Maple Leaves and Milk Bags

After living in Canada for four months, I like to think that I have immersed myself in the culture as much as possible. Along the way I have picked up on the various ways of life, and many strange Canadian things, most of which that I have grown to love!

  • Plastic Banknotes –  These look ever so groovy, even with a clear part which is extra bizarre. You do feel slightly that they are fake however!
  • No blue-tack – I love covering my walls in photos and for me this was key in making my room homely, but I couldn’t find blue-tack anywhere! I’m sure they must sell it somewhere but if you’re studying abroad in Canada you may want to slip a pack into your suitcase.
  • Milk Bags – Now you can buy plastic bags of milk at home but NEVER have I seen anyone buy it, yet here its actually pretty popular and I am a complete convert. It is SO much cheaper to buy and honestly seems to last forever. Obviously it must go off at some point but I always manage to get through four litres, by myself, before it smells funny!
  • Maple Leaves – The symbol is literally everywhere. I love it, its so patriotic and iconic.
  • Bear Attacks – For a university organised trip I had to fill out a waiver form. I genuinely had to sign that I understood the risk of potential bear attacks!
  • Reverse Coins – A 10 Cent coin is the same as a 5p coin and a 5 Cent coin the same as a 10p coin. Makes no sense and I still haven’t got my head around it.
  • Coffee – Apparently Tim Horton’s is the height of Canadian-ness however around campus it seems that any coffee will do with everyone having a cup glued to their hand. Sitting in lectures everyone has one. I don’t understand how anyone can afford it, I treated myself at times but it works out about $5 a go and if you’re paying that for every lecture, it must quickly add up! I have been to Tim Horton’s but my favourite is Second Cup – their Vanilla Bean Latte is sublime.
  • Tea – Looking for regular tea? (or ‘builder’s tea’ as my uncle calls it) It’s called Orange Pekoe. I was very sceptical at first but It’s just normal tea don’t worry.
  • Alcohol – Due to a law that forbids alcohol in public, it has to be sold in brown paper bags. This doesn’t bother me but the bags don’t have handles which is very inconvenient.
  • Tax – This quite frankly drives me mad. Tax isn’t included in the marked price and it is instead added at the checkout. It is true that it gives greater clarity so that you know exactly what you are paying for, but when you go to pay for something, you always forget about the tax and it shocks you that it is more than you think it will be.
  • Tipping – As a poor student, I rarely bother tipping at home. I only really tip if there was something really worth commending about the service but I still don’t really agree with it (I’m sure I’d disagree if I was a waitress!). I just don’t understand why people are expected to pay someone extra for just doing their job; I would much rather tip someone who did something worthwhile, like a nurse, rather than someone who brought me food. However, in Canada it is more of a requirement than a formality. Apparently many are paid poor wages in consideration that they will get money in tips on top.
  • Bake Sales – Somewhere on campus there will be a group selling baked goods for a charitable cause. I’ve seen it at school on non-uniform days for example but never seen people hold them quite this extensively.
  • Toilets – Toilet water is abnormally high. When I first arrived I thought that I had somehow blocked it by merely going for a wee but It seems like it is just a weird part of their plumbing system. Toilets also have pecuilarly large gaps in the doors. The bigger gaps to the bottom I guess are handy in case you get locked in but I don’t see any advantage of being able to see people sat on the loo.
  • Maple Syrup – It is true that Canadians love maple syrup, even on bacon! In Ice Cream its delicious.  Maple Taffy also is amazing, this is maple syrup that has solidified into a lolly on snow, how much more Canadian do you want?!

This was all so strange to me when I arrived, I wonder how much I will miss it all when I’m gone. I know I that I’ll definitely start investing in milk bags once I’m home!

featured image credit to here


3 responses to “Maple Leaves and Milk Bags

  1. I am Canadian I find Tim Hortons sucks and is overpriced but everything here is overpriced. I am wanting to try Second Cup! The only thing I like from Timmie’s is the powdered timbits with lemon filling. The raspberry filling just isn’t as good but the lemon is not as popular anymore and I even wrote them about it and they said some stores choose to order it in and you can request your local store and they might order some.

  2. ‘Toilets also have pecuilarly large gaps in the doors.’ You’re right! I hate this! With a PASSION! It is so awkward! If it was down all the way I would feel so much more secure.

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