Blogger Note: This particular blog is not very HRish, but is appropriate to its posting on Canada Day. Enjoy. We’ll be back with more serious topics next week.
Last weekend, John and I went to Niagara Falls. As Americans in Canada, every once in a while we have to take care of business south of the border. In this case, tax filings were due and there was a postal strike going on in Canada so we decided to take a drive to ensure that the filings made it to their destination on time.
It has been some time since our last jaunt down to New York. We used to do that trip a lot. Every few months I’d get that hanker for something you can only buy in an American store, and off we would go. This year, I had the urge to go because we aren’t planning to make our annual trip to Wisconsin, so I needed a substitute shopping date to stock up.
It is crazy the stupid things we travel 60 miles and cross a customs border to go to buy. Despite the fact that I’m telling the world what I did buy on this trip, I’m not proud of it. You see, Canadians eat fresh food, and Americans eat, well, I’m not even sure if the Canada Food Inspection Agency would characterize these things as actual food products. We bought:
- Tombstone Pepperoni Pizza
- Tostinos Pizza Rolls
- Birds Eye Green Beans and Spaetzle
- Birds Eye New England vegetables
- Western salad dressing
- Nutter Butter Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies
- Jif Extra Crunchy Peanut Butter
- La Choy Chow Mein Noodles (in the can)
- Boxes of Jiffy Corn Bread
- Gold Medal Flour
- Merkt’s Swiss Almond cheese
- Slim Jims
- Land-o-Lakes Butter
- 100 Grand candy bars
- Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chips
- Chocolate Cheerios
- Stewart’s Cream Soda
It was recently announced that Canada was finally going to get Target stores. I should feel like I have died and gone to heaven, but strangely, I feel a little sad about this. For me, it will be an end of another era. Canada has come out of the dark ages.
I remember quite vividly the first few years after we moved to Canada. I discovered that Canada had something quite novel, and that is that it has public holidays where nearly everything shuts down. While all the public holidays combined aren’t on the same scale as American Thanksgiving, there were still a lot of them. At that time too, there were Sunday Shopping laws here in Ontario, so you had to do all your errands on Saturday, or starve, or go shopping off to Buffalo.
And that’s what we did; we went shopping off to Buffalo. In other weeks, we went to Chinatown and Queens Quay and Fort York and Kensington and other tourist areas where shopping was possible. Most of the time, I enjoyed our excursions. We bought fresh fruits from exotic places, and bought a wild assortment of sundry items from Chinese grocery stores. It was so unique, so culturally different from my American home, and it helped me to appreciate Canada.
The culture of commerce came later and by the late 1990s I was back to Sunday grocery shopping locally, taking Walmart excursions now and then, and a realizing that Canada was becoming very much like its southern neighbour-except for the fact that it didn’t have a Target.
Now that Target is coming, I really have to wonder whether living here will feel any different from living in the U.S.
Tombstone Pizza anyone?