Thursday, March 1, 2012

Oh Canada!

Today I am going to share a few things about living in Canada.

We moved from sunny South Florida to Ontario,Canada about a year and a half ago for my husbands job. It was a little bit of a culture shock, although you may think Canada is just like the United States, it is very different in so many ways.

The biggest shock for us was the weather. It took some getting used to the bitter cold winter, although this winter it has been very mild. Our oldest daughter, Ariana had never seen snow, so it was great for her to be able to enjoy sledding, and ice skating. Her school allows them to bring in soft sleds to use at recess in the winter. She brings or wears her snow pants to school on most days.

I grew up in Massachusetts and usually when it snowed we would have indoor recess, here in Ontario they embrace the cold and snow and make the most of it.  I see people walking or running nearly every morning sometimes with their small children in a jogging stroller despite 20 degree temperature. Many Canadians also utilize public transportation. The town I live in isn't far from the train and there are many bus stops. I know there is public transportation in the states, but I noticed most of the people who use buses usually  can't afford a car, or do not have a license. Here that does not seem to be the case.

It took some time to get used to the metric system. Ths temperature in celcius, gas is measured in liters, and speed is kilometers per hour, You have to remember it's a 100 km per hour not 100 miles per hour on the highway! Ha!

60 miles per hour

We only have trash pick up every other week and your only allowed five bags of trash. You can use the big black trash bags. It's not a big deal in the winter but in the summer when the trash is sitting in your garage smelling I find it to be rather disgusting. They do pick up recycling and compost every week. In case you don't know what composting is, I will tell you. Most Canadians have a small bin under their sink and they throw the food in it. We did it for the first month or so, but then realized how much it smelled and in the summer it attracts fruit flies. So although your not really supposed to, we throw our food away in the regular trash.

Green bin you put out to be picked up
Small bin goes under the sink

The Canadian debit cards have a chip in them that you place in the machine and enter your pin number. This is unlike most debit cards in the states that have the visa or mastercard logo. When we first moved here the local coffee shop, Tim Horton's, only took mastercard or cash. I just couldn't understand how such a big establishment didn't take other credit cards, or even debit! Thankfully, they finally started taking debit cards. They do not have a one dollar bill here either.  They have two coins, a loonie which is $1, and a toonie which is $2. It's very easy to end up with a pocket full of change. I have heard rumors of them creatiing a $5 coin as well. I am not sure how true it is though.



The tax rate here is crazy! On everything except groceries and kids clothing, the tax rate is 13%.  On top of that,  everything is more expensive than in the states. Right now gas is $1.30 a liter which equals to be almost $5.00 a gallon. The tax rate is so high because they have universal healthcare, which in my opinion is awful. Many Canadians travel to the United States still for some of their healthcare. I have learned quite a bit about universal healthcare, and hope it never comes to be in the United States.

Well, to keep myself from rambling on I think i will end it here. I will save the rest for another day. :)

Hope you enjoyed learning a little bit about Canada.

Happy Thursday!



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