“Well, for starters, Canada is a bit bigger…..driving from East to West is a cool 6500km - like driving from Cape Town well into Ethiopia. I mention this to finally answer my friends on ‘why have you not gone for a weekend to wherever yet’? When last have you driven to Lagos? Canada really is more like a continent – in fact it's bigger than Down Under.
“Canada is beautiful. So is SA, but Canada is also amazingly clean. Clean air, clean water and no KFC boxes spread across their landscaped parks.
“Canadians think fish is the latest thing. They cook it, smoke it, barbeque it, fry it, ‘sushi’ it and sometimes even eat it. But in all fairness, they know how to prepare fish and anything else that moves more than 1cm per day in the sea.
“But don’t give them red meat – for starters, they think it comes from factories. They get lamb from New Zealand and charge you R500 /kg for the lamest, sorriest chops ever to come out of the World Lamb Factory. It's enough to make you cry. You'll end up giving the chops to your dog, who'll look at you as if you're trying to poison it before reluctantly taking it and burying it in the garden.
“You will miss SA food, especially biltong and, surprisingly, good breakfast restaurants and coffee shops (they have coffee shops here, where they serve you great coffee, but with dry cookies like its 1760 while you lucky people get to eat cake, pies and English Breakfast). Canadians think doughnuts are just the best breakfast ever. So much so, that that is about it in terms of variety in the morning. When visiting here, just sleep late…..and go for lunch.
“In summer (that would be somewhere in the middle of July), they all go lake- swimming and in winter, they put on space suits and go surf half meter waves in the ocean. Crazy. In Durban we swim all year round. In the Cape we never swim. Just too cold…we leave it for the Europeans to do.
“Well on the upside Canadians don’t have a president here that built himself a $25m house with taxpayers’ money and then gets away with party tricks. In Canada we call it ‘fraud’, fire the guy and then appoint an even more boring guy in his place. And it’s so safe that my biggest concern when leaving the front door open at night is the odd bear or raccoon paying my fridge a visit!
“But we don’t have a Malema to spice up the talk shows and news channels and give the papers something to write about. Reading a newspaper here is like reading bills and cereal boxes.
“But all that being said, business opportunities are still a lot better in SA where you don’t have a few million guys with Masters Degrees serving coffee at McDonalds and where you are taxed to death if you ‘dare make a profit’. Shame on you for doing that!
“Medical here is great - just remember you have to buy your own medicine (don’t believe all they tell you) which costs about the same as a good second hand car.
“The Canadian outdoors is great ... if you wear enough insect repellent to chase away Godzilla in summer (no reference there to SA politics, please…). You will have loads of fun with the fantastic panoramic views and well-marked and maintained hiking trails.
“Just don’t watch cable TV in Canada. Pay TV in SA has the edge by a hundred miles. I know they sometimes have TV programs in between the adds on cable, but no, still no comparison.
“Cars are also very, very cheap in Canada, but just about everything else (including your wife shopping at the mall) is very, very expensive. It brings tears to your eyes.
A big surprise for me was to learn how far behind the Canadian banking system is. Internet Banking in SA is space age compared to Canada. Here you still have to drive 45km to deposit a cheque for a deposit on whatever you buy like it's still 1985.
“And don’t hire a plumber unless you want to lose your family vacation savings – hire YouTube and do it yourself.
“Driving in Canada is a pleasure. Everyone obeys the rules of the road and no one shows you the middle finger when they push you off the road. South Africa must be the road rage capital of the World. Even Italians are scared of SA roads. That’s not a compliment….
“Overall? IF you want peace and quiet in beautiful, safe settings, then come to Canada. Don't forget a warm coat.”