As a dual citizen of America and Canada, I can say with some confidence that Canada is not all that different from America (for the most part) -- it's basically just America, but north. However, in preparation for Canada Day (July 1), there are some things Canada does differently that I think America should adopt. Such as...
Okay, America, we are slacking. I have searched high and low, and what I have determined is that we are just lacking in the poutine department. If you don't know what poutine is, it's fries covered in gravy and cheese curds. Picture cheese fries on crack. It is one of the most delicious things you will ever eat in your life, and I think we need to jump on the bandwagon already.
2. Maple Syrup
This is not your Aunt Jemima's maple syrup. This is the good stuff. And Canada doesn't just do maple syrup better -- the array of maple syrup products on tap is nothing short of phenomenal. My personal favorite is the maple syrup lollipop.
3. Bagged Milk
I'll admit, I can't explain the appeal here. It's just really cool -- and probably a little more environmentally friendly than our cartons and jugs. And maybe it's just me, but I swear it tastes better.
4. Ice Hockey
I'm the first to admit that I know next to nothing about sports, but I know that hockey is very much associated with Canada, and there has to be good reason for that. Using a quick Google search, I confirmed this -- Canada is just better at hockey, guys. They win everything.
Value of the dollar aside (sorry, Canada, the Canadian dollar is only worth about 75% of the American dollar right now) -- Canadian money is amazing. For one thing, it doesn't get as grungy and grimy as American money does, because it is made from a polymer rather than paper. Plus, different colors denote different bill values, so they're much easier to tell apart just at a glance.
6. Drinking Age
If you remember this episode of "That 70's Show," you'll know that the drinking age in Canada (depending on province) is either 18 or 19. The most common legal drinking age is 18, and Canada (unlike America) has stuck to this trend (for the most part). Just saying...
7. Metric System
This is less of a win on Canada's part and more of a loss on America's part, considering we are one of three countries that does not use the metric system. It just makes more sense, y'all. Let's join our neighbors to the north (and the south...and the east...and the west) in utilization of the metric system!
8. Tim Hortons
OK, I know there are some Timmy's locations in the US, but they are few and far between, especially in the south. Canada is a veritable gold mine of Tim Hortons -- just across the border in Windsor, there is essentially a Tim Hortons on every corner. This makes it 100 times harder when I get home and have to make it through the day without an Iced Capp...
This may sound ridiculous, but hear me out. Using the riverfront between Windsor and Detroit as an example -- the Windsor side is beautifully designed, with gardens and sculptures and fountains. The American side leaves a lot to be desired (read: it's mostly buildings, pollution, and trash). Not enough proof? Niagara Falls. Compare the American side to the Canadian side and you'll see what I mean.
I typically don't like to generalize like this, but I have to say that this stereotype largely holds true. Perhaps the best example of the polite Canadian is at the US-Canadian border. Getting through to Canada is usually just a brief conversation concerning intent (where are you going, why, for how long), while the American side often feels more like an interrogation (keep in mind: I have dual citizenship but carry an American passport, so I'm actually one of the ones who has it easy). I understand that our national security is important, but there is something to be said for how welcoming the Canadian border officers are.
11. Maternity Leave
Canadian mothers can take 17 to 52 weeks of maternity leave -- up to 15 of which can be paid -- or 35 weeks of parental leave with benefits, compared to the general 12 weeks of unpaid leave in the US. I think the numbers speak for themselves.
12. Ketchup Chips
These might sound disgusting, but they're actually amazing. It's a pretty hard job to find ketchup chips in the US -- they exist, but only as a novelty -- whereas in Canada, you can find them basically anywhere. Here's hoping that changes.
13. Life Expectancy
Back to concrete facts, friends! The average life expectancy in Canada is 81.24 years -- two and a half years longer than America's 78.74 years. Sure, it's just a blink of an eye in the grand scheme of things, but it's something!
Happy Canada Day to our friends to the north! Keep on being awesome.