Gabriel has an amazing sense of humor. He blogs about his life as a Canadian-Argentinian in the popular blog, Live from Waterloo, written in both Spanish and English. He is a must read for any prospective immigrant: he experienced a lot, the good, the bad and the ugly.
Monthly Archives: January, 2010
After a few days in Toronto, we had decided to drive to Niagara Falls on January 1st. I was curious to see the falls in the winter. Because the weather had been relatively mild in Toronto, we had forgotten how cold it really was in the rest of Canada. An hour away from Toronto, it started to snow. In Niagara Falls, it was cold and windy and there were huge chunks if ice here and there in the water.
Let me put it this way: Canadians are usually pretty quiet and it takes a lot to have them go down in the streets. But Stephen Harper made it, he managed to anger Canadians enough and have them demonstrate in the middle of the winter. Way to go, Stevie!
Guillermo Ziegler came with his family to Canada in 2005, looking for a better life as he saw Argentina, his home country, plunging into an economic and social crisis. He currently lives in Ottawa with his family and they will all become Canadian citizens very soon.
I will always remember the first time I came to Toronto.
It was in 2002, after our crazy long trip from Mexico to Brazil. I had never been to North America before and I wanted to see Canada, so I flew back to Toronto with Feng. It was February and I didn’t have any warm clothes after a few months in Latin America. The only jacket I had was a thin leather jacket I had bought in Argentina during the Peso crisis. Feng had warned me: it was going to be cold.
In Ottawa, we have the Rideau Canal. In Toronto, local polish their skating skills on Nathan Phillips Square, where the New Year celebrations took place.
Torontonians seemed to have a blast with friends and family as they were skating around the man-made ice rink that covers the square. I wanted to try it, but the queue at the skate rental was huge!
To end this Canadian List of Ten series, I’d like to tackle ten myths people may have about Canada. And yes, I have personally heard each one of them, believe it or not!
I feel super good today. I finally overcame one of my biggest fears: driving. I passed my driver’s license!
I can’t pinpoint the exact moment when I became terrified of driving. My instructor was a fairly old guy, who loved cars and hated people who didn’t fall in love with the Freudian stick shift: “can you feel how smooth it is?” No, I couldn’t. I didn’t care either. To me, driving was getting from point A to point B safely.
Dundas Square, located at the intersection of busy Yonge Street and Dundas street, is famous for hosting public events. This is one of the busiest intersection in Toronto. The square is surrounded on all sides by gigantic commercial billboards, which is fairly unique (and controversial) in Canada.
Canadian politics takes some time to get used, especially for Europeans. The three levels of government are new to us (there are no provinces nor states in Europe) and national politics is somewhat eclipsed by local news, more relevant to communities in this huge country.
Past Chinatown, we ended up in another cute multicultural neighborhood: Kensington Market. The eclectic shops and cafés are stuck between Spadina and Little Italy. We spotted Latino, European, Middle-Eastern and North African small businesses and vintage stores in old Victorian houses.
Toronto’s Chinatown didn’t disappoint me. It was colorful, messy and it smelled of exotic and spicy food. I observed the people attending their daily business: biking around, shopping, cooking and chatting.
In Toronto, most of the party takes place downtown, in Nathan Phillips Square, at the corner of Queen and Bay. There is a small skate rink (small by Ottawa standards – remember, we have the 7.8 kilometers long Rideau Canal!) and skating seemed to be the number one activity.