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

Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Home Renovation Tax Credit (HRTC)

As part of Canada's Economic Action Plan the Canadian government announced as part of their budget the Home Renovation Tax Credit (HRTC). This is a $3 billion stimulus to encourage investments in Canada's housing stock. The main goal is to create economic activity by increasing the demand for labour, building materials and other goods in relation to the housing market.

The HRTC applies to home renovation expenditures for work performed or good acquired for home renovations after January 27, 2009 and before February 1, 2010. This is a tax credit not a grant or a loan. Once you spend over $1,000 in renovations the portion above the $1,000 up to $10,000 is eligible for a 15% tax credit to be applied to your income tax to lower your tax liability. The maximum credit you can receive is $1,350. The HRTC applies to the renovations costs for one or more of an individual's eligible dwellings including houses, cottages and condominium units that are owned for personal use. Routine repairs and maintenance does not qualify for the credit but renovations such as re-modeling a kitchen or finishing a basement do qualify. The HRTC can be combined with other grant and rebate programs such as ecoEnergy grants. The tax credit can be claimed on the 2009 income tax return.

The HRTC is a good tax credit for those who were either planning home renovations or making their homes more energy efficient by replacing hot water tanks with an on demand tank or installing a high energy efficiency furnace. It is not for those who decide to borrow funds for their home renovation simply to take advantage of the tax credit. If you are a frugal DIYer you will be able to maximize the renovation savings on materials and labour as well as taking advantage of the tax credit.


Monday, January 26, 2009

Important Canadian Links Added


Old Barn in Rural Ontario
September 29, 2008

If you have visited this blog you will note a few changes in the side bar. If this is your first visit to Canadian Perspective, welcome and please enjoy your stay. This blog is now a member of Entrecard. Each day a new blog will be a guest in the spot Today's Visitor. Any blog appearing in this spot has been approved by me prior to appearing on the widget. Clicking the ad in the Entrecard widget will take you to that visitor's blog. I have added quite a few links to the sidebar under three categories: Canadian Resources; Provincial & Territorial Government Links and Canadian Sites of Interest. More links will be added to these categories as I come across them. I hope you find these links both interesting and useful in your journey of discovering our great nation, Canada.


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Snowbirds


On the Road
January 9, 2009

No, I'm not talking about a kind of bird. The term Snowbirds is a uniquely Canadian term used to describe permanent residents of Canada who travel to warmer southern states during our cold winter months. Most leave Canada November or December and return April or May. They are allowed to be out of the country for 183 days or less if they want to keep their Canadian residency status. The common destination points for snowbirds are Florida and Arizona however some go to other southern states. The primary goal is to escape the cold of the northern winters. By far the majority of snowbirds are retirees and senior citizens. In many cases they buy a pre-manufactured home (aka mobile home aka trailer) or condo for their southern lifestyle. Aside of warmer weather, golfing and good food are very tantalizing.

Medical coverage is likely the most important concern for snowbirds. In addition to provincial health plans that are free to every Canadian citizen but does not provide out of country coverage, snowbirds need to buy additional traveller's insurance that will provide health coverage while outside of Canada. Even day trippers (another Canadian term) to the US should carry traveler's insurance.


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Fishing on the Great Lakes


Great Lakes Perch

The Great Lakes comprise the largest body of water for fresh water fish. We live on the Great Lakes waterways with the water's edge at our back door and we also boat so fishing just comes naturally. We commonly catch pickerel, bass (large and small mouth) and perch from our dock, a few fishing holes and occasionally from the boat. Bass season is wonderful! There are several areas that combine a marina with a campground. So in the wee hours of the morning the campers are awakened as the bass boats head out for a day of fishing. They return mid afternoon then all is quite until dusk then they fire up these huge cast iron fry pans and the party begins. They gladly share some of their catch. It is an every night fish fry!

In the early spring Lake Erie is the place to head for fresh smelt. Smelt are a bit bigger than finger sized fish that are a pain to clean but make for a tasty pan fried meal. You can fish for smelt or simply buy it but virtually all the restaurants along the Canadian edge of Lake Erie will have smelt on the menu. The rivers and tributaries draining in the surrounding area provide more fishing opportunities as well. Fishing for catfish is a rather popular activity so it is common to see folks sitting along the bridges spanning creeks and streams along the roads.

None of the fish mentioned are clearly Canadian and of course there are a lot of kinds of fish available in the Great Lakes that I haven't mentions. What is Canadian on the plate pictured from one of our fish fries is the French fry sauce. Instructions for frying the fish can be found on my cooking blog here and here. The dip pictured is Fry Dip made simply with Miracle Whip® or mayonnaise and enough prepared yellow mustard to give a creamy yellow colour. This is wonderful on French fries and something specific to Canada. If you don't want a heavy dip for your fries then another favourite fry condiment is white vinegar. You will find it in little carafes in restaurants along with malt vinegar (English influence) and in little packets at the fast food restaurants. Some border town American restaurants will have white vinegar for fries but not very often and once you get beyond a mile or two of the border forget it.


Monday, January 5, 2009

Working Man sung by Rita MacNeil



"Tribute to Coal Miners in Nova Scotia"


Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year