Canadian Stuff – extra tidbits and observations
A bit of an epilogue to my living in small-town Canada series 😉
This morning I had the pleasure to observe a man walking with his dog, I watched as he strode by, the dog happily bounding along as good dogs do. I waved, smiling, having been a dog owner a few times myself, and the fellow nodded and waved back. This could have been a sight anywhere in the world, except for a few telltale signs of Canada:
For one, the dog was bounding through snow, and the man, he was wearing cross-country skis gliding across the frozen red deer river that winds its way through town.
That’s what it’s like living in Canada 🙂
Much to my delight, I’ve got confirmation that there are beer lovers (other than me) alive and well in the cold North. When discussing a few of the lagers I’ve forced down my gullet, they enthusiastically questioned what was wrong with me drinking such piss-colored (expletive) — I don’t recall the exact words, but the idea was well along my California-raised ale-purist attitude. I now endeavor strongly to find yummy Canadian brews, and pass over the plethora of clear pilsners and lagers so plaguing the Alberta liquor stores.
Canadian money is color coded, did I mention that? We have coined pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, $1 dollars (called loonies, brass colored metal and most have a loon on one side, with a portrait of the Queen and the words “Queen Elizabeth II – D.G. Regina” on the other) $2 dollars (called twonies, it is silver colored metal which the center is hollowed out and a brass colored middle inside that, showing a polar bear on one side, the image and text from the loonie on the other) — unlike the US, Canada makes successful use of both $1 and $2 coins, of course, there are no paper bills in these amounts.
Like the US has dead presidents on their currency, Canada has earlier Prime Ministers on most of theirs.
Paper bills come in denominations of $5 (blue in color, with Sir Wilfred Laurier on one side, and people enjoying winter sports on the other), 10 (purple, Sir John A. McDonald on the front and Flanders war memorial scenes on the other), 20 (green, with the QE2 on one side and Inuit people on the other), 50 (red, with W. L. Mackenzie King [or is he just King PM? I dunno] on the front and a women’s/human rights scene on the other), and 100 (brown, with Sir Robert L. Borden on one side and a Canadian map on the other)
They’re considering making 5’s in coin as well, and I sort-of wonder where the idea came from.
In addition to cash and cheques, we have a popular ATM/debit system here called Interac, and most places will also take Visa or MasterCard, though few can process AmericanExpress.
There is no “CanadianExpress” as far as I know, though the banking industry is partly subsidized, owned or controlled by government just as US has FDIC insured branches and US Treasury, so does Canada take it one step further, for example, Alberta Treasury Branch (ATB) is a walk-in, storefront accessible kind of federal bank.
We also have credit unions, retirement funds, and credit scores like the US, albeit operating slightly different.