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

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas 2013
Merry Christmas to each and everyone!  Thank-you for being part of my blogging family.  May the joy of the holiday season be with you today and everyday.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Canadianisms That Confuse the World

55 Canadianisms that confuse the world
Every country or even small areas in a country has their own 'isms' that are specific to that region.  For some reason, Canadianism in general tend to confuse others, and by others I mean mainly Americans.  As a Canadian who has vacation property in the US and Aruba, the confusion over Canadianisms is very much an American thing!  The graphic by Jules Sherred originally on Geek Mom modified by Made in Canada illustrates 55 Canadianisms but there are are considerably more than those fifty-five!  Notably absent are chesterfield, double double, loonie and toonie.  My husband always calls a Robertson a Robbie using with a colour adjective with colour describing the size (eg. red robbie, green robbie).  Come to think of it, I've only heard a square head screwdriver referred to as a Robbie.  Tea towel appears in the graphic but I usually spell it T-towel.  As the authour of a food blog I can attest the confusion that the term causes.  Icing sugar causes the same confusion.  Three cheers to Canadianisms!  Now if we could just get Americans to understand the proper use of 'eh', eh?

Friday, December 6, 2013

National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

Today is National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.  On this day in 1989 fourteen young women were killed at Montreal's École Polytechnique.  They are gone but not forgotten.  There are many, many ways to take action on violence against women in particular five things we can all do to stop violence against women.  Please take a moment to remember women everywhere who have suffered violence on any level.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Remembrance Day 2013

Sunday, October 20, 2013

One Perspective on the Fracking Protest

There is merit to her position on the fracking protest in New Brunswick.  Global warming has been shown to be caused by man's activities so why not make our environment a bit worse with a little fracking.  She is right and anyone who can't see that fracking will cause more harm than good either hasn't done their research or has their head in the sand!

video courtesy of Kateri Sa'n

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Fracking Protest in New Brunswick

photo credit: Ossie Michelin

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Dresden Story

Racism is a quiet but dirty little Canadian secret.  It is swept under the table and is a bit more subtle than in other parts of the world but is still very much there waiting to rear its ugly head.  At one time, 'coloured' folk were not allowed to be in certain towns after dark.  They were not allowed in certain stores and were in fact refused service at many businesses across Canada.  Despite various laws prohibiting discrimination, persons of colour were not free to buy a home and settle down wherever they chose. Surprisingly and quite sadly, while the discrimination is for the most part not as open today, it is still there...

Dresden, Ontario is a small agricultural based town with a population under 2,500, about 12% African Canadian, located in southwestern Ontario.  It is home to the Uncle Tom's Cabin Historical Site honouring Josiah Henson and black history in the area.  Henson was a former slave from Maryland who escaped to Canada via the Underground Railway, settling just outside of Dresden an safe destination for the Underground Railway.  His writings were the inspiration for Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe, "This short film goes to Dresden, Ontario in 1954, to sample local attitudes towards racial discrimination against black people that brought this town into the news. After a round-up of the opinions of individual citizens, white and black, commentator Gordon Burwash joins two discussion panels, presenting opposite points of view. The rights and wrongs of the quarrel are left for the audience to decide."  At the time this film was made, the Ontario Fair Accommodations Practices Act enacted on April 6, 1954 which "no one can deny to any person or class of persons the accommodation, services or facilities usually available to members of the public."  As Burswash points out this Act made it a statutory offense to discriminate in a public place on the grounds of race, creed, colour, ancestry or place of origin.  Like its predecessor the Racial Discrimination Act of 1944, the Ontario Fair Accommodations Practices Act also made it a statutory offense to publish or display discriminatory signage.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Little Current Swing Bridge, Little Current, Ontario

Little Current Swing Bridge in Little Current, Ontario
Little Current Swing Bridge
Little Current, Ontario
August 6, 2013

My husband and I left our cozy domicile in southwestern Ontario on August 5, 2013 for a six day adventure that would take us up the thumb of Michigan, crossing back over into Canada at Sault Ste. Marie then down to South Baymouth to catch the MS Chi-Cheechmaun ferry that would take us to Tobermory, Ontario.  From there, we would make our way to Cypress Lakes campgrounds in the Bruce Peninsula National Park where we would camp for four days before making our way back home.  This is an absolutely amazing trip to make full of beautiful scenery.

