I’ve spent the past week back in the UK visiting friends and family, whom I miss terribly living so far away in Canada. It’s been so lovely spending some quality time with them, but I can’t help missing certain things about Canada. Most noticeably it’s the vast, wide open spaces, the quiet, the smell of the clean air and water and trees! There are some other things I miss I wasn’t expecting to.
Obviously, these things all need to be included on the 6 “things I love about Canada”, up to 30 of my #150for150…
1 – TIM HORTONS
I’m no coffee fanatic, and I often opt for tea over coffee, but I have to admit I’ve had a hankering for a Tim’s more than once since I got back to the UK! Clearly this mainstay of Canadian culture, this institution that makes up a significant part of many Canadians’ days, has seeped into my psyche and infiltrated my daily habits!
One medium dark roast, 2 cream, 2 sugar and a chocolate dipped donut please.
Ok make it 12 timbits and I’ll share them…
2 – POUTINE
It’s essentially just cheese, chips and gravy, and as any British person knows this is readily accesible throughout the UK (particularly at kebab shops following a night out)
But there’s something different about poutine. Hailing from Montreal, and to die-hard fans impossible to find a good serving outside the province of Montreal, it’s made with cheese curds and a very particular kind of gravy. The chips/fries, as I understand it, are less vital. It’s the cheese and the gravy that matters. The gravy should be hot enough to melt the cheese curds (don’t even think about microwaving the cheese, you heathen)
3. CRAFT BEER
In the first few years of my living in Canada, the one thing I missed most (asides from friends & family, obvs) was a decent pint. They simply did not exist.
Well, friends, I am delighted to report that this has changed dramatically over the past 5 years with changes to the minimum brew requirement law and craft breweries popping up in small towns across Western Canada. From Big Rock in Calgary, who now boast one of the widest selection of beers, to the local Banff Ave Brewing Co (my personal favourite) the varieties and quality of beer is constantly improving. Great work, Canada!
The sheer size of Canada is hard to fathom. It takes a full week to drive from one end of it to the other without stopping. People happily drive 3 hours each way for a weekend away. Whether it’s rugged coastline, towering peaks, vast barren prairies or desolate tundra, Canada really has it all. Even just driving from Banff to Vancouver takes you through mountains, desert and rainforest, and that’s only a 12 hour drive!
Lakes, rivers, waterfalls… all these exist in Banff National Park in abundance. Canada holds 20% of the world’s freshwater, and admittedly most of that is stored in glaciers and underground ancient aquifers, but the amount that flows through this country is impressive. I have a friend who works for utilities and I’ve quizzed him about the water treatment processes here. Apparently the water is so clean it doesn’t require all that much purification! I love the taste of the hard water in Banff, and even better than that is the purified water we get from lakes and rivers when out hiking. There have been times that I’ve left water in my bottle after a hike and taken a swig a few days later. It’s always refreshing to drink something with minimal chemical treatment! Melted snow has its own flavour too, very distinctive but not as pleasant as fresh water in my opinion. Although that’s probably the flavour of the container used to melt the snow..!
In honour of National S’more day on August 10th (seriously, there’s a day for everything now) I thought the s’more deserved a place on this list. For anyone that doesn’t know, a s’more is a marshmallow toasted over an open flame, and sandwiched between two graham crackers and melted chocolate.
I’m in the process of revolutionising the Canadian S’more by making it more efficient. Instead of the 2 – part graham cracker – chocolate combo, I have been introducing Canadians to the almighty chocolate digestive biscuit which combines the two in a much easier to eat combo. Next trial will be the chocolate hobnob, and perhaps adding a bit of caramel in there to mix it up even more! #fusion y’all.