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, January 25, 2011

Chemical Valley in Sarnia, Ontario

Chemical Valley, Sarnia, Ontario
Chemical Valley in Sarnia, Ontario
January 21, 201

Sarnia, Ontario is home to Chemical Valley named after the large number of industrial petro-chemical plants on the south side of the city.  Sarnia is a border city on the St. Clair River just at the mouth of Lake Huron across from Port Huron, Michigan.  A major highway artery (Hwy. 402) connects Sarnia to London, Ontario allowing the easy transport of goods from the US and southern regions of Ontario to the Greater Toronto Area and eastern Canada.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Zellers - The End of an Era

source:  Toronto Star, November 7, 1931

On November 7, 1931 Schulte-United Limited announced it would be re-opening as Zellers Limited headed by Walter P. Zeller (a native of Kitchener, Ontario) on November 12, 1931.  Zeller was a Canadian businessman offering customers quality merchandise for everyday needs as well as fashionably styled merchandise.  He pledged to the buying and selling of Canadian-made goods.  Walter Zeller died in 1957 and by 1959 the major intrest was held by American discounter W. T. Grant.  By 1978 full ownership of Zellers was in the hands of the Hudson Bay Company (HBC).

HBC announced on January 13, 2011 that the US based discount department store chain Target Corporation has agreed to purchase the leases of up to 220 Zellers stores for a rumoured $1.82 billion.  As many as 150 Target stores will open in 2013 or 2014 in locations currently occupied by Zellers.  Target Corporation is not purchasing the Zellers chain outright, they have only purchased the leases.  The remaining sold locations will be transferred to other retailers.  Fifty to sixty locations will continue to operate as Zellers stores owned by HBC.  So Zellers is not going to disappear entirely but the locations will be greatly reduced likely to larger urban centres. 

From this Canadian's Perspective Zellers was never quite as good as the old K-mart or Woolco stores but it was still a good place to shop for a decent value.  As a young mother we lived within walking distance of a Zellers so I would pack the kids into the buggy to do any necessary shopping for an occasional afternoon outing.  There was a nice little booth style restaurant (the Skillet) at Zellers that sometimes I would meet up with a girlfriend along with her kids we'd enjoy a milkshake and fries.  Our kids loved going to Zellers because they knew if they were good they would get a treat in the restaurant.  Zellers came out with a rewards program called Z-club where they gave collectible points for your purchases.  My very first reward cash-in was a Bissell steam cleaner that unfortunately we had to toss last year.  My second cash-in was a huge Igloo cooler that is still in remarkably good condition for its age.  Zellers had a lay-away plan that was perfect for young families planning for holiday gift giving.  It was the first store in our area to install closed circuit video to guard against shop lifting.  Zellers employed several from the community so when they announced they were closing the doors in our small community it was a huge deal.  The store sat empty for awhile then was torn down to make way for a new Wal-Mart complete with a McDonald's instead of a cosy, booth restaurant.  And so life went on.  I miss the old Zellers as do many.  The new Wal-Mart is too new, too bright, too clean and just too everything!  I am saddened to once again see a Canadian icon taken over by an American company.

The writing has been on the wall for the demise of Zellers for quite sometime.  They could no longer live up to the pledge of buying and selling Canadian-made goods when consumers were demanding cheaper imports.  The stores had a reputation for being a bit on the dingy side especially compared to their newer counterparts of the Real Canadian Superstore and Wal-Mart.  Zellers though was part of Canadiana, something to be held onto.  In this day and age, business icons can only survive if they are profitable and Zellers was not.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New Poll Shows Canadians Are Often Tired

A new poll by CBS New has shown that Canadians are often tired.  Now this is not breaking news by any stretch of the imagination.  Canadians have been tired since the advent of electricity that allowed us to stay up past our bedtime watching our 2 channels of television.  Moving forward television moved up to cable and satellite access giving us many more channels to avoid going to sleep.  In addition to television many parents are up in the wee hours of the morning dragging little Johnny to hockey practice.  Who in their right mind feels like skating at 4 AM?  Canadians are tired of their roadways that in between larger communities are so flat and boring that you can't help but drift off.  I'm sure that doesn't help those heading to hockey practice.  For those not into hockey (do they even exist?) there's lacrosse.  Canadians are especially tuckered out thanks to the internet.  Our internet service is so great you can actually clean the entire house waiting for one file to download!  So it is no surprise that more Canadians are reporting they are tired more often than before.  Such is life!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Another Canadian Controversy in 2010

In addition to the world's focus on Ontario and British Columbia in 2010, both provinces created further attention for themselves by bring the controversial Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) into effect on July 1, 2010.  While this tax was supposed to simplify accounting for businesses by combining federal and provincial taxes into one tax, the HST effectively added 8% tax to 17% of consumer goods and services in Ontario.  The HST was so unpopular with the constituents of British Columbia that their Premier Gordon Campbell resigned from office and no one wanted to take his place.  In Ontario we could not be so lucky as to have one of the most hated Premiers, Dalton McGuinty to step down.  The full effects of the HST have still not been felt although it has had an impact across Canada.  The HST issue will drag on into 2011...

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Two Contrasting Events in 2010

Two major events happened in Canada but with very different outcomes.  The Winter Olympics hosted in Vancouver, British Columbia brought fame and admiration world wide.  Canadians were impeccable hosts to the many visitors to this wonderful event.  For the first time, Canadians even showed a strong show of patriotism causing some International newspapers to comment on this uncharacteristic display.  The G20 Summit was held in Toronto, Ontario.  This event brought shame to Canada as Canadian rights and freedoms were eroded in a rash decision that for one weekend turned Toronto into a police state.  Rather than pride and patriotism some rebel Canadians displayed a very ugly side during the G20 Summit.  Two major and yet contrasting Canadian events in Canada in 2010...

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year 2011

Happy New Year
Wishing all the best in 2011!