Observations: Eastern Canada

Posted: 9.30.2011 in Categorically uncategorizable

After I quit my full-time job, I was determined to blog more. In the start of the new year, I made a resolution to blog once a week. Now, here I am eight months since quitting and almost six months into 2018, writing my first blog post. And it’s about a trip I took a month ago!

In any case, during my travels through three major cities across eastern Canada, I was inspired to write. Here are my observations…

  1. Canadians are super friendly! I met so many nice people during my travels.
  2. They have great coffee and coffee shops. While there, I became obsessed with Second Cup.
  3. Tim Horton’s was not one of those great coffee shops. It’s equivalent to a greasy fast-food joint, with the same smell, low-quality food and stale dining area.
  4. Everyone speaks French as a primary language in Montreal. I wasn’t expecting its prominence, but really liked how it made me feel like I was in a far-away country.
  5. If you’re dining alone, the restaurant staff absolutely do not want you taking up a table. I was offered the bar first every time, and a couple places wouldn’t even let me sit at a table after I requested one over the bar.
  6. The cities shut down on Sundays. Both downtown Ottawa and parts of downtown Toronto were dead on Sunday.
  7. A lot of people smoke. I’m going to blame the French influence.
  8. Poutine is not that great. I prefer cheese or chili on my fries to gravy any day.
  9. Meanwhile, Beaver Tails live up to their hype. And now the franchise is headed to the states thanks to a gentleman I met at a Montreal bar who recently purchased eight with the intention of US expansion.
  10. Most restaurants, including non-fast food, cook their burgers on flattops instead of grills. I noticed this on a few menus and could taste the distinct flavor in mine at a gourmet burger joint.
  11. It’s freakin’ expensive here. Even though the US dollar goes further, prices are high on average and then everything incurs a 13% tax.
  12. The shoulder months are not good for visiting. My friend warned me, but it wasn’t until I was there in April that I truly saw how wet and ugly everything was. I can imagine how beautiful it is in the winter and summer when the ground and trees are covered in snow or greenery, respectively. The other downfall was that a lot of things were closed in the off  season.

Verdict: I had a great trip and would definitely go back to Toronto. I absolutely loved that city! I’d give Montreal another chance, especially because Old Montreal is really cool. Ottawa is only worth a stop if you’re passing through to or from Montreal and Toronto.

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