In Praise of Canada
Several years ago, I worked with a Canadian girl. She was relentlessly chirpy, to the point that other people in my department would be heard to mutter, “what is up with her” whenever she stopped by to say hello. It was great.
Of course, I have met other, less chirpy Canadian people – but they do all seem to share the same laid back, sunny disposition. Perhaps I have just been lucky. Still, in my head all Canadians are Paul Gross in Due South before it jumped the shark.
My Canadian friend is actually a globe trotting traveller these days; she lives 3 months here, a few weeks there and so on. She was back in the UK with her husband for a few months over Christmas, and we met up a few times. She was planning a trip back to Canada to spend time with family, and she was very excited. We went for coffee and she spent ages telling me about all the things she was going to do, the places she was going to visit.
As it happens, I know a few people who have grown up here but moved to Canada; there seems to be quite a pull. I mean, I know their prime minister is a bit awesome and all, but still, what gives? Apparently, there are a lot of reasons Canada is a great place. Here are a few from the extensive list my friends have given me lately:
- Proper snow. At almost 36 years of age, I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of snow men I have been able to build in what we laughably call snow in this country. Meanwhile on my Facebook, photos abound of gigantic snow drifts, paths being dug out of solid walls of snow. Just imagine the snow angel potential!
- The people. Canadian people are apparently all like my friend. Or variations of her. Canadian people are not actually anything like Terence and Philip. From the staff at Hudson Movers to the baristas at Tim Horton’s, everyone is apparently friendly and pleasant. Which is very unlike the gruff indifference you often get in the UK!
- Immigrant-friendly. Apparently around 20% of Canada’s inhabitants are foreign-born, with people coming from all over the world. My friend’s family are Ukranian; others are Dutch but really you’d be hard pressed to find a nationality not represented by an ex pat community in Canada. True multiculturalism.
- Free Healthcare. Just like the NHS, only, you know, without Jeremy Hunt. Citizens and permanent residents get free basic healthcare.
- Jobs. There is apparently a labour shortage in Canada and they need thousands of foreign workers. So if you have any sort of a trade, you’re a shoe-in.
- Living standards. Apparently for several years now Vacouver, Toronto and Calgary have been ranked among the top 5 “most livable cities” in the world. Funnily enough, neither Salisbury nor London made the top 5 of that list.
And of course, there’s always the possibility that everyone in Canada is indeed a mountie with a deaf dog, going around doing good deeds and saving damsels in distress.
Where do I sign up?