Too Posh To Mosh

Random crap by Dave Rutt

What I learned about Canada

My three weeks in Toronto were fantastic. I had such a good time there, and I will be back as soon as I can afford it.

This was the second time that I’d been there (the first time being in 1999) and I was impressed both times by how friendly the locals were, and also how lovely the city is. I spent quite a lot of time with my sister and her family this time, but I was also able to form a few impressions of Toronto and it’s native Canadians and other inhabitants. I thought it might be a good idea to write down what I have learned about this magnificent place.


Canadians are not North Americans. Well, they pretend not to belong to the geographical continent of the same name, even though that is actually true. They prefer to distance themselves from their nearest neighbours, much the same way that us Brits prefer not be called “European”. I had a conversation with one Canadian lady (very nice she was too) who was adamant about not being called a “North American”, like it was akin to me calling her a “Fat, stupid, gun-toting moron” or something.

Toronto has some very tall buildings. The CN Tower used to be the tallest free-standing structure in the world, but now there are one or two new buildings that have over-taken it – that one in Thailand towers over it.

Toronto can get very cold. I almost froze my bits off going for a walk around town on a few occasions. Bloody hell, it can get a bit chilly during the winter.

There appear to be lots of Brits in Toronto. Wherever I went I seemed to be falling over Scots and Scousers etc. The place is awash with ex-Brits along with no end of other migrants. There are a number of Chinese and Italian communties dotted around along with plenty of Portuguese, Greeks and West Indians. This makes Toronto a particularly interesting mix of cultures.

Toronto has plenty of weirdos. There are a lot of very strange people wandering the streets, some of them on bikes, some of them vagrants (or similar) but there does appear to be some very peculiar people among the populace, more than I would expect. There are many, many wonderful, intelligent people also, it’s just that when some bizarre lady swears at you for no reason then you start to wonder what they put in the water.

Canadians are language confused. They may sound slightly like Americans in the whole but some even speak French and the English-speaking ones can’t decide whether they want to spell the British way or the American way. They spell words like colour, favour and centre correctly but not tyre (tire) and probably other words too, plus they still mispronounce the odd word like apricot and depot.

Talking of depot, Home Depot is just B&Q complete with lots of Orange displays and green aprons.

Pedestrians are in constant danger of getting run over. I suppose this is the same in the States, but cars can turn right at most junctions even if the lights are at red. This is of some convenience to the driver obviously (how many times have I wanted to turn left at a junction but couldn’t even though the way was clear) but causes some danger to those poor people crossing the road. Naturally the people have the right of way, but you’ve got to hope that the driver is concentrating on not breaking your legs.

Drivers in Toronto are not very polite. When driving around the expressways or other major roads it’s often difficult to join a different lane or get to a slip road because no bugger will let you in. Driving tests over here a bit of a joke apparently, and so the skills of some drivers is questionable. Defensive driving is a must for those trying to get about in a car. Nothing like as bad as the Italians or Saudis though.

Canada is HUGE! It’s almost as far from Toronto to Vancouver as it is from London to Toronto. Lake Superior is nearly as big as the whole of England, and almost as wet.

You can’t smoke inside anymore. Laws have come into place that prevent people from smoking inside public buildings, including pubs. You have to go outside to get your daily nicotine fix even when the temperatures are -30 or so. In fact, Ontario is turning into a bit of a Nanny State with many laws that seem intent on spoiling people’s fun. I don’t even smoke and I think that pub owners should be able to decide for themselves whether to allow smpking in restricted areas of their businesses (smoking rooms etc).

You can’t buy alcohol from the Supermarket. How stupid is this, you can only buy alcoholic beverages from licenced liquor sellers such as the LCBO or the Beer Store. People are unable to grab a few tinnies or a bottle of wine while out shopping for bread and Doritos or whatever. I saw queues of people trying to buy booze!

