I’ve been living as an expat / nomad combo for the last 7 years, trust me I’ve heard it all. ‘Oh you’re from Canada eh!’ ‘It’s aBOOT time you got here.’ ‘Rocking the Canadian Tuxedo huh.’ ‘Does everyone in Canada eat donuts for breakfast?’ ‘Is it true your Police Officers wear red uniforms and ride horses?’ ‘Are you really afraid of the dark?’ (Thanks South Park). ‘You remind me of Robin from How I met Your Mother.’ ‘Is Ice Hockey your favourite sport?’ ‘Have you ever seen a Grizzly Bear in real life?’ ‘Is your $1 coin seriously called a Loonie?’
Canada undoubtedly has its quirks, our coffee is watered down, our fashion sense is questionable and we have an obsession with the word ‘literally.’ Yet, Canada continues to be a country that I’m proud to say I’m from. Not just because it’s stunningly beautiful, people are friendly and our Prime Minister is a dreamboat, but because we have a variety of things that add to the richness of life. An impressive list of qualities if you will, that not just a biased Canadian could name.
- Four Seasons
Sometimes I feel like I was an island child in another life, as I have an obsession with tropical climates, but there is something so special about having 4 seasons to appreciate every year. Like a warm summer breeze, the changing of fall leaves, the sparkle of a fresh snowfall in winter, and the blossoms in spring that bring new life. Really, it’s kind of magical.
- Cottage Culture
Cottage Life is a dream life. Many people either have their own cottage, or rent one in the summer. At the cottage, you’re mostly eating, drinking, chilling, swimming and sitting around a campfire at night. The most challenging dilemma at the cottage is whether you want white wine or red wine for the sunset session – tough one.
- Freshwater Lakes
I consider myself an Ocean baby, I love every single thing about it. However, jumping into a crystal clear fresh water lake is one of the most refreshing experiences one could muster up. Clean, cold and salt free. Delightful to say the least!
There’s one kiss, two kisses, no kisses – we don’t do any of these. Instead, we go in for a big bear hug when we see the people we love. Perhaps not ideal for those who don’t like being touched, but saying hello this way, instantaneously adds warmth to the room and positivity to the vibe.
We may not be in the same ballpark as our neighbours when it comes to celebrities. But, given their advantage of Hollywood and being 9 times the size of our population, I think Canada comes in pretty strong. Some notable Canadian musicians include Neil Young, Celine Dion, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Byran Adams, Tragically Hip, Shania Twain, Drake, Justin Bieber, Michal Buble and Feist. On screen, we have dreamy men like Ryan Gosling, hilarious men like Jim Carrey, the glamorous Rachel McAdams and the activist Ellen Page. In sport we have Wayne Gretzky (The Great One) and Gordie Howe who are arguable the best ice hockey players of all time. There’s also Steve Nash, Donovan Bailey and Bianca Andreescu (who beat Serena Williams in the US open). Pretty impressive!
- Natural Landscapes
One of the best things about Canada by far is its natural beauty. It doesn’t matter if you’re in mountains on the West Coast, or by the Lake in the East. There’s open space, lush greenery, wildlife, clean air, stunning sunsets and stars for days.
- Outdoor Activities
With having so much space and the luxury of four seasons, outdoor activities are varying and abundant. Our winter months provide a playground for skiing, snowboarding, ice-skating and snowshoeing. Our summer months give way for mountain biking, canoeing, camping, cliff jumping, swimming, boating, fishing and paddle boarding. There’s no shortage of ways to stay fit, while having fun in process.
Canada is one of the most diverse countries in the world, welcoming many people from different cultural backgrounds, to seamlessly immigrate over and start a new life. From Toronto to Montreal, Calgary to Vancouver, it is evident that these diverse cities bring an interesting mix of people with different cultural norms, values, beliefs and foods. This is an admirable policy of our government and perhaps one way of unifying humanity.
- Open Door Policy
Have you heard of the term ‘drop by’? Sometimes I feel like we Canadians invented it, at least where I’m from. It’s the concept of dropping into your friend’s house with little to no warning for a visit. This could be considered rude to some people, but for us, it’s perfectly normal and highly encouraged. There will always be a fridge full of beer and some finger foods on hand for when / if the time comes (sadly COVID-19 has temporarily affected this customary ritual).
- Customer Service
Whether it’s in a retail store, restaurant, service provider shop, bank – you name it. The customer experience in Canada is on point. Some might say it’s because of the tipping / commission culture, but that’s only part of it. Mostly, people are genuinely happy to help you and will do their best to help solve your problem and assist in finding you exactly what you need. Of course, you get the odd grumpy person, but it’s usually an enjoyable interaction and I really appreciate that.
- Fresh Produce
With the exception of winter, our country is a gardener’s paradise. Farming and Agriculture is one of our biggest industries giving us an abundance of meat, poultry, dairy, grains, fruits and vegetables. Plus, our Freshwater Lakes offer wild fish like salmon, trout and halibut. As a result, fresh and clean food is readily available. Bonus!
- Standard of Living
Canada is one of the world’s safest and most comfortable places to live. Our health care system is good, economy is strong, government stable, public education is free (until post secondary school) and employers offer fair parental leave. Not bad, not bad at all.
Overall, coming back to Canada for the summer has reminded me of the many perks of living here. My sister told me not to tell too many people, but hey, the secrets out! 😉
Simply put, Canada is good for the soul and has nourished me in all the ways I needed. In the words of Bob Marley, ‘Don’t gain the world and lose your soul, wisdom is better than silver or gold.’
Thanks for reading!