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NurseLefty Donating Member (489 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 07:19 PM
Original message
I visited Canada yesterday...
Yesterday, I took a road trip up to Vancouver BC. My 79 year-old dad came along, for which I am glad because I wanted him to be reminded of Vancouver's beauty, and to take a look around while pondering what it might actually be like to live there.
I knew that an afternoon in Vancouver was less about immigration research and more about leisure. (Plus, I could replenish my supply of over-the-counter aspirins with codeine ;-) .) Yet it gave me an opportunity to observe, to people-watch, to chat with the locals, and to take a sharpened look around while driving through the city.
We made our first stop at Granville Island, which is the site of a farmers market, many art galleries, and a model train and ship museum. My dad especially enjoyed the last of these. He is a WWII Navy vet (Royal British Navy), and shared with me his memories, as triggered by the model ships. He enjoyed the trains, as well.
We then took a drive around downtown, and ended up in Vancouver's West End for lunch at a pub. (I have to say, beer on tap in Canada kicks the crap out of that in the US. ) :beer:
After that, we drove into Stanley Park and went for a brief walk. We continued driving the loop in the park, meanwhile enjoying the spectacular scenery. Lastly, we stopped to get groceries that cater to my father's English taste buds. Then, we made the drive home to Seattle.
What I observed:
-Vancouver is a bustling city and its streets are crowded with pedestrians. Everywhere, we saw people out walking - some shopping, some to get exercise, others just seeming to enjoy being out. All the while, the weather was dull and misty, with the temperature barely cracking 50 deg. F.
-In spite of the dreary, cold weather, the city is simply beautiful. Its original founders apparently understood that cities are "people places" - not just centers of commerce. Parks and landscaping are everywhere, and the city is clean. Vancouverites seem to appreciate this, as evidenced by the many we saw out and about, especially in the parks. In dreary weather, I'll mention again!
-People seem happy. I know this is a subjective observation, but I did not see surly, hurried people like I do in the streets of downtown Seattle. I did see a few who appeared to be homeless, which I doubt any city is free of. But overall, I saw a diverse cross section of people - elderly with grocery-filed carts in-tow, gay couples strolling hand-in-hand, various ethnicities, various languages spoken, and children out walking with their parents.
I grant that I am seeing Vancouver through romantic-tinted lenses. But I have visited there dozens of times throughout my life and I really do love that city. I have researched immigration and employment details online and by visiting the Canadian Consulate. Though I wont be able to pursue it for at least another year, I am feeling in my heart that Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada is my future home.
I share this with you to give an account of my experience with wanting to leave the US. My hope is that even if you do not share the direction I am taking, you will at least have an open enough mind to examine your own thoughts of what it means to live in America, and the alternative of living elsewhere.
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physioex Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 07:24 PM
Response to Original message
1. Vancover is a nice city...
The laid back attitudes of the Canadians is refreshing, but people are like that in Europe was well. Washington is also similart to Vancouver. The contrast comes when you look at all those red states.... :puke:
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HuskerDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 07:24 PM
Response to Original message
2. What a nice account
be prepared for a long immigration process, but it sounds lovely.
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Minstrel Boy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 07:29 PM
Response to Original message
3. Welcome to Canada (eventually)
:hi:

I used to encourage Americans to stay, but not anymore. The futility of November 2 changed that. And how many German Jews said "How bad can it get?"

I just posted this in LBN:

Canada beckons left-leaning Yanks

By GENE JOHNSON
The Associated Press
Nov 14


SEATTLE Got the blue-state blues? Rudi Kischer feels your pain.

The Vancouver, British Columbia, immigration lawyer plans seminars in three U.S. cities Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles to tell Americans frustrated with President Bush's re-election that the grass is greener north of the border.

...

There was so much interest that a Vancouver-based Internet company, Communicopia, set up a new Web site this month at http://www.canadianalternative.com to suggest Canada as a viable option for its American clients.

...

