Stuff about Canada that is weird and/or makes no sense

We’ve been in Canada three weeks now. It’s a great place. But there’s so much stuff that’s very weird or outdated or crazy here. I know there will be differences but some stuff is just bizarre.

Yep, this is the perfect illustration of the Canadian toilet problem.

1. Toilets: there’s so much water in the toilet bowl! I seem to recall a lot of European toilets are like this too. It’s totally impractical as I think it uses more water, plus if you are too careless with your wiping technique you risk accidentally touching the toilet water. I shudder to think of the splashback when vomiting! (Image taken from here.)

Shows you how right I am - this image is from the website of a Canadian bank. And it came up in the results of a search for "1970s bank teller"!

2. Banks: walking into a bank is like walking into the most conservative place ever, but in Canada it’s that and also like stepping back in time about 40 years. I seriously don’t expect to see a computer smaller than my living room actually in use and doing more than spitting out punch cards. There’s a lot of wood veneer, glass, and brown aluminium. Ron Burgundy would have a field day down at the local Scotiabank branch!

Yeah, there's a reason it's only 99c: it's bloody awful!

3. Coffee: Oh non-dairy creamer, how I hate you! You most revolting of non-foods! Seriously coffee here is generally pretty unpleasant, or at least it is only distantly related to what we call coffee in Australia. Gone are the days of the $4.50 small flat white served by a flesh-tunneled hipster named Gavin. Now it’s free refills of vaguely coffee-like beverage served by a small Phillipino woman in an apron called Gloria.

And the reason Caller ID is even more important here? You get lots of random calls from machines with smarmy American accents telling you you're a valued customer and a whole bunch of other crap you aren't interested in hearing. Or maybe that's just me.

4. Phones: not only do some phone companies not even give you a sim card unless you give them a pound of flesh with your Social Insurance Number branded on it, they charge you both for outgoing and incoming calls. Oh, and caller ID. Cos that costs extra, of course!

Some blocks of cheese are only an inch thick but about eight inches long! (Yes, deliberate use of imperial measurements - see how annoying it is? What the hell is a quart anyway?)

5. Cheese: I don’t even know where to begin on the cheese. Not only does cheddar not resemble cheddar visually, in texture or by taste, it also comes in the most inconveniently shaped slab ever! Seriously, do you need some special type of cheese-slicing apparatus to actually extract a slice suitable to go on a sandwich? So weird. And speaking of dairy products…

6. The milk in the freaking bag: why? I just want to know why. Why do you persist with bagged milk, Canada? It was apparently introduced to assist Canadians to transition to the metric system by developing a better understanding of how much a litre actually was. Um, newsflash: not only do you still not consistently use the metric system, you’re still making us get milk in a freaking plastic bag! Why? Oy vey!

And when I was searching for images just now I discovered they are definitely called mailboxes, not letterboxes. Or is it the other way around? I'm confused.

7. Mailboxes: maybe this is just an Ontario or Toronto thing, but for some apparent “security-related” reason we don’t have letter boxes at our houses any more. No, if you want to get your mail you have to get a key and walk up the street a minute to a bank of small mailboxes with no external indications as to whose is whose. It’s odd.

I could go on, I really could, as there is so much weirdness here, but I’ve no doubt Canadians coming to Australia are all like, “all this room and they don’t even have basements, what’s with that?” And a myriad of other perplexing mysteries I’m probably not even aware of as it’s normal for me. I’ll say one thing though, I will never become accustomed to bag milk, never!

Author: curiosikat

Writer, editor, linguist, social historian...

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