Top Ten Reasons I Love Canada

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Snowy Gloves

Snowy Gloves

These days, everybody is lazy and we all ate way too much… conclusion, the blogosphere looks pretty quiet! I would have relaxed myself (translation: drink Diet Coke while smoking cigarettes and read forums), but as the new year is about to begin, I wanted to end 2007 on a positive note. So here are the top ten reasons I love Canada:

The multiculturalism: I grew up in a relatively big city. In my junior high/ high school, out of about 2000 students, there were only couple of Black students. And yet, they were from the French islands… there were some Asian students, but mostly because my high school taught Chinese. Having a foreign last name like me — even though your whole family had been French for generations — could set you apart. Just imagine my surprise when I first came to Canada, and saw immigrants, first, second, or third generation, represented in all layers of society! We are exposed to the world’s diversity daily. Most people I know here speak at least two languages and are proud Canadians… with a foreign background. Multicultural societies are often criticized and yes, no model is perfect… but I’m proud to live in a multicultural country.

The people: Canadians are nice people. It sounds a bit cliché but it’s true. I find people really polite most of time, and ready to help. People are caring too: if you drop something, someone is going to run after you to give it back. If you look lost, someone is going to ask you if you need directions. Cities are fast-paced but it’s the norm for people to take the time to help out. How nice… I could never get used to Parisian rudeness. Canadians are also patriotic but not over-patriotic: most of time, we wear our pride on our backpack (what? Never seen a Canadian backpacker with a little flag on his bag???), that’s about it.

The political system: First of all, we have strong democratic traditions.Canada functions within a framework of constitutional monarchy and a federal system of parliamentary government. Politics generally emphasizes constitutional law, freedom of religion, personal liberty, and regional autonomy… and British common law French civil law, North American aboriginal government, and English civic traditions inspired the system. Most of the politics are worked out through compromise between interest groups, regional consultations, and the Hill (Parliament). Canada also has a liberal attitude towards homosexuality, women’s rights, immigration, multiculturalism etc., which fits me perfectly. There is also a sense of collective responsibility: universal health care is supported, as well as gun control, foreign aid, and other social programs. Sure, I don’t like Harper… but thanks to regional autonomy, we, in Ontario, enjoy a liberal government. Better than nothing!

The affordable way of life: When I first came to Canada, I was living with 390 EUR/ month (about CA$560), a monthly allowance I had to finish my Bachelor degree. In France, with that little money, I couldn’t rent a place and it was barely enough for food. I had stopped going to the movies (almost 10€ a ticket), buying clothes, and when we would go to the restaurant, we would pick the smallest place with the cheapest food. No clothes or only when absolutely needed, forget about concert tickets and a lot of things. But in Canada, although I do make a bit more now, life has always been affordable. Food is cheaper, and so is housing. Utility bills aren’t as high (electricity, phone…). There are always good bargains for clothes or entertainment (half-price movie tickets). My life is definitely better.

The opportunities: Same here… I couldn’t get a job in France, and with a weak economy and a youth unemployment rate of 23.1%, the future didn’t look so bright. I had the degrees, but not the right ones: for some employers, I was over-qualified, for some other, I wasn’t qualified enough. I could speak three languages but not the right ones, I couldn’t be a salesperson because I didn’t have the salespersons certificate, I couldn’t work part-time in a restaurant because they already had plenty of kids doing their apprenticeship for free etc etc. In Canada, it wasn’t easy at first, but at least I was employable, even though I worked a fair share of low paying jobs. But eventually, people trusted me and gave me a chance. That’s all I needed. And it worked fine.

The languages: Canada has two official languages: French and English. Although French is mostly spoken in Québec, New-Brunswick and among some communities in Ontario, Manitoba and Alberta, most young Canadians (the bilingualism policies were implemented in the 70’s) can speak a bit of French. Government services always are in both languages and civil servants have to be bilingual. Even though I speak fluent English, I’m glad I can borrow French books at the library, that I can study in French if I want to, that I can speak in either language when having my driver license renewed etc. French communities also bring their share of culture, with movies, plays etc. in French.

