When I first came to Canada, I had been warned: there are much less holidays on this side of the Atlantic Ocean, and no public strike will change labor laws. Looking back, I can say the system is different but not in a bad way.
Monthly Archives: December, 2009
After the great freeze, we woke up to the great melt. The weather was a bit warmer and all the ice accumulated had started to melt.
Trees were literally shedding ice. Every blast of wind shook the tree limbs, coated in ice — it sounded like a wind chime. We were lucky: no power line snapped in our neighborhood.
We got a bad winter surprise today when we woke up to heavy freezing rain this morning. Yuck.
Freezing rain is pretty unique to very cold countries. When surface temperatures are below freezing, raindrops freeze upon impact with any object they encounter. The resulting ice accumulates to a thickness of several centimeters and it coats just about anything.
The Château Laurier was constructed between 1909 and 1912 and named after Sir Wilfrid Laurier, then the Prime Minister of Canada. Over the years, it met with history. For instance, the hotel was to be opened on April 26, 1912, but chairman Charles Melville Hays, who had commissioned the hotel and was returning to Canada fo its opening, perished aboard the Titanic when it sank on April 15.
Granted, I’m no the most stylish woman on earth — I know, shocking for a French, but should I remind you I don’t drink wine either?
Clothes shopping in Canada isn’t that different from shopping in Europe at first glance. Yet, there are some tricks and local trends. So I wrote a little “guide to clothes shopping in Canada”.
Let’s not do like Stephen Harper and Governor General Michaelle Jean visiting Nunavut: raw seal heart is not for everyone. But I know there are some Canadian specialties you are dying to try!
How much can you complain about your host country after you immigrate?
Some wish they hadn’t immigrated to Canada and criticize everything and others praise everything but now hate their home country. The truth must be somewhere in between.
After shooting the torch relay, I decided to stay downtown and to have a look at the night festivities on Parliament Hill. By the time I got there, I learned from two ladies (pictured below) that they would only start after sunset… I wasn’t going to sit on the cold waiting, like them, for a few hours. I headed to Chapters and grabbed a hot coffee.
Today, the Olympic Torch of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics arrived in Ottawa and it traveled all over the city. I walked to Bank Street and waited patiently with the next torch bearer for the current bearer to arrive.
It was cold but nice yesterday night and for a second, I humored myself with the thought that Weather Canada could be wrong. Of course, it wasn’t. It never is. Weather is what Canadians predict best.
The wind was extremely strong this morning and I could barely keep my head up while waiting for the bus. Mind you, I had time to practice — it was 30 minutes late.
I have always been fascinated by North American high schools and universities. They seemed to have so many rituals, so many traditions that I felt we were really missing out in France. Take graduation, for instance. One of the rite of passage in France is the “baccalauréat”, the national high school graduation exam. But it quite different from the North America graduation exam.
Canada, the best country on earth? Well, I’d hate to brag… but the truth is, there is plenty to experience here and it’s a great country to live in. The stereotype of a frozen land North of the USA doesn’t do Canada justice.
No matter whether you are a newcomer or a lifelong Canadian citizen, here are ten things to experience in Canada.
Some of my core values were challenged at one point or another after I moved to Canada. I had to reconsider what I had been taught as a French. What I had blindly believed in for all the years I spent in France. What had been passed on to me by my parents and by the education system.
Even the slightest things.