People who travel to Canada for the first time often come in thinking that it will be some cold, snow-covered wonderland filled with igloos, polar bears and chronically apologetic people. And while sometimes those expectations are met, most of the time people get off the plane and end up shocked by how different the country actually is.
Such was the case for one Irish man named Mark Farrelly who made the trip from the Emerald Isle to Toronto. In an article published on College Times, Farrelly shared 13 hilarious observations he had of the city during his week-long stay. He strongly thinks that the observations he made are ones that every Irish person also has when they arrive in the city.
Here’s a play-by-play of the hilarious things that ran through his mind:
1. While looking outside the window of the plane, Farrelly was surprised to find out that Toronto was actually super flat. He looked for any shred of geographical elevation in his view and only came across one place - a street in the city called Hillsdale Avenue, which he thought was a hilariously fitting name.
2. Farrelly continued to the subway to get his first TTC experience and was shocked at how small the coins were. He called them laughable and even quoted Zoolander to make his point: “What is this? A subway for ants?!”
3. Farrelly concluded that Canadians love their health and safety because when a fire alarm went off at a place he was in, everybody got up and left. “What’s that all about?!” he asked passionately.
4. When it came to our “wheelie bins”, Farrelly was amazed at how thick the tires were and the fact that they have handles at the top that lock the lids (to keep raccoons out). He was informed that these features were all to help give them a better grip in the snow, but also said they “look certainly odd in the middle of the summer.”
5. Farrelly compared Canadian peameal bacon to Irish bacon and was pleasantly surprised. Of course, to him Irish bacon will always be superior, but he was impressed by just how much Canada’s version tasted like it.
6. Farrelly had a horrifying experience at a restaurant because he was unaware of the tipping culture. When asked what percentage he would like to tip, he was flustered and responded with “Here, take 50%... f*** it, take all of it… I’m scared and I want to go home!”
7.. After eating at a patio, Farrelly finally understood its true purpose - a place not only to relax and enjoy the scorching weather, but also to go to the next day after your hangover has passed.
8. Farrelly thinks Canadians are so afraid of fines that they are incapable of jaywalking. “Everyone stands waiting on the little man to turn white before they run across an empty hoorin’ road!” He probably witnessed an exception.
9. To Farrelly, Canadian poutine is “the curry cheese chip of America”. He believes it’s the closest thing you’ll get to “good honest chipper food.”
10. His stay in Toronto made him appreciate the letters L, C, B and O so much more. He explains that in Ontario, the LCBO is pretty much your only option if you’re looking for a drink - a stark contrast to Ireland where alcohol is as accessible as air.
11. During a visit to Niagara Falls, Farrelly couldn’t help but draw comparisons to a city in Ireland called Bettystown, which apparently has “the most majestic waterfalls in the world.” He also gushed over Clifton Hill: “There are more arcades and casinos than you can shake your money at and if you’re looking for crazy golf you can choose between a dinosaur course and one with an actual volcano in it.”
12. Farrelly’s final observation was that Canada is “like America if America calmed the feck down.” We Torontonians will take that as a huge compliment. He adds: “The biggest thing you’ll notice about Toronto is that while it’s a heavily populated, hectic city it feels more like a laid back town. It’s friendly but not in your face, it’s busy but not shove-you-out-of-the-way busy and it’s really just a nice spot to live.”
Oh, there was one bonus observation Farrelly added at the end of the article:
13. Bagged milk. Farrelly was stunned by bagged milk. “What would our grandfathers say if they saw us sauntering down the road in a pair of flip flops carrying a bag of milk?!”
Ah, Farrelly. What a lad! Check out his article here.