Thank you Canada

We have had a great couple of months, during which there were many highlights and happy memories. We travelled almost from coast to coast, barring Newfoundland. We caught up with old friends and made new ones. We found almost all the Canadians helpful, chatty and delightful people with a real pride in their country, and justifiably so. Every area we entered was different, and there was so much beauty in the landscape.

People have asked us about our favourite bits. We enjoyed everything, even the endless prairies. We loved Prince Edward Island and would like to return there for a golfing holiday sometime. But British Columbia has to get top prize. It is amazing, every corner you turn has even better views. The car license plates say ‘Beautiful British Columbia’ and they are not wrong.

We are left with an understanding of just how difficult it was for the early settlers to carve out a habitable patch of land for themselves and their families in such a wild country. While modern Canada seems so European in many ways, it is still a wild country and care has to be taken to avoid dangerous encounters with wild animals. We noticed people don’t drive much at night on the open roads and a casual walk in woodland can risk meeting a bear.

Distances are huge, some of the road systems are odd, like their four way crossings and being able to turn right when the lights are at red only to meet pedestrians crossing the road.

Prices in shops are not what they seem because tax is added afterwards. How those who have to watch every penny cope with the system is a mystery, perhaps they are all very good at maths.

People chat to you on trains and buses, and if you stand on a street corner to consult a map someone will always stop and ask if you need help.

People who have migrated to Canada from many different counties all seem grateful and proud to be here and appear to make a real effort to integrate, though we were surprised to find that many people in the more French speaking parts of the country cannot speak English, and it would seem they don’t learn it at school, which must disadvantage them in many situations.

Canada is a great country, and a land of great opportunity where people from all over the word are welcomed and accepted for who they are, and are encouraged to become truly Canadian.

Had it not been for Douglas and Kate’s wedding we might never have come here, and we are so happy that we did. Wonderful country, wonderful people, wonderful scenery.

Would we want to live here, or wish we had come to live here? Probably not, but only because it isn’t home.

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