The immigration system: I wanted to live in a country I could actually be part of. Work permit and temporary visas are a great way to discover a place, but I wouldn’t have lived on these forever: no right of vote, a status that has to be renewed and can always be revoked etc. But lucky me, Canada has a transparent immigration policy, with a website and a ministry dedicated to immigration (Citizenship & Immigration). As long as you fit one of the immigration program, you can be eligible and become a permanent resident, and then, a citizen. Making an application is straightforward. I did it and I’m now glad to be one of the 250 000 immigrants that become permanent resident each year.

The weather: love it or hate it, at least, it’s unique and extreme. Where else on earth can you go from +40°C to -40°C? And the blizzards, the snow storms, the tropical storms, the heavy rain warnings, the wind chill… all that for one big country!

The symbols and icons: the beaver, the maple tree and the maple leaf, the flag… what’s not to like?

I hope you’re now all dying to visit Canada! And tell me… what do you like best in your country? Meanwhile, I wish you all a happy new year! May 2008 be a a great one!

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

40 Comments

  1. Going and visit Canada has been one of my dearest dreams for a long time. At every time I have visited the USA I was pretty close to it and the last time the plane was flyig right above the border before landing to Washington. I could clearly see Montreal and Ottawa along the Saint Laurent river. I had even considered immigrating there when I was 20 without really thinking seriously about it or I wouldn’t still be in Frogland.
    If things go well -moneywise that is- I may be going to Boston in 2008 so who knows but I definitely want to plan a full trip to Canada someday and your post didn’t help but you know that already 🙂

    As I’ll be entering 2008 a few hours before you I’ll let you know how it is and if it’s worth it so you can take the decision to stay in 2007 😀

    Bonnes fêtes et bonne année à toi.

    FroggyWoogie’s last blog post..Spooky Christmas cards

  2. My French boyfriend and I are planning to immigrate to Quebec soon. I’m American, but don’t want to live in the US again, and I don’t really like France much. I studied in Quebec City a few summers ago, and loved it. I can’t wait to be in Canada again!

  3. Zhu darling,
    Though I left the great shores of Canada many moons ago, you remind me of why I am so proud to be Canadian. To have grown up in, what I believe to be, one of the most egalitarian societies on the planet, has held me in excellent stead all of my life. I have lived in Europe for most of my adult life, where I am still learning to understand different interpretations of egalitarianism. Frankly, I have found most European countries I have lived in or visited quite racist, more socially conservative, politically centralist, more expensive and with fewer opportunties, in comparison.
    Welcome to the old world, and though it is changing, I am delighted you have found the new world and it is working for you!
    A happy and prosperouse new year to you and Mr. Zhu.
    BB

    Beaverboosh’s last blog post..Back, Crack and Sack Wax Tops Mens’ Christmas Lists

  4. I concur with most of what you say. And this is a time to be positive.

    It’s great that you feel so settled in Canada. I have to keep reminding myself that Mississauga is not Canada!

    Have a wonderful New Year!

    john’s last blog post..Fairytale of New York

  5. This is the second time i hear about the blogworld being quiet…people must not know I exist because I have been anything but silent, posting daily, on 13 blogs.

    Weird.

    sir jorge’s last blog post..Talib Kweli Listen Music Video

  6. Canada is indeed a great country! I’ve visited many times, and I’m hoping for a trip to the western end next spring. My French sucks, though …

    Ghosty’s last blog post..Mother Superior

  7. Froggiewoogie: bonne année 2008! I’m in it too and it looks good so far, although still blizzard and snow 😉

    I can tell you like the new world too… we often talked about it. I still like France though, I don’t want to criticize it too much, I’d rather emphasize on what Canada gave me. But I must say I’m quite happy here, even though it’s not an eldorado either 😉

    Jess: Canada has good sides and bad sides, of course, but overall it’s a pretty nice place! I swear no one paid me for that post! 😆

    Jennie: Thanks for visiting! If you need any advice, let me know, maybe I can help!

