Justin Trudeau’s trip to the US is the first official visit of a Canadian Prime Minister in 19 years. Hearing the excitement in the US Press did my heart good this morning. I’m pretty sure the excitement goes beyond his sexy charm, or the fact that Mr. Trudeau is adorable cuddling Pandas.
After living in T.Dot (aka Toronto) for two years, I realized the relationship between Canada and the US is that of Border Brothers. We look and sound enough alike, we get mistaken for one another when we travel. We’re a little competitive and although you won’t catch us saying it, we respect each other. Just don’t let me find you in my room eh!
I’ll admit that for an American, my time there gave me a unique love of Canada. Living in Toronto represented the first time, I had moved away from home, to a city, a country, where I knew not a single person.
In that time, I was met with the kindness of many Canadians. Even thought they have every right to Canadian’s don’t brag, they are open and inclusive and nonjudgemental. A population that is far more humble than is necessary.
In honor of all my Friends to the North, that I haven’t seen in far too long… sing it with me now…
“These are a few of my favorite (or shall I say favourite) Canadian Things.”
Timmy Ho’s and Coffee Crisps: Canadians love coffee and are proud of their native coffee shop Tim Hortons. When you’re in Toronto, there isn’t just a coffee shop on every corner, there are three and one will be Tim Hortons, or as I call it affectionally, Timmy Ho’s! The only thing Canadians love more than a Double-double… is Coffee Crisp. A candy bar with layers of wafter cookie alternating between vanilla and coffee flavored cream, covered in Chocolate, enough said.
Poutine: Well come on, french fries, gravy and cheese curds. Even if you only eat it once, it sticks with you. I mean literally, apply directly to butt, that dish is staying! It’s worth it though. Once you try it, you’ll understand and feel the need to hunker down with a steaming pile when the cold wind blows. We are talking Canada afterall, it’s cold, really cold. Like Manitoba cold!
Extra Old and Processed Are Good Cheese: Canadians don’t need flowery marketing terms, they like what they like and they are not about to apologize for it. Fast food commercials use of the phrase “with melted processed cheese” and cheese that’s been age is simply called Old, because it is.
Ketchup Chips: Like their cheeses, no marketing fluff needed. Forget the tangy heat of BBQ Chips, Canadians prefer their Ketchup Chips, which taste basically like.. salty ketchup. Imagine your fingers after eating a bag of Cheetos, now think red. That’s what you get when you down an entire bag in munchie mode. As long as your snacking, you might as well follow that salty with some sweet and go for…
Maple Candy: Pure unadulterated sugar rush packed with the dark richness of Maple Syrup. They look like they are going to be crunchy almost grainy but those little leafs of Maple goodness melt in your mouth like a Harry Potter Breakfast Candy. It’s not all comfort foods and guilty snacking, there is also amazing seafood. Canadian Oysters and PEI Mussels are not to be missed! Each time I have them, I flash back to Canada’s amazing North East shoreline and watching whales, Icebergs and puffins, oh my! Speaking of St. John’s Newfoundland…
Being Screeched In: On a boat, in Newfoundland, with no breakfast in my belly, no sea legs and (at the time) no booze tolerance, I learned of this Newfie tradition. One must dawn a silly Sou’Wester hat and answer back to the call “Is ye an honourary Newfoundlander” with a resounding “Deed I is me ol’ cock, and long may your big jib draw.” Likely confused by what the heck you just said, you’re still not done. Next you’re kissing a cod or a puffin butt and downing a shot of rum (aka Screech.) Might I humbly recommend NOT being screeched in before breakfast, on a boat or following the ceremony with their traditional dish of…
Cod Tongue: I thought my host family was pulling my leg when the Mother turned around with what looked like a cow tongue in a baking dish. “Cod Tongue for dinner” she proudly proclaimed. I was about to call her bluff when her kids ran into the house yelling “yummy Cod Tongue!” Cod Tongue was once a plentiful cheap cut for local families of St. John’s. However, in 1992 a Federal Moratorium and pursuant collapse of the Cod Fishing industry caused even the underchin cut of the Cod to be valuable. Cod Tongue was Hispterfied (or shall I say Hipsterfried) and now served in restaurants around the costal city of St. John’s as a delicacy. If those Cod Tongues don’t agree with you, then you don’t have to worry because…
Public Health Care: I paid $4 a month for a prescription in Canada without insurance. On returning to the US The EXACT same brand name prescription, cost me $45 a month and that was my co-pay! American’s have long known about the prescription drug savings in Canada, but we are just now understanding through Obamacare the potential of Public Health Care. If you’re sick in Canada, you don’t add to your illness with the stress of being worried you won’t be able to afford your bills. America, your Border Brother got this one right let’s looking up and finally learn that we need to care for ourselves as a COUNTRY and NO ONE should PROFIT from illness.
Canadians Are Proud of Pride: Toronto’s Gay Pride Parade is HUGE with amazing, corporate sponsored floats. In comparison, all the Church Lady can say about NYC’s Gay Pride Parade is “well isn’t that cute.” Churches in Canada flew rainbow more frequently than bars in America and they should take pride in that. Canadian’s also flew American flags on 9/11 in a show of support, as a population they have a lot of respect and love for others and it shows.
Let’s see what else… you sit on a Chesterfield (Couch). Weather can be so cold, tears freeze to your face. There is nothing silly about a proper Togue. NEVER say “Ice Hockey” trust me, you’ll get stares, it’s Hockey. If you drop a pocket full of coins pick ’em up. With the Loonie and Toonie you’re looking at $10! Two-Four is beer. About is aboot. Sorry, Sorry. Oh and Yes, they say Eh… a lot. I came to consider it the proper pronunciation of a question mark awaiting a response. It’s charming eh?!
Ahhh, I do miss Toronto! Like a Brother Cal man, I loved you for making your “I promise not to make fun of American’s on Friday rule” and love you even more for never being able to keep that promise come Friday.
Cheers to all my friends up North. I miss all you fine, smart, talented, welcoming and wonderful folks.