Canada, eh?

I’ve made several trips to Canada(specifically Ontario) in the last 7 or 8 years, and I’ve always come away with a favorable impression of the people and the country.  I have noticed a few differences – are ya amazed?

  It seems that in every hamlet of at least 5 houses in that part of the world, they have constructed a Tim Horton’s outlet.  In case you are among the uninformed majority of Americans, I will inform you that this enterprise exists solely for the purpose of drug distribution.  Actually, it’s coffee, but a large majority of Canadians start their day by getting in line at their neighborhood Timmy’s drive-through on the way to work.  They drive up to the speaker stand, roll up their sleeves for their ‘fix’, and start rattling off gibberish like, “2 triple triples and a four by four” (if there are several people in the car).  Or, they might order, “a double double and a regular”. Then they advance to the window where they surrender their Monopoly Money (also known as Canadian currency) in exchange for the elixir they MUST have!  I must tell you, their coffee is SO GOOD you’ll be hooked, too, if you dare to try it!  Oh, by the way, ‘Timmy’s’ is also a BAKERY, so you might want to release your belt a notch or two when you get your order, because at the very least you’ve ordered a box of ‘Timbits’ (doughnut holes), and you might even have ordered some of their fine pastries.  Enjoy, hooked mortal!!   Planning a trip to Canada, think you might want to visit Tim Horton’s?  You’ll first need to visit to learn how to order properly.

   If you do any traveling in that fine country, you’re going to encounter some odd road signs,

including speed limit signs with speeds listed that are in the (shudder) Metric System.  If you are driving a car made in Canada, no problem – if your car was made in the English System USA you’ll likely be confused (unless you remember to read the inner dial on your speedometer, which is in km/hr).  Somebody told me a rather simple way to approximate the conversion from Kilometers/Hr to Miles/Hr – you take the number you see (100, for instance), then mentally take half that number(50, in this example) + 1/10 that number(10) and add them together to yield the answer (60).  It’s not perfectly accurate, but it’s close.  If you can attain Warp Speed, there’ll be other conversions, I’m sure.  So, you now have the Knowledge Keys to the Kingdom and can therefore sally forth in your American-made vehicle, fully understanding the road signs.

   It’s possible that after you’ve been in Canada long enough (1 day?) to get frustrated with the currency system or the Metric Road Signs from Hell, you could decide that you require alcoholic sustenance.  So, where in Ontario might you find such items?  Well, don’t bother driving around looking for signs that say ‘liquor’ or ‘package store’ – you’ll be further frustrated.  In their infinite wisdom, Ontario decided at some point to regulate the sale of strong spirits and offer them ONLY at the LCBO store – and, as you guessed, that stands for “Liquor Control Board of Ontario”.  See how simple?

  Dang!  “All I wanted was some beer”, you say.  Hmmm, off to the grocery store?  Nope!  The corner convenience store?  No again, beer puppet!  You must visit an Ontario institution known cryptically as the “Beer Store”.  I don’t know how they come up with these names – really!

  Maybe in all your driving around, you find that your car needs fuel.  You drive into the station (in Canada, they look JUST LIKE gas stations, so no confusion there) and prepare to gas up.  You notice the sign that says, “$1.02”.  “WOW!  $1.02 a gallon??  I am MOVING HERE!”  And, it’s Canadian money!! Even MORE savings!  WODDA COUNTRY!  Then, you notice in the small print – “Price is per liter”.  Uh Oh, how much is THAT??  After consulting your hazy memory of high school chemistry, you realize…. wait, there are 3.8 liters per gallon, so I have to multiply this by 3.8 to get the cost?  3.8 x $1.02, that’s $3.87 per gallon!!!  Oh Lord, don’t let me need more than 5 liters, I spent all my money at “The Beer Store”.

  Oh, Canada!  I love you, I love you, I don’t understand you yet!  I’ll be back, but PLEASE don’t change anything, or I’ll be totally lost!!

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