Nuances of Canada

We’ve been here a little over two months. Every country has their quirks and this is what we have noticed about Canada and Canadians over the past few months.

Basements are huge!

Every house has a huge basement underneath their home and it is massive. Imagine an attic without the sloping ceilings. It’s cool that they have the extra storage space but they are also a bit creepy – particularly when you find a snake hidden behind some boxes!

Heating: where are the radiators?

Homes in Canada mostly seem to have heating vents & grills on the floor or at the bottom of the wall. The heating come from the (huge) basement and heats the homes this way, Only seen a few radiators during this trip 😉 They also call boilers “furnaces”.

Close links with Britain

The opening question we’ve most often been asked is “where in the UK are you from?”. It’s really nice that most people recognise we’re British rather e.g. Aussie or Kiwi, and almost everyone has some link to the UK through relatives. We end up talking about a random place around the UK just because a cashier in a shop happens to have an uncle there, which is a lovely addition to a standard day! They also have good teabags and most places have kettles, which is very welcome for our tea habits 🙂

Groceries are EXPENSIVE

Vegetables are typically around $2.50 a pound (around £3.30 a kg), even for cheaper root veg like onions. We’re used to bulking out meals with veg but it’s crazy how much more they are! Meat and cheese are also expensive, but by less of a margin. It’s frustrating as we want to experiment with vegetables after working at the Healthy Rabbit cafe, but it costs a lot!

Junk food is expensive you don’t find any £1 ($1.60) chocolate bars or bags of crisps here!

Toiletries are also expensive – most face wash, shampoo and shower gel costs over $5 (£3), whereas we’d always pick up whatever was on offer for £1 that week in the UK. Petrol is cheap though, around $1 per L (about 63p/L).

The nature is breathtaking

Canada has half the population of the UK, and is 38 times bigger – so there understandably is a lot more space. However, we weren’t expecting the staggering beauty of a lot of the places we’ve seen. The forests, lakes, rivers and waterfalls are just amazing, and we’ve been lucky that the Canadian government have given out free National Park passes to everyone this year to celebrate Canada being 150. There are loads of great trails (which are often well signposted) and great views. Two highlights for us so far have been snowshoeing with freespirit tours through a forest regeneration area which was eerily silent, and seeing The Grotto, an icy and windswept cliff onto Lake Huron. Everyone keeps telling us how amazing British Columbia is and we can’t wait to see it in September!

The Grotto

We’re learning a lot about ourselves on this trip: what we want to do long-term with our careers, the kinds of jobs we would find rewarding and if we want to stay in Canada. It’ll take some more time to figure all this out, but for now we’re enjoying exploring and meeting new people! 

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