Saturday, February 2, 2008

More Notes on Canada, #11-20

(this should really be retitled "More Notes on Victoria," since we haven't seen all that much of the rest of the country, but you get my drift)

11. Canada, obviously, takes some interest in the US election process, but thankfully it doesn't get wall-to-wall coverage. By the way, reason #113 to love Canada is that celebrity "news" is way dialed-down from the US. Of course the various primary results make the news, both here in Canada and on the BBC broadcast, but inasmuch as Canadians can't vote, it just isn't as immersive an issue. This can be very nice -- we were pleasantly surprised recently when the US networks were breathlessly counting every vote in South Carolina, most Canadians were watching ... wait for it ... a hockey game. Had to wait till later to find out who won.

12. The Vancouver hockey team sucks so bad that Tampa Bay beat them last night. Oh the indignity!

13. The notorious "no income verification" type loans that are the kindling under the real-estate market fire are still widely available here. Ruh-roh ...

14. The "money stores" and cheque-cashing places all belong to an industry federation regulated by the government, and adhere to a set of principles that forbid many of the "rip-off" practices that distinguish US money stores. Yet they are still popular and profitable. Hmmm.

15. Radio stations here do not appear to have any "safe harbour" periods and can swear at any time, or so it would seem. I've been quite surprised to hear the f-bomb and s-bomb used regularly on radio shows, even on Sundays and mornings.

16. Canadians drink a lot of coffee, but don't appear to be as exotic as their American cousins. The most popular version by far is the "double double," meaning double milk/cream, double sugar. Starbucks does all right here, but the #1 coffeeshop is actually a doughnut shop -- a chain (nay, empire) called Tim Horton's (which sadly is no longer owned by Tim but in fact by Wendy's). UPDATE: I am reliably informed by a commentor that Wendy's spun off Tim Horton's and someone or thing else owns it now.

17. When I am sitting in a real English tea room drinking real English tea while having a real "tea" -- that's "tea" the light meal, not the drink -- I am just about as happy as one can be in a public setting. :)

18. You do not want to be driving around when a hockey game at the local sports arena lets out. Imagine living right next door to a large stadium if you want to get a comparison. It seems like half the population of the island comes in to watch the Salmon Kings play.

19. Living in a rainforest (yes, Vancouver Island is a rainforest! Who knew?) really makes you appreciate the sunny days more. Late November through the end of the year was pretty gray most of the time, but now we are slowly starting to get more frequent sun and longer daylight hours as well. Spring and summer should be just glorious here and I can't wait.

20. The most mysterious thing we've discovered since arriving here ... no Crunchberries. You heard me -- they sell Captain Crunch cereal here, but not Captain Crunch with Crunchberries. At all. I don't even like Captain Crunch with Crunchberries, but this has me highly intrigued. What is it about Crunchberries that prevents them from being sold here? Red Dye #2? Animal testing? Or is it because there is no direct French equivalent word for "Crunchberries"?

You know, I'll bet that's it.


Chris said...

Re: #16, Wendy's actually spun Timmy's off last year or the year before. Not its smartest move, as Tim Horton's was what made it profitable, but, apparently some short-term equity investor insisted.

That's not to say that most of the current shareholders are Canadian, but I'd buy some, if I was to buy shares!

Now, you'll have to excuse me. The first intermission is over and the Habs-Islanders game is starting the second period!

TrashTalk2 said...

I demand you look for, buy and try Kraft Peanut Butter. Bizarrely, it's not sold in the US. I have Canadian friends smuggle it down for me. Everyone agrees it's better than US peanut butter.

chas_m said...

TrashTalk -

Will do! I'm something of a peanut-butter connoisseur, so I'll give it a try!

Anonymous said...

Try ruffles all dressed chips