The question may sound strange but lately, reading immigration news, I started to wonder whether immigrating to Canada through the Quebec process was still worth it.
Monthly Archives: May, 2012
It took me a while to start behaving as a consumer in Canada. At first, I marveled at how accommodating businesses were: customers could exchange merchandise, ask for refunds, demand to speak to a manger, complain about a service etc. I wouldn’t have dare to do so in France, first because there was little chance the business would actually care, second because it’s cultural—French consumers suck it up.
Ottawa is addicted to Phở, the Vietnamese soup. A few years ago, one phở restaurant opened, then another one, and another one… and now phở places can be found from Chinatown to the far suburbs of Kanata. Really, what’s not to like? Phở restaurants are typically cheap if not very fancy, and I guess the soup is quite comforting during our long winters.
Recently, a new sign was put up by the entrance of the Ottawa Public Library: “Do not feed the wildlife”. The pigeon posing by the sign seemed particularly offended. “But I’m hungry!”
The bugs followed us. We could see the swarms clearly now that we were driving slowly. They were just about everywhere: hovering above the grass, the water, resting on cars… It felt like being in a bad horror movie—and you guessed it, Feng and I were probably cast as the two dummies on a short road trip who stumble upon a new deadly species of mutant bugs engineered by the NASA and the CIA.
Last weekend, Feng and I took a long walk on Parliament Hill and along the Ottawa River. The Parliament grounds were crowded—the nice weather and the Tulips Festival brought a lot of tourists, mostly from China, India, the U.S. and other Canadian cities.
I’m not your typical cordon bleu French cook, but I tend to stay away from supermarket bakeries because the lists of ingredients they use scare me. So once in a while, I bake. Nothing fancy, nothing complicated: I usually follow recipes loosely (seriously, who has all the ingredients on hand?) and hope for the best.
Canada is a peaceful nation, which is probably why next to the “war – this way” sign, there is a “wong way” sign. Or at least, that’s my twisted interpretation of this picture I snapped between Parliament Hill and Sparks Street.
The opening weekend of the 2012 Tulips Festival was very warm, and most of the flowers had just bloomed. Dow’s Lake was packed and people were fighting to have their picture taken by the flower beds. Eh, this is Canada, we don’t get to see flowers other than at the grocery store for six months at the time!
Even though I’m very much a city person and can’t imagine living in a place with a population of less than 500,000, I’m in love with Canadian small towns. Over the year, we visit quite a lot of small towns, mostly in Ontario but also in the U.S. Some were just a stop on the road to or from somewhere, some were a getaway, but most of them were simply lovely.
I usually avoid eating in the Byward Market because some of Ottawa’s worse restaurants operate there, and because food can be pricey and mediocre. I always feel for tourists who end up there and pay big bucks for bad food. But sometimes, there are nice surprises.
In Ottawa, the heart of Little Italy lies along Preston Street, in the area known as “Corso Italia”. Like in Chinatown, the entrance on Carling is marked by a metal arch in the colours of the Italian flag. Even the electrical lockers are painted in the colours of the flag!
Toronto is one of my favourite cities in Canada, and we’ve gotten to know it pretty well through multiple visits. This time, we were there for the Bryan Adams concert and only stayed for a day, but we still enjoyed a nice walk in the city and a stop at two of our favourite restaurants: The Old Spaghetti Factory on the Esplanade, and a small Chinese dumpling place in Chinatown.
Yes, I like Bryan Adams. I don’t care how corny some of his songs can be, he is classic. The decision to make the trip to the concert in Toronto was a last minute one. We both weren’t too busy at work, and the weather was suddenly warmer. Plus, we wanted to check out the Air Canada Centre.
I’m a huge fan of signs and I always keep an eye out for the funniest or strangest ones, at home or abroad. I found this gem when exploring the Central Experimental Farm a few days ago. It was put up in the very quiet parking lot. Feng and I looked at each other and burst out laughing. “The hell…?” we wondered.
The Front National went from being a marginal party in the 70s to being the third largest political force today. Frankly, if such a party existed in Canada, I’d be really annoyed. Fortunately, here, the influence of such fringe parties is very limited, so limited that I never hear anything about the Heritage Front or the Nationalist Party of Canada.