The 10 things that will strike you when you arrive in Canada!

Today is the end of the weekend and I wanted to share the things that surprised me during my first contact with Canada. This is a non exhaustive list ;)


1. The weight of the doors

You didn't come to Canada to play sports? Well, too bad for you! Get ready to do your arms in, all store front doors weigh a ton. So much so that you wonder if you're opening it the right way. On the other hand, they all have handicapped access, which is handy when you have your hands full.


2. The maple syrup

You don't like maple syrup? Too bad because you're going to eat a hell of a lot of it when you go to Canada. As one of the culinary specialties, you will find it in all your sauces, in your pancakes and even when you don't ask for it. I have seen someone ask for a plain pancake and have it served with maple syrup because that's what "plain" is. I hope you're not diabetic because you won't survive long ;)


3. The kindness of Canadians

So this is something that is very well known (be careful, they are not bearish either). By this I mean for example in the subway, just by 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 City where at least 3 people came to advise us on things to visit. They know how to welcome their tourists :)


4. Holes in the road/sidewalks

Always look where you are walking in Canada, sometimes it looks like people have randomly put jackhammers in the middle of the sidewalks and it will not be uncommon to trip.





5. Light Bulb Switches

Worse than a Professor Layton riddle, sometimes you'll have to be patient to discover and understand the mechanisms of the switches. For some lamps, the switch is just below the bulb, I wonder what genius designed this but he made me waste 20 minutes of my life to understand where this misplaced switch was.




6. Tips / gratuities

Oh yes, we are not used to giving tips in France. So to tip you go tip, whether it's at the bar, in a restaurant, in a café or even at the hairdresser. You tip so much for everything that you will wonder if you should tip the cashier of the store.


7. Posted prices

Think you're getting a good deal on something? Remember that all the prices are displayed without tax, a tax that depends on each state (Ontario 13%, Quebec 15%). And for a restaurant, I'll give you a good deal! Add the taxes plus the tips and you will get a note 28% higher than the prices displayed on the map.


8. The dispensaries

So this is something recent, Cannabis has been legalized in Canada since March 2019. The most impressive thing is to go to one of the dispensaries. You will have the impression to be in a Nespresso store so much the store is well arranged and that one proposes you various flavours, except that here they are not capsules...


9. An underground network

Temperatures go down in the winter in Canada. So it is not uncommon to have temperatures below -20°C or even well below in feeling when we eat nice gusts of wind (it's funny because I was told that there was no wind in Canada: Lie!!). This gives rise to a huge underground network to allow people to do their shopping while staying warm. This network is so big in cities like Montreal, that there are special underground maps.


10. The units

I thought Canada had adopted the metric system, but not quite. What a torturous conversion when looking at apartments that are described in square feet. Or in a bar when you order a beer, they will ask you how much you want in ounces (great unit!). Anyway, for the weight of your vegetables some of it is indicated either in pounds or in ounces (I still don't understand the point of measuring a quantity of vegetables by a unit of liquid). You want to burn something in the oven? So be careful, when a Canadian tells you about a recipe, he is of course talking about a temperature in Fahrenheit and not in Celsius.


11. The size of the stores (Bonus)

We feel that we are in a country where consumption is encouraged. Go to a Wallmart, for example, and you'll get a great deal. It is even very common to buy liquids by the can or giant packages of chips. How to make you consume more? We put you little difference in price between two same products but one is clearly superior in weight (example with salads it is either 350 grams or 1.5 kilos).


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