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Cathy K

Our Canada.

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Cathy K

We all know that life in Canada is very different from life in South Africa. Let's post some photos here to illustrate this. I'm still trying to get someone, out walking his dog, to pose for me while cleaning up after his pooch. ;) And one of these days I'll have the camera ready when a ninety-year old streaks by me with his motorised scooter again.

But here is something to look at for a start:

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Supermarkets always have displays in front or outside the shops. I have yet to see a security guard guarding the merchandise.

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Seasonal side-walk sale. You can buy next year's clothes here for up to 80% less if you're not a fashion fundi who insists on only wearing the latest fashions. All the businesses have end-of-season sales. Now is the time to buy that coveted barbecue, patio set, camping gear, etc.

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Parking areas have designated parking for more than just disabled people. There are also spacious parking available for parents who need to unload strollers, etc. Then you have parking spaces for small cars and big cars. We don't have car wathchers! :ph34r:

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Halloween is great, but it's in October when the winter is back in full swing. So the malls stepped in. Shops provide free candy, their clerks dress up, and the kiddies can do their trick 'n treating in the warmth and safety of the mall.

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Home is where the heart is. This little cottage is on a smallholding in Lantzville. It is surrounded by woods and right next to a stream.

Now let's see what our other members can post.

Cathy K.

Edited by ckotze

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Guest Barbara

There are 100’s of things that make my Canada special but one that springs to mind is on Saturday a friend from work and I did an 18 km hike up Power Face Ridge on our own. 2 girls hiking in the mountains and the main concern for our safety would be bears.

And this is all 45 minutes drive from our house. I have got to love it.

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Lisa and Ian

Hi Cathy and Barbara

These pictures are great!

Wow am I glad to see that they have a Toys R Us because we live in that place here at home!

Another amazing thing to see is dedicated parking for families with small children. It goes to show that they think about the people and know how difficult it is when you take to the shops with a little baby and have to off load his pram, his baby bag and then still carry all the shopping back to the car while "test driving"the pram at the same time.

It would be wonderful to keep posting PICS OF EVERYDAY LIFE IN CANADA on an ongoing basis so that us back here in SA can see more of the day to day life over there.

Perhaps you could have a standard thread for this?????? It would be most interesting for us especially seeing how things change from season to season.

Great idea Cathy and Barbara to post those pics!

LISA

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Matisse
I'm still trying to get someone, out walking his dog, to pose for me while cleaning up after his pooch. ;)

The photo below is perhaps not exactly what you have in mind, but nevertheless still not something that happens often in SA - walking the dogs on a winter's day with the snow falling and a strong wind, with temperature (wind chill included) around -25.

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Marli

Lisa, I don't have a picture of it, but many malls also offer 'parent washrooms'. These washrooms are for the explisit use of any parent who has a child with him (or her). My fiance once accidentally walked into one of these and was booed out by two fathers because he had no child with him!

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Adele

I had to post this picture of how some people celebrate a mile stone in their lives. The person was unknown to me and his name was Steve. He had just turned 50 and everyone in the neighbourhood heard the Happy Birthday song, but for nearly 75 people attending it was quite and very clean the next day as you can see from the state of the yard.

Please take note that I walked right up to their property which had no fence and you can see 'blinds' in the windows instead of burglar bars.

There was a total of 50 Flamingoes, Skunks and "Sexy pigs" scattered on the lawn.

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Marli

Life in Vancouver:

The main artery of public transport in Vancouver. The so called 'Skytrain' is a fully automated, unmanned train that is highly convenient (if you live nearby). One of the most convenient things about the Skytrain is that one can park your car at many of the Skytrain stations and then ride the train into town. This way you don't need to deal with traffic or parking.

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Raccoons are also part of daily life in Vancouver. We tend to lock our cats indoors at night since there are raccoons and coyotes running around in suburban Vancouver. We've only spotted the coyotes once, but we know they are around and we've seen signs where they warn you to keep your smaller pets away from these:

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The pic below is of Vancouver when it gets grey and dreary. The greyness lasts for a while, unfortunately the snow doesnt. In my 2 years in Vancouver, I've seen less than 10 days of snow cover.

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Edited by Marli

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Marli

Harry, I remember a detailed post you made about IKEA long ago. Perhaps its time to revive it? I couldn't find it, perhaps you remember where you put it.

You've done some detailed discussions about day to day things like Mark's wearhouse etc. Perhaps you could find the links and post it here again, please?

