Ever since I can remember I've heard the comment that there is "no difference" between Canadians and Americans. I respectfully beg to differ as there is a difference on so many levels! We have unique Canadian culture consisting of Canadianisms, a Canadian perspective on world events, Canadian cuisine as well as products and foods only available in Canada. This blog is dedicated to celebrating all things Canadian from "my perspective" as a Canadian. Please enjoy your visit and be sure to visit often.

Garden Gnome
Americans should never underestimate the constant pressure on Canada which the mere presence of the United States has produced. We're different people from you and we're different people because of you. Living next to you is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant. No matter how friendly and even-tempered is the beast, if I can call it that, one is effected by every twitch and grunt. It should not therefore be expected that this kind of nation, this Canada, should project itself as a mirror image of the United States.
- Pierre Trudeau

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Cross Border Shopping

Canadians living near the US border have coined a phrase, cross border shopping. When the Canadian dollar is higher cross border shopping increases. Some restaurants in US border towns encourage Canadians to spend their dollars on the US side by offering Canadian dollar at par meaning there is no exchange rate either. At one time most goods brought back into Canada from the US were subject to duty and appropriate provincial and federal taxes. With NAFTA the situation has changed considerably with most goods being duty free but the provincial and federal taxes are still collected on the Canadian value of the goods. Despite that some individuals continue to try sneaking goods into Canada without paying what they see as duties even though in reality it is only taxes (GST/HST). This is officially known as smuggling. If you are caught smuggling there are some rather hefty penalties ranging from fines, seizure of goods, seizure of personal property (vehicle, boat) and possible criminal charges that will prevent you from traveling to the US again. There are also restrictions as to the amount of certain items an adult can bring back and some goods are strictly prohibited. There are personal exemptions for stays outside of Canada greater than 24 hours. For a comprehensive guideline for what can be brought into Canada and what duties and/or taxes apply please refer to the Canadian publication put out by the Canada Border Services Agency titled I Declare.

With this in mind here's a chuckle from Canada's favourite funny man, Rick Mercer.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Canada's National Cocktail

The CaesarCanada's National Cocktail
The Caesar (cocktail)
September 17, 2009

What is Canada's national drink? The immediate answer from anyone who isn't Canadian is beer! Well, yes Canadians like their beer but it is not Canada's national drink. Canada's national cocktail is the Caesar invented by bartender Walter Chell at the Owl's Nest Bar in the Calgary Inn (now Calgary Westin Hotel) in Calgary, Alberta in 1969 for the opening of Marco's restaurant. The original Caesar contained tomato juice and mashed clams. The same year with the help of Chell, the Mott's company began producing Clamato (a blend of tomato juice and clam broth). The Caesar is a cocktail containing vodka, Clamato , Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco sauce served on the rocks in a celery salt-rimmed highball glass. The cocktail is typically garnished with a stalk of celery and wedge of lime. It is often garnished with a dill pickle wedge and stuffed green olives in addition to the stalk of celery. A Virgin Caesar is the cocktail without vodka. Although Mott's printed the Caesar recipe on bottles of the Clamato juice sold in the United States during the early 2000's the cocktail remains relatively unknown there. In 2002 Mott's began marketing pre-mixed Caesars in 12-ounce bottles.