WINNIPEG — Although most believe Canada and the United States are practically the same, my quick trip back to my homeland has reinforced the fact that the two neighbours are anything but similar.
When it comes to politics, sports, music, food and even beer, Canada and “The States” have many differences.
Other than “eh,” , “The States” is another exclusively Canadian saying. I’m not sure if Canadians decided to take the “United” out due to the current political mess in America, or if saying “The United States” is just too taxing.
Regardless, I am writing this column to inform you that your northern neighbour isn’t just a clone of the U.S., we are our own nation with a strong culture and national identity.
Some of you may be wondering why a Canuck like myself has settled in Laurinburg, if I am being 100 percent honest, I have wondered the same thing.
In 2012 I packed my bags and moved to Laurinburg, on what seemed at the time to be a whim to play lacrosse and study at St. Andrews Presbyterian College. Four years later, with a degree in Political Science and a Creative Writing minor in hand, I realized I wasn’t ready to bare the cold again and decided I would trade in my parka for the beautiful weather here in North Carolina.
With this summer being the first I have experienced in the Sand Hills region, I did have second thoughts of choosing to say due to the heat, but just as Manitoba winters come and go, I feel the summer here is ready to bid farewell.
When thinking of the differences in terminology between the U.S. and Canada, I realized while in Canada and speaking with friends from other parts of the world, Trump is universal for lunatic and Clinton is universal for the best worst option.
However, I am not here to bore you with politics, since we all have been force fed the election for months and being in Canada gave me a much needed break from this should-be reality T.V. show.
I figure what would be more interesting would be some comparisons of North Carolina and Manitoba, the Province I’m from and just visited.
First let’s talk about the animals. In North Carolina, the state bird is the beautiful cardinal, while in Manitoba it seems to be the mosquito, judging by the amount of bites I came back with. North Carolina is famous for it’s cute and seemingly harmless black bears, where in Manitoba, polar bears rule the northern part of the province.
Next, I do believe a look at the difference in temperature is needed. On average for low January temperatures, we experience around 36 degrees in the Sandhills, while in Winnipeg, Manitoba the temperatures reach -1 degrees on average during January. I would like to throw in that on New Year’s Eve of 2014, I recall flagging a taxi down in -50 degrees in Winnipeg.
When we compare sports, I think it goes without much thought, The States enjoy football and Canada, especially Winnipeg, lives for hockey.
When I say ‘lives for hockey,” I mean there is an outdoor hockey rink on every block, watching the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets is a religion, and if you don’t think Wayne Gretzky is the greatest athlete of all time you might get your citizenship revoked.
For me, growing up with a father who played professional hockey, I was brought up learning to ice skate and walk simultaneously. I also remember having hockey practice at 6 a.m. for the majority of my childhood, which might be why I eventually gave hockey up to play lacrosse.
Comparing the political systems, the U.S. has the gridlock system and Canada along with most every other democracy in the world has the parliamentary system; otherwise known as the “one that works.”
On a lighter subject, music, both the Sand Hills and Winnipeg have been home to great musicians.
Neil Young, who has become one of the most iconic musicians of all time, was raised in Winnipeg.
Canada may be 10 percent to size of the U.S., but in the words of my grandfather, “we might be getting a population boost come November from American immigrants.”
I may be a tad biased, but I will say the hospitality, weather, food and politeness in Scotland County makes me miss Canada a bit less.