9 Things I Miss About Life In Canada After Moving To Another Country

Canadian tap water is elite! 🇨🇦

9 Things I Miss About Life In Canada After Moving To Another Country
Senior Editor

This Essay article is part of a Narcity Media series. The views expressed are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.

Back in 2019, my boyfriend and I packed up our life in the U.K. and moved to Canada with little but a resume, a guide book and some very high expectations.

It didn't take long for us to learn that snow tires are a real thing, bear spray is essential when hiking in the Rockies and a proper winter coat is absolutely necessary to survive January in Ontario.

Several years and a whole host of lessons and experiences later, we returned home to Wales after completing our temporary visa.

Unsurprisingly, there are a million things I miss about the Great White North. While I have managed to find some British versions of the things I learned to love most in Canada, there are others that are simply irreplaceable.

The food

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Oh, man. Who knew Canada has such a range of specific delicacies that are basically impossible to find anywhere else?

There are some obvious ones — like truly authentic poutine and maple syrup that is literally worth dying for — but also some smaller examples of national triumphs like All Dressed Chips, butter tarts, KD and Timbits, to name a few.

In particular, I've been missing the convenience of having a Timmies on every corner and the sheer icy pleasure of a Dairy Queen stop on a hot day.

The scenery

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After growing up in Wales, I am no stranger to mountain vistas and incredible natural scenery.

However, I'd never seen anything like what Canada has to offer.

Alpine spectacles, glacial landforms, rugged, rural terrain, crystal-clear lakes and coastal landscapes are just some examples of the scenes that blew me away.

Sometimes, it really felt like we were hiking through a photograph or postcard.

I don't think I'll ever forget those iconic Canadian views and I can't wait to see them again one day!

The tap water

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Ok — hear me out. Canada's tap water is elite and I won't be told otherwise.

It's always so cold and fresh-tasting and I don't think I ever realized how bad other tap water was until I'd tried Canada's. If you know, you know.

The culture

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One of the things that I enjoyed most is how much Canadians just love Canada!

Almost everybody we met wanted to show us a local hike, food item, store or tourist attraction and it's clear many people are so proud of their communities.

I also learned to love so many quintessentially Canuck things, including ice hockey, maple syrup, Tim Hortons coffee, lengthy road trips and the local slang — which, admittedly, took me a minute to understand!

I also found Canada to be spectacularly diverse, with different languages and cultures on display all over the country.

The shopping

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There are so many cool stores that exist in Canada but not in Britain, or at least not to the same extent.

Going into a Canadian Tire for the first time was fun and Value Village is possibly the best thing ever.

It's also a treat going into Walmart and being able to buy a salad, a T-shirt, an iPad, kids' toys, garden furniture AND pharmacy items.

We do have similar big-box stores here, but none are as giant and all-encompassing as Walmart.

We do have our own version of Winners and HomeSense in the U.K. (although it's not as good!) and we do have a singular Costco in Wales.

The animals

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In Wales, we have a lot of sheep, but imagine driving along and coming across a moose, a beaver or even a bear!

We actually caught sight of all of these animals, among so many others, during our time in Canada and it was truly the most exciting thing to see them just hanging out in their natural habitats.

Canadian wildlife is truly remarkable and sharing your home with such magnificent creatures is so cool — even if Western Canada's bear bins (which are designed to keep bears out) make for a very embarrassing experience the first time you try to open one.

The days off

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Canada has so many statutory holidays that just don't exist in the U.K. and I miss the feeling that a well-deserved day off is always just around the corner.

We don't have things like Canada Day (obviously), Labour Day, Family Day, Thanksgiving or Victoria Day. Boo!

The weather

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Canada's weather can be rough, especially during the winter months, and there were definitely moments I was cursing the ridiculous temperatures.

I live in the U.K., though, where all of the seasons blend together and we have rain pretty much all year round.

There's something really comforting about Canada's clear seasons and I often find myself missing the crisp and white frigid winters, the cozy, golden fall, the brightness of spring and the long and warm summer afternoons.

The people

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Before I moved to Canada, I wish somebody had told me how hard it would be to leave.

The people are easily the best thing about living there and unsurprisingly are the thing I miss most of all.

From super-polite and always-smiling employees to kind, helpful strangers and new best friends for life, in my experience, Canadians are simply the best of the best.

The weather might be frigid, but the people who live there are the warmest of all.

Helena Hanson
Senior Editor
Helena Hanson is a Senior Editor for Narcity Media, leading the Travel and Money teams. She previously lived in Ottawa, but is now based in the U.K.