13 Random thoughts about Canada after living here for a year.

On January 1, 2016 we packed up all our earthly goods and headed south to Canada. (Yes, it’s true. When you live in Minnesota, it’s possible to move south to Canada. Look at the map!) Having lived here for a little over a year, here are some thoughts about living here, in no particular order:

  1. “Sorry” is more of a greeting than just an apology.
  2. Canadians really are polite; but put them behind the wheel of a car and all bets are off.
  3. Universal healthcare works. Americans love to go on and on about socialized medicine; but I’m here to tell you: it works.
  4. Bumper stickers are rare here.
  5. People don’t really talk politics. Well, they talk about U.S. politics.
  6. Left turn arrows on traffic lights are rare. It makes for interesting moments when the light changes.
  7. The electric utility is called “hydro”, which given the Greek origin of the word makes little sense until you realize that it stands for “hydroelectric.”
  8. Youth music is well-supported - both through private and public funding.
  9. State-church separation is fuzzier. For example, the Catholic school system is tax-payer funded. But only the Catholic schools. It has something to do with the Canadian Charter (a.k.a Constitution.) It was apparently some sort of historical compromise in the 1800’s.
  10. Don’t order iced tea in Canada. It’s way too sweet.
  11. As a practical matter, you can’t be elected Prime Minister unless you speak both English and French fluently. This is a really good thing.^[How many languages does Donald Trump speak fluently, for example?]
  12. Speaking of politics, campaigns are time-limited to 6 weeks before an election. How cool is that?
  13. Poutine sounds horrible, but it’s actually pretty good.