Category: lifestyle


Canadian teeth are perfect. Sometimes they are so perfect that they look like a mouth full of chiclets. Each one identical, gleaming white and even.

Our dentist here said that Canadian dentists are concerned with the whole lifetime of the teeth. The aim is that your teeth remain in good health and outlast you. And that the dentist, orthodontist and hygienist get to drive a nice car and holiday in Maui.

Ok – maybe I will give them credit for caring for the state of my teeth. But having had our youngest just graduate from braces, we are somewhat cynical about the whole thing. His teeth are lovely of course. But he has had years of misery.

Several times we have been into the orthodontist to discuss progress and see if we could get the braces off early. Each time he warned us of all the terrible consequences of not completing the treatment. Most of these consequences are a long way off – especially if you are a teenager looking for a date! 

Actually they are a long way off for anyone. Your teeth will wear out if they’re not aligned properly. So each time we caved and continued paying our monthly fee (nearly $200) and wondered if our son would ever smile.

British teeth have a bad rep here. “Teeth like tumbled down tombstones.” Perhaps that’s why Hollywood casts British actors as the bad guys – their teeth look scary.

Now that Greg has his braces off, his teeth do look nice. And we see more of them as he is smiling at last. And we too are smiling as we’ve paid for the treatment. Putting him through university will be a snap after this.

Summer in Victoria

Victoria is BC’s capital. It’s British heritage shows in the double decker buses and high teas at the Empress Hotel. The charm of Victoria is in it’s size – small enough to be able to walk around the downtown area, window shopping, choosing a nice pub or restaurant to eat in or just taking in all the tourists.

Here is a short list of things to do in Victora.

Wander around the inner harbour and check out the street performers. There’s often a magic show to catch right by the water side. These often attract a crowd. But others you may not notice right away. What about the performers who stand statue like and are painted silver or bronze. Tourists can get startled when the statue behind them moves!

Visit Butchart Gardens. These are worth visiting to see the gardens themselves, but for extra zing, why not go for the fireworks on a Saturday evening in the summer.

Of course there is always whale watching – which does require sailing out of the harbour. There’s no shortage of places offering this.

Labouring under a delusion

My mother, who was Canadian, had a saying that you could not wear white after Labour Day. Of course this made no sense to me whatsoever as a kid in England. We didn’t even have Labour Day!

Here in Canada it makes a little more sense when you see how this public holiday is used to mark the end of summer. Schools go back immediately after Labour Day. People are on their way back from their vacations, stocking up on school supplies and shopping at all the back to school sales.

I don’t know if rules about what you wear were stricter in my mother’s day, but I doubt that the social faux pas of wearing white in September would have made much sense even in those days!

For my part I intend wearing shorts and summer shirts for as long as the weather allows. I might even go into full Canadian gear and don a fleece, big boots and keep the shorts. My socks may be white, but the rest of my stylish outfit will be season appropriate.

Besieged by blackberries

Canadians love a bargain, whether it’s discount coupons, scratch and save at the Bay or a BOGOF deal (buy one, get one free). But what better bargain than free food. Blackberries are in season (just) and everyone’s out there picking them. Probably they’re also congratulating themselves on saving $4 or so that it would have cost them in the supermarket.

Walking the dog this week, we have got used to passing people deep in the tangle of blackberry bushes off the side of the trail. The best and juiciest blackberries always seem to be just out of reach – or are too low down, considering it is a trail favoured by dog walkers.

One high traffic area that offers easier picking, but at the risk of more than a scratch, seems to be the side of the highway. We have even seen cars pulled over on the off ramps, with the drivers picking up tonight’s dessert.


Summer driving, summer living

This week I have been doing a lot of driving across to Kitsilano as I have a client looking in that area. Driving along by the beach is always a reminder of how lovely Vancouver is in the summer.

The pedestrians I see crossing in front of me are dressed for the beach. Flip flops, swim suits, wraps, big hats, rolled up mats under their arms.

In the afternoon, I see the kids waiting with their skim boards and damp towels at the bus stops. Tired parents with their toddlers too.

And at this time of the year, with the long evenings, I get out too. Perhaps not on my skim board, but taking the dog for a walk along the seawall. Admiring the cruise ships leaving in the setting sun. Imagining the cocktails being served. Hmmm, that’s an idea

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