Sunday, December 11, 2011

Even more 101 things we are going to miss about Canada.

51) Fund raising – Helping others in need is part of a Canadian’s DNA. Well organised and effective charity events were ongoing in Lloyd and this was emulated through the schools. We attended a range of fun activities, run by volunteers, with proceeds going to a range of worthy local and overseas causes. And then Canadians dug even deeper into their pockets when a tragedy occurred somewhere in the world.

52) Unique road signs – Collin and Becky on their blog (  humorously shared a range of unique Australian signs. We also found Canada isn’t exempt from some unique signage – where else would you be warned about Moose on the road, Deer dancing or skidoos crossing?

53) Outside Hot Tubs – Having English ancestry  the prospect of a bath doesn’t  normally fill me with  eagerness – but sitting outside in minus lots of centigrade, slowly boiling away, with a bottle of Sleemans, snow and steam all around – heaven. 

54) The Rocky Mountains – One of the few places we have visited where photos can not do justice to the beauty. Seeing the majestic ancient splendour of these eternally snow capped peaks was worth the admission price to Canada alone. 

55) Cutting – Oh, what fun it was to ride a two horse open sleigh. It really was wonderful to be in the bracing air being transported through the snow by a team of study Percheron. Brought back the good old days and we didn’t even have to clear up the left overs.

56) Real Maple syrup – Nectar sent by the Gods. The lucid liquid poured over hot waffles, dobbed with ice cream – it will never taste the same anywhere else in the world.

57) Yukon camp grounds – Spotlessly clean, well equipped, conveniently located, breathtaking outlook and all for $12.00 per night. The lack of 24 hour tent service and valet parking didn’t detract form these wonderful holiday sites.

58) Garbage free roads – We travelled nearly 45 000 kilometres during the year, it was a real pleasure to be able to enjoy the stunning views without cans, wrappers, newspapers, cigarette buts, nappies marring the landscape. The vast majority of Canadians demonstrate their great  pride in their country by not trashing it.

59) RV’s – Talk about take everything and the kitchen sink. Some of the RV’s that passed us had a triple sink with built in garbage disposal unit made from Italian marble. Most were bigger than our house in Australia. Spotting the largest RV with the most imaginative name kept us amused on the road for hours.  

60) First Nation Culture – Amidst the Aboriginal angst that appears as an intractable Canadian problem; there is the wonderful First Nation culture. We were fortunate to witness a small illustration of the complexity of some First Nation Dance, Dress and Design. 

61)  6 day school cycle – When I was first made aware of the 6 day timetable cycle I nearly cancelled the teacher exchange; I thought Canadian teachers only received one day off a week! Thankfully that was not the case, although the weekend car park at Bishop Lloyd is always busy.  I am now converted to this infinitely sensible and workable means of sharing the dreaded Friday afternoon teaching slot.

62) Canadian landscape and wildlife TV shows – We would sit agog and amazed at the variety and amount of wildlife and landscapes in Canada. We are now auditioning to be David Attenborough’s clone based in Canada.

63)  Compliments on our accent – “You’ve got a cool accent” , “Love your accent” – We thought about charging some people who wanted to listen to our accent – would have almost paid for our holiday. We are practicing our Canada lilt so we can start charging Australian’s for the privilege of hearing a respectable North American tone.  

64)  Cooking Range – It wasn’t noticeable until we placed two family sized pizzas, garlic bread and a tray full of chips that Canadian ovens are that much bigger. No worry about how to cook the thanksgiving turkey – just have to put on a miners lamp and climb in the oven to find which corner it was placed.

65)  Provincial Parks – With such large distances to travel, provincial parks were a great way to break up the journey. Always well-appointed – most with hot showers, power, tables, shelter and flushing washrooms. A number we ventured into were worth staying for weeks; located on beautiful lakes with an abundance of activities for everyone. Park your RV and happy holidays.

66) Student inside voices – Australian school students spend a deal of time outside; consequently they are more physical and less conscious of echoing walls inside than their Canadian counterpart. My sensitive eardrums will miss the dulcet tones of the young Canadian accent.  

67)  Gophers and prairie dogs – These ADHD rodents may be a pest to the farmers but we have enjoyed watching their antics, especially their upright ‘look-out’ stance.

68) Weather reports – We realised we were in Canada when we listened to the radio weather and the low was a higher figure than the high for the day – it sounded oxymoronic having a high of minus 22c.

69) Numbered Streets and Avenues – We thought the Canadians lacked imagination and couldn’t be bothered to name their streets. However, the system of numbering roads and having east/west streets and north/south avenues in Lloyd has helped a nearly lost Aussie on a number of occasions. 

70)  Moose spotting – There are not many things that will get us out of bed before the sun is up but the news of a moose sightings around Lloyd stole a few hours of dreams. Unlike bear spotting, at least we could drive around locally searching for the imposing, ungainly, gentle deer.  

71)  Saskatoon – We only had the opportunity to visit this very European style city on three occasions. Each time however, it felt more like visiting a favourite exotic Aunt , who is always so welcoming and has special, unusual treats, than a commercial centre with over ¼ of a million people.

72)  The distinctive RCMP red uniform – How can Canadian women resist these strong, sturdy, reassuringly masculine law enforcers, resplendently dressed in red serge? Obviously some Australian women can’t. Canadian women in these uniforms look equally alluring, I just wasn’t allowed anywhere near them.

73)  CFL passion – Nations around the world have a passion for one sport or another. However, few places in the world turn a beautiful golden prairie landscape  into a sea of green. The Saskatchewan Roughriders, Canadian Football’s most avid (or rabid!) fans turn a province in the grip of fall, green again with their hoodies, jackets, tea shirts, headwear (including watermelons!!)  - you name it; it is green with a roughrider logo.  The whole province’s collective aura revolves around the result of third down and inches.  

74) Canadian wine (Coopermoon)Unassuming, reliable, warm, full bodied, ages well, with a hint of cheeky character (much like Canadians themselves really) also cheap, drinkable and available (definitely not like any Canadian we have met). If Wayne Gretsky can handle a grape the way he handled a puck I’m importing his vintage to Australia. 

75)  Squirrels/chipmunks – The closest thing to perpetual motion, especially in the fall when nut collecting becomes obsessive. It seemed we were being stalked by these cute, wide eyed rodents as they were everywhere.

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