Living in Canada: 5 Things You Take For Granted Living in the UK

Thursday, 15 June 2017
When you've lived somewhere long enough, you start to make comparisons about the place you're from to the place where you are now. I've now been living in Vancouver for 8 months and I've accumulated a list of 5 things that we really take for granted being from the UK.

1. The price of mobile phone contracts. Obviously, this will all depend on whether you have a 24-month contract with a brand new phone model or whether you simply have a sim only pay monthly deal. For me, I have always bought a phone outright and then paid monthly for a sim only deal. At the moment, a sim only plan in the UK which will get you unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 5GB of data will cost you around £22 per month (including VAT). Here in Canada, for the same sim only deal you are paying C$95 (including GST & PST) which, based on the current exchange rate is £55... enough said.

2. Taxes on purchases. Yes, I know we still have to pay VAT and taxes at home on things we buy in the shops and in restaurants but it's much less obvious, it's all included in the price and that's the way I like it. Over here, if a label says C$ have to frantically work out in your head how much it is actually going to cost you before you get to the till, it's unnecessary maths!

3.  Tipping. I'm probably just a grouch but tipping is my bugbear especially when it is considered mandatory. Being told I have to tip is having the 'toddler effect' on me and making me want to do the complete opposite. If I am provided a service such as getting my nails done, going to the hairdresser or being served in a restaurant then I have no problem tipping, s'allll good. It's when you're expected to tip 15% the guy who just hands you your pain au chocolat over the counter at the coffee shop. Just no.

4. Cheap flights. This one in my eyes should be number one. A few things do factor into this as to why it is so expensive to fly within Canada/North America. The size of the country is a start, Canada is the second largest country in the world, so the land mass to cover is probably a good reason to charge a small fortune. However, a return flight from Vancouver to Toronto will set you back about C$500 per person, which makes me wince like hearing nails on a chalkboard. In the UK you can fly from London to the Mediterranean with Easyjet or Ryanair (depending what time of year), for around £50. Lovely.

5. Cultural history. The Grandma in me has awoken and I'm not afraid to admit that I bloody love an old castle or two. The National Trust and English Heritage are specifically what I am talking about. Will and I on a beautiful summers day would love spending our time visiting old ruins, beautiful gardens, grand cathedrals and historic buildings. I actually really miss this, more than I probably should, but since Canada itself is 150 years old this year, there really isn't the history here to do these things. *Sigh*

I realise this post makes me sound like Moaning Myrtle but despite all of the above, I love living here and trust me there are things about the UK I would happily moan about too. All these 'quirks' make for an experience and that is why I chose to come. After all, it would be boring if everything was the same, wouldn't it?


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