Thursday, July 02, 2009

My True North

Today on the New York Times op-ed page, there's a piece "Our True North" with nostalgia from some Canadian expatriates. Let me just add to their list of things to miss about Canada.

Of course, as mentioned in the NYT piece, there's the health care. "Let me see, what doctor do I want to go to? How about, whichever one is closest to me... whoever was recommended by a friend... or whoever has the first listing in the Yellow Pages."

I'm gonna disagree about Coffee Crisp being the sine qua non of Canadian chocolate bars. It has its place, granted, but nothing measures up to Crispy Crunch. For us west-coasters, they sell 'em by the case in the big supermarkets in Vancouver.

As a vegetarian, I have to say that health food restaurants in the US could learn from the ones in Canada. In Toronto, every neighbourhood health food store has some kind of veggie burger, ethnic snack, etc. that you would only ever find in that store. Here in the States, it's all the same brands everywhere you look, and it's all too small and overpriced. Granted, much of the fake meat is Yves, which I'm under the impression was Canadian, although now apparently bought out by a US company.

Shopping is another area where the US could take some pointers. This is a big country, with a lot of diversity, yet most of what you can buy in stores is overpriced junk on the coasts, and the same junk for cheaper in the heartland. In Toronto, you can walk into any store downtown and find something decent and unique. And you'll find different kinds of things if you walk down Bloor Street, Queen, King, Dundas, Spadina, Eglinton, Yonge... or in Vancouver, 4th, Broadway, Robson, and so on.

I'm not going to waste a wish on snow. I've had enough of tennis matches in June interrupted by falling flakes.

Don't know if it's unique to California, but they just don't know how to do bread. Every loaf is too small, nothing big enough to make a sandwich out of. (Even considering the too-small veggie burgers.) And again, everything is either super chi-chi or plain white Wonder Bread. Nobody's competing on price; in our local market, every loaf is $4.99. What was that about outrageous subsidies to the wheat farmers?