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  • Bill Chastain

TOYS AND GAMES: Why Americans Should Love Canada

Now that I’m back in the United States after spending the weekend in Toronto, I offer observations about why Americans should love Canada.

The first reason for loving Canada:

Traveling north of the border will make anybody from the good old U. S. of A. love the currency even more. Dollars and cents make sense. Never make the rookie mistake of buying anything in Canada with American dollars. I can still see the Middle Eastern man in the turban when I handed him a $20 bill to pay for a candy bar. He seemed downright giddy to dispense my change in Canadian currency and coins. I mean, a “Loonie”? Are you kidding me? Try and cash one of those in the U.S. You’d have better luck banking your stash of Confederate money. Canada_Flag_Wavy

Second reason for loving Canada:

That wireless phone service you’re always complaining about in the United States gets complicated in Canada. International charges, bad service, trying to figure out how to conserve calls, texts, and roaming, so the charges aren’t ridiculous, is like a second job. Thus, take a trip to Canada and you’ll never complain about your wireless service again.

Third reason for loving Canada:

Passports and custom agents. Need I say more? A typical conversation with a customs agent makes me feel like a light bulb is focused on my forehead while I’m being interrogated:

CUSTOM AGENT: “Your business here?”

ME: “I cover baseball.”

CUSTOM AGENT: “You do this for who?”

ME: “I work for”

CUSTOM AGENT: (Raising eyebrows and looking at me with grave suspicion. The thought bubble above his head reads: “Have captured Jason Bourne.”) “Uh-huh.”

Awkward pause.

CUSTOM AGENT: (Stamps passport and glares)

ME: “Thank you.”

CUSTOM AGENT: (Intensifies glare)

Yeah, taking a flight from any airport in the United States can be bothersome on any given day based on getting through security, etc. But entering or leaving Canada makes you love United States airports even more.

Fourth reason for loving Canada:

A trip to Canada will make you fall in love with TV in the United States all over again. Channel flipping in your hotel room brings countless stations featuring hockey — “You’ve got to put the biscuit in the basket” — along with a hundred channels that feature nothing. When I was a kid we had black-and-white TV, three channels and no channel changer — even that would have worked. It’s like, “My kingdom for one stinking episode of Gilligan’s Island.”

To a Southerner, being in Canada on the first weekend of the college football season — and not being able to channel flip through the assortment of games — is how I envision hell.

Final reason:

Rather than having a leader named Putin, they have a dish that originated in Quebec called poutine, which is fries and cheese curds topped with a light brown gravy-like sauce.

No doubt there are plenty of reasons to love Canada, but I think I have finally grasped what my old economics professor at Georgia Tech, Mack Moore, meant when he said: “American is for Americans and foreign is for foreigners.”

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