By Kevin Williams
Okay, this is off-topic, but we do have a fair number of Canadian visitors here (shout-out to Hazel B. in Saskatchewan!). I’ve tried to figure out my attraction to all things Canadian and I think it’s because a portion of my childhood was spent living overseas. so when I go to Canada, just four hours from my front door, I get a whiff of the international flavor of my childhood. That may, ultimately, be what drew me to the Amish. But if you visit Windsor, Ontario or any other Canadian city, you do get a distinctly different cultural experience. There are 10 Canadian provinces and I have been to 5 and they all exude an international air. When you visit our neighbor to the north one of the first changes you'll notice is in the culinary landscape. Yes, you do see plenty of Golden Arches and US chains, but I always gravitate towards the Canadian ones. Here are my five favorite, how many have you been to or heard of?
TIM HORTON’S: Tim Horton’s has locations in the United States but they just aren’t the same and I’m not sure why. In Canada what is amazing is the sheer number of Tim Horton’s. In urban areas it is not unheard of to have two or three separate Tim Horton’s on opposite corners of the same intersection. They are everywhere in Canada, tucked away in gas stations (and I’m not talking just a case of doughnuts, like full-service, staffed locations), schools, airports,bus stations, etc. I know WHY there are so many. Because they rock! Nutella cookie, anyone? But if there is that much business to support that many Tim Horton’s, why aren’t Canadians all obese?
HARVEY’S: Comfort fast-food. This place amazes me. Why can’t the USA have a fast-food chain with this variety? I guess we do…I mean, Culvers is a chain that maybe comes close. Harvey's has your standard burgers and chicken sandwiches but if you want healthier fare they have a delicious veggie burger (I know Burger King has one, but Harvey’s is amazing in its flavor), and look at the sides they have…oh and doughnuts and hand-spun milkshakes?? I’m getting too excited. Click here to look at their menu.
MARY BROWN’S FRIED CHICKEN: I remember once making a lonely – yet exhilarating - drive up the west coast of Newfoundland…I might have to write more about this drive sometime soon because just writing about this is bringing back memories….but I’d say the drive on Newfoundland’s west coast may be the most beautiful I’ve ever done…one of the most peaceful, pristine places I’ve ever been…but after a long drive I was kind of happy to make it to a “city” if 4,000 population St. Anthony qualifies as that. St.Anthony is at the northern tip of the island of Newfoundland. I was hungry and I found sustenance at Mary Brown’s Fried Chicken,which I found out later is a chain of Canadian chicken restaurants. (They are known for their signature "Big Mary" sandwich, which is what I think I had....we are talking 25 years ago). Do we have any Newfoundland readers on Amish365.com?
SWISS CHALET – a pleasant Canadian chain focused mainly on chicken. There’s one right across the border in Windsor, Ontario so I always sort of know I am in Canada when I see that.
PIZZA PIZZA - This chain may be limited to Ontario…does anyone know? But they are all over the province and there are few things that cheer me more than crossing into Canada and seeing a Pizza!Pizza! store....they are open late, they have an amazing menu.....their whole-wheat pizza crust is out of this world. I remember arriving after midnight once in the tiny Ontario town of Brantford and finding all the restaurants closed -except for Pizza!Pizza! I think the lone guy working there was about to close up when I stopped in to place an order,but he cheerfully kept the oven running for me and churned out a superb pizza. Check out their menu here.