In honor of Canada Day, I thought I would post a list of my top 10 favorite things about Canada, with pictures whenever I could find them. You'll notice that a couple of them are London specific. It's worth mentioning that not all of Canada is so similar to our area. It could really be a list titled, My Favorite Things about Southwestern Ontario. But it's Canada Day, after all.
So, in no particular order, here they are.
10. Bulk Barn. It's a wonderland for people who bake.
9. Proximity to the Great Lakes. We can drive 30 minutes and be at the beach on Lake Erie, or drive a little further to get to either Niagara Fall, Lake Ontario, or Lake Huron.
Port Burwell on Lake Erie, last Labor Day.
8. University Health Insurance. This is a touchy subject for a lot of Americans, I'm sure. I can only speak for myself, but my experience here has been overwhelmingly positive. The university is required to give me and John health insurance while we're here, we have a good drug plan, plus dental and vision benefits. We've both been to the campus clinic and it's fast and free. I don't want to get into a health care debate about America, but I can say that our health insurance is something that I really value about our experience in Canada.
7. Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board. They let us out of our lease! This is partially Ontario-specific as well.
6. Cool summer weather. I love a warm day for going to the Great Lakes, don't get me wrong. But neither of us miss the heat of the midwest or Tennessee. The highs have been in the 60s (F) this week! Perfect for running!
5. Everyone recycles. If you stay in a hotel, stop at a gas station, or even just walk on a path in the woods, you will find a recycling bin. I thought it was this way in the U.S., too, but we noticed on our trip that most gas stations and rest areas had no recycling bins.
4. The North Pole is in Canada. This is probably a matter of some debate, but Canada claims that the North Pole is actually on Canadian soil, meaning, of course, that Santa Claus is Canadian. Canada Post even has a program for kids to write to Santa in the North Pole (where the postal code is HOH OHO, a nice play on Canadian postal codes) and receive a response from him before Christmas. You can read about it here.
3. University of Western Ontario. Duh! We like our school and we're happy to have picked it. They pay us enough to go to conferences and feed ourselves, we have nice classmates, and good faculty. I'm sure I could do a different top 10 list of things I like about Western.
2. Farmers Markets. London has 4 of them that set up shop over the summer, one of which is Covent Garden, with an indoor component that's open all year round. I hope to do a post about the one at the fair grounds, since it also has an antique mall on the floor above the produce.
1. The Thames Valley Parkway and the London Parks System. It changes names in different places, but the idea is that you can use the same path to get from park to park. It's paved and pretty well maintained. Basically if you like to do anything outside, ever, then there is a beautiful park near your house where you can do it.
Initially we went to Gibbons Park all the time. I still love it there, but we tend to hang out in Springbank Park now, since the trail is even nicer and it's closer to our house.
While I'm sure there are other things we like, those are the top 10 that came to mind today.
Look for a similar list about America on the 4th.
Until next time, Sounds like Canada wishes you a Happy Canada Day!