This section is dedicated to the holiday undertaken by Messrs Maplesden and Grevatt in July '02. Chance purchase of air tickets to Toronto led to two weeks of exploration by public transport, notably VIA Rail's Eastern Corridor railway line between Niagara and Montreal.
This site is gradually being developed to cover the cities we visited and the places we saw, but it's a slow process.
The prices stated on this site refer to the prices charged when we visited in July 2002. In Canada it is standard practice to display prices in Canadian Dollars excluding taxes. Since taxes vary from city to city, this can be confusing. On this site prices are quoted excluding taxes except where stated, but the Sterling equivalent refers to the approximate Sterling cost after taxes at the time.
Who is the Prime Minister of Canada? No idea? Hardly surprising, given the amount of news that seems to reach Britain from the vast country across the Atlantic. Somehow the USA grabs all the headlines in North America, and Canada remains a forgotten land to many British tourists. Yet Canada is distinctly different to the rest of North America, with stronger British influence and a less strident sense of national identity.
The British visitor to Canada finds much that is familiar. Canada generally follows British English modes of speech and spelling. The Queen's head is on many bank notes and all coins. The country is governed from two Houses of Parliament, has a Royal Mint, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force. Tetley and PG Tips are staples in the supermarkets and cafes list tea before coffee on their menus. Cadbury and Terry's are popular chocolates. The railway system has been cut back by half and is frequently unreliable.
Much, however, is different. Roadsigns measure in kilometres, and usually display both English and French directions. Kit Kats encourage the consumer to fait pause and Five Alive is also Deli Cinq. Railway stations have tracks and boarding gates rather than platforms. The price on the menu or on the label isn't what you will be charged. Lavatory cubicles, found in 'washrooms', have doors that open inwards, British fashion, but are shorter with gaps down the doors in the American style. A 'hole in the wall' is a bar, not a cash machine. Fortnights don't exist. Tourists are welcome visitors to be treated with courtesy. Except by Customs and Immigration.
Our visit to Canada was greatly enhanced by the friendliness of most of the people we met and the excellence of the information and assistance offered to tourists. Mind you, Simon and I both complained that our suitcases kept being filled to overflowing with all the leaflets that were available! This site limits itself to the places we visited, but links to many more sources of information. If you have any queries, or would like to see something in particular added to this site, let me know by e-mailing email@example.com.