U.S. Envy

It’s Top Chef night tonight! I’m all caught up on my viewing. And so far, so good: my two picks are still in the game.

#1 Rob

#2 Dale

One of them even won the Elimination Challenge last week (I won’t say more in case you’re still catching up!). And one by one, the weakest links are being voted off the island…I’m eagerly awaiting Episode #6, “The French Feast” – I’ll aim to watch it Tuesday eve!

While Top Chef Canada is quite entertaining, the family fans (The Brother, SIL Ana, the parental units) all agree that the American versions of TC are stronger, in general. The competitors are of a higher calibre, the dishes created are more complex, and the judges/celebrity guest chefs are more renowned. (Dan Ackroyd *celebrity!!* in Episode #3? Please! Although the inclusion of Susur Lee in Episode #4 was très cool).

Our evaluation of Top Chef Canada reminded me of other areas in which the U.S. beats out Canada, hands down.

For example:

Marathon Hosting: Hoopla, throngs of spectators, corals of runners, national pride…American marathons are celebratory, high-profile-in-the-community events.


Canadian marathons leave a lot to be desired, sorry to say. Even the “big ones” (Vancouver, Ottawa, Toronto Waterfront) lack spectator support, completely-car free courses, and top-notch sponsorship.


[where’s the crowd support??]

Snafus such as route confusion, parking logjams, super-small expos are quite the norm. My biggest beef is with the lack of community support from city residents, and missing financial support from city government. Americans get behind their hosting duties with rah-rah gusto. Canadian race organizers need lessons from their American counterparts.

Grocery Store Product Selections: My U.S. grocery store love is well documented on the Kiki blog! Seriously, let me loose in a Publix (my go-to in Florida), Piggly Wiggly (South Carolina discovery), Safeway (a Colorado staple) or…Whole Foods (you knew that was coming) and I am entertained to the nth degree. And likely to walk out the door with a wallet that’s $200 lighter. And 17 boxes of new-to-me cereals tucked under my arm.

States with Vacation-esque Climates: You know those essay contests, “If I Were Prime Minister for a Day…?” Well, my first order of business would be “Buy a warm state and make it a Canadian province.” I tell you, if Canada owned Florida, Arizona, California, or New Mexico, I would be transferring/moving/picking up stakes faster than you can say “pass me the sunscreen.”

Oprah. ♥ ♥ ♥


So as not to be entirely unpatriotic, I’ll toot the Canadian horn, too. Canada rocks when it comes to…

Health Care: We are fortunate to have access to free medical care in Canada. Many of us take this blessing for granted – we complain about doctor shortages and wait times to see specialists or get MRIs, but really, we are very lucky to not have to pay out-of-pocket for any of these services.

Worldwide Reputation: Canadians enjoy a favourable stereotype in countries around the globe. We are known to be polite, non-confrontational, reserved…boring, yes, but it’s a benefit to be Canadian when travelling abroad where reputation preceeds your arrival.

Money: what is more fun than our coloured paper bills? Only our loonies and toonies!

all i had in my wallet, at the moment! (loonies are the gold ones, toonies the silver/gold coins, for the uninitiated))

American money is confusing: the bills are all black and white. When you don’t know your Abe Lincoln from your George Washington, you really have to mind your p’s and q’s when settling your bill!

ATMs: cheque writing is going the way of the dodo bird. Almost everyone now uses debit cards, with credit cards coming in a close second for non-cash forms of payment. A lot of places will not even accept cheques any more. Since day one, Canadians have embraced electronic payment methods enthusiastically.

What’s something you appreciate about both the U.S. and Canada? I love my American friends, met in Aruba. I appreciate their friendliness, exuberance for life, and the gift of the gab that so many of my acquaintances possess. I love how BIG Canada is in terms of land space!

Anything you find funny about either country? Canadians looovvvve to talk about the weather. I never get tired of hearing a native New Yorker’s accent!

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  • Lisa  On May 16, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    This is a great post! I don’t go to Canada often, even though it’s only an hour or so from here. I did notice the last time I was in Toronto that there seemed to be a wellness center on every corner—that definitely wins over the US!

    • 1970kikiproject  On May 16, 2011 at 7:59 pm

      thanks, lisa! downtown toronto does have a lot of healthy living sites: fitness centres, fresh/healthy food (no, not the hot dog vendors!), parks…could be a lot worse!

  • Zo  On May 16, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    I think your health care gives you more freedom because you don’t have to work “full time” to be taken care of.
    I remember liking how Canadian groceries have more products and brands from Europe. Oooh..and I thought “No Frills” was fun and bought some good teas there.
    In the states, I like the differences you’ll find in the states….different landscapes etc. And trader joe’s!

    • 1970kikiproject  On May 16, 2011 at 7:40 pm

      sure, zo, remind me of my lack of trader joe’s! i’ll gladly swap you “no frills” for a TJ!! (never buy no frills brand, myself). diversity in landscape is fascinating! as you know from your recent trip! the rockies out west still amaze me, too.

  • Tiff  On May 16, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    I love Canada’s friendly yet laid back reputation, but I also love how some of them say the word “about.” 🙂

    • 1970kikiproject  On May 16, 2011 at 7:16 pm

      haha, yes “about” is a common one for distinguishing accents….i say ‘about’ so that it would rhyme with gout, route – an “ow” sound is what i’m getting at … not “aboot,” that is for sure!

  • Johanna B  On May 16, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    I like maple leaves on everything. I still have some maple leaf earrings I bought in 1968. I think I was in Quebec City when I found them. I like vinegar on fries. This was new to me and so much better than ketchup. I liked hearing Candadian French spoken and realizing it’s a 3rd French dialect I’d need to learn. I grew up around Cajun French which is a disaster to the Parisian ear. I spent a year in Paris realizing that a degree in French didn’t mean I spoke or understood French and then I was exposed to les Quebecois. More to learn – and I loved it.

    • 1970kikiproject  On May 16, 2011 at 7:19 pm

      great examples, johanna! wow, you need to move to canada, with this excellent patriotism! the french in france totally disdain the quebecois and the accent in Quebec. it IS horrendous – parisian french is so musical, quebecois french is very…different (trying to be diplomatic here). ah yes, vinegar on fries – the best!!! although i like ketchup AND vinegar, myself! never mayo, that is for sure! very cool that you have maple leaf earrings from 1968. hold onto those!

  • Holly  On May 16, 2011 at 9:10 am

    Sometimes I feel like MN is north enough that we are basically in Canada 🙂 When I lived in northern MN during college I would get asked constantly if I was from Canada — must be the strong STRONG MN accent 🙂

    • 1970kikiproject  On May 16, 2011 at 7:14 pm

      i’d love to hear your “accent,” holly (remember the accent video thing that was circulating in blogworld a few months ago?!) we in ontario think citizens of manitoba –> west have an accent, so maybe you sound like them! well, you have the running room, too, so if that doesn’t make you an honorary canadian, i don’t know what does!


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