Canada suddenly has utopian appeal for many left-leaning Americans. Its universal health care, homosexual rights, abortion rights, gun control laws, drug laws, opposition to the Iraq war, ban on capital punishment, and ethnic diversity mirror many values of the American left. Immigrants, including an estimated 1 million Americans, make up nearly 20 percent of Canada's population. The United Nations named Toronto the world's most multicultural city.
http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/news/world/101...
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TexasChick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 07:39 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. Wow! Thanks for the link! n/t
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NurseLefty Donating Member (489 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 08:02 PM
Response to Reply #3
12. Thank you!
I look forward to being a Canadian someday!
:hug:
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seabeyond Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 10:25 PM
Response to Reply #3
27. we can get in, that is good to know
was fun going htru your site. first time i have really brought it up to him. i want him to start thinking about the idea
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blueblitzkrieg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 07:33 PM
Response to Original message
4. That sounds great.
Canada sounds better and better every day.

I need to get out of New Mexico. :(
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Dez Donating Member (826 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 07:34 PM
Response to Original message
5. Thanks for reminding me
how wonderful Vanvouver is! I lived in Bellingham 4 years ago, and i used to always drive up to Vancouver. I just loved that city, I loved Stanley Park, and all the city had to offer.
I would take my bike up to Stanley Park, and ride the Sea Wall all the way around, and it was just lovely. I am back in Arizona, and about the only thing I miss about living in B'ham, is going to Vancouver!
If I won the Lotto, this is where I would go! I am on disability, so I would need to win the lotto to make my way up there..
Your post sure brought back some good memories of walking to Granville Island with a friend of mine who lived nearby there.. thanks! :-)

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NurseLefty Donating Member (489 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 07:49 PM
Response to Reply #5
9. You are welcome
:hi:
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ilovenicepeople Donating Member (883 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 10:45 PM
Response to Reply #9
30. Thanks for the beautiful account of Vancouver
Being without a car I'm stuck on Vancouver island so I don't get the chance to visit Vancouver often(sarcasm)Good thing you came up yesterday,today wasn't to pleasent for touristing but then again rain is a way of life in an ex-rainforest. :hi:
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Placebo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 07:44 PM
Response to Original message
7. Why do you hate America?
j/k...

Someone had to say it.
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radwriter0555 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 07:47 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. How can you love something that no longer exists as we knew it?
This isn't the america I knew and loved. We're now Nazi America.

It's broken my heart.
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picante Donating Member (24 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-15-04 03:39 PM
Response to Reply #8
37. how did you "know" America before??
someone had to ask that too I guess.

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TriMetFan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 07:51 PM
Response to Reply #7
10. Its not that we hate America its America is hating us.(Gay/Lesbians)
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NurseLefty Donating Member (489 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 07:55 PM
Response to Reply #7
11. Are you asking me?
I do not hate America! It's my homeland. But, it is changing, and I don't know if I want to spend the rest of my life surrounded by ignorant, arrogant, racist homophobes, who don't give a rip about those in society who are most vulnerable.
Democracy is alive and well in other places on the planet. That's where I want to be. Sorry.
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Leaning Left Donating Member (3 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 08:07 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. Canada IS sweet!
Only been there once, looking forward to visiting again soon!
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fujiyama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 08:30 PM
Response to Reply #7
15. Who is Johnson
talking to in your picture?
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Comadreja Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 10:08 PM
Response to Reply #7
25. Reminds me of a text from my religious days
from the Apocalyse: "Get out of her my people, if you do not want to share with her in her sins, and if you do not want to share in her plagues. For her sins have piled up as high as the sky."

Now the world thinks that we approve of what * is doing to the Iraqis and Palestinians.

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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 08:29 PM
Response to Original message
14. I used to work in Eastern Washington fifty miles from the
Canadian border, and every summer we would get an influx of Canadian tourists. All were well fed, healthy and drove decent cars and often were towing boats, and trailers and other adult toys. Most of these Canadians were working class too. The American workers on the other hand were down at the heels and poor whose salaries couldn't feed their families without the help of food stamps and this was during Clinton's term.
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cire4 Donating Member (580 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 08:30 PM
Response to Original message
16. I'm considering University of British Columbia for study abroad....
Your description of the city just made the decision harder.....
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NurseLefty Donating Member (489 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 08:50 PM
Response to Reply #16
17. Why harder?
It's a lovely place. UBC is cool, too. A BIG school.
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Dez Donating Member (826 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 08:56 PM
Response to Reply #17
18. UBC has a beautiful campus!
There is no part (well.. except the East side) of Vancouver that I don't love! It is the cleanest city I have ever been to, and Vancouverites take great pride in their city. I would be up there in a heartbeat, and I wouldn't miss the states. I could always come back to visit family, then fly back to Beautifu B.C!
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cire4 Donating Member (580 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-15-04 12:31 AM
Response to Reply #17
32. Because its competing with Paris
Vancouver sounds so lovely that it may be a better place to study than Paris.....
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DuaneBidoux Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 09:06 PM
Response to Original message
19. I love Canada. Been there twice. Fun to tell Bush jokes out
loud and get NO objections from anyone. But I am still American and I'm not giving up yet goddamn it.

