Monday, November 21, 2005

Canadian Parliament

I flew up to Canada early on Sunday so I could look about Ottawa, Canada’s capital. I spent most of my time in the Parliament area taking pictures of the buildings and the river area. Then I took the tour f Parliament and learned a little about their history. They were a British holding until 1867 when they negotiated a peaceful separation from the crown. However, they still feel a strong bond back to England. In their struggle to create an identity that is unique from that of American’s they have mixed British and American practices. In business, it feels almost identical to the U.S. However, they do only work 37.5 hours /week (7.5 hours/day) in order to avoid the very strict overtime laws that kick in when a person works over 40 hours/week.

Canadian money looks like European money, different colors and including social scenes and contemporary figures. The $5 has a picture of children playing hockey on the back. Their coins also have the Queen of England on them – something you would never see in America.

The food also has a British flavor – meaning little flavor. Most of the places I ate served food that was less flavorful than American. There were also no Mexican restaurants – which I think is a big opportunity. But, they are very big on donuts and coffee. The Tim Horton donut and coffee shops are everywhere, as dense as McDonald’s in America. There appeared to be a Tim Horton’s about every 5 miles.

I found that within one day I had picked up the Canadian language inflection. That means ending each sentence on a rising note and pausing for just a few seconds before starting the next sentence. This pattern almost naturally calls for an “eh” at the end of the sentence.

I am invited back in February when the temperature is 20 degrees below zero. They say it is the best time of the year with Winter Festivals running, ice sculpture, snow sculpture, and skating on the frozen canal. But you have to wear clothes that cover everything but your eyes.


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