Edited by Marli

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dieulefit

Great pictures! Now, not that South Africa does not have wonderful Malls/places either, BUT with all the security, you just do not see the attractiveness in them anymore, is this not true! My Canada is where my son, when he was still at university, could throw a sleeping bag in his car and drive up the mountains and sleep somewhere for the night - alone! Yes, he would assure his concerned mother that she should just be worried about the odd Mountain Lion, but he was SAFE! And or my daughter, who absolutely love cycling and has her bicycle with her in Montreal and although Montreal is not as well geared for cycling as Toronto is, she has found some great routes/parks and always feels safe. She had some classes last year until 11 at night and would get home via the subway at around midnight and never felt unsafe. Tthe subway system in Montreal is well supervised under a great surveilance system! I would NOT have felt good about her under the same circumstances in South Africa - I do not think so! Both my children love Theatre and when they were still at home in Toronto and we used to live close to the GO-Station, they often went downtown Toronto to see shows etc. I had to run an errand this morning and driving up my (farm) road, so many garagedoors and windows wide open, people working out in their gardens and everything looked so peaceful - I just had to let my thoughts go back to South Africa..... . We are indeed privileged to be in this wonderful country and I hope and pray that it will stay like this for a VERY long time, indeed!

Marli, you would not like this - farmers shoot Raccoons! They cause so much damage to crops and you will not eat a single grape if you have it in your garden - they eat most of your fruit before you get to it! A few nights ago we heard several gunshots and my husband was concerned somebody is shooting Deer, but it is not hunting season and all we could think about is that they are shooting Raccoons! I had a family of 5 Raccoons on one of my Islands in my pond and they are gone! I used to watch them as they fish and eat some of the reeds - they have vanished. I only feed the birds and put out a Deer Lick for the Deer, which I have heard is very good for them. They LOVE the apple flavored one the most!

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Marli

Hi Dieulefit, I am aware of what a nuicance these little critters can be. Vancouver has quite a problem with raccoons as well and they have recently introduced raccoon-proof garbage bins. Unfortunately, this took away their main source of food and it appears that they've now moved on to preying on small pets instead.

Another aspect of Canada that I'm very fond of, is that a large portion of the community involves themselves with community work. To that effect they have 'Neighbourhood houses' in Vancouver which offer all kinds of programs to the community. The picture below was taken at a Christmas party at the group I volunteered at. This group was specifically aimed at single moms. The moms (and children under 6) come together on a weekly basis for 2 to 3 hours and the moms underwent group councelling while the children were cared for by volunteers and qualified child minders. The session also involved programs to help them find jobs, fill in tax, obtain vouchers for food etc. I thought it was an excellent idea as it really helped the moms get on their feet and make some connections.

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Matisse

Perhaps not as modern-looking as the "Skytrain" in Vancouver, but still very convenient - the Toronto subway, with a train arriving every 3-7 minutes. Just a pity the subway system in Toronto is actually so small in comparison with other big cities.

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If you feel nostalgic, you can even travel on a streetcar on some routes near downtown. Behind the streetcar is a very common vehicle - the U-Haul van, rented by thousands every year if they need to transport furniture or other stuff.

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The coin-operated car wash is also very common, especially useful to wash of the salt and grime from your vehicle during winter.

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And I guess a photo of Tim Hortons is inevitable, and what can be more convenient than the drive-through at Tim Hortons!

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dieulefit

Folks, can your life turn upside down like mine? Within minutes after I 'bragged' about how safe this country is....... my daughter just called VERY upset - someone has been in her apartment! We recently moved her and into what we thought was a very safe and secure building and comes with the pricetag too! I told my husband, regardless of the fact that she has good frontdoor security, we should change her lock - which we did NOT do! Someone has been in her place and she only realized it last night - when she wanted a drink I bought for her and hasn't had... it is gone as well as a small musical instrument - only items she can find so far and THANK GOD not her, very expensive, Laptop! She used to hide it in her previous apartment, as she was living in a basement apartment and did not feel quite safe... . So, she is on her way from her little job (and this kid is working soooo carefully with her money!! - darn it!!) and is going to demand from her Super to change her lock! I am very upset - feel like jumping in my car and drive to Montreal!! I think it is the chap who lived there before her - he just moved into another apartment in the SAME building! Who else will have a key? Someone even before him....... a case for investigation, I recon! I'll keep you posted. I have a few nasty knots in my stomach now!

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BevBrad

Here is another aspect of life in Canada. Life is a breeze.

BTW this is the real ocean, not a lake!

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Edited by BevBrad

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KateyLee
Perhaps not as modern-looking as the "Skytrain" in Vancouver, but still very convenient - the Toronto subway, with a train arriving every 3-7 minutes. Just a pity the subway system in Toronto is actually so small in comparison with other big cities.

But you really can get anywhere in the City of Toronto using the TTC (toronto transit). I recommend that all immigrants considering the GTA, look seriously at living near a TTC subway stop. You will save a lot of money when you consider how expensive petrol and insurance costs are. And it really is stressful to drive over here in the snow and/or traffic (not to mention the continuous road works!).

But living in the big city doesn't mean that you will be lost in a cold, impersonal, maze of skyscrapers.

You can go grocery shopping for fresh organic food everyday at the St. Lawrence Market. It is like one gigantic farmers market.

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There is lots of green space in Toronto and it is always well maintained. This park is next to my condo building.

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And there are also lots of older buildings in Toronto. I think they really add character to all the different downtown neighbourhoods.

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I hope that brief look around my city block shows that even the big city can have that small community charm.