The route was a fairly simple one.  We made our way to I-75 N after crossing into Michigan.  From there we made our way to Sault Ste. Marie onto the Trans Canada then turning down Highway 6 at Espanola to South Baymouth on the southern border of Manitoulin Island.  Manitoulin Island is the world's largest fresh water island.  The Little Current Swing Bridge at Little Current, Ontario is rather impressive!  It is a one lane bridge over the North Channel connecting Manitoulin Island to Goat Island.  The Algoma Eastern Railway began operating trains across the bridge to the community of Little Current in October 1913.  This railway was leased by Canadian Pacific Railway in March 1930 and control of the bridge passed at this time to the CPR.  The bridge was modified to permit road vehicle traffic in addition to rail traffic in 1946.  In the 1980's rail service to Little Current and Manitoulin Island was abandoned by CPR and the tracks were removed in the 1990's.  When under control of CPR the bridge remained in the open position, closed only when a train was going through. The bridge is now under control of the Ontario Ministry of Transportation.  It currently stays in the closed position so that road vehicles can use it.  It opens the first fifteen minutes of each daylight hour during the spring, summer and fall to permit marine traffic to pass.  From mid-October to early May when the ferry MS Chi-Cheemaun is not in operation to carry passengers from the Bruce Peninsula, the bridge is the only road link to Manitoulin Island from the mainland.  The Little Current Swing Bridge has been designated an Ontario Heritage site.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Happy Birthday to the Newest Heir of England!

Congratulations to Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine Elizabeth Kate, nee  Middleton, Dutchess of Cambridge on the birth of their first child, a son!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Canada & United States Border - No Touching Zone

Here's an interesting video on the no touching zone between Canada and the United States:

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

I'm Canadian and I Know It Parody

I hope you enjoy this parody video made the Summer of 2012 sporting red onesies made by the company "Strong and Free".

Monday, July 1, 2013

Happy Canada Day! 2013

Happy Canada Day

146 Years Young
Strong, Proud and Free
Oh Canada!

Today, Canadians across our great nation celebrate what it means to be Canadian.  This is a time to gather with friends and family to enjoy time spent this holiday weekend around the pool, at the cottage or visiting one of our gorgeous beaches.  Canada is one of the best, no it is the best country in the entire world!  We enjoy a multitude of freedoms, an abundance of Canadian grown and produced foods, and some of the most amazing talent there is.  Some of the finest actors, actresses, comedians, chefs and hockey players are home grown Canadian!  We have top notch scientists and doctors who have significantly contributed to the world's knowledge base through their discoveries, many of which have improved the quality of life not only for Canadians but for those throughout the world for several generations.  We are a peace keeping nation, quick to help those in need both at home and abroad.  Yet, we remain polite, unassuming and for the most part a happy nation.

So today, we will hang my flag proudly,  raise a glass of beer, chit chat about hockey and the latest toque I'm crocheting with homegrown Canadian wool.  We will enjoy a wonderful dinner with friends consisting of Ontario beef and produce cooked on the outdoor grill.  We will chat about our next planned vacation to the great Canadian semi-wilderness.  Today, we give thanks to being Canadian!

We are proud to be Canadian - our homeland - the strong, proud and free northland, the best country in the world - eh!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

National Missing Children's Day

The National Centre for Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains (NCMPUR) is a Canadian national centre within the RCMP’s Canadian Police Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (CPCMEC).  The centre provides law enforcement, medical examiners and chief coroners with specialized investigative services in support of missing persons and unidentified remains investigations.  Part of their services includes the National Missing Children Operations (formerly the National Missing Children Services) and National Missing Person and Unidentified Remains Operations. Canada's Missing is the national public website for NCMPUR that features on selected cases of missing children, missing persons, and unidentified remains at the request of a police agency.   The site informs the public of these cases as well as provides several methods for the public to report a missing person, report a missing person sighting or submit tips on specific missing persons and unidentified remains cases.  The ultimate goal is of course solving the case.  The cases are searchable on the site but all cases of missing children, missing persons or unidentified remains will appear on the website.  Those that appear have been added at the request of the primary investigator after considering a number of factors including privacy.