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Nicholas_J Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 09:07 PM
Response to Original message
20. Living close enough to the border to actually check around
aand even see if it is possible to find someone willing to hire you for a job is a lucky thing because getting someonne to hire and sponsor you is more than half the battle. Especially if you have some degree of education or a skill in an area that jobs are needed in. In fact Canada temporarily ire-opened its quota for Americans and doubled it due to need for people with higher education in a number of fields. Going obver the border and checking things out once a month could yield something relatively quickly. I know that some fields are experienceing a complete lack of qualified people (like librarians. So few people stopped getting degrees in this field that there is a shortage all over the U.S. and Canada, and American with degrees in this areas could find jobs in Canada in the next few years.) In fact my girlfreind and I have been thinking about getting jobs in an areas close to the border for exactly this purpose, to be able to check out over the border regularly. There are any number of cities in upstate New YOrek for example that are an hour drive from Montreal. AS soon as is possible, we are getting up to a border area.
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Frederic Bastiat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 09:13 PM
Response to Original message
21. I moved to Montreal permanently in 2002
And now I am a permanent resident of Canada. I have met numerous Americans like myself. It can be done.

Montreal is also very charming and dare I say very progressive more so than Vancouver or Toronto.
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Riptide Donating Member (212 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 09:52 PM
Response to Reply #21
24. Montreal is a great city. I grew up there....
I lived in Beaconsfield, on the west island. My family is English, but my parents put me in a French immersion program. We moved to the US when I was 14.

I do love Montreal, but I don't know that I could go back. My husband does not speak any French, and mine is pretty damn rusty!



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Scythe404 Donating Member (1 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 09:18 PM
Response to Original message
22. Pristine Beauty
I love Vancouver. Nothing like eating Thai food on a dock in summer hey folks? Great city to look at and visit. Tons of nice sights, shopping attractions, and a very cool monorail. But i have to say i wouldn't want to live there what with the drug crime beginning to completely overrun the area.
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Dez Donating Member (826 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 09:45 PM
Response to Reply #22
23. Drug crimes are a problem
downtown, but I don't think it's a huge problem in many parts of the city. The cops need to focus more on the crack dealers than on the pot dealers, but the 300 + DEA/FBI stationed in Vancouver persuade the local police to focus on pot rather than hard drugs. They are more interested in paying off cocaine dealers to turn in pot dealers, and this is what happens in law enforcement with the help of American funds, since the Canadians don't have an unlimited supply of money as the Americans do.
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NurseLefty Donating Member (489 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 10:19 PM
Response to Reply #22
26. As noted on this visit, and from what I have seen in previous visits,
there is definitely a street population in Vancouver. From what I have seen, drugs and/or mental illness are a part of the situation. But, what major North American city is without such problems?
You just find ways to stay safe, and do what you can to help those in your community who are dealing with it.
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Minstrel Boy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 10:31 PM
Response to Reply #26
28. Vancouver's safe injection sites seem to be working.
It's a model for other Canadian communities with heroin problems. Though it's not exactly favoured by the US side:


Even if some of these radical treatment ideas are located safely in the future, enough has gone on to get the United States in a tizzy over the Vancouver experiment. When the safe injection site first appeared on the horizon two years ago, U.S. drug czar John Walters came to Vancouver to express his outrage and make his threats. In a private meeting with then-mayor Philip Owen, he said crossing the border would be a nightmare for Canadians if the city went ahead with its plans, as they ran counter to U.S. drug policy (which is arrest, arrest and arrest).

