Imagine a bowl of fries, dappled with cheese curds and then smothered in rich meat gravy. Sounds like a very South African thing to do actually, now that I think of it. In Canada this is a tradition and part of the culture. It is amazing comfort food, especially when it's cold and you need carbs and fats to keep you going in the winter. This is it the bomb people. There are franchises that specialise in poutine only!
Some say tartan, some say "Burberry" (which is a brand synonymous with a form of this pattern). In Canada, plaid is a thing. Look out for the plaid shirts - they are super popular and timeless. Plaid blankets, dog jackets, cushion covers and tablecloths too! The flannel plaid shirt is basically what I am talking about. This is the go to for the cottage - fires at the lake - cooler evenings, even warm ones - you need this to cover your body from the mosquitos! They look cool and available in so many awesome colours.
3. MAPLE SYRUP
This is obvious. Thing is... did you really know where maple syrup comes from? It is the essence or fabric of Canadian culture! The country's Aboriginal peoples taught the early settlers how to harvest the sap, boil it to make maple syrup. I am so grateful right now for their hard work. Here are the stats from the Canadian Government website on agriculture - www.agr.gc.ca:
"Canadian maple syrup industry accounts for approximately 71% of the world's maple syrup production. As such, Canada is the leading global producer of maple products, with 91% originating from within Quebec, 5% from Ontario and 3% from New Brunswick."
Basically, its Xylem sap harvested from Sugar Maple, Red Maple, or Black Maple. In winter, you will find places where they make maple syrup taffy (very much like toffee). They roll the syrup over fresh ice and it sticks to the stick! Maple syrup is so good over bacon and waffles.
There is only one type of hockey in Canada and that's ice hockey! If you are immigrating from a country where hockey is played, you might be thinking of field hockey. Hockey is a culture here. Kids are in their hockey kit from as young as 5 years old playing hockey games but are on the ice at a much younger age of course. Here is a list of all the NHL (National Hockey League) teams for you to check out depending on where you live or will be living:
The National Hockey League (NHL) is the men’s professional ice hockey league and known as the world’s premier hockey league. There are 31 franchises of which 7 are in Canada and 24 in the United States. Here are our Canadian teams: Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators, Winnipeg Jets, Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks. The teams compete annually for the Stanley Cup, the most famous and oldest professional sports trophy in North America. You can see the Stanley Cup at the Hockey Hall of Fame in downtown Toronto, where it lives amongst an amazing tribute to hockey, definitely a must see. There is a mind-blowing store inside the Hockey Hall of Fame where you can shop everything hockey from puck collections, memorabilia, clothing to face masks.
If you have never been to a live hockey game, I recommend you go - it is incredible. It is completely different to watching it on TV. There is so much action (players slamming each other into the side walls), great spectator value and participation! The food vendors and interesting sights along the way to the game are another reason to be part of the live game.
I am sure you have come across the sport at some point in your life, but this was something completely new to me when we got to Canada. "At one level there appears to be little in common between the curling that came to Canada in 1759 and today’s game. Then it was irons; now it is granites. Then it was outdoors on natural ice; now it is indoors on artificial ice. Luck played a major role, skill a lesser role in the final result then; skill is the major component of victory now, though luck is still a factor. It would appear to be two different games, then and now.
But look again and it’s obvious that the game that started in a small way in a new land bears a striking resemblance to the game that captivates so many Canadians today. It’s a game that beckons to Canadians of all ages and stages, in every province and territory. It was a slippery game then, and is so now. Laughter and camaraderie abound." - Curling Canada/History of Curling.
Interesting fact: curling is mainly a right handed sport. Kevin and I are both left handed! Lefties do play but they need to make huge adjustments to play. There is a Left Handers World Championship held at the Oakville Curling Club annually. So it is a thing! I am not so sure about all that low lunging on ice!!!!
6. LOONIES & TOONIES
It is not often that I handle cash since our lives have become so card driven. When you do have Canadian money in your purse, you will come across a loonie and toonie! These are real Canadian terms and people use these words often. A loonie is a one Dollar coin and a toonie is a two Dollar coin! The word loonie is used because it has a Loon on it (bird). The word toonie is because it is two Dollars (the word "two" is combined with the sound of the word "loonie". Like smog is smoke +fog or brunch is breakfast + lunch, you got it.
7. BEAVER TAILS
Just when you ploughed through a bowl of poutine, you find BeaverTails...! BeaverTails is a Canadian chain that specialise in fried dough pastries, individually hand stretched to resemble beaver's tails and topped with either sweet or savoury ingredients. There's banana & hazelnut chocolate spread or cinnamon & sugar (my fav), Triple Trip (chocolate hazelnut spread, peanut butter and Reese's pieces). Imagine? There are loads more options. I remember the first BeaverTails we bought for our girls. We were at Canada's Wonderland. The best day ever.