Posted by: Philip Rushton | June 29, 2010

Top 10 Things I Will Miss About Canada

On July 1 we celebrate Canada Day. As I get ready to move down to the US I’ve come to realize that this is probably the last Canada Day I will celebrate as a Canadian resident for a while. As such, I thought I’d make out a list of the top 10 things I will miss about living in Canada.

10: MATERNITY LEAVE

Okay, so this is admittedly an odd place to start. Seeing as I am a man, and thereby not eligible for maternity leave, you are probably wondering why this made it on to my list. In Canada most women are able to receive a whole year off for maternity leave where they are paid 80% of their normal salary. Down in the US you are lucky to get a month off. Now please hear me when I say that the Rushtons are not expecting a baby. I can see the rumors starting to spread already! I just chose this as a good example of some of the social structures that Canada has to support families.

9: SOUTH FRASER WAY DURING THE NHL PLAYOFFS

When the Vancouver Canucks make the NHL playoffs, Abbotsford becomes a different city. People seem friendlier, united and passionate. Strangers talk to each other, people honk and wave at cars that are adorned with Canuck flags, and neighbors actually hang out together to watch games. When the Canucks manage to pull off a playoff win (which is rare), the Abbotsford police sometimes have to shut down South Fraser Way to prevent celebrations from getting out of hand.

8: REGENT COLLEGE BOOKSTORE

I have to admit that I rarely like Christian bookstores. Too often I find that these stores are full of merchandise that does not do justice to the gospel. Christianity is often reduced to a sentimental wall hanging, or turned into a cheesy slogan on a t-shirt that says something like “Got Jesus?” Somewhere along the line Jesus started to be commodified like a dairy product and sold for a quick profit. However, the bookstore at Regent College, where I did my graduate degree, is one of the few Christian bookstores that has a collection of really good books. They have a huge collection of top rate theological and spiritual writings.

7: TIM HORTONS

Tim Hortons is so much a part of Canadian culture that I suspect it might make it on to our five dollar bill at some point. I’m not kidding. The current five dollar bill has a picture of people playing hockey on a frozen pond, so this is not out of the realm of possibility. I will particularly miss the honey cruller donut and the breakfast sandwich.

6: CBC RADIO ONE

Just think of NPR without “All That Jazz” and more multicultural programming. Julie and I love listening to this great talk radio station when we’re out for a drive.

5: FRENCH / FRANCAIS

There is something about the presence of the French language in Canada that makes me feel a little bit European and therefore a little bit cooler. Of course I don’t speak any French, but by being a Canadian citizen I feel I have a right to claim it as part of my heritage. After all, I do encounter French everyday on my Cheerio box and my grapefruit pop bottle. Here’s to another glass of soude de pamplemousse!

4: MULTICULTURALISM

Multiculturalism is a significant value in Canada. When people immigrate to Canada they often hold on to their cultural traditions. In Abbotsford this makes for some great ethnic food and the ability to get fast food samosas! It also broadens my North American perspective. As I see Sikh men and women walking through town in their traditional gowns and turbans it gives me a daily reminder of the diversity of cultures and traditions in our world.

3: THE WESTMINSTER ABBEY

I live 15 minutes away from a beautiful Benedictine monastery that is perched up on a hill and overlooks the Fraser Valley. This has been a significant place for me as I often go there for spiritual retreats or for a day of prayer and solitude.

2: THE GREAT OUTDOORS

If you have ever driven into BC through the US border you have probably come across the BC tourism signs that say, “BC – The Best Place on Earth,” or “Super Natural BC Welcomes You.” While these signs show a pretension that is not typical for Canadians, I must say that they have a bit of truth to them. BC is absolutely beautiful. I will miss the amazing diversity that makes up the landscape of my upbringing – the mountains, ocean, rivers, and forest. I’m glad that I still get to live on the West Coast when we move to Washington State.

1: PROXIMITY TO FAMILY AND FRIENDS

Of course the biggest thing I will miss about living in Canada is my friends and family. I will miss those last minute golf rounds with Mike and Dan, impromptu visits with my parents, or a nights out with my sister and her boys. Moving five hours away will be quite an adjustment.

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Responses

  1. You know I have to do this. 🙂

    Top 10 Things You will Love about the Pacific Northwest

    10. You won’t have to hold someone’s job for a year when they have a baby. Unfortunately, while a year long maternity break sounds awesome there’s a definite downside for employers.

