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Canadian, eh?

Hi Everyone!

I’ve been watching the traffic on like a hawk for the last month and have noticed that there is a ton of international traffic here. So, I thought I would do something a little fun and informative about being Canadian.
My thought here is to introduce people to what life is all about for us Canucks.

For starters, we don’t all live in igloos and it is not winter all the time. As I write this, it’s beautiful and green and sunny outside and I’m in shorts and a tank top. It’s 24C (for my American friends that’s 72.5F), but feels like 29C because of the humidity.

My home is in Ontario (one of 10 provinces and 3 territories that make up Canada), about an hour’s drive from Toronto.
I live in a 3 bedroom bungalow that also has a fully finished apartment in the basement and have what is considered a big yard for an urban dweller.
In the summer I like to grow vegetables. I’ve grown tomatoes, onions, carrots, sweet and hot red peppers, green peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, green leaf lettuce, peas and several herbs. I also have a couple of raspberry, black current and haskap plants. Sounds impressive, but they actually don’t take up much space.
Sitting in my yard you can see all types of wildlife. The most common are cottontail rabbits, raccoons, squirrels and chipmunks, although at least once I have seen a
moleand a wolf. There are many birds flying around all the time. Commonly, I see; bluejays, cardinals, sparrows, crows, mallard ducks, Canada Geese, robins and Woodpeckers. If I’m really lucky I might see a red-tailed hawk or hummingbird.
Ladybugs and Monarch butterflies are also favourites of mine.
Walking around my neighborhood I’ve also seen red foxes, skunks (had dogs get sprayed by them before YUCK!) and blue herons.

As a kid my parents used to drag us all over southern Ontario to camp in different places. There are incredible beaches like Sandbanks and Wasaga, amazing sites such as Niagara Falls, weird monuments like the big nickel in Sudbury, I live in walking distance to the beautiful country of the Niagara escarpment, I’ve eaten dinner in the CN Tower while looking down on the city, I’ve fished and swam in the lakes up in cottage country.

I am 3rd generation Canadian on my mother’s side and 1st generation on my father’s. I was born in Canada and have lived here all my life. Many of my friends, neighbors, former coworkers / schoolmates and associates are either 1st generation Canadian or new immigrants. In Canada when people ask where you’re from, they are usually referring to your native country and saying Canada gets you funny looks. We are very blessed with the opportunity to learn about many other cultures.

There are many uniquely Canadian things that I enjoy. Some of them are ketchup chips, dill pickle chips, Hickory Sticks, Smarties chocolate, Nanaimo bars(Mom’s are awesome), butter tarts(miss you Nana), poutine, maple syrup (school children go on trips to learn how it’s made and I have a huge maple tree in my backyard), Crispy Crunch & Skor & Coffee Crisp chocolate bars, Ceasars(alcoholic drink), Swiss Chalet restaurant and Harveys restaurant, I get my groceries at Food Basics or Real Canadian Superstore, most Canadians have wasted hours in a Dollarama at one time or another, my friend manages a Pennington’s store, and I love Rich Skin products (sorry no international shipping yet).
I’m one of the few people in Canada who can say I’m not really a fan of Tim Hortons, but I should mention it because Canadians love their Timmies. Also, I no longer eat most meat, but my family loves peameal bacon.
Since I’ve been praising local stuff here… my older brother owns worldclass a restaurant in Sudbury called The Hour Glass. He may never see this post, but if you go there because of it be sure to tell him his kid sister and Shiver Cove sent you!

Canada is the second largest country in the world. I’ve only explored 4 other provinces (Quebec, New Brunswick, PEI and BC). To get to Quebec (our closest neighboring province) is about a 6 hour drive. Winnipeg, Manitoba on the other side takes about 22 hours to drive to.
I’ve been fortunate enough to view our glorious mountains from Vancouver, BC and take a lovely drive from Chiliwack up to Hope.
Standing in the Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick, I marveled at the incredible and unique coastline there.
As a kid, I turned down a lobster dinner in one of the great halls in PEI after my family toured the Anne of Green Gables house.
I remember one of the best trips of my life was at 18 (19 was legal drinking age in Ontario) me and 3 other 18 year olds took off to Montreal (drinking age there was 18). We had an adventure or two on St Catherine Street!
It looks like I may be driving (about 52 hours) up to Yellowknife, in the Northwest Territories this summer!

Some interesting things you may not know about Canada:
• Our national languages are English and French (I took French in school, got A’s and can still barely get by speaking it.) My favourite version of our national anthem is sung half in English and half in French
• 50% of the world’s polar bears live here
• 95% of the lentils eaten by the world are grown in Saskatchewan
• There are an estimated 2 million lakes in Canada
• Insulin, the telephone, the lightbulb, zippers and the Snowblower (shocker) are Canadian inventions
• We harvest icebergs in Newfoundland and Labrador
• You can write, in any language, a letter to Santa at the North Pole, H0H 0H0 and get a letter back
• Canada has it’s own mysterious Ogopogo lake monsterin Lake Okanagan, BC
• Michael Buble, James Cameron, William Shatner, The Barenaked Ladies, author Kelley Armstrong are all Canadian
In Flander’s Fieldsfamous poem was written by Canadian World War I veteran Col. John McCraea
• There are 35,871,283 people in Canada and 15,000,000 cattle
• To drive across Canada, without going into the US as a short-cut, would take about 100 – 120 hours.

From sea to sea I love this place and all it offers.

With Love and Gratitude until next time,
TJ Shortt