You may remember from my earlier post about Edmonton, I identified some of the many charming (and otherwise) new experiences I had when I came out here.
Having spent the summer in Edmonton now, I have discovered yet more differences between Edmonton vs Toronto, Alberta vs Ontario, West vs East. Here are a few more idiosyncrasies I’ve detected:
This post was originally published in 2007. It has since been updated for accuracy of links and content.
PEOPLE EAT DINNER REALLY EARLY.
In Toronto (and other parts of central and eastern Canada from those I’ve spoken to), dinner is usually an evening affair. Reservations at restaurants are often made for at least 8pm, sometimes later. Even dinners at home are eaten well after 6pm at the earliest in most homes I’ve visited.
In Alberta, people eat dinner at 5 or 6pm. Many restaurants close their kitchens at 9:30 or 10pm, and the dinner rush is long finished by 8pm.
I suspect that part of the reason for this is the difference in commuting and work ethics. In Alberta many people with 9-5 jobs are actually home shortly after 5pm. This is a win in the Edmonton vs Toronto challenge: in Ontario (especially Toronto), where the office can hold people hostage late, or the commute can mean walking in the door at 7pm.
THE MOSQUITOES ARE HUGE.
Yep. Huge. And in the city too. Toronto proper seems to be in a bubble, as I am unfamiliar with the concept of mosquitoes within the city limits. What? I need bug spray to be in the backyard? Huh?
ALBERTA IS CANADA’S ONLY RAT-FREE PROVINCE.
This is true. Of course, there are thousands of miles of rat fences surrounding the province, along with cats armed with poking sticks strategically placed along the border. Alberta’s perimeter is truly the world’s longest undefended border – against rats!
THE STREETS AND AVENUES ARE NUMBERED.
It’s relatively easy to find your way around the city, as the Streets run north-south, and the Avenues run east-west. And everything is numbered! So without having the foggiest idea of where something is, a simple address will help you place it in your mind (and find it in your car).
LOTS OF PEOPLE RIDE BICYCLES.
There is an excellent bike path system which leads industrious riders around and through the city quite effectively. This isn’t necessarily very different from Toronto as I haven’t investigated the inner nuances of bike paths comparatively. However I have certainly noticed that there are many a bike-rider in the city of Edmonton, and it’s refreshing. I guess it makes up for at least some of the over-powered-and-overtly-used pick up trucks everywhere!
IT’S BLOODY COLD HERE.
Many many times this summer, I awoke to a bright sunny day with a high of 15 degrees. During summer. Hot sunny endless summer. Many more days weren’t even sunny. In Toronto on the same day, it was at least double the temperature. For a heat-seeker like myself, this has been tough to adapt to.
(Amazingly, I have met people here who actually prefer the winter. I guess at least it’s cold and snowy, and you know it and can plan for it. Personally, I’ll be happy to miss it in favour of re-living summer in Hawaii).
WILD HORSES ROAM.
When you see a horse whilst on a country drive, don’t automatically suspect that the horse has an owner and a stall. It could well be wild. It is a concept I didn’t always understand. How can horses be wild? I guess we have lived so long with horses as work animals that I forgot that they are animals first. I’m glad that horses still run free. I have warm fuzzies thinking about it.
THE FLIP SIDE OF THE LONGER DAYS….
…is shorter days a few months later. Now that we are on the other side of the longest days of the year, we’re starting to feel the darkness creep in earlier and earlier. In the deep of winter, Edmonton doesn’t see a whole lot of daylight. Again, happy I’ll be in Hawaii.
All in all, it’s been a real slice spending the summer here in Edmonton and contemplating Edmonton vs Toronto. Having done so I can’t say that I’m so enamoured with the city that I would consider living here, or even coming back for more than quick visits from now on. Let’s just say I guess I’ve “been there, done that”.
It has also given me a new appreciation for Toronto. Although I see my future homes being somewhere in (or close to) the mountains, I have to admit that Toronto has a lot to offer. Culture, life, long summers, it’s situated on a lake, and I have so many family and friends to make Toronto a city with open arms to visit or live in.