Archive for 2010|Yearly archive page

Canadian history – looking back at the last fifty years

In canadian history on October 6, 2010 at 9:37 am

Quick Guide to Tipping Customs in Canada

In tipping customs on September 28, 2010 at 9:44 am

Tipping in Canada is ambiguous to the tipping customs in the United States. Like most countries in the world, tipping is customary for some services in Canada including restaurants, hotels, resorts, cabs, shuttles, salons, massage centers…and a host of other services.

Mentioned below is a brief guide to tipping for specific services. The specified amounts are in Canadian Dollars.

Tipping for Transportation

  • Cabs: Tip can range between 10% – 20% of the total fare.
  • Airport or Hotel Shuttle: Generally, it is not customary to tip shuttle drivers. But, you can offer a tip of $1 or $2 if you feel that the driver was helpful and friendly.

Tipping at Hotels and Resorts

It is not an established rule that every hotel in Canada should have a bellman or a concierge. You may choose to stay at budget hotels where there is just one caretaker, who is probably asleep behind his desk. In this case, you need not worry about the tip. However, if you prefer to stay at a fancy or luxurious hotel, tipping is customary.

  • Doorman: $1 or $2 if he hails a cab or helps with the luggage.
  • Bellman: $1 or $2 per bag or $5 for two bags that he carries. They also appreciate gratuities for extra services such as ice delivery.
  • Chambermaid: $2 – $5 per day or a lump sum at the end of your stay. It with be considerate to pay more if you room is messier than usual.
  • Room Service: Verify whether gratuity is included in the bill, which is the tip considered under the cost of room service. If it is not included, give 15% of the bill as tip. In Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador, the gratuities can be calculated simply by noting the amount of sales tax that is printed on the receipt.
  • Concierge: Depending on how pleased you are with the level of service, you can tip at the end of your stay, starting from a minimum of $2.
  • Parking Valet: $1-$2 when picking up your car. Tip more if the weather is unfavourable.

Tipping at Restaurants

  • Waiter: Typically, 15% – 20% of the untaxed bill amount.
  • Bartender or Cocktail Waitress: Unlike the American custom of tipping a dollar per drink, Canadians tip a standard 10% – 20% of the total bill. Alternatively, the “keep the change” custom is accepted.
  • Coat Check: Normally, $1 – $2.

Tipping at Salons or Massage Centres

Tipping 15% – 20% of the untaxed total is standard for hair stylists, beauticians, and masseurs. You can also tip $5 – $10 to the person who blows your hair dry and also to  the one who washes it clean.

Tips sum up to a significant contribution in the overall income of people working on a minimum wage. Hence, it is customary to pay tip and it also shows appreciation for good service!

Left my heart in Vancouver…

In Vancouver on September 15, 2010 at 7:11 am

Vancouver City

Vancouver, BC is the largest city in Western Canada and it cradles its inhabitants and visitors with a variety of comforts and delights. To think of it, Vancouver is truly a playground for kids and adults alike. Where else in the world can you bathe in the sunshine on a sandy beach, ski on the mountain slopes, enjoy relish a sumptuous dinner in one of the many exquisite restaurants, appreciate quality theater plays, and jiggle on live music…possibly all in the same day? It’s no wonder that Vancouver received the Readers’ Choice Awards for “Top City of the Americas” in Condé Nast Traveler Magazine in 2009.

We drew the conclusion that Vancouver offers sophisticated luxuries of a world-class city, but at the same time it does not shy away from creating opportunities for breathtaking outdoor adventures. We came across Photoblog Vancouver and found various aspects of the city reviewed beautifully…from the Olympic Games to the local food and festivals. Check it out to taste the true Vancouver spirit!

Am I old enough to drink legally in Canada?

In legal drinking age on September 14, 2010 at 8:02 am

Legal Drinking Age Canada

Depending on the culture, consumption of alcohol is either frowned or smiled upon…especially if you are minor who is on the brink of legal drinking age. What is a legal drinking age anyway? According to social definitions, it is the age defined by the country or territory that permits anybody who has crossed that age to drink legally. The law varies from country to country. Some countries allow or even encourage consumption of alcohol at an early age, while some bang their foot down and hold the permit till late. There are also some countries that do not have any drinking laws!

Canada places itself somewhere in the middle when it considers the legal drinking age. The average drinking age in Canada is 19, which is an inviting factor for students living south of the border. Many high school graduates in the US head up north to enjoy the lower drinking age permit since the legal drinking age in USA is 21.

The provincial Government decides the drinking age of every province in Canada. It is a misconception that there is a separate law on drinking age for US citizens in Canada. The rules are strictly applied and you need to carry two IDs, where one ID has to be Government issued and displays your photograph. If you are underage and caught drinking, you will be charged a large fine. Also, if a restaurant or bar is caught serving drinks to minors, their license can be revoked.

Legal Drinking Age in Canada

The table mentioned below indicates the legal drinking age in different provinces and territories of Canada.

