26) Beer variety packs – I was concerned 12 months was not enough time to try the large variety of beers available in Canada. Intelligently, the major brewers provide variety packs so the connoisseur can try Red, White, Blonde, Dark beer all in one night.
27) The Northern Lights – We did not see the spectacular light show locals told us about, but we were fortunate enough to see the wide ribbons of translucent green light waving in the atmosphere.
28) Smores – What a culinary way to end a BBQ. We never quite mastered the trick of having the marshmallow hot enough (it usually caught fire) to melt the chocolate – but we enjoyed trying.
29) The Maple Leaf – The Maple leaf is to Canada as the Kangaroo is to Australia. A symbol that is recognised and respected world wide, a ‘brand’ we will miss seeing everywhere.
30) Turning right on a red light – We felt like real rebels turning on a red light; a sensible idea that will cost us a hefty fine if we try it in Australia.
31) BLMS staff – What an outstanding group of dedicated professionals. I was made to feel part of a very special team by everyone at Bishop Lloyd Middle School. It was worth braving the brutal cold temperatures in the morning to feel the warm welcome at Lancer headquarters.
32) Tobogganing down Jaycee Hill – Sometimes we were glad we didn’t have our children with us; we would have had to fight them for the toboggan. What great fun, for two almost pensioners, flying down a snowy hill in a plastic container.
33) Four lane highways – That extra lane sure came in handy a few times – not only for us as we slide gently across two lanes, thankfully not into oncoming traffic – but to the electric chairs, mopeds and tractors that had room to overtake the somewhat snail pace of my Canadian driving.
34) Salmon Run – It was simply amazing to see the end of the journey for the Sockeye and Chinook salmon. We may never again see so many fish in one place; all trying to line up for the privilege of becoming parents. Then quickly dying before their progeny start nagging them for treats.
35) ‘Our Canada’ magazine – A snapshot of Canadian life in every issue. Wonderful pictures, life affirming stories and hours of trying to find the loonie. Thanks Dawn for introducing us to reading material that kept me entertained in the bathroom for hours.
36) Deciduous Trees – We will certainly miss seeing the life cycle, in technicolour, of the numerous willows, birth and crab-apples around the neighbourhood. The pleasure of seeing the trees turn from lifeless skeletons to full bodied and blossomed bird attractors, made up for the pain of sweeping up the mountain of dead leaves.
37) Western Canadians’ view of the other siders – Newfies, Québecois, Bluenosers, - anyone from further east than Manitoba, we noticed, were considered too cosmopolitan or too ‘hick’. Thankfully Australia was considered to be in the west.
38) Poutine – Cheese, Gravy, Chips – the delicious comfort food. We have reserved the ultimate gourmet poutines (Italian, Braised Beef, Sweet potato) for our next visit.
39) Cabins by the Lake – Wow - did we feel Canadian when we were sitting on the deck, Molson in hand, smell of AAA Canadian beef on the BBQ and admiring the expanse of water before us. We so appreciated our hosts who provided litres of mosquito repellent, blankets for the ‘cooling breeze’ and tactfully ignored my fish less fishing bucket.
40) Ice Skating outside – Winter had its annoyances but the opportunity for Hanneke to gracefully glide around on the open ice, amidst frost dusted trees and snow blanketed grass, as if she was born with blades, will long be a cherished memory.
41) West Edmonton Mall – How can any Australian shopping Mall compete with Pirate ships, Disney world like rides and a ‘tropical’ beach?
42) Opportunities to go Ice Fishing – I missed out on sitting in a small tent, in the middle of a frozen lake, holding a stick over a small hole in the ice, bracing big minus temperatures. It’s what Canadian blokes love in winter; where the only stress to this meditative pastime is how to stop the beer from freezing.
43) The Prairies – One of the few places in the world, it is said, you can watch your stolen car being driven away for three days. We will simply miss the awesomeness of endless horizons, oceanic skies, beautiful, peaceful landscapes and farms as big as small European countries.
44) Coleslaw – The southern hemisphere does have coleslaw but not in the same gargantuan volume as North America. In fact, I think we have had a variety of tasty coleslaw with every conceivable meal. We will not miss it as an accompaniment to our corn flakes though.
45) Relatively cheap petrol – The average price in the South West of Western Australia appears to be about $1.40 a litre – the last time we filled up in Lloyd we paid $1.02.
46) Returning to a warm and cozy house – That re-assuring flood of warm air as the frozen door is frantically prized open. The ultra relaxing warmth and pleasure of reading an engrossing book, in a comfy chair next to the fire – an air conditioner just doesn’t quite produce the same ‘morphine’ like effect!
47) Long, long summer days – A great way to help insomnia – only having two or three hours of ‘night’. We found we could do so much outside without the need for artificial light during summer. The only problem was once we finished our night cap it was almost daylight again.
48) Lloydminster – A city with everything we needed (except North America’s biggest Mall) and we were only ever 5 minutes from Canada’s wonderful wide open space.
49) Camp coffee – The best tasting coffee we have ever had. No need for milk, cream, sugar. Wrapping our cold hands around that delicious cup of liquid made us forget the grounds had been in the base of the kettle for the past ten years.
50) "EH" - Where would the Canadian language be without this ubiquitous expression. We are still not sure what it means but we are going to miss the reassuring interjection, eh!