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