A visit to big city Toronto is fun. It is a modern, dynamic big city but if you are visiting, venture out to the countryside and some of the smaller towns. These are very beautiful especially when the colours are changing for fall. Fall is a big thing in Canada when compared to Australia. It is no surprise because the change of seasons is not as distinct in Australia. In Canada, fall is marked with bright orange pumpkins, coloured corn, russet leaves and Halloween decorations. Canadians take Halloween very seriously with some front yards beginning to look exactly like a murder scene or a cemetery.
It was an interesting contrast visiting Canada directly after the United Kingdom. Due to the proximity of the UK to Europe and Ukraine, it is directly impacted by the energy crisis. The UK is filled with chatter about the ever increasing cost of energy and how to save money. Air fryers are sold out, people are talking about leaving their heating off till Christmas, kettles are being boiled in exact volumes for their cups of tea. It was a shock to get to Canada and there was no talk about the price of heating. In fact, the heat was turned to stiflingly hot in the shopping malls!
It was even more shocking to find that Canada is not keeping up with Europe when it comes to sustainability type changes. We had a hotel breakfast at a mainstream hotel chain in the small town of St Jacobs. What a shock to find that all the plates and bowls were made of single use, disposable polystyrene foam! It has been years since I’ve seen styrofoam used in this way. In a small supermarket in country town, there were bagging groceries in single use plastic bags. It has been normalised for years to bring re-usable shopping bags in Europe and Australia, I was really shocked!
Canada is a lot like Australia in many ways but one distinct difference is their availability of fresh water. They have lots of it and hence they have lovely rainwater shower heads. A high volume shower like this is an indulgent luxury that hardly anyone has in Australia where we are always hyper-conscious of water use. Another evidence of Canada’s excess of fresh water is in their lush greenery!
One way where both Australia and the United Kingdom could learn from Canada is in the way they insulate their houses. The Canadian homes are extremely well made and well insulated and protect their occupants from really freezing temperatures outside. This type of improvements are key for the UK to really drive down their winter heating costs.