Today is National Missing Children's Day. While the focus is on missing children, this is a good site to browse through on a regular basis.  All it takes is one tip that may give investigators the needed clue to finally solve the case.  It is really sad, looking through all the pictures of the missing persons, children and unidentified remains.  They are someone's son, daughter, wife, girlfriend, husband, boyfriend, mother, father -  they are someone who is missed!  Please take a moment to see if you can offer any help...

Friday, May 24, 2013

Thoughts on Canada Post's Campaign Against 'No Flyers' Mailbox Signs

Canada Post has launched a campaign against the 'no flyers' mailbox signs many Canadians have resorted to using.  The campaign consists of more than 900,000 letters being sent to inform customers what they are missing by not accepting flyers.  According to Canada Post, the unaddressed mail consists of municipal notices, flyers, catalogues, product samples and etc.  This unaddressed mail has been paid to be distributed by those wanting it distributed AND some of it is important!  Unaddressed mail aka junk mail is aptly named.  It isn't mail that has been solicited or even from anyone you know, it is the archaic form of spam that we now all deal with.  How Canada Post can claim some of it is important is beyond me.  If the municipality wants to get a message out to residents there are numerous ways of doing so without sending out unaddressed mail.  If anyone wants to get out an 'important' message to anyone they don't do so via unaddressed mail. 

From this Canadian's perspective: 

Canadian residents know exactly what they are doing when they put up a sign stating 'no flyers'.  Flyers and other unaddressed mail constitutes a considerable waste of paper and resources.  Refusing delivery of this type of unaddressed mail is an eco-friendly, waste reduction strategy that all Canadians should be taking.  Of course, Canada Post doesn't want this because it means a loss of revenue.  If they are paid to distribute 100,000 pieces of unaddressed mail to a given area but only 50,000 can actually be delivered, well that isn't a very good return for the person paying Canada Post to distribute their 'information'.  If they don't get the distribution rate they expect from Canada Post, they will move on to other forms of spamming the consumer.  This loss of revenue is not something Canada Post can afford given they are already discussing decreasing door to door delivery service due to low mail volume.  Seriously, there is little need for mail service given the ease of electronic communication.  Even legal documents can be transmitted electronically.  The mail service is going the way of the pony express and Canada Post knows it.

We moved into an urban setting in 2011.  We live in a nice estate subdivision that does not have door to door mail delivery.  Rather it has super mailboxes.  Guess where the unwanted flyers end up?  They are tossed on the ground at the super mailbox, left to be blown around the neighbourhood.  You would think that would reduce flyers to the door but it doesn't.   We get the local paper chuck full of flyers, a flyer chuck full of flyers, and a couple of catalogues along with other junk mail from the previous owner.  I kid you not, I weighed the paper full of flyers that came in at almost three and a half pounds, totally unacceptable in a time where waste reduction is a must.  It is environmentally irresponsible of anyone to be distributing paper flyers and other unaddressed mail.  They should be made to pay into the local recycling program to help fund getting rid of the junk they distribute AND they should pay a clean-up fee to the town for the paper pollution they are causing AND they should be made to pay into reforestation programs to compensate for the paper they are wasting.

