Love and Hate: Canada

"I hate you Canada!". These are the words that resonated in my head during the last day of our Canadian Rockies' summer break.
Actually, it should have been: "I hate you Canadians!!!".

I love Canada

As far as I can remember, I was about 6-8 years old when I felt in love with Canada.
Though I don't know what the exact trigger was, when I hear the word "Canada", the picture I get instantly in my mind is a blue glacier lake or a gorgeous river, surrounded by a beautiful green forest and some mountains. Obviously with some mooses and beavers around.
In one word: Wild.

In two words actually: Wild and Wide Open Spaces!
I mean, can you imagine that Canada equals 240 times the size of Switzerland, for only 4 times more population (33M vs. 8M).
Everywhere you go, you never find yourself in a crowded place.

During our roadtrip holiday, we had a wonderful time from Vancouver to the Canadian Rockies, then back to Vancouver.
Daily scenic views proved me that books and TV documentaries I had seen weren't a lie. Thankfully.

3 best places to visit in West Canada

In case you would ask me about the three best places to visit in West Canada, here is what I'd tell you:

  • 1/ Vancouver and the Stanley Park
    While in downtown, except for the language and the distinctive famous places, I wouldn't have been able to recognize in which mid-sized North American city I was in. Buildings, shops, Starbucks, trucks, Ford Mustangs, ads. Not to forget a common pattern with Canadian cities: a shitload of small parks, gardens and green trees in each and every street.
    But once you get closer to the Harbour, the beaches, or the Stanley Park, you start to understand why Vancouver is often referred to as the best city in the world to live in.
    You literally have everything one Mustachian could dream of: 1/an amazing forest with dozens trails going around lakes inside, to ocean view points all along its periphery, 2/an ocean for swimming, kayaking, 3/great beaches for reading, dreaming and gathering with friends, 4/close mountains for all seasons sports, and 5/a decent sized city (600k people "only") where one can have a career and live with free entertainment for his entire life!

Vancouver Harbour

View on the Lions Gate Bridge from Vancouver Stanley Park

  • 2/ Joffre Lakes Trail
    If I have some free time somewhen, I will have to build an online repository of amazing dizziness-free trails. So many times I hear friends describing me great points of view that I probably will never see...
    The first trail I would input would definitely be the Joffre Lakes Trail! You dream about Canadian lakes, forests and mountains? Then this one is for you, dizziness fellows (and for you'all actually)! I let you judge with the two photos below!

Joffre first Lake (out of the three)

Joffre second Lake (out of the three)

  • 3/ Icefields Park Highway
    Last but not the least: a Highway! "WTF MP, how is that Mustachian?!?".
    To the complainypants: you'll learn that in Canada, you can ride your bike on Highways! Yes sir, you can!
    Yet we did it the roadtrip way - nobody's perfect! About 230kms in...8h! Your eyes will thank you!
    If you got a map, it's the road that starts from Jasper and goes to Lake Louise.
    You spend your time getting out of your car in order to see the beauty that the Canadian Wild has to offer you.

Peyto Lake

Canada has the best Wild ever from my point of view. Lakes, forests, creeks, mountains. Rinse and repeat.

North American mindset

The other point I like and which I noticed during my experiences in Quebec, BC and Alberta is that Canadians have a mindset similar to the U.S. when it comes to the "everything is possible if you're ready for it".
But, because I don't want to get killed by my fellow Tawcan and MoneyRamblings while comparing them to Americans, I must state that there are two big differences: the one being that Canadians look and feel more humble (like not the center of the world, you see what I mean), and second, they seem closer to Mother Nature (at least the government part who manages parks and urban planning).

Two last special mentions

  • Canada has the best set of road signs ever! Not kidding! We took almost 100/1500 pictures of them as there is one for each and every possible situation, always explicit and very well drawn. Loved it!
  • Last but not the least, BC made me want to go back to school with its University of British Columbia: green everywhere, Ocean and beaches all around. Gorgeous! Wish I had studied there...

Scenic view at University of British Columbia

Gorgeous beach, 5 minutes walk from UBC

I hate Canadians

I didn't realize something, back in time when I was living in Montreal. Maybe I was less ecology-aware than nowadays (although I hate this misused word).
Anyway, dear Canadians, you must wake up and stop killing your Wild!

Stop destroying your best resource: Canadian Wild!

Did you ever picture yourself in your beautiful-shiny-manly Ford F-150s and RAM 1500s?!? In the damn city centre of Vancouver, at a 18km/h average speed!
It's not like you consume 13-15l per kilometer - and this is only for the brand new F-150 2015, not the older ones!

Seriously, I love North American trucks as much as I love personal finance (maybe not that much, but that's not the point).
They look great and must be so fun to drive in farmer-like conditions.
But hey, mate! There is no dirt, no 1m deep rivers to cross, neither tons of haystacks to transport on a 100kms distance...

Really, you have such a beautiful Wild. You can't mess it up this way...

One solution amongst many others: bike!
You have the best place in the world to ride through - I mean flat enough for me with great point of views. And moreover, you would save plenty of money on your gym subscription!

"You know MP, winter conditions are worse than in Europe!" I hear. Well, we also have snow here in Switzerland.
I'm like you guys, I don't like biking when it rains nor snow. So what do I do in "bad weather" conditions? Well, I simply take the bus and public transports!!!
A bit less healthy I admit, but way more frugal and ecological than a huge truck! Actually, it's also healthier (at least intellectually) than car transport as there are plenty of activities that one can do while commuting!

Hundreds of dollars per month for only 10 minutes of fun...

I couldn't end on an ecological lessons as I'm far from being perfect on this side.
So another point that make me hate you fellow Canadians: what about you stop leasing everything, starting by your car!
I can believe you make some money out there on the West Coast. But really, 20 years old and already a brand new 2015 Ford Mustang? I think one has to revisit his priorities!!!
Didn't the Cowboys Fringants tell you to be careful not to hang out too much with your U.S neighbors?
I too loved (and still do) cool and manly cars but do you feel better since you bought it?
Did you calculate the ratio between how much money this fancy car really cost you per month vs. the number of minutes you really enjoy it?
Well, I did it for my last V6: CHF 210/month for 10 minutes of (relative) fun. Yes you read it well, for only 10 minutes per month. That's when I discovered this crazy figure that I decided to switch to something dramatically more frugal.
I strongly recommend you to compute your numbers as well, you might be surprised. Moreover, you could save even more money per month than I did as frugal cars are way cheaper on your side of the Ocean! It's time to get rich guys!!!

Any Canadians reading this?

If we are lucky enough to have some Canadians amongst our readers, I would love to hear some frugal car switch stories, or even car-to-bike switch. Don't hesitate to share it with us, it might inspire others!


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