Canadia, Or Things I Miss Most About Canada

Canadian Geese by the Lake

In a game of blog-tag, I was recently asked by Karin of K and K Adventures to share some of the things I think visitors to Canada should experience. Now I am by no means the most travelled person when it comes to exploring my own homeland; it wasn’t until recently that I set foot in the East Coast for the first time, and I still haven’t made it out West, let alone up north to Yukon! However, the question did get me thinking about what I associate with Canada, so I decided I would share with you what I miss most about my Canadia*!

Beirut concert in Toronto

Toronto’s Indie Music Scene

Toronto has some of the best band line-ups coming through the city, and if I had to pick one thing I miss most, going to see a band on a Saturday night in some small venue would be it. When I think back of my nights spent out in Toronto, I think of seeing Florence + the Machine at the Mod Club, Beirut at the Phoenix, The Vaccines and Bombay Bicycle Club at Lee’s Palace, not to mention all the up-and-coming bands playing the circuit at the Horseshoe Tavern and the Drake. I really miss Toronto’s music scene — and all the plaid and skinny jeans that go along with it.

Small bonfire on Canada Day

Summer Bonfires

One of the best things about summer in Canada are the afternoon BBQs that often turn into evening bonfires. Burgers, beers, guitars, hot tubs, marshmallows with chocolate and graham crackers, and the sound of crickets or even a loon off in the distance. Is there a better way to spend summer nights? Actually, yes, camping! Which brings me to my next point.

Biking near Lake Huron, Ontario

Nature is never that far away

The beauty of living in such a large country is that you are surrounded by nature. Lakes, trails, and parks all outside your door. I can go for a bike ride around the lake by my house and expect to run into a family of hissing geese! And if I’m craving a bit of Canadian wilderness, I don’t have to drive that far to find myself surrounded by colourful badlands, farmlands, or even old ruins.

Montreal's Street Art in the East End

Weekend Road Trips to Montreal

Montreal happens to be my favourite Canadian city (minus its brutal winters!), so I usually leap at the chance to take a little road trip over to Quebec. Let’s begin with the charms of the historic Vieux-Montréal — century old buildings, uneven cobble streets, the white and blue fleur-de-lis flags which hang on most store fronts, the ringing bells of Notre Dame de Montréal, and the crêperies which serve the most delectable crêpes and fondues. And I can’t speak of Montreal without also mentioning Le Plateau, a popular area with university students which translates to great restaurants along Rue St Denis, and some really neat experimental street art projects in the east end.

Streets of Toronto

Traffic that won’t kill you

It’s a weird thing to miss, but every time I’ve come back to Canada in the past, the traffic flow is the first thing I notice. My family’s home is a twenty-minute drive from the airport, and it is smooth sailing. Everyone drives in their lane and people signal before switching lanes (what a thought!), drivers respect pedestrians at crosswalks, incessant honking would never happen, and there are no cows to contend with (though perhaps the occasional deer). While in some Asian and Latin American countries it’s easy to feel threatened by traffic, Canadians are (for the most part) quite peaceful drivers.

So there you have her, my Canadia. Plus Tim Hortons, maple syrup, and red flannel. That’s a given.

Now I’m tagging Colleen, Zhu, and Heather to share what they love about Canada and what they think visitors to the country should experience.

*That’s not a typo, it’s my nickname for the country.

36 Comments

  • Arienne says:

    Oh man, when I was living in South Korea for 2 years, there was so much about Canada that I missed! It’s not until you leave the place that you realize how awesome this country really is. That and the safer driving conditions 🙂
    Arienne recently posted..This is My CanadaMy Profile

    • Audrey says:

      So true. Sometimes a little time away helps you appreciate what you have back at home. That being said, I’m still not ready to go back. I’m having too much fun in this part of the world. 😀

  • I like your disclaimer at the bottom that Canadia isn’t a typo 🙂 We spent a few weeks there last year and are definitely going to have to go back again soon 🙂
    Kenin Bassart recently posted..Win a free Vacation to the Mayan Riviera with Paradise Hunter!My Profile

  • Summer bonfires (and roasting marshmallows) are definitely one of the best things about Canada! Love the photo of the Canada Geese – I live near the lake in Oakville and sometimes I have to wait for them to cross the street!
    Lisa Goodmurphy recently posted..Journeys of the Zoo FeatureMy Profile

    • Audrey says:

      Those Canadian geese are everywhere! I lived close to a lake so it was nice seeing the geese and their little hatchlings out and about.

  • Aw! Love this! I miss all these things from Canada as well, and it just goes to show that even though the country is massive, we still love the same stuff about it. I’m originally from SK and spent the last 5 years in Vancouver before I left the country, and everything you listed struck a chord with me too. I’m temporarily in Florida, and the amount of Americans that actually think it’s called “Canadia” is stupefying 🙂
    Rika | Cubicle Throwdown recently posted..Million dollar toilet paper folding.My Profile

  • Ummm you did a really good job with this… I’ll see what I can come up with! I love Canada!
    Colleen Brynn recently posted..How Going To School Has Been Like Traveling (And Why You Should Try It)My Profile

  • Oh, I miss Toronto’s music scene so much too! Not only is there so much great music coming out of Canada, but pretty much every band that heads to North America is pretty much required to stop in Toronto. Everyone gushed when I moved to Nashville, TN for school saying “Oh! But it is Music City! You’ll have a great time there…” I did have a great time there in the end, and I even saw some good shows, but Nashville actually does not get that many non-country artists to its venues so that was some tough work on my part!