How does Canada Post deal with the fact their distribution is decreasing because environmentally conscious folks are refusing to accept unaddressed mail?  It sends out 900,000 pieces of 'dear occupant' letters aka unaddressed mail some of it reaching folks who didn't have 'no flyer' mailbox signs to begin with.  Talk about a major FAIL!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The CRTC and Telemarketers

The CRTC has a fairly benign policy when it comes to telemarketers.  If it is a charity or newspaper or someone you have dealt with in the past even if that past was 20 years ago, they are allowed to contact you via phone.  Now, what the CRTC doesn't get is we pay the high priced phone rates to be told we have no choice about who calls us and when.  Say what!  Let's see, it's our money that pays for the service so we just have to accept telemarketers?  Oh, the CRTC says you can add your number to the National Do Not Call List which is a joke because as soon as you do the telemarketing calls will increase.  AND, the CRTC seldom ever fines any telemarketer to begin with.  Heck they will let any telemarketer call any time on the service we pay for while we pay their salaries through taxes.  Kudos to the CRTC for winning Canada's Hall of Shame Award!

One thing to be aware of if you get service from Bell Canada, you are automatically included in their Canada 411 directory.  There is a fee to have your phone number unlisted in the physical directory but no fee to have your phone number removed from the Canada 411 directory.  I'm sure telemarketing bots frequent Canada 411 so it is in your best interest to remove your phone number from that directory.  It does help cut down on telemarketing calls.  If you are getting telemarketing calls, there are several ways of dealing with it from not answering to hanging up to call blocking.

My cell phone is pay as you go because I seldom travel without my husband any more so it is used mainly for emergency purposes.  All of a sudden, I started getting telemarketing calls on my cell phone which really irked me.  See, I've had that number for over a year but since even cell phone numbers are recycled, I was getting calls from a debt collector looking for the previous owner of that number.  But, even that is a bit bogus as the same agency keeps calling just asking for different names.  Neither debt collectors or telemarketers will remove a cell phone number when requested and guaranteed they will continue calling including several times in the same day.  The real problem especially with cell phones is these types of call cost you money directly.  I pay for X amount of minutes of which each call in or out is deducted from my minutes.  Seriously, to try and get my cell number released from a debt collector for someone I don't even know cost me $2.31 and the idiots keep calling.

This is a real concern as more folks move away from land lines to cell phone use only.  According to the CRTC, cell phone numbers will not be released to telemarketers.  Wireless providers would require the consent of the subscriber prior to including them in a directory BUT the terms of service often change so you might get a notification without realizing your cell phone number was sold to a telemarketer.  A cell phone number can be registered on the National Do Not Call List although I really advise against it as that is a sure fire way to get calls from telemarketers. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Well, CAA Really Scored on the New International Driver's Permit

For those not following this saga, Florida (you know who has a large number of Canadian tourists) has demanded Canadians driving in Florida have the International Driving Permit (IDP).  The only place that can issue the IDP is CAA at a cost of $25.  So, that has lost all credibility for me for CAA and we were loyal customers who will not be renewing.  You see, CAA would not be doing this if they weren't making money.  Funny how AAA in the US charges $10 for the IDP but CAA charges $25.  That's some exchange rate, don't you think?  BUT it gets better, as the news spreads, CAA offices are running out of the permits.  Hey, perfect planning, don't you think.  Just in time for March break ruining Canadian vacations to the sunny south.....

Monday, February 18, 2013

Don't Bite the Hand that Feeds You

I've been reading up on this International Driver's Permit (IDP) that requires any non-resident of Florida to have this document.  I spent about 20 minutes long distance talking to them.  Like that isn't going to cost me big time!  Anyway, a very large portion of the Florida economy depends on Canadian tourists who either own their homes in Florida or rend for upwards of 6 months less a day.  We own our home in Florida in a very nice retirement resort but only spend about 3 months of the year spread over 3 visits.  While we are there we shop locally, support local businesses and are taxpayers.  When we first bought there almost four years ago, we wanted to make Florida our second home.  The local economy was bad with several chain restaurants and even book stores closed.  We have supported the local restaurants there and believe me I will put out my feelers to local restaurants who will be seeing a decline in Canadian tourists because of this law.  I don't care but any cop in the US should be able to read an English language license.  That's just my opinion and if they can't they should hire teachers who can teach the English language.  Oh and for the record, I will never, ever deal with CAA again!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Do Not Drive in Florida with Canadian License Plate!

