Reflections on Canada

I’ve just returned from a trip to Ottawa and Toronto. It was great catching up with people, although unfortunately, I couldn’t see everyone. During the trip, I noticed some differences between Canadian and London urban living. 


  • Canada is very spacious, especially in the suburbs.  There was space everywhere, including upwards and even on the roads. I was initially worried about driving on the highways but found it quite spacious with 6 lanes of traffic in one direction at times, and ample space beside cars not to feel squeezed. 


  • Pedestrians have the right of way, full stop.  Drivers let walkers cross the road, even if they sometimes aren’t happy about it, they still do let them pass. 


  • Cycling is recreational, not a means of commuting. Most Canadians use cars for their commute so there weren’t many cycling lanes and no hard-core commuters at rush hour (just some MAMILs on the weekends in the countryside). 


  • Local corn on the cob is the best! UK corn tastes tough and starchy in comparison. Canadian farmers might even call it cattle feed. Ontario (and NY import) corn is tender, sweet, pale yellow and flavourful. 


  • The repetitive nature of the weather. Every day I was there was hot and sunny. It was low to high 30’s Celsius. London (UK) experienced those temps for a couple of days, whereas Ottawa and Toronto had it pretty much every day for 2 weeks. And it’s expected to be high 20’s for the next 10 days.  


  • The chatty nature of a lot of strangers I encountered. Customer service staff always asked, “how are you?” and paused to listen. I chatted to people in queues a lot and they initiated most of the conversations which is the opposite of what happens in London.  


With this perspective, I’m eager to feel more spaciousness in London and to initiating more random conversations with strangers.  


What would you try if you were acting from a different perspective?