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, 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!