I'm in Victoria, B.C., Canada this week teaching at the ANWG (Association of Northwest Weavers' Guilds) conference. What I can say is that Victoria is so lovely I'd move here and that Canadians are extremely nice. I know this is said about them a lot, but I want to present a little evidence below.
Canadians (at least in Victoria) wait for pedestrians at crosswalks and if you're an American who is afraid of being hit (for good reason) and you hesitate, they'll smile and wave you across. I've even had them slow down early and wait for me to GET to the crosswalk.
Canadians must not normally get much sunshine. The weather has been fantastic this week, especially considering the week I had earlier this month in Indianapolis which was sweltering. I took a walk down to the beach and was quite surprised to see people in bikinis and bathing suits playing in the sand like you do on a beach when it is WARM! I checked the temperature. It was 53 degrees F and breezy. That is approximately 12 degrees C if you're Canadian.
I was wearing a sweater and jeans.
All I can think is they don't get sunny days like this all that often... or that winter is SO bad that any hint of summer is reason enough to throw off all your clothes and frolic in the sand. This gives the I-should-move-here thought a bit of pause.
I can't help but think that the sign pictured below in the USA would not be so polite. In fact, there probably would not be a sign. The trees would be fenced with a locked gate. I am sure Canadians respect signs like this and follow the directions. They do seem like a very rule-abiding people.
Another polite and helpful sign. In the USA? There wouldn't be a sign. If you hit the deer it is your own damn fault and you needed a new car anyway, right?
I will say right here that the biggest hardship I have experienced is the food at UVic. There are hundreds (600+) of hungry weavers/teachers/vendors here and the university food service literally ran out of food today... I had a sinking feeling about the situation arriving at the continental breakfast 50 minutes before it was supposed to close to find the tables literally picked clean. No coffee, no hot water, no food at all. With a sinking feeling and realization that the options were only going to get slimmer on a holiday weekend, I went immediately to the one coffee shop to buy a few extra gluten free items. This is, by the way, the only place on campus with GF items that appear to be safe having been made in a bakery elsewhere. I was told those were the last ones and there wouldn't be more until Tuesday.
This sort of food shortage makes Americans VERY cranky. Especially fiber art teachers who are working literally every moment from the time they wake up and might not have even had time for a proper lunch if it could be had. I have witnessed more than once this week fellow teachers taking out this hunger-based angst on food service workers and it is not a pretty sight. The Canadian wait staff on every occasion bent over backwards to accommodate and met loudly voiced frustration with a smile.
Canadians. Are they always this nice?
(granted, the mis-communication that led to this food debacle should have somehow been prevented, but it isn't the wait staff's fault)
The thing that has saved my soul is the Finnerty Garden here on the UVic campus. It is stunning (and fenced from the deer and rabbits). It is a huge garden with ambling paths between a riot of vegetation from all over the country including gorgeous flowers and plenty of benches tucked in quiet corners where a nice lunch-time spin can be had (that isn't what you think... I'm spinning yarn for goodness sake!). I am a fierce introvert and teaching for five days straight is incredibly exhausting for me. My hour every day in this garden has done wonders for my sanity. Thank you UVic for investing in this marvelous space.
I was confused about rounding. I thought at first that this was another instance of Canadians just being nice... rounding things to the nearest nickel. Keeping things neat and tidy and all.
Then I realized that Canada doesn't have pennies and if you pay in cash, there is no alternative but to round. Maybe they're nicer because they don't have a handbag full of change... nah, that can't be it.
Because loonies and toonies.
Happy Canada Day.