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Friday 23 Feb 2007
Toronto, Canada

Rules, rules and MORE rules.. it's the Canadian way ;-)

A very un-Toronto thing happened to me yesterday.

I went the local Dominion supermarket and my groceries amounted to $20.24 dollars.
I only had $20 dollars with me though.

I was just about to rummage through my things to sacrifice an item to bring it under 20 dollars when suddenly the soft-spoken girl said something totally unexpected: "That's ok!"

Woah.. that's a first Wink

Yes I'm afraid I'm quickly discovering one of the slightly annoying things about Canadian life, the strict adherence to RULES and political correctness and the overbearing fear that someone is out to sue you if you stray off the lines set out before you!

Sure yesterday, I went for a massage therapy session up the road (the thing I love about where I am now, Yonge & Eglinton, is that EVERYTHING you could possibly need is within a 5-10 minute walk from the apt) for my back and shoulder which has been acting up lately.

Admittedly the session was very good and guy really knows his stuff, but there were little procedural quirks that I found rather amusing.

For one, he said that he wasn't allowed to intentionally crack my back into place since this was treading on the local chiropracter's toes (although if my back should crack during the massage procedure, that was slightly forgivable).
At other times, whenever he asked me to turn onto my back or front, he turned his head away so as not to look at me while I was doing this. Maybe this has some religious signifigance for the large Jewish or Muslim communities that live here, but seemed a bit OTT.

"Gosh mummy, he looked at my hairy chest while I was turning over"

"OK son, we're gonna sue his ass to Nanuvat"

Even the Internet is not safe from strict big brother rules. We recently got an email from Rogers saying that we were caught downloading various copyright movie files off the internet and that NBC had gotten in contact with them. Should we do it again, who knows what might happen!

This is definately a first for me, who tends to download anything I want willy-nilly at home, as does most of the population with broadband access. Sure what ELSE are you going to use that unlimited download limit for??

It seems that rules and conservatism govern much of life in Toronto, and I'm sure the rest of Canada.

In some ways it is good:

Pedestrians always have the right of way at crossroads to cross the street and cars ALWAYS stop for you, unlike Dublin where you'll be lucky to get across with nary a bruised foot as a car clips you while sprinting across.

In some ways rather annoying:

You always feel obliged to go out of your way with politeness in shops or restaurants. If I'm having a bad day and want to be grumpy, I don't want to be judged for it.. sheesh!

But, in the end, rules and political correctness are possibly what help to make Canada a great melting pot of cultures that live in balance with one another. And there is little of the gruff violent or overtly right-wing religious pressure that seems to govern American life further south.

So I guess it's the better of two evils!

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Travel blog by peterforan

Lake Louise (with ice!)

Lake Louise (with ice!)

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