Province Current Legal Age Former Legal Age Renewal Date
Alberta 18 21 1st April, 1971
British Columbia 19 21 15th April, 1970
Manitoba 18 21 1st August, 1970
New Brunswick 19 21 1st August, 1972
Newfoundland and Labrador 19 21 25th July, 1972
Northwest Territories 19 21 15th July, 1970
Nova Scotia 19 21 13th April, 1971
Ontario 19 18 1st January, 1979
Prince Edward Island 19 18 1st July, 1987
Québec 18 20 July, 1972
Saskatchewan 19 18 1st September, 1976
Yukon 19 21 February, 1970

Exceptions in certain provinces

There are certain exceptions to the rules in some provinces of Canada. For instance,

  • In New Brunswick and Manitoba, you are permitted to drink if you are underage in licensed premises only when accompanied and supervised by an adult guardian.
  • In the provinces of Prince Alberta, Edward Island, British Columbia, Ontario and Saskatchewan, you can drink at home under the supervision of parents or an adult guardian if you underage.

Crazy street names and hilarious places in Canada!

In funny place names on September 14, 2010 at 4:32 am

Are are heading to “Dildo” or “Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha!” ?

Canada is home to some of the most wacky names for streets and places. The country has given birth to a troop of world-class comedians such as Dave Broadfoot, Rick Mercer, Jim Carrey and Russell Peters. Hence, it is not surprising that the renowned sense of humour of the merry maple leaf has coined some highly entertaining street and place names.

Frankly, who will admit staying at Rue Schmuck on a perfect first date? Believe it or not, the street actually exists in Quebec! Judging from the distinctive, dainty and daffy street names and places, you can draw your own conclusions…

Crazy street names

  • Bastard Ward, Town of Rideau Lakes (Ontario)
  • Buttertubs Drive, Nanaimo (British Columbia)
  • Dingle Bingle Hill Terrace, Nanaimo (British Columbia)
  • Jingle Pot Road, Nanaimo (British Columbia)
  • Ragged Ass Road, Yellowknife (North West Territories)
  • Rue Schmuck, Shefford (Quebec)
  • Merrymeeting Road, St. John’s
  • Quidi Vidi Road, St. John’s
  • The Witless Bay Line, Witless Bay (Newfoundland & Labrador)

Funny Place Names in Canada

Hilarious places

  • Vulcan, Alberta
  • Medicine Hat, Alberta
  • Hairy Hill, Alberta
  • Yak, British Columbia
  • Moose Factory, Ontario
  • Come-by-Chance, Newfoundland
  • Dildo, Newfoundland
  • Upper Dildo, Newfoundland
  • Witless Bay, Newfoundland
  • Goobies, Newfoundland
  • Joe Batts Arm, Newfoundland
  • Swastika, Saskatchewan
  • Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha!, Quebec
  • Rabbitown, St. Johns


Nova Scotia tops the list…

  • Advocate Harbour
  • Bangs Falls
  • Diligent River
  • Dingwall
  • Donkin
  • Ecum Secum
  • Folly Lake
  • Homeville
  • Joggins
  • Malignant Cove
  • Meat Cove
  • Memory Lane
  • Necum Teuch
  • Pugwash
  • Scotsburn
  • Shag Harbour
  • Sissiboo Falls
  • Tatamagouche
  • Economy
  • Lower Economy
  • Upper Economy

Tickle your funny bone when you visit these locations. Canada is full of hidden treasures…so keep an eye out for more crazy street names!

Related Articles

So you can speak Canadian English, eh?

In canadian english on September 9, 2010 at 6:26 am

Canadian eh?

Speaking English like a Canadian can be as exciting as the country itself. “Canadian English” or “Canadianism” includes a wide spectrum of words and expressions that are native to Canada. Canadianism comprises of phrases coined from words that unique to the Canadian vocabulary. Moreover, it is coupled with the distinguished Canadian slang and pronunciation. Hence, it would be wrong to comprehend the language simply as a blend of American and British English with some Canadianism sprinkled over it. Canadians borrowed the lexeme, but allowed it to regenerate uniquely.

It is interesting to learn that many words of Canadianism are the compositions of early settlers. Words were borrowed or coined to describe or label the landscape, nature, surroundings, flora and fauna. In this manner, words like saults, buttes, kinnikinnick, saskatoon, caribou, wapiti, kokanee, turkey vulture and whiskey jack came into existence.

Canadian English is significantly different from American English. For example, Canadians pronounce the last letter in the alphabet series as “Zed” like British English, unlike the American “Zee”. When it comes to pronunciation, Canadians continue to pronounce certain words (eg. mobile, fertile, fragile) in the British speech.

Likewise, you can spot certain words like ‘colour’, ‘catalogue’, and ‘organise’ that are spelt in the British way. Alternatively, Canadianism follows American spellings for some words like ‘tire’ and ‘draft’, rather than the British spelling as ‘tyre’ and ‘draught’ respectively.

Moreover, in some instances, the same expression can possibly carry opposite meanings in Canadian and American English. In Canada, ‘to table a document’ means to present it; whereas in the US, it means to discard it.

