Now before I write my final words on the Olympics and perhaps not touch my blog for a while, I wanted to point out something just as experiencing BC / Vancouver, but for more than a week or a weekend. I basically became a resident of Surrey travelling to BC every single day.
Now I know we are Canada, but wow are we ever different from End to End, East to West and I’m sure South to North as well! But there are also similarities.
1) The culture clearly differs. As we can see in Ottawa, we are very multicultural as well but it’s completely different in terms of nationalities.
2) The Public Transportation. In Ottawa, I used to say the occasional thank you to the bus driver as I stepped out of the front door. In Vancouver, people scream Thank you from the back door, almost all the time! Also, they have their bus stops electronically up so if you’re from out of town, it’s easy to find where you are going. Downside of Vancouver: Some of their bus stops don’t have numbers or anything.
3) The Streets. At first, I thought it was CRAZY to name all the streets ‘164th avenue’ and ‘130th street’. What? Were these people reall non-creative? No. They were smart. They do this so people can situate themselves really easily, and people knew exactly which area of Surrey you were in when I would tell them.
4) The bad ‘neighbourhoods’. You know when you live in Vanier, and you’re sorta embaressed so say ‘vanier’ while looking around a bit knowing that they might make fun of you, I realized where I was, Surrey, was the same thing! By the end of my stay, I would say Surrey while looking around and a bit rolling my eyes, becauses of the reactions I had gotten from people the whole week! Same same thing as Vanier or any other rough neighbourhoods.
5) The Rain. People in BC are not phased at all by the rain, and will go out and do their regular thing as us in Ottawa seem to curl up in a ball and try to avoid anything that has to do with going outside.
6) The Weather. Clearly, it was hot as hell over there. But I heard that had their warmest winter, but I think it’s usually along the same lines.
7) The public transportation part 2 – The skytrain was very similar to the 95 in terms of people busting out the Oh Canada, but it was much more efficiently run.
8) The French. They don’t give a shit! They either really don’t care, or hate it even. People were frustrated that it was at every Olympic venue in both official languages. Yeah sure, there wasn’t that many Québec people and the French from France were probably pretty happy, but at least we’re not in the States where they only have one language, and doesn’t say much about their culture and one-mindedness? It was funny, because at the GM Place they would annonce certain things in French first (i.e. a newly acquired gold medal) and I would cheer … but nobody else, until they heard it in english. Pff. I did have a few talks with anglophones in Vancouer that did realize that problem and were loving to hear my opinion on it. Kudos to you guys. It’s funny because in Ottawa, the anglophones totally respect french and even in circumstances would wish that they spoke it! Complete different end of the spectrum. People also were really amazed at how well I could speak english, some not even realizing I was french (whooaa!) but nobody even ever assumed we were franco-ontarians, just Québec right away. Except some Québecers, they would be the ones to point out our ontario out of us!
9) The Alcohol. 30$ for a 12 of beer? Are you kidding me? For some reason in BC, their beer is really expensive. Hard alcohol is a bit more expensive, but wow. And it’s funny because you have the BC Liquor Store and privately owned Liquor Stores offering Beer and Wine as well. Clearly different than Ontario (Hard alcohol only dealt by the Ontario Government) and slightly different than Québec.
I’m sure I’ll think of more, later on. But there’s one thing that’s definitely the same: It’s the way we act for our Hockey Teams. The guys cheer the same way, people are just as crazy about hockey in Vancouver as it is in Ottawa or Montreal. I thought it was really cool to see that the atmostphere in a bar did not differ at all on a hockey night whether you are in the East of the West. Go Canada Go!
Also, all the Vancouverites are all having high hopes of the Stanley Cup now. I guess they see a direct correlation on the Gold from the Olympics and the Stanley Cup, but I feel like they are only setting themselves up for dissapointment, because let’s be honest, it is really hard to win the Stanley Cup. But I’ll be honest – it probably won’t be the Habs going to the finals, so all the power to them and to believe!