    But I have to disagree about polite Canadian traffic! When Tony & I were up there in July, we saw all sorts of unsafe shenanigans occurring on the 401. Tony says his least favourite thing about Toronto drivers is their proclivity to cut you off and then immediately slow down. I hadn’t noticed it before, but he’s right!
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    • Audrey says:

      Hehe, the 401 can get a bit crazy, I agree. I guess that for me, living in the suburbs, I was always shocked to see drivers following the speed limit, stopping for pedestrians, actually stopping at red lights. I’ve found that in other countries a red light means ‘do a quick scan, and go anyway’… It made me so jumpy at first!

  • Awesome! I love that you call it Canadia…we do too! All of the things you listed we miss as well…apart from the Toronto music scene (never been to TO) but it sounds awesome. We’ve from B.C. and lived in Calgary for a long time, so we miss the mountains and the great outdoors 🙂 Fishing, hiking, camping to name a few. China just doesn’t cut it when it comes to fresh air and mountainous areas (well, where we live anyways!).

    We’re planning an epic Mongolia through the ‘Stans trip, so we’ll get our fill of the outdoors soon enough!

    Cheers!
    Dariece – Goats On The Road recently posted..Chinese New Year: The Year Of The SnakeMy Profile

    • Audrey says:

      Ooo, that upcoming trip sounds awesome! You’ll definitely be getting your fill of fresh air and outdoor activities there! Enjoy you two! 😀

  • Zhu says:

    Yay, thank you for tagging me! While I was reading your article I was already thinking of writing 😆

    Toronto is a great city and it’s no surprise you miss some aspects of life in Canada. Honestly, I love this country. I just wish winter wasn’t that long!
    Zhu recently posted..[Special Feature – Part VI] Working in Canada: the UglyMy Profile

  • Paul says:

    Great post. Makes me want to visit Canada even more than ever 🙂
    Paul recently posted..Melbourne Meets Williamsburg: 10 Minutes In FitzroyMy Profile

  • Hogga says:

    This makes me long for summer

  • Sofie says:

    I’ve been wanting to visit Canada for quite some time now and I’m always happy to find great tips like these! The bonfires do sound like the perfect way to spend a summer evening. Wait… maybe that’s also because there’s food involved:)
    Sofie recently posted..Vacation days frustrationMy Profile

  • Angela says:

    You got to see Beirut? I’m super jealous right now! How was it?
    Angela recently posted..Why I love weird museums: St. Petersburg editionMy Profile

  • Jessica says:

    I totally agree about summer bonfires – I just miss Canadian summer culture in general. I didn’t really even realize it was a thing until I spent some summers elsewhere and they just weren’t the same. Also, I had always heard jokes about Canadians being so nice, and I didn’t appreciate that either until I left – there are exceptions, of course, but overall Canadians are seriously polite, considerate people. Like you know when you’re in a long line at the grocery store and a new register opens up? Canadians always let the next person in line go first – no one else does that!
    Jessica recently posted..How Buddha Was SwallowedMy Profile

  • Cath says:

    I hear so many great reports about Canada. Would love to visit there one day.
    Cath recently posted..Trump International Hotel Las VegasMy Profile

  • Spencer says:

    I would say the people too. They are amongst the friendliest nation as a whole I have ever met on my travels.
    Spencer recently posted..Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh honoured as Saudi Arabia’s ‘Best 5 Star Hotel’My Profile

  • Raymond @ Man On The Lam says:

    I miss the sensible driving too! And Montreal too of course. 🙂

  • I actually enjoyed some pretty awesome winter bonfires in Ontario over Christmas.
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  • John says:

    I have one last weekend here in Toronto after living here for the last 2 years. You are right about the music scene in this city. I love the small hole in the wall bars. I also really liked Montreal as well, particularly St Denis and St Laurent. Just like you, I never made it out west either. It’s just too expensive to fly out there and back.
    John recently posted..North American Air Travel: Get CreativeMy Profile

  • Patricia Nayar says:

    Makes me feel a little nostalgic. I loved all my trips to Canada over the years. Most of all? Perhaps Vancouver? Actually all of British Columbia. Last year we loved our vacation there combining a lot of wonderful beaches and some amazing hiking trails there. Then I remember that magnificent view of St. Lawrence River, charming Montreal or some other places on the East cost. And the Rockies! Difficult to decide. It’s a beautiful country. And nice people there. Thanks for sharing your memories.

  • Shalu Sharma says:

    Canada is a very exciting place. I have been there once. Although I found it very cold, but to be honest loved the scenery and also the people were great as well. Next time I visit Canada, I will make it in the summer.
    Shalu Sharma recently posted..Mahabodhi Temple of Bodh GayaMy Profile

    • Audrey says:

      I also find Canada’s winters brutal, and I wasn’t even living in the coldest parts! Summertime is the best time to see the country. 🙂

  • Ceri says:

    The reputation Toronto has for it’s indie music scene and art scene alone was nearly enough to make me consider applying for a 1-year working holiday visa not too long ago. Lovely tribute to your homeland. 🙂
    Ceri recently posted..The Next Big MoveMy Profile

  • NYC Events says:

    There is no doubt that Canada is one of the most serene places in the world. It still retrieves its natural beauty along with keeping up with the world.

    NYC Events

  • Voyage Ombrie says:

    Thanks for sharing this nice post about Canada…I have not seen Canada but Some of my friends from there so I have so many times heard about Canada and their peoples so Thanks again for this nice and very informative post……

  • Kate - CanuckiwiKate says:

    I also frequently refer to my home and native land as “Canadia”… some people don’t even notice until way later too.

    I’m with you on not being “well traveled at home” – I’m from Nova Scotia, and the most I’d seen of home between my childhood and 23 was as far west as London Ontario. All that’s about to change though, we’re driving across Canada this summer, from Vancouver to Halifax! I’ve been gone over 4 years, and can’t wait to enjoy Canada again!
    Kate – CanuckiwiKate recently posted..#FriFotos – These TreesMy Profile

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