The Binmen in Toronto are surly buggers. I’m sure that this isn’t only a problem there, but the blokes going round emptying the bins were the most miserable sods going. Once a bin was emptied they’d just fling the bin back towards the house so that once they’d finished a street the pavement (sidewalk) is strewn with partially empty bins – they don’t spend any time making sure that they’re empty. It’s strictly work to rule with these bastards so it’s no wonder they don’t get any Christmas tips (other than “Cheer up Mr Frown”).

I’ll be back. Just like Arnie I’m sure to visit this wonderful place again.

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2 Comments

  1. david rutt March 3, 2005

    It is amazing what you pick up if you google you name.

    Even more amazing is that we both hold the same admiration of the boob.

    Been to Toronto? A few times? So have I. Great place, great people and most of all great food. Most of the Pubs are within staggering distance to where you are staying at as well.

    Toronto sure is a bit cool in the winter. But then again so is most of North America. Contrary to the popular belief of some citizens of Canada, they do live in North America, and it is cold. Like that lady that you spoke with, sometimes I wonder if their brain freezes and damages itself during the thaw. If they take offence of being compared to fat, stupid puss bags that have guns on the brain they can thank Michael Moore for that. He is your typical fat stupid American. He holds out his public opinions for all to see that America is bad, evil and backwards. But, he lives here. Move? Hmmmmmm…..

    So, why isn’t he Canadian then? Canadians don’t want him. He will give them a bad name. Sort of like distancing themselves from their nearest neighbor, Quebec. I am still waiting for this mass exodus of liberals to Canada that was supposed to happen after the election. That is the 2000 election. If fact, half of Hollywood was supposed to move to British Columbia, they never did. Now the 2004 election has come and gone, and they are still here. Liberals are funny. They make me laugh.

    You said:
    Toronto has plenty of weirdos. There are a lot of very strange people wandering the streets, some of them on bikes, some of them vagrants (or similar) but there does appear to be some very peculiar people among the populace, more than I would expect. …it’s just that when some bizarre lady swears at you for no reason.
    I bet those are Ex-American liberals. Maybe they are moving to Canada like they said they would. Wow, a sighting of the first heard headed north. I sort off feel bad for Canada…..

    OK I’m over it.

    You also said:
    Canadians are language confused.
    No, they just speak one of the many dialects of English spoken in North America.

    You further said:
    Canada is HUGE! It’s almost as far from Toronto to Vancouver as it is from London to Toronto.
    Yes, it is. But you have to remember the lady you spoke with. Don’t tell her. It will ruin her for life if she finds out that there are other people outside of Ontario. They live in a land far, far away called British Columbia. There is also Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan to the West. It is part of Canada and all of it is in North America.
    Woodchuck (small varmint that never leaves far away from its hole.)

    You then said:
    You can’t smoke inside anymore. Laws have come into place that prevent people from smoking inside public buildings, including pubs.
    Gee, that sucks. Forcing people to actually smell the food they are paying money for in a public place. The thought it all. Of being able to experience a pull of Smithwick’s and forced to smell the complex hops instead of burning tobacco and tar exhaled from the yellow crusted teeth of a nicotine junkie. It also breaks my heart that my eyes no longer burn while watching my favorite large breasted beer wench server me my pints. And I sob when they have to go outside for a smoke in the cold, cold North American Winter. You can tell it is so bitterly cold outside. Nature’s thermometers say so.

    (another pint miss……)

    My final rant:

    You should google yourself. You are the number one hit for David Rutt. I only rank second. Don’t get me wrong, I love Toronto. Canada is great, Queanada mentality is where I may have an issue.

    Cheers,

  2. eibb_ray March 4, 2005

    Just came to your blog from tmp.

    Thought it was funny when you said that Canadians are language confused.
    Funny we (Americans) think they sound a bit like British, but in a stuck up North in the cold kind of way that makes us say, “Say I found a mouse in the house, now what’s all that about?” Say it again, say it again.

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