Canada still loves the car. And there’s a lot of real estate given over to the car. We have parking lots and parkades and the street too. Most of the time there is no problem finding a parking spot. Actually this was something that took us a while to get used to, as we’d come from west London where parking is at a premium.
One of my weekend duties was driving the kids to their activities. Dropping the girls off at Miss Sarah’s ballet school was the worse. It was one on one of those narrow suburban roads, with cars parked on both sides. I would circle and circle looking for a spot that I could get into. Then I’d demonstrate my skills in parallel parking.
Here in Vancouver, most of the time, you can find a parking space very near where you’re going. Until we got used to this we’d “premature park” – scooting into a spot blocks away from our destination. Then, after walking those blocks, we’d find several available spots right outside.
Canadians, by contrast, seem to expect to find the perfect parking spot right where they want it. Their level of expectation is so high that when they see someone about to leave “their” spot, they will stop and wait. The traffic behind watches their flashing turn signal and patiently waits. Often it can be a long wait if there’s any attempt at parallel parking involved as this is not a skill much in evidence in Vancouver.
The holiday season brings this tendency to ludicrous levels. For example in the Costco parking lot, I saw someone in an SUV waiting with the flashers going while another shopper was unloading their groaning shopping cart into their car. It must have been a long wait. It was probably worth it as it was a premium spot, close to the store’s entrance.
I guess it is a good thing that drivers are so patient. In England, waiting for a parking spot like that would have had other drivers honking their horns at the very least.