Canada recently announced a big increase in the number of visas available to young Irish people who want to spend time working there. An additional 10,000 work permits are being issued to Irish applicants between the ages of 18 and 35. If you decide to try for a stint working in Canada, do you know what to expect? Sure, they speak English, mostly. (And French!) But beyond that, how much do you really know about Canada?
It’s a vast place, more than 40 times the size of Ireland. In fact, it is the second largest country in the world. Canada has the longest coastline in the world with more than 202,000 kilometres stretching from the Atlantic across the Arctic Ocean to the Pacific. The Trans Canada Highway is the longest motorway in the world. The country is so large it occupies six time zones. More than 36 million people live there. So just deciding what part of Canada to explore is a big job.
Canada 101: What You Need to Know
Canada has both provinces and territories. While it seems confusing to newcomers, Canadian law governs them differently. The ten provinces are Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Saskatchewan. The three territories are Northwest Territories, Nunavut and the Yukon. The territories are in the northern portion of Canada. They are sparsely inhabited, while the provinces to the south are more densely populated.
If you think a working knowledge of hockey, excellent manners and an appreciation of beer is all you need to avoid culture shock in Canada, you have a few things to learn. While hockey is a national obsession, you should also brush up on your basketball. And if you like coffee and donuts, you’ll be very happy in Canada. But do you know what poutin is?
A Bite of Canada
Not to be confused with our own poitín, Canada’s poutin is a dish of chips with cheese curds and gravy. Created in the 1950s in Quebec, poutin is known for looking horrible and tasting wonderful. Another odd food you’ll encounter in Canada is fiddleheads. This edible fern grows wild in the eastern part of the country, and was introduced to settlers by the native peoples. This vitamin-rich green is so popular that it is worth decent money to the regions that produce it. And of course, a glance at the Canadian flag is enough to tell us that maple syrup is a big deal there.
One novelty for Irish arrivals in Canada will be getting so much of this food at a drive-through instead of actually going into a restaurant. Canadians, like Americans, love their fast food drive throughs, and you will often find a queue of cars ahead of you.
Canada is a diverse and vibrant country. That means two things. First, being foreign there mostly won’t be an issue. You can expect a polite and friendly welcome. Second, Canadian food won’t be your only option. With immigrants from all over the world, you can expect to find fantastic food from everywhere. Which is nice because the poutin is not everyone’s idea of a gorgeous meal.
Heading over to The Great White North? Why not avail of our fantastic personal shipping service!