Sometimes it is the little, everyday things that tell you the most about life in another country, don’t you think? Like the act of crossing the road.
Canadians are courteous. Judging by the way drivers let pedestrians amble across the road this is true. You rarely see any sign of impatience from the motorists, while they wait for the last pedestrians to cross.
In fact, at least where we live, we have often had cars stop and wave us across the road. Admittedly this is a quiet road, next to a school zone, but I could never imagine that happening back in the UK. (We were in Twickenham though!)
You could argue of course that Canadians are foolhardy and rash. Crossing without checking the oncoming traffic, including those turning right on red (legal in BC), is the norm. On our recent visit to Florida, we would probably have died if we’d crossed the road in the same way as we do in Vancouver. Even on a cross walk, cars simply ignored the pedestrians and raced through. It was a brave driver who risked being rammed from behind to let us cross. I always assumed they were visiting Canadians.
Even in downtown Vancouver or Victoria, pedestrians don’t seem to be in a hurry. This impression is reinforced by the fact that most of them are carrying their coffee. I guess they’re drinking decaf!
Maybe the lazy gait and lack of caution means they are arrogant? Let the motorists wait. I doubt it somehow, since it seems to me to be more to do with a more relaxed, small town attitude. There’s time to spare.
I admit to some impatience myself as a driver. Perhaps it’s simply a throwback to my many years driving around London. On balance I prefer the Canadian way. It is more relaxed and probably safer. My only fear is for the Canadian tourist who doesn’t adapt to the traffic conditions outside Canada. Unfortunately the rest of the world belongs to impatient drivers.