    Beaverboosh: I agree with your comment. I still like French and I’m grateful I got a free education, I like the culture etc. But in terms of opportunities… North America is much better and Canada gave me a future. Europe looks totally stuck to me. Too much history, too much old conflicts… That said, the New Word isn’t perfect either, but I like it so far.

    Jay Cam: apparently, it also means you’re more likely to get bored and quit too 😉

    Aiglee: did you a pin a flag on yours already? 😉

    John: I sometimes wonder if Toronto is Canada! 😆 Seriously, we live in a great country. I don’t regret moving here at all.

    Sir Jorge: I meant generally speaking. I was on the web a lot too, and my feed was quieter than usual… and so was the traffic 😉

    Ghosty: well, my friend, you have a French teacher in front of you, don’t forget!

    Jemina: happy new year! Wish you a lot of good things to come.

    Max: I’m in 2008 too! I agree, this year looks great so far 😉

    Spyder: nah, thanks to global warming, it’s not that cold anymore! 😆

  8. Nice post! Very inspiring for anyone wishing to relocate or just move. 🙂

    For me it’s VA and then of crse Brussels.

    happy New Year Zhu 🙂

  9. Really interesting! Somewhat I love the sense of multiculturalism and multilingualism, ya know, being trained bilingual and multilingual since young is cool, and at the same time, very useful.

    I love Canada’s scenic parks, lakes and snow-capped mountains, esp Calgary and the old-world charms in Quebec which reminds me so much of Europe. That’s the reason why I love Europe, its wonderful old-world charms with rich cultures and traditions without compromising much of the huge waves of modernization.

  10. I haven’t travelled to Canada, but if there is one thing that makes me want to travel there, it is the awesome northern stretches with it’s plants and animals that we keep seeing on all the nature and wildlife channels. It’s a very pretty country, esp, for nature lovers.

    The immigration system and multi-culturalism are an obvious advantage too!

  11. That post was fascinating…

    poor old France! What we keep hearing here (with relatively deregulated labour market) is that France has too much labour law and that’s why Britain is a more attractive place for big business

    hmmm i have probably been listening to too many politicians but hey!

    happy 2008 Zhu!!!

  12. I’d love to try camping out around and paddle canoe in the Canadian great lakes! My belated holiday wishes! Have a prosperous year and more power in everything you do!

  13. Rads: and no Canada? I thought I had convinced you! 😆

    SilverNeurotic: happy new year too girl!

    Kyh: I’m sure you’d love Canada based on a few discussion we had 😉 The outdoors are amazing too… so much space compared to Europe!

    Shantanu: minus the lack of real gastronomy food, I think you’d love Canada 😉

    Keshi: thanks girl! 😆 Happy 2008 for you as well!

    Gledwood: politicians are the same worldwide I guess. But it’s true France is not a worker’s paradise… far from it.

    MOGli: you’ll have to come during summer then! Happy new year to you too!

    Max: I’ll have a look, thanks!

    Art: you’re always welcome here! We have a lot of warm coats you know! 😉

  14. It’s interesting to read about someone who has gone from Europe to Canada, like the opposite of me!

    I love everything you love about Canada too! The multiculturalism thing feels different to me though. When I lived in Canada there were black people, asian people and all other sorts of people and sure they had their own cultural bits, but when it came down to it they were Canadian just like me or anyone else.

    Here in the Netherlands there is SERIOUS multiculturalism. People from all over Africa, Turkey and everywhere else hanging on to their ENTIRE way of life and creating a bizarre mismash of cultures and languages. It’s nice in a way but extremely confusing when you come from a place where, ultimately, everyone is the same.

