You know you’re settled in Canada when…

Canadian Tire money


  • you recognize all the Vinyl Café stories and look forward to re-hearing the funny bits
  • you have more than one snow shovel
  • the temperature gauge hovers around freezing so you leave the gloves at home
  • you no longer notice the Canadianisms in your kids’ speech
  • you don’t really notice the bugs and mozzies anymore either
  • you can calculate 13% in seconds
  • you high-five without thinking
  • you’re no longer embarrassed to be seen in your pyjamas
  • you have either Caesar or Ranch dressing in your fridge: if you’re hardcore, both
  • you have a stash of clipped coupons
  • you can buy an O Henry with Canadian Tire money
  • you know better than to pay full price for cereal
  • you have Costco membership
  • you know all the words to the Marineland commercial
  • you discuss the effect of the economy on your “pocketbook”


Whitby Shores, Whitby, Ontario

By Aisha Ashraf

An autistic Irish immigrant in a cross-cultural marriage, Aisha Ashraf is the archetypal outlander, writing to root herself through place and perspective. Published in The Rumpus, The Maine Review, River Teeth, HuffPost and elsewhere, her work explores the legacy of trauma, the nature of being an outsider and the narrow confines of belonging. She currently lives in Canada.


  1. Hahaha! I love this list. I need to get more into the Vinyl Cafe and I’m there, I’m even hardcore with the dressings! and what is it about that flipping Marineland advert, that song stuck in your head for days 😀

    1. That Marineland advert is a piece of work isn’t it? Wonder if they’ll have it on this coming summer after all the stuff in the press about animal cruelty last year…

    1. I’m no longer embarrassed for them, though I still get a hot stab of humiliation if it’s me who’s been caught out, as I was the other day when I dropped my kids to school by car and had to get out to open the door for them…
      As to where I’m from, do you want the unabridged version or just what’s on my passport?

    1. Haha! I forgot a couple of things, like…

      • you judge the development of a society by the availability of half-and-half (none meaning they’ve yet to ascend the evolutionary ladder)
      • your kids no longer alert you the instant snow begins to fall
  2. He he he! I’ll have to do an Aussie version sometime!

    Re your gloves: we have the opposite problem re the heat! Sadly nudity is not accepted, plus skin cancer is a major concern here.

    My very black husband has a lighter band where his watch sits and Miss O 1 got bather marks at the beach!!

  3. Your list is pretty accurate even to me who is a Canadian (now living in Paris). I must admit that the one that made me laugh the hardest was the Marineland’s commercial. I remember, while we were still living in Toronto, that we always knew that spring was coming when those commercials started running on TV…It is one of those stupid song that stick with you and it is so annoying!!!

    1. Exactly how long has it been running? And has it never changed? To me, it IS Canada; I first heard it while we were staying in the hotel when we first arrived here – it’s crystallised into my initial impressions of my new home 🙂

      1. I really don’t know how long this ad has been running but it has been years. I think there has been slight variations in the images and in some of the words but the music always stayed the same. I checked on Wikipedia and it seems that the “Everyone loves Marineland” have been running since 1992!!!

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