We lived in this great country for about a year and a half and had the opportunity to visit many wonderful places, like Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Southern Ontario.
Here are a few things I learned or discovered during out time there. The photos are my own.
- Canada is a constitutional monarchy. This French colony became British, then became an independent dominion and is now a sovereign nation. The sovereign, Queen Elizabeth II, is represented by the Governor General in Parliament, who in turn is appointed by Her Majesty on the advice of the Prime Minister. Tenure is “at pleasure” and generally lasts five years. The current Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada is the Right Hon. David Johnston. (Source: http://www.parl.gc.ca)
- Poutine is delicious. If you think that fries, gravy and cheese curds don’t go well together, think again! This Canadian comfort food is originally from Quebec but is now popular from coast to coast. I first ate in the dead of winter in Ottawa and found it a great remedy against the cold.
- If you ever wondered how the poppy came to be associated with war veterans and worn on Remembrance Day, Guelph (a city located in Southern Ontario) has the answer. It is the birthplace of Lt. Cl. John McCrae, who wrote the war memorial poem In Flanders Fields: “In Flanders fields, the poppies blow, between the crosses row on row…”
- Many Canadian cities have an underground network that interconnects important buildings in the downtown core. These networks are called differently in each city. I’m familiar with the PATH in Toronto (not all of its 27 kilometres!) and the RESO in Montreal but I’ve heard that Edmonton, Halifax, Ottawa, Vancouver, Winnipeg and St. John have one too. These underground corridors are lined with shops and food courts, and connect hotels, banks, shopping centres and so on. It’s such a clever solution for pedestrians during the harsh Canadian winters.
- The film industry is very big in Toronto. Countless famous films have been shot either in the city’s studios or on location around the city. Many scenes that supposedly take place in Manhattan are actually filmed in Dundas Square. Lake Ontario is used in ocean scenes.