Thursday, July 8, 2010

Little Differences

As soon as we arrived in Canada we noticed that it's not much different from the US, with a few exceptions. We started keeping a list of the "little differences", and I thought you'd like to see what we've come up with.

** Milk in a Bag.

Milk is sold in bags here. Three 1 liter bags come in each of the larger bags (for about $4.50 per 3 liters which is about 3/4 of a gallon).

You also buy a pitcher made specially for the milk bags. Then you cut one corner off and pour through the open corner. We spill much more milk with this storage method than we do with the gallon jugs that we're used to, though I think we've improved over time.


It is MUCH more humid here than we are used to. Especially lately. It has been excruciatingly hot and humid for the past few days. Jason is amazing and has still been riding his bike to and from work but the kids and I get our outside playing done in the morning and don't venture outside between 11 and 4 or so. Canada uses Humidex to measure the combination of heat and humidity. According to that system, right now it feels like 40 degrees C (112 F) outside as I type this.

The humidity does have a plus side: it makes Ethan's hair pretty curly, which I think is darling.

** Tim Horton's

Tim Horton's is a very common doughnut shop/restaurant here. They are more plentiful than McDonald's at home. We counted how many "Timmy's" (as the locals call it) we passed on the way to church the other day. 5!

**Street System

Jason and I are both very comfortable getting around in the Salt Lake Valley. Our lovely grid system for the streets is extremely easy to use. That is NOT the way things are laid out here! Street names change at random, and just because you know where King St. East is, that doesn't necessarily mean it's the correct King St. East (As I learned very soon after arriving here). Once you get used to looking up a map before you go anywhere, it's not that bad. But I still am not completely comfortable driving in some of the busier sections of the cities we've visited.


Of course, everyone associates Canadians with the word eh. We've heard it a lot. It's basically used the way Americans say "huh". It is a way to change a statement to a question: "We should go to Tim Horton's" becomes "We should to to Timmy's , eh?".

It could also be interpreted as: "Are you still listening and following what I'm saying?" as in "Take Townline Road to the 401 Eastbound to get to Toronto, eh?"

Another interpretation is: "Do you agree?" as in: "It's hot, eh?"


There are only a few words that I can detect a Canadian accent in most of the friends we've made here. Typically American's make fun of a Canadian accent by saying out and about like they rhyme with scoot: "oot and aboot". I have yet to hear an accent that bad. More typically I hear those words rhyme with boat: "oat and aboat".

**Washroom= restroom

What we call a restroom is referred to as a washroom here. Ellie has even started using that terminology. And really, I like it better than saying bathroom or restroom. It seems more refined somehow.

** Money
The money is a little different here. A 5 dollar bill is the smallest amount of paper money Canada uses. They also have a one dollar coin, more commonly referred to as a Loonie and a two dollar coin, the Toonie (or Twonie).

That's our list after 2 months of observation. As a whole, the people we've met are happy and friendly and helpful. There is not much honking on the road, although everyone does seem to drive much faster here (about 20 k/hour above the speed limit is normal). It's been a wonderful trip and we are so grateful for the friends we've made and the new places we've been able to experience. It's been an amazing adventure for our family and definitely brought us closer, which was our goal in coming here together. We'd do it again in a heartbeat!


  1. It's aboat time for you to come home so get oat, get going and do it! :) --- mom

  2. Canada 101. I like that. It was very informative. Thanks for sharing.