Reference Points

January 18, 2009

Moon: Living Abroad in Canada

Avalon Travel, $19.95

It seems that quite a few Americans consider Canada the 51st state. Author Carolyn B. Heller aims to put that idea to rest. Although the United States and Canada have much in common, Heller is quick to point out that Canada has its own distinctive culture with its own customs, languages and idiosyncrasies. Canada has slightly more than 33 million people, but nearly three-quarters of them live within 100 miles of the U.S. border. She discusses housing, the Canadian health system, employment and finance, while offering suggestions on prime living locations.

She contrasts the American melting pot with the Canadian multiculturalism, where various ethnic groups live side by side in a mostly multi-ethnic harmony. This attitude often can lead to unusual and quite funny ethnic combinations. To cite one example, Heller profiles an annual dinner and performance event in Vancouver - dubbed Gung Haggis Fat Choy - that celebrates the city's Chinese and Scottish heritages and where people gather for a Chinese-style banquet to savor such delicacies as haggis won tons. Only in Canada. Others in the series include Living Abroad in New Zealand, Living Abroad in Australia, Living Abroad in Japan and Living Abroad in Italy.

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