It was the most unsatisfactory meeting of my life, Owen recalls. The pressure was intense. John Walters had about 30 officers with him, special agents. At the door there was a guy with the bulge of a gun under his clothes. Mayor Larry Campbell was also present at this meeting, and he hasnt forgotten about it. At an international harm reduction conference in Melbourne, Australia, this spring, Campbell countered to the effect of Lets see how they like it if we shut down our bordertheyll be thirsty in the dark in L.A. The applause was deafening.

http://www.avi.org/node/view/875
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NurseLefty Donating Member (489 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 10:54 PM
Response to Reply #28
31. Kind of ironic, isn't it?
The thuggish behavior of US drug enforcement heads making appearances as frontline fighters in the War on Drugs. Yet that war was lost a long time ago!
Kudos to BC leaders who don't bend to the pressure.
One more thought - after 9/11, I figured that drug smuggling to the US would stop, given the fact that the borders would be tightened to stop terrorists. Instead the drugs are still-a-comin'... lots of things to wonder about there...
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newyawker99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-15-04 03:40 PM
Response to Reply #22
38. Hi Scythe404!!
Welcome to DU!! :toast:
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mtnsnake Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 10:45 PM
Response to Original message
29. This northern NYer LOVES Montreal and Ottawa, and surprisingly
you can get by just fine without knowing how to speak French, even in Montreal. A decent size of the populuation in that fantastic city are English speaking, but it doesn't matter that the majority speaks French. Most of the French-speaking ones can speak English very well. I've done lots of visiting and business over the years in Quebec and I love the Quebecers. Very very cool people up there. It's when you get way north of Montreal, like near Quebec City, that you might find more of a language barrier.

The Ottawa area is great, too. Fortunately for us it's only a short drive across the border. My wife and I have gone there often over the years for stuff to do, like concerts, going to Sens hockey games (well not this season yet), shopping, or hanging out in the Byward Market. Every member of my family has always said we'd love living in the Ottawa area. Maybe someday soon, it just might happen.
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yvr girl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-15-04 01:21 AM
Response to Original message
33. We do love our city
I live about 6 blocks from Granville Island - it's a great place to visit. Great shops and galleries, restaurants and entertainment.

I remember one trip to the beach this summer - I heard seven different languages spoken. Within blocks of my place I can get sushi, Chinese food, Thai, Maylasian, Indian, Southern and fusion cuisine.

I always appreciate Vancouver, when I get home from a trip. It's green all year around. The mountains rise up from the sea. Parks are everywhere.

We do have homeless people - what major city doesn't? Crime is not that bad here. I feel safe walking the streets, even at night.

Here are some pics for you.






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NurseLefty Donating Member (489 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-15-04 02:57 PM
Response to Reply #33
34. EXACTLY what I mean...
Sigh... ooooh... ahhh... Vancouver is beeeyewwteefuuuul! Thanks for the pictures... I love it there! You think Canada could use a Yankee nurse? :hi:
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Danmel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-15-04 03:12 PM
Response to Original message
35. Vancouver
We were in Vancouver this summer- it was nice, but I do have to say there was a large homeless population and they were quite aggressive. I am from NYC and grew up there in the 60s and the 70s when NY was pretty bad, and it wasn't as bad as Vancouver was. I think it is a combination of liberal drug laws, and temperate weather compared to the rest of Canada. I am not without compassion but it is a problem and we found it very unpleasant to constantly be accosted by people asking for money. Many of them were very strung out and it freaked my kids ( who are 13 and 10) out.

I guess I just expected Canada to be better.
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NurseLefty Donating Member (489 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-15-04 03:35 PM
Response to Reply #35
36. My hometown of Seattle has a pretty sizeable street population too
Edited on Mon Nov-15-04 03:36 PM by NurseLefty
and in a few of neighborhoods one will be aggressively panhandled on nearly every block. I guess I am used to it. It's a sad part of city life I have learned to live with.
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Dez Donating Member (826 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-15-04 05:39 PM
Response to Reply #36
39. Vancouver's pluses outweigh
the bad. It doesn't have the gun crimes that you find in the states, and that is a big plus! I don't mind panhandlers, I DO mind very aggressive people, which I find in the states, not Vancouver. Even around Canby & Hastings, I would see panhanders near the money exchange place, and even toss them a Loonie now and then. I think it's great Vancouver has a place for junkies to get clean needles, and they stood up to the all-powerful USA on that! Right on!
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