I started a post back then (that's still in draft form) that I was trying to compose as an analysis between the two countries based upon my personal observations...
I kept on adding and deleting things from it, but never got to post it... I touched on everything from milk in bags (that's how they sell milk in Ontario) to health care to where you can get your wine and beer in either country.
I was reminded of this attempted post this past week as I've been contrasting life on the west coast against life in Toronto.
Here are a few things I've noticed over the past couple of days:
- The people in front-line service are very friendly and chatty here! I've encountered employees at the drug store, grocery store, restaurants, you name it who go WAY beyond the cursory "How are you today"s...
Case in point - I almost had to drag the kids out of the local grocers after the cashier noticed we were buying Mini Wheats with Indiana Jones "prizes" in it. A movie critique ensued complete with opinions on why Harrison Ford should have hung up his whip after the 3rd Jones movie...
- There are way less blondes here. We went to a number of playgrounds and a pretty popular pool and when looking around, I couldn't help but notice that blonde hair was indeed the minority.
- My tattoo is not the novelty and subject of odd looks and stares that it used to be out east. I'd say that the number of dad's AND mom's around that have "ink done" approaches about a third or half of the peeps I saw. And I'm talking about middle to upper-middle class neighbourhoods here.
- People actually stay in the city on the weekends and holidays! Catherine and I went out a couple of times in Toronto to the lakefront and were floored by the absence of people on a beautiful day in the Beaches. We tried taking the kids down to a few of the beaches in Vancouver yesterday (that would be a Monday afternoon) and we could not, for the life of us, find a spot to ditch the car and get out to walk.
- A drive along surface streets is actually enjoyable. I drove the kids from the Science Center to UBC yesterday - which is a pretty long way. The streets are well labeled, the main roads are wide, cars stop for pedestrians and drivers actually know how to merge. Things seem to move at a more relaxed pace, but they also seem to move more efficiently for some reason.