The first things you notice about Canada are the gas prices.
Signs list them as low as $1.05 a gallon. There must be a catch.
There is, actually. Canadians (two typical ones are shown here) use teeny gallons – ones so small that you almost need four of them to make a real gallon.
It’s a novel idea and I can see the good and bad of it:
— The good: This is a painless way to collect money. Even if you have a low gas-tax rate, it will add up quickly with all those teeny gallons.
— The bad: It must be discouraging to those who savor fuel economy. You roll through the U.S. getting 30 miles a gallon; suddenly, you’re in Canada and getting less than 8.
But that’s just the start of your driving problems. Signs everywhere encourage you to go 100 miles an hour. Don’t fall for it; this is a clever way of giving speeding tickets to foreigners.
Canada’s miles (like its gallons) are small. When the sign claims you can go 100 mph, it really means you can go 62.1371; I don’t know why it doesn’t just say that.
All of this seem timely because:
— I just got back from Stratford, the Canadian town that delivers great theater; and
— Today is Canada Day. That’s July 1, when Canadians celebrate the 4th of July.
I’m not sure why they don’t just celebrate it on July 4, like everyone else, but that’s typical. Canadians are just like real people, except they’re not.
These are innovative people. They created the all-volunteer military and universal health care and hats with flaps that come down, keeping the ears warm.
But they are odd in many things, including sports. They think games should have three quarters and athletes should have brooms. In their sports, 3 might be a winning score; basketball blows their minds.
Even their money is odd. It has borne a likeness of Queen Elizabeth II, who is well-known, but has no substantive role in the Canadian government. It would be as if we had Kardashians on our money.
(Note to self: Before publishing this, make sure there are no Kardashians on our money.)
The Canadians get some things right, including dates and times. But they’re way off on weather: On a steamy day, we were told it was only 30 degrees; our room thermostat was set at 22.
Also, Canadians mis-spell a lot of words, including honor, savor, theater (which they’re very good at) and defense. They even have an odd spelling for the teeny gallon I was talking about..
They call it a “litre,” which is sort of like a liter, except it’s spelled funny. That’s all part of an ongoing effort to make Americans seem stupid. I believe it’s working.