    9. Seattle during Seafair. Blue Angels, Torchlight parade, Pirate landing, Hydroplanes, lots of festivals. It’s an excellent welcome to the sunshine every year. And best thing is you don’t have to wait for the Mariners or Seahawks to make it to the playoffs.

    8. Powell’s Book Store. I’m no fan of Portland but this bookstore will make you forget all other bookstores.

    7. Voodoo Donuts. Well, maybe they are no Tim Hortons but once you enjoy a Bacon Maple Bar you’ll find yourself wondering…”why did I ever eat a honey cruller”?

    6. KIRO FM 97.3 – An excellent talk radio station from Seattle that you can usually get around here. Dave Ross is one of the best talk show hosts anywhere.

    5. Spanish. French without the pretentiousness. So enjoy your mandarina jarritos.

    4. Diversity. I don’t know what you’ve heard about America but we’re far more of a stew than a melting pot.

    3. Longview Community Church building. It’s not quite as grand as your Westminster Abbey but from the gargoyles to the memorial garden to the reverse swastikas there are many interesting and very cool things to see. Plus, we have bells that play every 30 minutes.

    2. The great outdoors. Lava tubes, waterfalls, gorge, rivers, mountains, desert, beaches. We don’t have to claim to be the best place on Earth because it’s obvious to anyone who has been here.

    1. Proximity to new friends and Julie.

  2. Nice work Bruce. I’m glad I’ll be able to find a counterpart to all the good stuff I like about Canada down in Longview! I know we will. Can’t wait to move down! My next post might be the top 10 things I won’t miss about Canada – like the price of cheese.

  3. Phil,
    How about another list of the Candian things you will bring with you? These could be objects such as photographs of BC or trips to Montreal or less tangible things like your personal Canadian cultural traditions.
    I don’t know much about the circumstances that led to their move, but both sides of my parents’ families came to the US about 130 and 100 years ago. Other than a few family trips, some summer courses at Regent and a honeymoon camping trip, I have not spent much time in Canada but I feel a pull towards the north and expect to explore this more in the future.
    I’ve been a big fan of Canadian songwriter Bruce Cockburn since the 1970s but my favorite song from Canada is Un Canadien Errant as sung by Ian and Sylvia (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Un_Canadien_errant).It stirs something within me that makes we want to come to terms with my heritage.
    Phil it helps us to welcome you to Longview knowing that what you are leaving behind is important.
    Eh?
    Dave F.

  4. Hey Dave,

    Interesting question regarding what I will be bringing with me when I move to America. Here are a few thoughts in no particular order:

    – A program from the 2002 Montreal Jazz Festival

    – The desire to hear/light fireworks on Halloween. While July fourth is the central time for fireworks in the US, Halloween is the only time they have them in Canada.

    – A very understated Thanksgiving in early October.

    – A faded vintage Vancouver Canuck ball cap.

    – My Rocky Mountain 24 speed mountain bike. Rocky Mountain is a local Canadian bike company that makes high quality bikes.

    – Apparently I have a bit of a Canadian accent.

    – A print from modern artist Elsworth Kelly that I purchased at the National Art Gallery in Ottawa.

    – The new Canadian flag magnet on the back of our car.

    – My mountain equipment co-op backback (MEC is the REI of Canada).

    – An expired BC medical ‘Care Card’ – so long universal health care. (At least for now).

    – My favorite pair of jeans from the Great Canadian Superstore. Who would have thought a grocery store would make good clothes?

    – An expectation for shorter political campaigns.

    – A Canadian passport with a quote from the Queen to let me pass freely through the border.

  5. Top Ten Things Tonya Will Miss When Julie and Phil Move:

    10. Bugging them about having babies. Come on, my mom needs some grandkids too, guys!

    9. Hearing about the crazy things going on in Abbotsford, like gangsters down the street.

    8. The excitement of receiving books in the mail all the time! (Even if they aren’t for me.)

    7. Knowing when ‘roll up the rim’ is in play.

    6. Riding along in the Huyndai and reminiscing about ol’ Rosie.

    5. Pamplemousse!!

    4. The occasional dinner with the Rushton’s, always sure to include lentils of some kind.

    3. Having a resident theologian in small group discussions.

    2. Making fun of things like “SuperNatural British Columbia”.

    1. Proximity.


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