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Thursday, 23 February 2012

Why I want to be a Canadian

Now, as you’ve probably gathered from reading this blog, I’ve done my fair share of travelling. True, I’ve still only explored 3 of the 6 continents available but I think it would be fair to allow myself a little moment of arrogance and admit that I think I have a decent idea of what else is out there in the world, and what opportunities are available. Who knows, maybe I’ll fall in love with some exotic little Asian island or sprawling African metropolis later in life, but right now the only country for me is Canada. A lot of people have asked me a simple question- why?

let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

My daily commute

 1. As a snowboarder, there’s a glaringly obvious element of Canadian life which appeals to me. The snow. Snow was the reason I first visited, the reason I loved it and the reason that I returned. Not only do I love the white stuff as a surface on which to glide, it is also stunningly beautiful and makes the world look magical in a way that no other weather will. There’s a reason why most Christmas cards show snowy, festive landscapes! Even after spending six months of my life trudging to work at 5:30am with powder to my knees I still love snow….it must be serious! Additionally, the whole ski resort lifestyle has so much going for it. It’s active, sociable, stylish and as a local you can enjoy feeling superior to all the newbies and tourists who have no idea what they’re doing. I do, however, wonder if I would feel the same way about my country of choice if I’d only ever visited the cities.

Hiking the chief, Squamish
2. Canada boasts some of the most stunning landscapes one could ever wish to see. True there are a lot of very boring flat parts, but there’s no one there anyway so who cares? Towering mountain ranges sink into deep blue lakes and oceans and everywhere you look you see green. Or white, depending on the time of year. The most astounding thing about Canada’s beauty is that it’s all natural. A lot of their main tourists destinations are not huge man made monoliths (ignoring the CN tower…) or even ancient ruins and artefacts, instead it is just what has always been there. And I think that’s pretty cool

3. What is the purpose of nature and beauty if there is no one there to see it? And how do you see it without ruining it? Well, according to Canada you get out there and you get involved! It seems to be the norm there to spend the majority of your free time hiking, biking, skiing or snowboarding. The lifestyle is just so healthy! Of course, I’m not claiming that there are no fat Canadians but the amount of children and young adults you see out enjoying the countryside far surpasses anything I’ve seen in the UK, Australia or anywhere else I’ve visited. I was never an ‘outdoorsy’ child but whilst in Canada I became an avid hiker and spent many days cycling around breathtaking lakes and along nature trails hoping to spot native wildlife.
a seamless intermingling of two cultures

 4. Racism is an unavoidable part of life and something that exists everywhere in the world. People just find difference too hard to look past. However you rarely hear of racist incidences occurring in Canada. This is surprising considering that in the 2006 census only 18.4% of people classified themselves as being 100% Canadian (in contrast, in the most recent census of the UK over 80% of people identified themselves as White British) Obviously there are a large amount of minorities in Canada. This gives the country a very multi-cultural feel. All of the large cities that I have visited have been an amazing hodgepodge of identities and cultures, meaning that there’s usually something for everyone.

a standard canadian night out- ski gear and shots
5. Lowering the tone of this blog post somewhat I would like to state for the record that, from my experience, Canadians know how to party. Maybe it is because I have spent most of my time there in resorts and tourist traps but having fun and letting loose seem to be an important aspect of Canadian life. There is a big emphasis on live music and the atmosphere in most bars is extremely social. When we visited a pub in the middle of nowhere on Vancouver Island we found ourselves dragged into a karaoke night full of locals insistent on buying us drinks and getting us onto the stage. Clubs tend to be eclectic and play a wide range of music styles. Additionally a night out in Canada is comparatively cheaper than I’ve experienced in Australia, the UK and Western Europe.

 6. In fact, the cost of most things in Canada is extremely reasonable. I found that my living costs there were far lower than any of the other countries I have resided (France, UK, Australia)

A friendly local!
7. Finally, Canada is a backpackers dream because of the endless travel opportunities. The USA and Latin America are both accessible reasonably easily and cheaply and Canada itself has so much land to explore. It’s almost like the country was designed for adventure travellers, with culture, natural beauty, friendly helpful people, an emphasis on fun and recreation and so many outdoor sporting opportunities.

 So, there you have it. Why I love Canada. But despite all the thought and effort I have put into writing this post I still don’t feel like I’ve really managed to put my finger on it. Maybe you’ll just have to go there and check it out for yourself!!

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