their house; a random guest at a wedding I attended in Newfoundland took me hiking the next day.
- Going to U of T allowed me to live my Brideshead Revisited Oxbridge fantasy with the added bonus of the CN Tower in the background, black squirrels frisking everywhere and Chinese food on tap 24 hours a day.
- Canadians say “eh” a lot which is a really useful bridging word; it gets people’s attention but is far less irritating than the Australian Question Intonation.
- In Canada you can get cake and coffee at 1am. This is my idea of heaven – go out for a few drinks, and then solve the munchies by having a slice of chocolate fudge pie and a hazelnut flavoured latte.
In summary: good food, great people and amazing scenery. If you haven’t been already, visit now. You won’t regret it (although your waistline might).