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, May 18, 2010

Traveling Outside of Canada

We love to travel! For the most part our traveling is mainly in North America.  As Canadians traveling to the United States we need proof of citizenship which includes passport or Nexus as well as birth certificate and sometimes driver's license.  Those documents will allow us to land in the US by land, air or sea and we do land by two of the three.  When flying we usually leave from a US airport.  In addition to these important documents it is imperative that we have traveler's insurance.  Traveler's insurance covers any necessary emergency health care that may be necessary when outside of Canada.  It is a must have even if only going for a day trip outside of Canada as provincial health plans will not cover any medical expenses outside of Canada.  Those Canadians heading to the sunny south for the winter months aka snowbirds are restricted as to the length of time they can be out of Canada before they lose their provincial health coverage.  In Ontario you are allowed to be out of the province for 6 months less a day before losing your provincial health coverage.  With these absolutely must have basics there are a few other considerations:

  • vaccinations - Keep booster shots up to date.  If in doubt contact your health care provider prior to leaving Canada to be sure you are up to date.
  • OTC medications/prescriptions - There are many Canadian medications and prescriptions that are not available in the US.  Make sure you take a full prescription with you and the prescription in the event you need a refill but be aware certain Canadian prescriptions are not available in the US so ask your health care provider for an extended prescription to get filled all at once in Canada before leaving the country.  This is especially important for snowbirds.  OTC medications can also vary in what is available in Canada is not available in the US.  Do a bit of homework before leaving Canada for an extended period of time so you can take those OTC medications with you that you won't be able to get in the US.  All medications should be in their original containers.
  • currency - In many US/Canadian border towns there is no problem being able to convert currency however further inland and not by all that many miles most places will not take Canadian currency.  To be on the safe side always have US currency as well as a credit card and/or traveler's cheques and/or debit card.  If you are traveling in the US on a regular basis then setting up a US bank account may be of benefit to you.
  • cell phone coverage - Canadian cell phones in most cases will work outside of Canada however long distance and roaming charges may apply.  This can be quite costly so plan ahead to avoid extra charges.
  • GPS - For traveling a GPS device is the way to go when it comes to ease.  While free road maps are available they are not nearly as easy to use as a GPS.  A GPS will set you back somewhere between $100 and $150 but it is well worth it especially for navigating around US cities.  Be sure you download and update the GPS for both Canadian and US maps.  What is nice is you can pre-program for points of interest, restaurants and that type of thing.  
  • a sense of humour - A sense of humour is a must when traveling outside of Canada.  Some of the terminology we use is not quite the same as American terminology so they may look at you strange if you ask for a pop or CC & coke or even want vinegar for your fries and whatever you do don't call electricity hydro as that's a real no no.  You may even be accused of having a Canadian accent!


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