Florida State has issued a new International Driver's Permit (IDP) that must be carried to make you <sarcasm>English language issued Canadian driver's license valid</valid>.  That's because troopers in Florida learned American English and don't know how to read Canadian English.  I'm thinking them there, y'all teachers over in the US need to start teaching English.  Just saying.  Your rental car company will not rent to you and your insurance company will not cover you if you do not have an (IDP) which will cost you $25 plus time plus passport pictures plus being annoyed.

If you have a Canadian license plate, definitely avoid the St. Pete's area as those cops are rumoured to be beyond brutal even if you have an IDP.  Do not drive anywhere in Florida with a Canadian license plate!

This has to be one of the biggest bonehead moves the state of Florida has ever made to squash tourism.  I'm not kidding.  We are only two voices but we routinely rent our place out to Canadians when we aren't there.  I get it Florida, you don't like Canadians so we will be taking our money elsewhere.  Now, I am not going to go quietly but I do wish your state and the lack of Canadian dollars well.  Oh and I'm not the only one feeling this way.  Just read some of the comments from tourists changing their plans of traveling to Florida.  Have a good one <snort>

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Stupid is as Stupid Does

Ok, the last couple of posts have been about the new Florida State requirement for non-residents to have an International Driver's Permit.  Now this is nothing about the price but as a Canadian with Nexus and a Passport and a valid driver's license AND a Canadian owning property in Florida this is horse monkeys!  I'm predicting a royal Florida economy bust along with a lot of pissed off Canadians including ourselves (who will sell our FL vacation home) refusing to visit FL again.  Hey, it was good while it lasted but I won't spend another penny in FL - their loss not mine.  AND I will be very vocal about why we are planning to sell our vacation home in FL and why we will not be going back.  I will blot, Twitter and Facebook this nonsense in the hopes other Canadians do not fall prey to the shady ways of Florida State.  Florida is obviously doing a bit too well to want any Canadian dollars including ours!

I'm calling on all Canadian snowbirds to boycott Florida over this nonsense....  

Friday, February 15, 2013

New Florida License Requirement for All Non-Residents - A Few Thoughts

Florida has announced that all non-Floridians must have an International Driver's Permit as mentioned in yesterday's post.  This is yet one more hassle to have to jump through considering the majority of Canadian driver's licenses are written in English.  Hello!  Don't they teach English in American schools?  So I have a few suggestions and this is coming from someone who does own property in the US, supports the US economy and who visits the US frequently:

  • US drivers - Any driver with a valid Florida license needs to have a valid IDP or they will be deigned entry into Canada.  You will not be allowed to drive in Canada, rent a car in Canada or use any driver's license that is not written in English and that's the Queen's English not American slang English.  Any other US state that decides English is not good enough on a driver's license will be required to do the same.
  • Boycott Florida - Florida is a popular tourist destination which is one reason we bought there.  This bit of nonsense has me wanting to divert our investment dollars elsewhere.  Seriously!  Canadians bring a ton of money into the Florida economy annually.  We buy property, pay taxes, visit local attractions, support local businesses AND this is how they want to repay us EVEN though our driver's license is written in English which any police office in Florida should be able to read.  Well, it is time to take our investment dollars elsewhere.  Florida, you ain't all that especially when you pull this type of nonsense.  
  • Complain -  You can write congress although it won't do much good, write your MPP or MP or simply get vocal.  Warn others against traveling to Florida or any other US state imposting the IDP on Canadian citizens with driver's licenses written in English.  Blog about it, Twitter it and Facebook it.  Get the word out.  
  • Look Elsewhere -  We are in the US often enough because we have family and friends there. We will still visit them but honestly, to a much lesser degree than we normally would.  The three months of the year we spent in Florida will now be spent elsewhere meaning our money is not going to support the Floridian economy.  Arizona is looking rather spiffy at the moment!  Or maybe we will just liquidate and buy more property in Aruba.  Both are lovely warm climates with a bit more to offer than Florida.  Maybe if more Canadians refused to be sheeple Florida would wake up to realize what they are missing - oh could that be tourists?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

