Canada: Tempus fugit

Time really does fly, my friends. Since last we spoke, I’ve had quite a few midterms (they’ve been going well, thank you!), and submerged myself more in my classes, as well as into Canadian culture. It’s fascinating, how so many things are so similar to what you’re used to, yet it’s the tiny, tiny details that completely throw you out of your pace and makes you go “Whaaaat?”.
That said, today I’d like to talk to you a little bit about a major part, according to some, of Canadian culture: Hockey.

While hockey isn’t officially Canada’s national sport (that’s lacrosse), unofficially, well… without disparaging lacrosse, for every lacrosse fan you find, I bet you’ll find at least ten hockey fans. Going to a full house hockey game is a singular experience, like intense concerts or other sporting events; the feel of the crowd, the cheering, the wild rampant emotions… well, suffice to say that if you visit Toronto for any extended length of time (as in, more than a week), it might serve you well to immerse yourself in Canada’s favourite sport by attending a Toronto Maple Leafs game.
As for me, I haven’t had that satisfaction quite yet, but for exchange students (and others as well), there’s something else to be said for hockey in Toronto: University-level hockey. A couple of weeks ago, I went to a game between the Ryerson Rams and the Guelph Gryphons. It was a blast, and the crowd, though not massive in size, made up for it in passion and commitment to support their team.

Ryerson Rams hockey
Ryerson Rams hockey, Copyright Deborah Carlucci

Suffice to say, the Ram’s training and the crowd’s commitment paid off, as the Rams beat the Gryphons by 6 – 1 (Go Rams, yay!).

Another topic of North American culture, is the week of and popular Halloween. Just as in most of the United States, Halloween is very popular in Canada. Trick-or-treating, costumes, parties and events are everywhere in the week leading up to Halloween itself (which was yesterday, October 31st). If you’ve ever looked for an excuse to immerse yourself in the world of scary movies and events/amusement parks (Canada’s Wonderland just outside of Toronto has a massive Halloween theme every year), or just want a good reason for dressing up like a troll for class, Toronto offers you the opportunity. Coming from a country where Halloween didn’t exist when I grew up (not to be confused with All Hallow’s Eve, which is technically the same, but has different cultural connotations), and where it’s only mildly observed even to this day, this was a fantastic experience for me.
I admit to not dressing up myself, but it was a joy to watch all the creations people concocted, both for parties and for class (!). Also, if you’re a fan of scary movies, this time of year is perfect for scratching that itch, both for movies new and old.
Just remember, ladies and gentlemen: short skirts/kilts and tights are COLD this time of year.

All that said, if you do show up in Toronto in the fall term for studying or work, be sure to give yourself the chance to enjoy Canadian culture, and sample the different holidays and events. You will most certainly not regret it.

For next time, I was thinking of talking a bit about music culture in Toronto, if the opportunity presents itself, as well as talk a bit about the famous fraternities. Yeah. We’ll also touch base on finals (ever had an exam in the same room as 2000 other people before?).

As always, if you want to read all my blog posts (only some are posted here), feel free to visit my main blog, It’s Maple Time!

Until you find your way back here, my friends, have a great time and maple on!

It’s Maple Time!

Hi everyone. My name’s Johan C. Holmen, and I’m a third-year BIT-program student, currently on exchange in Toronto, Canada. To make everything as multicultural and accessible as possible, I have been, and am, blogging in English.

At the moment, I’ve got few blog posts up on my own blog for exchange studies at http://itsmapletime.wordpress.com , but I’ll also be cross-posting a few of those onto here. Right now, we’re nearing what the Ontario school system calls “Reading week”; think autumn leave, only you’re supposed to be catching up on your readings.

Attending five classes at once can be (to no surprise, I’m sure) quite stressful. It’s important to stay on top of your readings… while I may not exactly have done that, time will tell whether the Swedish school system prepares you well for studies in Ontario.

For now, I wish you well and hope you come back here to read my and my fellow Dept. of informatics students’ stories about the great life abroad; and be assured, it’s grand.
Until then, take care and maple on!

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Johan C. Holmen