My Travels to My Neighbor Up North, Canada

When I was 20 years old, I went ahead and left the United States of America (more specifically, my home state of Florida), for a Canadian vacation. It was the first time I had ever left the United States to visit a foreign country. I chose to visit Canada because of the tremendous price of a flight from my hometown airport to Buffalo, N.Y., a relatively close airport to the tourist destination of Niagara Falls, my first stop on my tour of Canada.

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I did a bit of research of Niagara Falls and Toronto, a city that is the largest metropolis of Canada. I decided those would be the two cities I would visit in my time in Canada. Therefore, that meant the only province I would visit was Ontario, one of thirteen provinces and territories. In addition, I had learned that the legal drinking age in Ontario was 19, rather than 21 in New York State and most of America. I could enjoy liquor freely and openly without age restrictions.

Border Crossing

The most memorable part of the trip was being able to cross bridges between the two nations as a pedestrian with only a coin. Before all of the restrictions that currently exist (largely involving a passport), anyone could cross via inserting a coin thru a turnstile. It signaled how much our two nations trusted each other that a coin is the only impediment to enter each nation.

When it came to the peculiarities of Canadian life, which are not necessarily distinct from most of American life, they actually seem to stand out much more than you would imagine. One of the items that has become a popular breakfast item in America, “McDonald’s Canadian bacon” is referred to as peameal. Some other restaurants will refer to it as “back bacon.” Another oddity is the availability of smoking products, especially Cuban cigars. In tourist traps that attract Americans, it is very commonplace to see humidors stacked with Cuban cigars. One final difference is the metric system, most obvious when driving. Odds are you will rent a car that is an American make and look exactly the same except the speedometer is in kilometers.

I Would Really Want to Return

I would love return to Canada, but visit another area of the True North. After watching the 2010 Winter Olympics, either I am considering going to British Columbia during the winter to try the skiing and other winter sports. My other option is to visit the Calgary Stampede in the summer, a rodeo event that takes place in early July.

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