New Florida Driving License Ruling

Florida apparently does not appreciate it's Canadian tourists.  They have implemented a new and mandatory International Driver's Permit (IDP) for all non-residents of Florida.  The law quietly went into effect on January 1, 2013.  If you are caught driving without and IDP in Florida, you can be arrested and put in jail.  If you are involved in an accident, your insurance company can refuse to cover any damages because technically in Florida without an IDP, you are not an officially licensed driver.  The IDP is a standardized document that translates a driver's license from 10 languages into English.  Hello, the vast majority of Canadians have driver's licenses written in English!  The IDP is only available through CAA (yep, nice little pay cheque for them) and it is only $25.  It requires a valid Canadian driver's license and two passport sized pictures. But it is another piece of political nonsense we just don't need.

We own property in Florida and many of our friends vacation in Florida so this of course concerns us.  We do have Florida resident IDs so from the ruling I think we are exempt.  We also have Nexus (better than passports involving special screening process) and Passports so why the heck do we need another piece of ID to prove our driver's license is indeed written in English?  Are they smoking something funny down in the sunny south?  Talk about a moronic move!  For hundred of Canadians leaving for a nice, warm vacation in the sun for March break, this is going to come as a very rude awakening.

This might just be time to put our Florida house on the market and give them the old heave ho.  I'm not kidding!  There are so many other tourist destinations that know how to treat their tourists right.    If Florida is going to start treating snowbirds in this fashion than we can easily take our money elsewhere!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Why is Business Boycotting Winnipeg?

Apparently, big businesses do not want to move into Winnipeg.  Well, that whole delimna is what many small Canadian communities have been facing for a number of years but Winnipeg is a big centre.  The fact is big business does not want to bring their operations into Canada because Canadians want fair compensation for the work they do.  They can get their labour force at a fraction of the cost in underdeveloped countries.  Canadians don't want to and can't work for buttons.  I'm sorry, but some of these companies really are looking for glorified slave labour some even using unethical employment practices but Canadians are not willing to settle for that.   Here's a clue.  We aren't China.  We don't need to work under those conditions and guess what, perhaps some of these businesses should re-evaluate their employment ethics.  Just saying....

However, the issue isn't only about getting a cheaper labour force.  In terms of economics, it is more expensive to do business in Canada.  They face higher taxation but there are tax breaks as incentives to set up shop in Canada.  In Winnipeg, the business tax is currently either frozen or eliminated for 40% of business so that in itself should attract businesses into the city but it isn't.  Many businesses also get the small-business tax credit which costs Winnipeg $3.9 million dollars annually in lost revenue.  Then there are the tax refunds many businesses are entitled to which costs the city further in lost revenues.  Clearly the tax break incentives are not enough to attract big businesses into Winnipeg.

So, what will attract big business into Winnipeg or any other Canadian centre?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Bill 115 in Ontario

Ontario has had a huge teacher problem with respect to striking, the right to strike, and basically just being rather nasty.  So, the teachers not happy with their contract decided to strike in January. That was nixed in the bud by the Ontario government declaring the strike illegal ordering them back to work.  Teachers should be allowed to negotiate their own contracts.  The Ontario government is taking away this fundamental right.  Perhaps it is time for the Ontario government to realize that we aren't patsies!  Just saying....

Monday, January 21, 2013

Ottawa Faces a Third Class Action Suite

Ottawa is is a bit of hot water, well not Ottawa itself but Human Resources.  It would appear according to the Globe and Mail that a certain hard drive with oh, I don't know about the information from about 590,000 individuals receiving Canada Student Loans between the period of 2000 and 2006 has gone missing.  Well, isn't that just dandy?  I am so glad we are paying all  these morons to protect our privacy.  Seriously, can we just bend over and take it up the wazzu?  All these individuals are now at risk of identity theft thanks to our government!  If you are concerned, you can call 1-866-885-1866 to see if you are affected.