In the summer of 2006, my brother, Oliver, and I traveled to Vancouver, Canada by plane to tour. This was my first time going to Canada and to be honest, I wasn’t really excited to go. From what I’ve heard Canada was a gigantic wilderness larger than the United States but with only a fraction of the American population.
I was born and raised in the urban environment of Los Angeles so going to the middle of nowhere did not seem appealing at all. My image of Canada turned out to be a total misconception. The moment I stepped off the plane onto Vancouver soil, I knew Canada was much more than people made it out to be.
The first major change from LA is that I noticed is how green the Canadian landscape is. Canada is covered with beautiful woods and natural elements with makes a sharp contrast with the urban environment of LA. The next major change is the quality of the air.
I grew up inhaling the smog and pollution of LA that I didn’t know how good fresh, clean air tasted. In Canada, one could actually take deep full breathes of air and enjoy its natural sweetness. I envy Canadian citizens because I’m positive the clean oxygen increases their natural life span.
Outside of the natural purity of Canada, I was surprised by how urban the city of Vancouver was. It was almost like LA with its huge buildings, community centers, restaurants, entertainment, and people. However, I immediately noticed the balance between nature and the city.
Huge trees lined every street and parks existed on almost every block. These natural elements beautified the city while cleaning the air and providing a relaxed environment. In Canada, I observed a social difference between the behavior of Canadians and Americans.
Growing up in LA, I was used to loud, angry, and aggressive people. In Vancouver, Canada however, there was no such people to be found. I don’t know if it’s because of the soothing effect of all that nature but Canadian people are extremely considerate and passive.
Everyone in the streets wore a smile and even the cops were nice and lenient, which shocked me because LA cops are tough and mean. From my visit to Canada, I was greatly enlightened and humbled. All this time I thought the US being the number one superpower meant we were better than every other country in all aspects.
I could not be more wrong. My Canada experience opened my eyes to new possibilities, and proved to me that even a superpower like the United States could learn about conservation and balance with nature from Canada.
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