I returned earlier in the week from my second visit to Canada this year. In June I travelled to Winnipeg, Manitoba to participate in the International Association of Commercial Administrators (IACA) conference and then went on to Toronto to visit the Ontario Government’s registry team. It was one of the last trips I made in my former role as a public servant.
This most recent trip (a fortnight) saw me visit Regina, Saskatchewan, Toronto and Halifax, Nova Scotia. I was there in my new capacity as a Registry Consultant and as the Business Development Manager for Foster Moore, my wonderful company.
As I have been announcing to all and sundry I have now had the privilege of visiting eight of the ten provinces of Canada. I have only to visit Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland. Then I’ll need to visit the three territories and I’ll be done.
I love visiting Canada. It has a lot in common with New Zealand. The people are consistently friendly and incredibly polite. I have never experienced such an orderly and relaxed disembarkment of an aircraft as in Canada. Nobody is pushy, everyone understands that we’ll all get off more easily if we take it in rows. There isn’t some self important tosser at the rear of the aircraft announcing loudly the importance of their connection as they steamroll past, as has been my regular experience south of the border.
I had a fair few flights on this trip and seven different hotels along the way. It all went very smoothly, in part because I just go with the flow these days but also because on the whole it is a very easy country to get about (or is it aboot eh?)
I picked up a couple of new travel tips on this adventure. Data roaming is prohibitively expensive when coming from New Zealand. I’m a big iPhone user and have all my travel material in my hand at any time. The problem is those tools that require an internet connection. What I’ve started doing is connecting in hotels or other wifi rich areas and then I’ll take a screenshot of the booking or the map I need. That way I have it in my photo album and don’t need a connection to access it. I’ve also started taking a photo of my hotel room number, such is my old age and the number of hotels I stay in… they don’t print the number on the key these days!
A friend tells me he regularly takes a photo of the licence plate of his rental car when travelling just in case it is stolen or presumably if he forgets what car he’s got!
I struggled a bit with the coffee differences while away. I am absolutely addicted to caffeine (admitting you have a problem is a good start I’m told). I wasn’t able to find much that resembled what we would drink in New Zealand. I had to settle for copious quantities of doppio espresso at Starbucks. A place I would never dare enter in New Zealand for fear of ridicule or extradition.
I caught up with some of my Canadian cousins over the weekend and enjoyed just chilling in front of an enormous telly watching the Maple Leafs defeat the Canadiens in an hockey match, the quintessential Canadian evening.
Definite highlights of this trip included curling in Halifax. I had always wanted to give curling a go and was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it. It is deceptively difficult and a lot more physical than it looks. I had jokingly told people that I would likely break my leg on the ice. I needn’t have worried, after an afternoons curling I felt as though I’d been hit by a train. I used muscles I hadn’t awoken in years! I suspect I got a few funny looks as I attempted the stairs at the various airports I transited through the next day… I was rather stiff.
I enjoyed a flying visit to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police college and museum in Regina. All RCMP officers for Canada are trained in Regina and they have an excellent museum honouring the history of Canada’s top police force there. I also got to visit the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic which was very well done. The Halifax explosion was particularly interesting.
But for the most part it was a work trip and I met with a large number of people, some for the first time along with catching up with colleagues I’d met at different times. The meetings were all productive and the people warm and friendly. It is a real delight doing business in Canada.
I’m heading back up there again before the year is out and so will need to ensure a warm coat as it was chilly enough in late October. Can’t imagine how nippy it’ll be this time.