From Dan: We've just crossed back into the US from Ontario (after a pretty weird border crossing experience in which the US border guard opened the side door of our Chrysler Town & Country and said "OK kids-quick! Point to Mommy!" Duncan just stared at him as if he were King Kong. Luckily all three were able to point to Millie.)
We spent several days in Toronto, where we visited a lot of toy and baby stores, went to this great little amusement park on an island across from downtown, and spent a day at the Ontario Science Centre (not to be missed). Naturally, as Americans, we noticed lots of things that are different in Canada--and not just the pretty money and the metric system.
First, we happened to be there during the Stanley Cup finals, which seemed to be a big deal. Apparently Detroit beat Pittsburgh. But, the top headlines on all the papers for two days following the game was the CBC's plans to change the Hockey Night theme song. This got top billing above Barack Obama securing the nomination down south.
Second, we noticed that there seemed to be about four times as many small businesses in Toronto than in the Twin Cities, which is about the same size. The diversity and endlessness of small, independently-owned shops on every street was amazing. It was almost garish. Our best guess was that Canada's national health care system made it a lot easier to start a new business. At least, we know for sure that the US system doesn't encourage it.
Finally, we puzzled over food. What is peameal on the breakfast menu? What is the sauce that the Swiss Chalet chain serves with its french fries (our server didn't know). And, of greatest concern to Riley, are there any hash browns to be had in Canada?