Browsing: Canadian Life

Anything related to my new life under the snow. From bitching about the weather to hockey games and the Stanley Cup, from culture shock to shocking culture, from old Europe to the New Continent, whatever is on my newcomer’s mind!

Canadian Life
By 19
Canada is Huge

At school, I learned that the three largest countries in the world were Russia (and at the time, the USSR was larger than current-day Russia!), Canada and China. As a kid, it was hard to comprehend how big these territories actually were. But as a new Canadian, the country immediately struck me as humongous.

Winter (and Extreme Weather) in Canada
By 4
Winterlude 2012 in Ottawa

On the opening day and despite the very chilly wind, Confederation Park and the nearby portion of the Rideau Canal were packed. Confederation Park always has a nice collection of ice sculptures: small ones around the fountain and bigger ones around the park. You can even see sculptors, wearing thick gloves, at work with chainsaws and other power tools.

Practical Advice
By 30
The Phone Quest

One of the first things I had to do when coming home, along with doing loads of laundry, was to get a phone.
Well, technically, I have a phone. Two, even: a landline (primarily for telemarketers to call) and a cell phone that I never use because I haven’t bought minutes in ages.

Canadian Life
By 15
Picture of the Week: Canadian “I Love You”

The other day, I was shopping at Herbs & Spice, a food store on Bank Street. I walked out carrying heavy bags and in a hurry to go back home, and fell face to face with this sign from the shop next door, Wilde’s: “Nothing says ‘I love you’ like a dildo”.
I was sort of taken aback for a second, then it made me giggle like a schoolgirl.

Winter (and Extreme Weather) in Canada
By 8
Picture of the Week: Snow Melting

I used to be very excited to see snow but the novelty ran out after two of three winters there. The first snowfall is often beautiful and it’s weird to see the city blanketed in white—the change of scenery is brutal, especially when it’s very cold and snow does stay on the ground. But Canada’s harsh winters can also be a pain, a hindrance to everyday life.

Canadian Life
By 24
Fall Sky

Between adjusting the clock backward and the short late fall days, the sun now sets around 4:30 p.m. The downsides are obvious: everyone feels tired and it’s hard to go back home in the dark. But on the plus side, we regularly get to see wonderful sunsets.

Life in Ottawa
By 32
Ottawa Does Not Suck

Come on guys. Ottawa does not suck!
It’s funny how popular capital-bashing is in the new world: Australians with Canberra, Americans with Washington DC etc. The old world usually have capital envy—French may not like Parisians but most acknowledge that Paris is somewhat of an exciting place to be.

Practical Advice
By 20
Canadian Souvenirs

I admit it, I suck at buying souvenirs. First, I often don’t have room in my luggage. Second, most souvenirs are not exactly useful and can be downright tacky. What’s the point of spending money on trinkets that will just collect dust at home?
Recently, one reader asked me what Canadian souvenirs I would recommend visitors to buy.

Canadian Life
By 23
Cocooning

Suddenly, the very same indoors malls I avoided all summer (it’s too cold with the air-con on!) look welcoming again and I don’t want to take quick cold showers anymore but lounge around in the steamy bathroom.
Little by little, I reverted to my winter accessories and products. I’m picky about my beauty products because I want them to be: 1) affordable; 2) easy to use; 3) effective.

Canadian Life
By 29
The Same… Just Different

Thanks to globalization, no matter where you go these days, you will probably experience a lesser culture shock than the great explorers did a few centuries ago. Familiar brands and franchises took over the planet and local customs and lifestyles were exported well beyond their original boundaries. But it’s not always the same. Or rather, it’s the same… just different. Here are a few examples between France and North America.

Canadian Life
By 19
After The Rain

The other day was one of these blah days. I was soaked by the time I got home. I ditched my bag on the floor and grabbed the camera with my favourite prime lens for a quick photo shoot—I wasn’t going to get any wetter.

Traditions, Events and Holidays
By 28
The Pumpkin Massacre

I’m very ashamed to say that, for the past…er, 8 years, the pumpkin carving duty was often performed by my Chinese in-laws.
But this year, we decided to tackle the chore.
Cut me some slack, okay? Back in the days, October 31st was just a regular day in France—no pumpkin, no sugar-high kids, no candies.

Canadian Life
By 17
Canadians Behind The Camera

My story with Canadian cinema didn’t start very well. When I first came here, Feng dragged me to see Men with Brooms. Keeping in mind I barely spoke English and didn’t know much about Canada, I automatically assumed it was a comedy about… guys doing housekeeping, a bit like Mrs. Doubtfire. Well, turned out it was a movie about curling. I didn’t even know curling was a sport.

Traditions, Events and Holidays
By 28
Ottawa Zombie Walk

Soon, a long horde of newly-deads, including Colonel Khadafy, marched down Saint Patrick Street, blocking the traffic and scaring passer-by. Ottawa citizens stood no chance against the zombies, lurching and groaning for brains. The police could barely contain the madness. I stood on the side, trying to document the apocalyptic invasion. I risked my life for these pictures.

Traditions, Events and Holidays
By 15
Occupy Ottawa

Last Saturday began “Occupy Ottawa”, a movement modelled on the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations in New York. Lots of people showed up at Confederation Park despite the cold and the rain and it was very interesting to watch. I stayed there most of the afternoon for the General Assembly during which were voted the basics of the movement (where, why, how etc.).

Life in Ottawa
By 21
Sunset on Mackenzie King Bridge

Last Saturday, sunset came to me. After a drink in the Byward, I was crossing Mackenzie King Bridge to go for sushi in Chinatown when I noticed the tall buildings in the downtown core were set against light pink hues. I started shooting (the friend I was with was patient!) and a few minutes later, when I turned around, the Parliament’s dark silhouette stood out against the orange and yellow background.

Canadian Life
By 22
French-Spotting and Relationships in North America

Dating is so heavily codified you’d need The Da Vinci Code’s symbologist to understand all the subtleties. It starts in high school, where guys are supposed to take women to the prom—a relatively formal event for which women shop for princess dresses and guys really hope to take that dress out in the car at the end of the night. And dating apparently only ends when, as Beyoncé put it, you “put a ring on it”.

Practical Advice
By 32
How I Gained (and Lost) Weight in Canada

Alright, I was never 500 pounds neither I am 100 pounds today. I’m average. I’ve never been described as “skinny” or “thin” but again, at 5’7, I’m not a tiny little thing so I’m not aiming for that. My weight hasn’t changed in the past three years and I’m about the same as when I came to Canada in 2004.
But moving to Canada played havoc with my body, especially in the first few years.

Life in Ottawa
By 37
Night Owls

During summer, days are long and sunset is late, so I’m rarely downtown Ottawa after night falls. But as days are becoming shorter, I decided to go hunt for night shots while the weather is still nice.
Last Saturday was one of these days. It was in the mid-twenties and I left home around 7 p.m. to roam the downtown core with my camera. Half of the city had the same idea—by September, we are all clutching at the last bits of summer.

Life in Ottawa
By 13
Entertainment Week — WWE and Pearl Jam

Last week was entertainment week for us: we had tickets for two shows in Ottawa, Monday Night RAW and Pearl Jam.
When I first saw wrestling on TV in Canada, I dismissed it right away: “it looks fake and I bet it’s fixed!” I was later informed that indeed, the fight followed a specific “choreography” and that the outcome was determined in advance. This is not the point of WWE anyway. It has to be watched as theater: characters challenge each other, adopt gimmicks and portray roles.

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