Just Another Day

Back to the window, basking in a winter sun blazing through glass, I warm my hands on my cup and inhale the aroma of toasted bagels, hash browns and coffee. Monday morning may take a while to get off the ground in my local Tim Horton’s, but it still effects a steady bustle. I look … Read more

More Than Words

Same language, different meanings Before moving to Canada the only consideration I gave to language was with regard to accent; I remembered hearing somewhere that Canadians had a softer accent than their neighbours across the border and I was relieved; easing in gently sounded like a good plan. I was coming from England so it … Read more

Accepting The Accent

Despite my best efforts to be open-minded, uncharitable thoughts still abseil into my head with the stealth and speed of a crack SAS infiltration. You know the kind: the incredulous “You wanted that unsightly plug to stretch your ear like a perished Y-front waistband?” or the terse, “bugger off!” behind a fixed smile when the … Read more

Terry Fox – A True Canadian Hero

I confess I’d never heard of Terry Fox before we came to Canada – yet another reminder of just how distinctive cultural identity is (even within broadly similar societies), that something so significant to one nation can be relatively unknown to others in the same hemisphere. Expatriation exacts a steep learning curve in return for … Read more

The Canadian Way

The day dawned. The pressure was on. People were making demands, asking questions – difficult questions – and the answers lay just beyond my reach. The opportunity was there for the taking, a classic Carpe Diem moment. The idea percolated in my head as I went about my chores, slowly, steadily filling my mind with … Read more

That’s Queer! The Evolution Of Language And Belief

Toronto is currently hosting WorldPride 2014, the now internationally recognized celebration of the human right to sexual diversity. The ten-day festival boasts concerts, art shows, parades and parties – LOTS of parties. It’s the first time North America has won the rights to host the event and the theme this year is “Rise Up,” symbolizing … Read more

Bugged Out

In the UK blossom flutters to the ground as Spring segues into Summer; ice-creams are raised to indulgent lips, trips to the seaside planned, and bared white legs and flowerbeds dazzle, the latter in glorious Technicolor. Those first snowdrops are a distant memory. By contrast, here in southern Ontario it’s been just four weeks since … Read more

A Taste Of The Past

Moving Above Zero We’ve had an exceptionally harsh and lengthy winter here in Ontario, but hopefully it’s almost over now. You know Spring is in the air when you feel a mounting inner joy akin to sap rising, and you can bet sap is rising in sugar bushes province-wide. A sugar bush is a stand … Read more

School In Canada – Small Differences, Big Impact

Trawling online recently I came across an article about a UK school defending its decision to suspend a pupil over a wrestling logo shaved into his hair; and before that, another story about another school apologizing for insisting a parent supply a photograph of their chickenpox-stricken child for absence monitoring. Taken together they were a … Read more

We Hunkered Down And Pressed On…

Chillin’ 2014 has blasted in with extreme cold weather here in Ontario, Canada. Windchill is in the minus thirties/forties and you risk frostbite if you’re out for any length of time with skin exposed. This is our fourth winter in Canada and we’re better equipped to endure it now than ever. The children all have … Read more