Saturday, July 01, 2006


It is beer-drinking, whoop-it-up, go camping, lazy lounging, Confederation Anniversary Weekend.

Canada Day is the equivalent to the Fourth of July in the USA.

Today we celebrate the confederation of Canada. Canada was confederated on July 1st 1867.
So Canada is 139 years old.

One hundred and thirty-nine years old is very young for a Country as vast as Canada is.
I live in the Province of Ontario. Ontario is larger than the whole of Europe. I have driven right across Canada West to East, and I have gone very far north as well.
It takes 36hrs to drive across the Province of Ontario, and it takes 18hrs to drive from North to South in Ontario.

In Canada we have shops open 7 days a week. Except on holidays like Canada Day. We get Canada Day off as a statutory holiday.
Many of our grocery stores are open 24 hrs a day.
In Canada we store huge amounts of food in our homes in chest freezers, and pantries. It is common for families to buy whole cows cut up by the butcher and store them in their own homes for a year.
Canada has giant grocery stores, and we have big refrigerators. I think we do this because our winters are bad and we can be stuck inside many evenings before we can shop. Our shops are not walking distance from most neighbourhoods. We have large malls here that are buildings with multiple shops under one roof. This is so we can go out and shop in the winter.

We are drivers. Unfortunately we are drivers. On average the houses here have 3 cars in the driveway. And for some reason many houses own two 4x4’s like the Lincoln Navigator, or Hummer.
Like New Yorkers, we are a commuter society here in the large municipalities of Ontario. Many people commute 1.5 hrs one way to work each day. We are a society of “bedroom” communities.
I live in a small city, which grew within the countryside a lot like communites in Conneticut. Almost every person who lives in this community works in the city 1.5 hrs away. Golf courses, Equestrian centres, produce farms, and horse farms surround our city.

We have very large houses here. Houses the size of ours would be considered elaborate villas in other countries. Funny enough the average Canadian with a large home, does not have a housekeeper. Many families share the household chores. It is 50/50 whether Moms are at home, or working. Both kinds of Moms are well respected in the community.

In the outlying communities it is close to 96% of students that graduate high school. The statistics of high school graduates going to post-secondary education are a little vague. Why? Well many students will work for a year or more before going off to College or University. Many also start as apprentices and do their apprentice time first, then go to College for their certification.

Many homeowners in cities like Toronto, and the outlying areas own a second home called a cottage in the vacation lakes country. The cottagers travel every Friday up to six hours one way by car to their cottages to play, and return on Sunday night, in time to sleep then go to work again.

Trailer parks are different in Canada. Most people do not reside in a Caravan or Trailer in Canada all year. We have retired folks called “Snowbirds” who summer in large trailers or caravans in the lake country in the summer. Then they travel south the USA to Nevada, Florida, or Arizona to Trailer or Caravan in the winter.

We have very few people who reside in Trailer parks all year here. Why? I think it is mostly because it is too costly to winterise water access at trailer parks in Canada. We get lots of snow and it can be very cold here.

What kinds of housing do we have? We have several types of housing. We have high-rise apartments, low-rise apartments, row houses, town-houses, apartment condominiums, town-house condominiums, bungalows, two-story villas, back-split villas, and villas which are retro-fitted into separate multiple-family dwellings.. We have several high-end communities, which have houses that are the size of Castles in Europe. Some even look like castles with turrets and moats.

Our house lots vary greatly in size. We have average 35ft fronts on town houses and row houses.
There are 40ft fronts on our small house lots. We have 70 ft fronts lots on our larger villas with depth of 135ft deep. The houses the size of Castles have 1, 2, and 3 acre properties. A small hobby farm here would have 40 acres of property. Large farms can have 200 to 2000 acres.
Our homes are build of brick and wood here. Most of our homes have ashfault shingles on the roof, yet some have clay tiles on the roof.

In the winter it is from 10 Degrees Celsius to –30 Degrees Celcius here. In the summer it is 15 Degrees Celcius to 44 Degrees Celcius here. Even though we have quite hot summers here, most people don’t have pools in their yard. Pools are a negative feature to most homebuyers, because of the maintenance involved. Folks would rather go to the cottage to boat and swim. Folks with pools tend to holiday at home in the summer and holiday in the tropics in the winter.

What kind of fruit and vegetables do we have in Canada? We grow a lot of Fruits and Vegetables here. We cannot grow citrus trees here. We grow, apples, apricots, peaches, pears, cherries, water melon, melons, berries, cucumber, corn, avocados, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage, lettuce, carrots, potatoes, pumpkin, rhubarb, peppers, beans, peas, rapine, beets, mushrooms, onions, garlic, horse radish, radish, tomatoes, eggplant and more. We grow every type of grain and seed here. And of course we are known for our Christmas Trees.
The Province of Nova Scotia is our highest producer of export Christmas trees.

We have many ethnic communities here. In our large cities we have areas where specific cultures settled. The street signs in these areas have English and the Home Language of the dwellers in the area. We celebrate these communities. Everyone goes out to celebrate festivals of the other communities. We have street parties and sidewalk sales in each ethnic community so everyone can visit and cheer on their neighbouring cultures.

Canadians love food! We take advantage of our mixed ethnic community to try all the different foods of different cultures. One can easily get Sushi as easy as Halal meats, and Kosher foods. In Toronto we have the largest China Town outside of China. Our Chinese community is vast, and the Chinese have brought so much business to Canada. In the more recent years we have welcomed Vietnamese, Malaysian, Cambodian, and Phillipino communities as well. We were slower to have communites from India, than England was. But now we have large communities from India, Indonesia, and Shri Lanka. We have large communities of Orthodox Jews, as well as Christian Orthodox Arab communities. Christian, Muslim, Jew, Hindu…. Everyone you can think of lives here!

In Canada we have a legal right to be educated in our home language as well as English. This means our public school system offers classes for everyone on evenings and weekends in our own cultural language, and anyone can go.

We are a socialist country. Not quite as socialised as Great Britain, but we do well. Our primary and secondary education, medicine, and old age pension are paid for and supplied by the state.
We pay for our own post-secondary education. If we don’t have a good family income the state will offer us education grants and student loans to help everyone have the same opportunity to have education in College or University.

It is still socially taboo to have children out of wedlock here. Though more and more people are engaging in common-in-law commitments to their partners, it is still looked upon as negative by the masses. We are quite puritan in our ideals here. Yet we are plagued by divorce as much as any other society. So we are a little hypocritical in this area.

As most have heard in the news. We legalised gay marriage here. Our constitution deems gay marriage commitment the same as holy wedlock. This is just another way Canada tries to tell their society that everyone is important.

Our society is considered a Salad Bowl Culture. One that tosses everyone into the community but they have their own flavour and culture. As opposed to the USA which has a Melting Pot Culture. One which has all cultures coming together to assimilate into one society’s ideals, one language, one cultural belief system. Each has their pros and cons. Here we have some trouble with new Canadians never learning English, and in the USA one has to join into the capitalist ideals or they don’t fit in. Yet the idea of shedding old ways for new is appealing for new Americans.


RheLynn said...

Happy Canada Day for you :o) nice post with lots of info!

Lynn said...

Thanks Rhelynn,

I was thinking blogosphere when I wrote it. In North America we can make a pretty good guess what our neighbouring countries life and homes are like, but I found out in Europe that our life, and lifestyle here is different enough to be interesting.

Thanks Again,