Today is the end of the weekend and I wanted to share the things that surprised me when I first came in Canada. This is a non-exhaustive list ;)
1. The weight of the doors
Didn't you come to Canada to do sport? Well too bad for you! Get ready to arm yourself, all the store entrance doors weigh a ton. To the point that you wonder if you open it the right way. On the other hand they have a whole handicapped access, which is practical when you have the occupied hands.
2. Maple syrup
You don't like maple syrup? Too bad... because you're going to eat a hell of a dose of it when you go to Canada. Being one of the culinary specialty, you’ll find it in all your sauces, in your pancakes and even when you don't ask for it. I saw someone ask for a plain pancake to be served in maple syrup because that's what "plain" is. I hope you’re not diabetic because you’ll not survive long ;)
3. The Kindness of Canadians
So, this is something that is very well known. I mean for example in the subway, you’re just looking at a map to find a station, people will spontaneously stop to offer you their help. The most obvious example is in a café in Quebec where at least 3 people came to advise us things to visit. They know how to welcome their tourists :)
4. Holes in the road / sidewalks
Always watch where you walk in Canada, sometimes it seems that people have randomly hit the jackhammer in the middle of the sidewalks and it will not be rare to stumble.
5. Bulb switches
Worse than a riddle of Professor Layton, it will sometimes be necessary to have patience to discover and understand the mechanisms of switches. For some lamps, the switch is just below the bulb, I wonder which genius designed it but it wasted me 20 minutes of my life to understand where was this badly placed switch.
Ah yes, we are not used to tip in Europe. So there to tip you go tiping, whether at the bar, at the restaurant, in a cafe or even at the hairdresser. You tip so much for everything and anything that you're going to wonder if you should tip the store cashier.
7. The prices displayed
Are you thinking of getting a good deal by buying something? Remember that all prices are displayed excluding tax, Tax which depends on each state (Ontario 13%, Quebec 15%). And for a restaurant I give it to you! Add the taxes plus the tips and you’ll get a score 28% higher than the prices initially displayed on the menu.
8. The dispensaries
So, this is something recent, Cannabis has been legalized in Canada since March 2019. The most impressive thing is when you go inside one of those dispensaries. You’ll have the impression of being in a Nespresso shop. The store is so well organized and there are different flavors on offer, except that these are not capsules...
9. An underground network
Temperatures drop low in winter in Canada. So it is not uncommon to have temperatures below -20 ° C and a feeling below you eat beautiful gusts of wind (it's funny because I was told that there was no wind in Canada: Lie !!). Don’t worry you can take the huge underground network to allow people to shop while staying warm. This network is so large in cities like Montreal, that there are special underground maps. In Toronto it’s called the PATH.
10. The units
I thought that Canada had adopted the metric system… but not at all ! What a torture of conversion when looking at apartments whose description indicates square feet. Or in a bar when you order a beer, you’ll be asked how much you want in ounces (great unit!). Anyway, for the weight of your vegetables, a portion is indicated either in pounds or in ounces (I still haven't understood the point of measuring a quantity of vegetables per unit of liquid). Do you want to burn something in the oven? So be careful, when a Canadian tells you about a cooking recipe, he is of course talking about a temperature in Fahrenheit and not in Celsius.
11. Size of stores (Bonus)
You’re in a country where consumption is encouraged. For example, go to a Wallmart and you’ll do great business. It is even very common to buy liquids in cans or even packs of giant chips. How is it possible to make you buy more? We put you little difference in price between two same products but one of which is much higher in weight (example with salads is either 350 grams, or 1.5 kilos).