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Matisse
But you really can get anywhere in the City of Toronto using the TTC (toronto transit). I recommend that all immigrants considering the GTA, look seriously at living near a TTC subway stop.

As you say, as long as you live near a subway station it is great. But the moment you need to use the bus, your travel time increases significantly. Considering that Toronto is Canada's biggest city, and the 5th largest city in North America, I believe its subway system is totally inadequate. The total length of the subway system is only 68.3 km (please note, I'm only referring to the railway system and not to the bus and streetcar system that links to the subway). And Toronto doesn't even have a direct subway link to the airport!

I absolutely love the St Lawrence Market area of downtown! Is that church on your one photo perhaps the St James Cathedral?

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KateyLee
As you say, as long as you live near a subway station it is great. But the moment you need to use the bus, your travel time increases significantly. Considering that Toronto is Canada's biggest city, and the 5th largest city in North America, I believe its subway system is totally inadequate. The total length of the subway system is only 68.3 km (please note, I'm only referring to the railway system and not to the bus and streetcar system that links to the subway). And Toronto doesn't even have a direct subway link to the airport!

I absolutely love the St Lawrence Market area of downtown! Is that church on your one photo perhaps the St James Cathedral?

Yes, that is the St. James Cathedral. I also love the neighbourhood! We moved here in May and there is so much at our door step.

I agree that the transit system could serve the suburban areas more adequately. But that is why I encourage immigrants to really consider public transit when choosing their new home. I would try and not live more than a 15 minute walk away from a TTC subway/streetcar stop. You will save money in the long term!

Of course, if you work in Mississauga or Richmond Hill then this grand plan will not work. The city really should have planned those areas more carefully. Things are so spread out now and you need your car to get anywhere in a reasonable amount of time. Hopefully they will improve the situation in the future.

I will avoid the expense of a car for as long as possible. We bought a car when we arrived in Canada and our insurance cost more than the car repayments B)

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Marli

You have the same problem in Vancouver. But this is why I say it is convenient that they have 'Park and Ride' areas where you can leave your car for the day. This is very useful to us, since we stay 10 minutes driving from a Skytrain station, but by bus it will take us 40 minutes to get to the Skytrain.

Does Toronto have the same arrangement? Can you leave your car at one of the train stations when you come from one of the suburbs?

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KateyLee
You have the same problem in Vancouver. But this is why I say it is convenient that they have 'Park and Ride' areas where you can leave your car for the day. This is very useful to us, since we stay 10 minutes driving from a Skytrain station, but by bus it will take us 40 minutes to get to the Skytrain.

Does Toronto have the same arrangement? Can you leave your car at one of the train stations when you come from one of the suburbs?

I think so. I know that we used to use the park and go lot in Etobicoke at the Kipling subway station when we came into the city while still living in Kitchener. So I would imagine they have similar facilities at the other subway stations. Obviously you should be walking to the subway station once you are in the downtown core. I don't think there are anymore parking lots left because they are always building new condo buildings on them!

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Cathy K

Building houses in Canada differs widely from the methods used in South Africa.

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The concrete for the foundations is poured. No labourers with wheelbarrows. B)

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The boxing for the basement is erected and it's now ready for the return of the concrete mixer.

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The basement foundation is completed and the house can now be constructed on top of it.

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Today the roof trusses came up. The walls are built with a kind of chipboard.

If anybody is interested I can continue posting until the house is completed.

Cathy K.

Edited by ckotze

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debbieD

Still got the beach! B)

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Lisa and Ian

Hi all

Very interesting pics! Keep them coming as it gives us such a good idea of what to expect in Canada. Does anyone have any pics of Burlington/Oakville areas?

Thanks

LISA

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johankok

Personally, I love the varius threads on various aspects within Canada, e.g. murals, houses, gardens, this one etc. It really provides a visual in a way one never had before.

By the way, where I live is also a lack of wheelbarrows and people when it comes to foundations, or the first floor's concrete throwing... we have the same equipment for that in SA as well. The liberal labour and labour laws is just not condusive to provide employment anymore.

Edited by johankok

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Daléne

And for those of us, who do no have the "real beach", there is always Wasaga

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And of course the beauty of Collingwood and the Georgian Bay, these photos taken from Blue Mountain.

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Traveller

For the snow-deprived citizens of Vancouver, here are a few pics from Ottawa Ontario, where we used to live (before moving to Vancouver). (Btw, I read in the online Mail&Guardian today that roofs are in danger of collapsing in the Eastern Cape, due to snow!)

Our house in Ottawa turned into a "sprokieswêreld" after a snowstorm:

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Well, at least there is no need for gardening during the winter:

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When the weather is good (but cold enough), you can always go for a skate on the frozen canal - downtown:

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And at Chrismas time, they have coloured lights everywhere - this is the canal at night, downtown Ottawa:

Fun !

Christo

Edited by Montxsuz

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Marli

Hi Christo. Lovely pictures! And snow really does make ordinary life look like a fairy tale world! How long have you been in Vancouver? And would you mind doing a comparison of the cities for us? Thanks!!

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