Thursday, September 06, 2007

What I've learned

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.


sledge said...

Ancient Chinese Secret:

A large pizza at SDS cost maybe $2 to make. Priced at $10, that's $8 profit.

This was 10 years ago, but now you know why pizza is priced so high - gotta make a profit!

John Fink said...

Pizza at Bruno's (no relation to the Oxford place, apparently) is, I think, something like CAD 7.99 for an extra large one topping. I believe you re: the profit margin.

Library Blogger said...

Actually, the price of gas is closer to $3.40 US / US gallon.

The one thing you cannot put a price on -- if you have children -- is safe schools!!

And safe streets everywhere - even downtown at night :)

John Fink said...

Thanks, lb. When you start getting into double conversions I get turned around. At any rate, it's waaaaaaaay pricier, which is why I have a bus pass, which suits me just fine.

Funny you mention safe streets -- the only place I've ever been close to being a victim of a street crime is actually in Hamilton, ON -- in 1999. Never in Oakland or San Francisco. But I think the 1999 incident was way statistically weird, plus the guy was drunk, and plus his girlfriend eventually told him to knock it off.

Karenz said...

cool. I'm glad you're exactly where you want to be. also glad you're going to join the rest of the world (with the exception of the UK) in converting to Celsius!

but you really must try some decent beer. that lager stuff is DISGUSTING! in fact, when I tried some recently, I thought, "Ew, is this American??" :)

Borg said...

violence against teachers is a risk we discuss very seriously in Ontario Education Pre-Service programmes. Peer bullying and violence are growing so quickly that we find our Ministry and Federation documents outdated with every passing incident. Less than one month in to the school year, it is obvious that the observations in the last review of the Safe Schools Act are true: we are not doing enough to prevent this violence.

Go downtown - and I don't mean Hess Village - and try to buy some crack.
Go to the east end - where there used to be nice Ukranian bakeries, Hungarian butchers, and grocers- and see where the 20 somethings on welfare have to buy their groceries. Yeah, food is pretty expensive here. Glad I don't have to live off of Student Centre personal pizzas.

I love this city right down to the last drop of sludge. We are kind of like Oakland, I guess, but with Safe(r) Schools and safe streets, right?

Josh said...

Send me a lakeport t-shirt dammit

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