Why is Canada so boring


May Yeung is a Toronto nurse. She has lived on Lake Ontario since she came from Hong Kong with her parents as a little girl.

The ubiquitous needle

"The CN Tower, some say in Toronto, is only impossible to see from a single point in the metropolis - namely when you are standing on the viewing platform yourself. This striking needle, which peeks out in many places between the skyscrapers, is 553 meters high the skyline of this bustling metropolis dominates.

Some love this building, others hate it. It has been like this since the building was completed in 1976. For a good 31 years, the tower was the tallest non-guyed structure in the world - I find that extremely impressive. It was not until 2007 that the height was lapped - by the Burj Dubai, which was recently opened. The tower is now one of the symbols of Canada - every year around two million visitors go to the viewing platform or eat in the restaurant at a height of 351 meters.

It is also exciting to watch this city from above again and again - because a lot happens in Toronto. Very much. Here's what I recently read: Toronto has more storefronts per capita than any other North American city. After New York and London, Toronto has the largest number of live stages and theaters.

"Tomato, Canada"

There's always something going on in Toronto - even if it wasn't always that way. The city used to have a reputation for being upright, good and boring. Ezra Pound, it is said, once wrote a letter to Ernest Hemingway, then a reporter for the Toronto Star - and addressed him in "Tomato, Canada". The letter arrived.

The city is constantly changing - and I have a feeling it is getting bigger and bigger. I especially like the ethnic neighborhoods like Chinatown - although there are basically several of them in the city. The original Chinatown and still the largest is the one around Dundas Street and Spadina Avenue. More than half a million Chinese live there - and once you're inside, you no longer have the feeling of being in Canada's largest city - but actually somewhere in China. In or very close to Chinatown are some of the city's celebrities: the Ontario College of Art & Design, the Sharp Center for Design, the Art Gallery of Ontario or the Grange Modern Gallery.

What if the hustle and bustle is annoying? Then you can be in very remote places within a very short time. The Harborfront on Lake Ontario is a dream to stroll through - but the bear can step there too. The Toronto Islands are quieter - the best place to see and admire the city skyline on the shores of Lake Ontario. There are no cars here - there are beaches and parks. "

Boring? No way!


Phil Whitehead was a long-time professional soldier and has traveled extensively with the Canadian Armed Forces. But his home base has always been the capital - from which he just doesn't want to move.

"Does a provincial capital have to be boring? My clear answer is: No! Ottawa is not Toronto, neither is Vancouver or Montréal. But that makes the city with its three-quarters of a million inhabitants anything but boring and bland.

The royal hat pin

The elevation of Ottawa to the capital is, if the legend is correct, a very special chapter of British humor: as early as 1855 the city had about 10,000 inhabitants, the timber industry was important and provided work. Two years later, the British Queen Victoria had to choose a capital for the province of Canada. So she is said to have stuck a hatpin on a map about halfway between the cities of Toronto and Montréal - the next place was Ottawa.

Boring? No way!

But Ottawa was actually favorable in several respects: on the language border of the French and Anglo-Canadians, which was acceptable for both European sections of the population and was also in the hinterland, not too close to the border with the United States. Should there be another war, Ottawa seemed less vulnerable than Toronto, for example.

Not just office stallions

Ottawa has not been as brittle and bureaucratic as Ottawa was a few decades ago. People don't scurry into government buildings in dark blue suits and white shirts every day - they work there, but they enjoy life in their free time. The undisputed center is the Byward Market, the central place for shopping, dining and strolling.

What I particularly like about the city is that everything is within walking distance - many destinations can be reached on foot in fifteen minutes. You can be very British Changing of the Guard at the parliament and is then fixed in the museums, of which there are more and more in the city. Or you can walk to one of the three rivers that flow through the city. And winter also has its charms here, even if it is often bitterly cold for weeks. Then the Rideau Canal becomes an eight-kilometer-long ice rink, on which you can even see suits with briefcases glide to work. And we have the largest winter festival in all of North America, the Winterlude, with ice sculptures, concerts and all kinds of events.

There is enough work in Ottawa. The most important political institutions of the country are located here: the Parliament with Senate and House of Commons, the Governor General and the Supreme Court. In addition, 126 foreign missions and high commissioners are represented in the capital. The Bank of Canada is also based in Downtown Ottawa.

All of this reminds me a bit of the American capital Washington with its political institutions, foundations, embassies and numerous museums. Is this city boring? "

Boring? No way!


André David was born in Montréal and now lives in Québec City - because, as he says, it's quieter there. But not a month goes by without going to Montréal to get a taste of the big city.

"Montréal is the absolute multicultural insider tip - for all of North America. There are very, very many Asians and other immigrants in Toronto and Vancouver, New York is a real melting pot - but in Montréal there are probably most immigrants from all over the world Countries that live peacefully side by side and look after their cultural heritage.

A remote cosmopolitan city

I was born in Montréal, in the southwestern part of the French-speaking province of Québec, a good four decades ago. Since then, a lot has happened in the city, which is said to be the largest French-speaking city after Paris - around 20 percent of the population, today around 3.7 million people in the greater area, are English-speaking. Much, however, has remained the same - Montréal is a chaotic city, one that does not fit into the checkerboard pattern of large North American cities and that does a lot of it savoir-vivre French places.

