I spent my New Year holiday in Canada and really enjoyed every minute. But some things were especially amazing, so let me share.
1) Canadians show much love and respect to their police and firefighting forces. Several museums are devoted to those who died in fire or fight saving other people’s lives. In a park you could see a monument made of firemen helmets. Kids like to play with toys dressed in police uniform.
2) The road police department seems well-organized. When my husband came to get his first driving license, his documents were processed, eyesight checked, face picture taken – everything in the same room, by the same officer, smiling and polite. The driving theory test could be taken in your native language, whether it’s Russian, Japanese, Chinese, Polish, Ukranian, etc. As the officer said - "because we want you to show your best result”.
3) Winter in Toronto is quite snowy, and snowploughs are everywhere. Even the sidewalks are cleaned not by hand, but by narrow vehicles much resembling a tractor in miniature. By midday the streets and roads are almost get rid of inconvenient snow and dangerous ice.
4) In Canada you can be sure and feel safe about what you eat. There are local farms which provide the so-called "organic” food – healthy vegetables and fruits, meat, eggs, dairy products. Cosmetics can be organic too if made of natural, non-chemical ingredients. There are about 10-15 standards which an organic farm should follow. There are no pesticides in the soil, no antibiotic treatment for cattle and poultry, no genetic modifications in any resulting product, and so much more. The farms and their produce undergo regular strict independent inspections.
You can buy healthy stuff in special "100%-organic stores”, or visit the farm itself, or even arrange a weekly delivery to your front door. Such groceries are not cheap, of course, but it’s always good to have a choice. I prefer healthy over wealthy.
5) In Canada I found nature and civilization to be in great symbiosis. In the middle of every populated district you would find a park – which is actually some forest or creek left virgin and wild. I counted only 3 "signs of human intervention”: a small and neat washroom building, a wooden bench and a pair of trash cans. Trash cans always go in two: one is for common litter, the other is for everything recyclable – glass bottles, cans, plastic bags, paper.
In parks you can often come across a moose, a raccoon or a beaver, not to mention pigeons, ducks and squirrels – these guys are everywhere, even in towns and cities. I saw one squirrel near the CN Tower (the very center of Toronto!) – it was sitting on a tree and nibbling a piece of French fry.
The city of Toronto is quite a green place, in front of many business centers. You would see gigantic vases with beautiful flowers and plants. Even the skyscrapers on the lakeside are decorated with green and blue glass, as if to merge with the clear and scenic Ontario lake.