    Breighs last great read…Thuis

  15. Hi. thanks a lot about the accurate info about Canada, I and my family are getting ready to this beautiful country, your research is complete, I got a nice picture of it. I am from Guatemala, Central America.

  16. Woah,

    I came to live to Romania a couple of years ago and this is one of such cases of extreme weather, but more like -20 to 50 celsius. I guess that -40 would be rather cold, eh? 🙂

    I have been reading your blog today at work. Me and my fiance are looking forward to go somewhere else from Romania, and Canada seems just like the perfect place. I am Spanish and she is Romanian, so we are going to try to have everything shorted out as soon as possible to get there. We are very excited and want to become Canadians ourselves too!

    Muchas gracias por compartir tu experiencia con el resto de mortales. It really means a great deal for those of us which want to know how it really is there from an European point of view!

  17. I was born in Canada, but it makes me very proud to my new Canadian brothers and sisters doing so well. We’re all Canadian, by birth or by choice, and have equal rights and responsiblities. God bless you and people from around the world who wish to join this great cultural and social experiment. Bring your dreams, ambitions and goodwill and you will suceed in the best kept secret in the world….CANADA!

    • Thank you for your welcoming message to us, Canadians by choice!

      I’m loving living in this country and I do think it’s one of the world best kept secret 😉

  18. gonzalo de gregorio on

    Hi I’m gonzo and also I’m very happy to be part of this beautiful country, I’m from venezuela and I’ve Mexican citizen but no one of those countries gave me this kind of life,the people,culture,weather and simply to live here is like the paradise,this is the best place on earth … Thanks Canada,Vancouver and greetings to each person that is part of this multicultural country … And “let’s go canucks”

    • Hi Gonzo,

      I feel the same about Canada. It’s a great place to live and it’s a country that let newcomers like us to be a part of it. I like my life there.

      I’m happy you found what you were looking for in the Great North strong and free 😉

      Thank you for taking the time to leave a message!

  19. gonzalo de gregorio on

    Hi zhu, I really appreciate to find this blog about Canada and thanks for made it. Good luck everyone. Happy world after all 😉

  20. I disagree with the author’s view regarding ‘people’.
    Canadians, particularly in Toronto are worst that people from Paris. They are rude, they discriminate and they don’t help you. They think that they have the perfect system, society and way of life but far from that. What amazes me more is that the Torontonians, think that they are perfect but they aren’t.
    People, if you are thinking in coming to Canada, be prepared to the Canadian “I don’t care” and rudeness. Yes, people think that the so mentioned politeness and kindness are so but in fact, they are passive agressive attitudes.
    They don’t like you in their city, they are moving away from Toronto to other places were immigrants are non existant.
    Canadians, and Torontonians particularly, don’t tolerate your level of preparation, that’s why they don’t allow you to be a medicine doctor, a teacher or an architect. They will let you know clearly, that they are the ones that know more, even if you do. Well, what they will let you know is that it doesn’t matter if you know more, they will let you know that they have the power and you don’t.
    These persons lack the quality of being curious. They don’t want to know about you, about your experience, about your knowledge, your life. They are just interested in hiring you as a customer service agent.
    The social pressure for you to be employed as a mall guard in a lost suburb or as a taxi driver is huge.

    Again, my description is not rossy. I don’t like them, and they are not as you are describing them.

    • Hi,

      From what I understand, you had a bad experience in Canada where your qualifications were recognized. I agree, this is a big problem. That said, immigrants also have to do their research and I don’t think everything should be blamed on Canada (or in your case, Toronto). Some immigrants should really acknowledge they may have a hard time with their degree recognition and think twice before coming, until the problem is solved in Canada.

      I disagree – I think most Canadians care about immigrants. Sure, some will be racist or stupid. This is bound to happen. But generally speaking, the immigration system is not questioned.

      Toronto is a big city and life can be stressful there. Why not move somewhere else if you hate it so much?

      All in all, I think you generalize a bit too much. I’m sorry you had a bad experience but it hardly paint a accurate picture of Canada.

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