I've been at my new job/new country for -- hmm, a little over a month now -- and here's what I've learned. This is specifically unrelated to the library, so apologies for the departure. I'll get back on the library stuff shortly.
Things in Canada that are more expensive than things in the US:
1) Regular brick-n-mortar banks. They charge a monthly fee. To hold onto my money. Which earns no interest anyway. My mind is officially boggled.
2) Car insurance. From 2-3 times more expensive.
3) Phone service. Vonage is about 1.5x what it is in the US. This isn't counting cellphones, though, which are their own special dimension of horror.
4) Transit, at least compared to SF Muni. US$1.50 for a Muni ticket, CAD$2.25 for the almighty HSR. Although monthly passes in Canada are tax deductible.
5) Gas. ~CAD$4 per US gallon.
6) Beer. I can't tell you the amount of ribbing I've had from my otherwise excellent colleagues here about my love for Lakeport, a sort of Ontario Schlitz/Milwaukee's Best/Pabst-alogue. But the minimum price you can charge for beer in this province is a dollar a bottle, which is a far cry from paying a quarter for whatever unholy dreck was on sale at Jungle Jim's. The way I figure Lakeport -- it's brewed locally, so it's gotta be fresh, right? And it's a perfectly serviceable beer, dammit all. Plus a 28 pack comes with a free T-shirt. Free T-shirts are always the sign of a classy brew.
To be fair though re: the whole money thing, I'm still working with the old expectation of the US$.60-$.70 exchange rate. Now that the US dollar and the Canadian dollar are reaching parity -- they're probably about at Diefenbuck range currently -- things get comparatively more expensive.
One of my big psychological hurdles is trying to get myself into the Canadian mindset. This means not endlessly comparing things to how they are in the US. This includes not referring to the Celsius temperature scale as "fake temperature". Eventually, eventually.
What's cheaper in Canada?
1) Pizza. I don't know how it's done, but pizza is about half the price here as it was back in Ohio, and probably 1/3 the price of pizza in San Francisco.
2) Medical care. Natch.
Things that are about equal:
1) Food, OTC medicine, general miscellaneous sundries -- some are pricier, some are cheaper, it works out to about the same really.
2) Broadband internet.
What can I say though about the town of Hamilton itself? Completely and utterly in love with it -- yes really. It plays the Ontario version of Oakland to Toronto's San Francisco -- and probably has about the same rep in Toronto as Oakland has in SF -- smelly, dirty, unsafe, mostly uninteresting, home to rubes and also-rans. This is utterly untrue. Hamilton is exactly where I want to be, in just about every way I can think of.