In Canada, you are sure to prick up your ears to hear the ‘eh’ at the end of many sentences. The pronunciation of ‘eh’ may differ according to the usage at the end of a statement or a question. It is synonymous to the American usage of ‘yeah’ and ‘you know’.

Canadian Keyboard

Canadian Slang – The ‘Canuck Language’

Canadianism is always evolving, especially in the major cities of Canada. The blend of Canadian culture with immigrant languages influences the creation of street slang. Canadian slang include words and phrases that are exclusive to the region.

Canuck is a slang term that is used to describe Canadians, especially French Canadians. Vancouver Canucks, the country’s best hockey team, stands testimony to the Canadian slang pride.

Mentioned below is the list of the 10 most popular Canadian slang terms and the relevant meanings –

1. Anglophone – A Canadian who speaks English, not French

2. Buck — One Canadian Dollar

3. Loonie — Canadian one dollar coin

4. Toonie — Canadian two-dollar coin

5. Chesterfield — A couch or sofa

6. To deke, deke out — To pretend, trick or avoid someone / something

7. To hose — To trick, deceive, or steal

8. Double-Double — Coffee with double cream and double sugar

9. Lord Stanley — Refers to the Stanley Cup, which is awarded to the National Hockey League Champions.

10. Cooked it – something that is mangled or not done properly

Thus, the Canadian slang is truly unique and it is an integral part of the overall culture. The slang also extends to include locations, scenarios and objects of daily use.

What makes Canada one of the coolest places for immigration

In immigration on September 8, 2010 at 10:02 am

Canada Immigration

It is interesting to note that a recent survey held in June 2010 analyzed data from 148 countries’ and concluded that 48 per cent of migrants aged 25-44 would choose Canada over the United States. Younger survey participants chose the US over Canada. The analysis also found that Canada was favored by 59 per cent of those who had completed secondary education.

The researches claim that higher education levels resulted in potential migrants being more aware of opportunities offered by Canada and greater knowledge of the country itself.

Jack Jedwab, executive director of the Association for Canadian Studies says that Canada has a stronger support system and that the difference in national median income and immigrant income in the United States is substantial.

An article from the New York Times written way back in the December of 1872 is headlined “Immigrants Emigrating – Why they prefer the United States – Hardships of Backwoods Farming – political appointments, etc”. Immigrants in the 1870’s entered Canada during the shipping season and every year when the season ended, the flow of immigrants would cease. The story now, over a century later, shows a one hundred and eighty degree turnaround.  Since the world has shrunk thanks to various modes of affordable travel, immigrants can migrate any time of the year. A major influx of immigrants occurs just before the beginning of the academic year, in the months of July and August. This supports the fact that for most immigrants, education and consequent career development is of utmost importance. Immigrants migrate from their native countries in the hope of better opportunities and a better life. Today, older academically inclined immigrants choose Canada for better job prospects and financial support.

Immigration to Canada

Canada is financially friendly towards newcomers. The Immigrant Settlement and Adaption program helps immigrants resolve doubts regarding banking queries and other economic factors in Canada. Loan related queries are solved by the Immigration Loans Programs as are queries about medical examination, travel related costs and paperwork required to get things done.

Immigrant statistics can be found at

The year 2008 saw arrival of 250,000 new immigrants into Canada and the influx is showing an upward trend. This is a number that certainly cannot be ignored and the corporate world too is waking up to the fact. The bank of Montreal offers special incentives and financial assistance to immigrants and if this is beneficial, others will follow suit.

Canada is taking all the right steps to woo immigrants. As recently as July 2010, the Canadian Government said it would fund projects for the settlement of new immigrants in Canada. Two projects have been announced so far. One is the “Ethno-Racial Mentoring program” which is aimed at helping young immigrants adjust and will be based in Ontario’s London area. The other is ‘The Civic Awareness Project’. This program is meant to help immigrants from ethnic groups, to gain knowledge about Canada’s history and way of living. These immigrants will receive CA$300,000 over a period of four years. Another positive step in this direction is funding of almost $60 million allocated as part of the 2010 Jobs and Growth Budget, part of which goes towards the Skills Link and Career Focus projects. Saskatchewan will benefit from the Skills Link as they will receive $330,000 which will be used to help young people improve their skills and seek better job opportunities. The participation of immigrants in their resident communities helps in accelerating the growth and development of the Canadian economy directly or indirectly. Going by the commendable efforts of the Canadian Government, it looks like even the 15-24 years bracket of survey participants will soon begin to prefer Canada to the United States.

Of course, at the end of the day it is the warmth of the Canadian locals who will determine how many immigrants stay back and sing praises of the country that attract their fellowmen. Canada has a great support system in place and is capable of handling and honing skilled labour from foreign countries which will ultimately aid its own development.

O Canada! Our home and native land! True patriot love in all thy sons command.” are lyrics every Canadian definitely and truly identifies with. Soon, so will immigrants.

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