Are Canadians and New Zealanders pretty much the same? Australians seem to think so. We asked a Canadian based Kiwi for her NZ$0.02.
After living in Toronto for three months, the novelty of real live black people and Dairy Queen has worn off, but there is still a shit load of difference between here and home that doesn’t cease to amuse me. Some people say New Zealanders and Canadians are similar. Some people are wrong. Canadians don’t have meat pies, they don’t say "heaps", there is no yeast extract spread for my toast, and there is so much water in their toilet bowls I’m scared I might drown if I slip. And that’s just the beginning.
For starters, Toronto is massive compared to Auckland, which takes some getting used to. People navigate through the city by main cross-roads, whereas at home, we have suburbs. When you’re trying to find your way around, everyone’s all “Oh it’s so easy, it’s just like a grid”. Grids are only easy when you know which way you’re going, and all directions here are given in terms of North, South, East & West. I’m one of those people who get Queenstown and Queensland mixed up, so needless to say my geography in a different country is shitter than your average. Never Eat Soggy Weetbix has since become my saving grace.
How you get around
Nobody drives. At first I thought I had just be-friended a group of de-generates, but turns out this is the norm. The only people I know here who drive are older and either have something to do in promotion or own a bar. So everybody bikes, which is actually really fun in the summer, and don’t cost a thang. The bad thing about biking is that you have to get used to looking like shit, all the time. I know I sound like a whiney girl but by the time I get anywhere, I’ve sweated my makeup off, ripped my tights in at least two places and have grease on my t-shirt. It’s also kind of dangerous, especially if you’re like me and you drink and ride. I’m a hazard even when I’m sober because I still look the wrong way when I cross the road. Also, when it rains, it sucks so hard. This is when I call my friends who are in promotion or who own bars.
Things to do
As much as I love Auckland, there is fuck all to do. The one bar everyone used to go to changed owners and now they play elevator music. So everyone started going to another bar, which was alright, but way too small and would get so packed you’d be sandwiched between 50 people (three of whom you realise you'd slept with) trying to get a drink. And apparently that bar has changed owners too now. There are other fun bars, but these have been monopolised by hipsters and can make you feel like you’re at a fedora convention. While Toronto isn’t short of their Doc Marten mafia, there is always something to do. There are bars for quiet drinking, rowdy drinking, sexual drinking, and dancing on tables with half of Peru shovelled up your nose drinking. And this is just at night. During the day, it doesn’t matter if you’re into ganja yoga or S&M, there’ll be a weekly focus group in your neighbourhood with snacks and activities.
The way you drink
Back home when I was 15 I could buy a 40 ounce from an array of alcohol stores with an ID that said my name was Anahera Ture (I’m blonde and about as white as they come). Here there is only one (ONE!) alcohol franchise that sells hard liquor and it’s government owned, which means their locations and opening hours are far from liberal. While bars and clubs here don’t lack in variety or numbers, they stop serving alcohol at 2AM. I have mixed feelings towards this. On one hand I work in a bar so would hate my life if I had to work til 4am. On the other hand, when you’re out drinking, ‘last call’ is the worst news ever. It means everybody piles into these after-hours places where you have to pay to get into somewhere that’s playing house music and charging $10 for a drink. There are also huge fines for drinking in public, which makes no sense on a summer's day when there’s no beaches to have beer picnics at. (More on this below)
Despite Auckland’s lack of decent night-life, our beaches shit all over anyone else’s, no matter where you’re from, period. I know people rant about this, but it’s because it’s true. Canadians: A Pizza Pizza with a lake next to it with more lifeguards than people and a sign that says; “Do Not Swim - Polluted” doesn’t count. This is one such vegan meat beach in Toronto.
How you talkThe relationship terminology here is confusing. ‘Making out’ and ‘dating’ are both terms we don’t use in the Ay-Kay, and are only familiar with through American Pie. Making out has the more straightforward definition and is equivalent to ‘hooking up’, except it’s way more fun to say; i.e. Wanna go make out? The term dating is harder to figure out. What I reckon so far is that it’s the euphemism equal to ‘seeing someone’ aka ‘fucking’. It’s a bit misleading though because it doesn’t actually mean you go on dates. I think it’s one of those things that while you’re not technically exclusive, this doesn’t mean it won’t be awkward when you bump into the guy you ‘dated’ last week with your new ‘date’. I choose to maintain my ignorance on this and use my foreigner excuse.
The language thing isn’t limited to relationship lingo either. I didn’t know people still used the expression “right-on!” Turns out in Canada, they do. When people say this all of a sudden I’m transported to a metal school chair in a circle at a men’s support group, and it makes me uncomfortable. This might have something to do with the fact that the upward inflection in Canadian accents is similar to a kiddy fiddler’s erection in a playground. I don’t know whether this is just a constant exaggeration of their apparent enthusiasm, or maybe they just really do get excited giving directions. Being guilty of saying Fush & Chups isn’t half as bad.
But there are some similarities right? For example, Canada and NZ each have their own armpit towns, and each has a sweaty crotch called Hamilton. However, while both Hamiltons are recognised for their solid contribution to the world’s inbred population; NZ’s version has impressive Chlamydia statistics and is fondly known as “The Tron”, whereas Canada’s Hamilton is pretty choice when it comes to making steel, and is cleverly referred to as “The Hammer”.
So. To sum up. In my very professional opinion, Canadians and New Zealanders are pretty goddamned different.