The urban area is located on the Île de Montréal in the Hochelaga archipelago, at the confluence of the Ottawa River and St. Lawrence River. So much for the geographic one. In terms of feeling and customs, Montréal reminds me much more of European cities than of American cities; the people are generally more southern. As soon as it gets warm, the tables in the bistros are on the streets and people enjoy every ray of sunshine. You have to - because the winters here on the St-Lorenz-Strom are long, sometimes bitterly cold and very uncomfortable.

So it happens that the city has a lively underground life: For the 1967 World Exhibition, Montreál bought its metro and afterwards the expansion of the city developed not only upwards, but also downwards - a previously unknown concept. There are now several underground shopping centers in which there is hardly anything that does not exist - from shops to banks, authorities, hotels and cinemas. This has started Ville souterraine at Place Ville-Marie: The cross-shaped high-rise is one of the oldest skyscrapers in Montreal and at the same time the nucleus of this system.

Sharing axis in the city

Of course, life outside is much nicer - from spring to autumn that's no problem either. The Boulevard St-Laurent is the north-south axis of the city - it also forms the language border: to the west of it the city is more English, to the east it is French. On the Boulevard St-Laurent you can shop, stroll, eat, drink or just watch passers-by.

It is also interesting to go to the neighboring districts. In Chinatown, the Jewish Quarter, Little Italy and all the other places where the various newcomers have settled, people live like in their old homeland.

But that's not all - Montréal is not only the city of Montréal, but also the surrounding area. On a clear day, a visit to the 233-meter-high Mont Royal is the best thing you can do. From here you have an excellent view of the downtown skyline. While it is always full on the terrace at the Chalet du Mont Royal, the hiking and biking trails in the surrounding woods are sometimes so quiet that you think you are a long way away from the city. "

Boring? No way!

Quebec City

Marianne Lemay is a real French-Canadian. She comes from a small town near Québec City, where she has lived since she was a student.

"Québec is a very clear city - it is not too big, and yet everything is there that you need to live. And Québec is certainly the most European of all cities in North America. It still has an intact city wall that contains the Haute-Ville, The old town, is particularly striking up there is the Château Frontenac, now a hotel and visible from almost every point in the city. At the southern end of the upper town is the Citadel of Québec - a good point to get an overview of the city procure.

Old walls and young people

The Basse-Ville is located outside the city wall - and just below the old town, closer to the St. Lawrence River with the port. The central square of the lower town is the Place Royale with its Notre Dame des Victoires church. With a small rack railway, the Funiculaire du Vieux-Québec, the Québecois overcome the difference in altitude between the lower and upper town. But there are also numerous stairs and streets for the sporty.

When it comes to sports, I prefer somewhere else - namely right on the banks of the great river. The Promenade de Champlain, named after our city founder Samuel de Champlain, has been completely rebuilt there. On July 3, 1608, he founded what was then the capital of the French colony of Canada on what is now Place Royale. The promenade is a 2.5 kilometer path, ideal for running, cycling, inline skating or just sitting in the green and watching the others strolling by or enjoying the wonderful view. It is particularly nice that we finally have access to the river over a great length. In the past there was hardly any possibility of going to the St. Lawrence River unless one went to the port.

Otherwise Québec is just so European that I don't even know where to start raving about it. The old walls, the atmosphere and the flair of the winding streets in the city, the mostly very nice people who know and greet each other, the street cafes, the food - all of this has very little to do with the rest of Canada or even North America. Indeed, it is like living in a French enclave.

A colorful winter

Even if there are always initiatives to split off from the English-speaking part: Most are as satisfied with their life as it is. And: most of them speak English quite well, even in Québec - even if they like to be asked a little.

We still have one special feature, namely in the middle of the most uncomfortable season: I don't particularly like winter, but when the Bonhomme Carnaval, a big, fat snowman with a red pointed cap, rules over the city, then you just have to go out and attend the festivities participate. On the days before Ash Wednesday, like other Catholic countries, we celebrate Carnival, but in our own way. With the Bonhomme, the old town becomes a little wonder world that not only makes the children's eyes shine. During this time, ice sculptures stand on every street corner and in many front gardens. A castle made of snow and ice is being built near parliament, where the Bonhomme lives during the festivities.

There are many delicious specialties from all parts of the province to try and a very special competition with historical roots: the canoe race to the other bank of the half-frozen St. Lawrence River. In the past, the islanders had to transport goods from the city in boats across the almost one kilometer wide river, because there were neither bridges nor ferry connections. Today, the canoe race is one of the most popular competitions during Carnival, and it is sure to attract large numbers of spectators. "


Canadian Tourism Commission, c / o Lange Touristik-Dienst, Eichenheege 1-5, 63447 Maintal

Getting there:

All major airlines offer flights to Canada from various German airports. Air Canada flies daily from Frankfurt to Vancouver and Montréal and several times a day to Toronto. The Canadian airline also offers most of the domestic flights. For a stay of up to a maximum of three months, a passport that is valid for at least six months is required to enter the country.