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.
Yearly Archives: 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.
My oral exam lasted exactly three minutes. It may have something to do with the fact I wrote in big bold letter “I am French !” in answer to the question “where did you learn French?” in the preliminary questionnaire. The examiner was a nice guy and admitted there was no point in testing me any further. Phew, thanks.
Believe it or not, the stereotypical Canadian is not a lumberjack, doesn’t live in an igloo somewhere up North, and doesn’t always watch hockey.
Okay, the last part may be true. Hockey Night in Canada is probably the most popular TV program here.
One of the good sides of Fall and Winter is the amazing skies, cloud patterns and sunsets we are having. I’m not sure why the sky is so interesting at this time of the year, but I noticed it is definitely different compared to the summer.
At university, I feel like an alien among students.
when the class started in September, and when it was still hot, I felt like a nerd in the middle of a bunch of wanna-be strippers. Since when did mini-shorts and backless shirts become the students’ uniform? Gosh, I was once kicked out of class — admittedly in high school – because I wore jeans with holes in the knees!
For those in Paris or around: my dad is having an exhibition of his paintings in the suburb of Paris. From November 12th to December 6th, he is actually painting in the art gallery in front of the visitors. The exhibition will then last till December 20th, 2009. Go check it out and say hi from me, the ungrateful daughter who can’t fly home to admire his art!
Exactly four years ago, I got up very early. Feng and I got in the car still half asleep. It was a big day for me: I was crossing the border to the U.S.A only to come back to Canada a few minutes later, to validate my permanent resident visa and to become a landed immigrant.
On Saturday, Gail headed to Ottawa and we meet downtown, two addicts with cameras in need of something to shoot. Between rain showers, we covered the Chateau Laurier, Notre-Dame Church and many places in between downtown. With the greyish weather, it was almost like shooting in black and white but I’m quite happy with the results.
Have you ever heard of curling? Did you know that cricket was popular here? Can you name Canada’s official summer sport?
Looks like you need this 10 Canadian sports list!
I was downtown, shopping around, when suddenly I realized the sun was about to set (at 4:30 pm, stupid Winter time!). I rushed to Parliament Hill to catch a glimpse of it and I spend over an hour there, watching the amazing colors as the sun set on the city. It was just magic.
We headed to Rideau Hall, the official residence of the Governor General of Canada, as well as that in Ottawa of the Canadian monarch. The estate, located at 1 Sussex Drive, is huge. Like many officials places in Canada, such as the Parliament, it is open to general public for free.