6 Things About Growing Up In Canada That Were So Different In Ontario & Vancouver – Narcity Canada

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Zehrs or Safeway?
Ashley Harris.
This Opinion article is part of a Narcity Media series. The views expressed are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.
Whether you grew up in Eastern Canada or on the West Coast, there are a few striking differences between Canadian childhoods on different sides of the country.
I grew up in Vancouver, B.C. and have lived here my entire life. While having a chat with my coworker Brooke Houghton at Narcity, who grew up in Barrie, Ontario, she and I quickly realized there were a few things that were so much different about our elementary years, despite growing up in the same country.
From grocery shopping with our parents to the summer travel destinations we got to explore, here are a few key childhood memories that are different, depending on where you live in Canada.
Ashley: Whenever I would have to go grocery shopping with one of my parents, it was either a Save-on-Foods, Thrifty's or Safeway. One of them even had these mini grocery shopping carts that made me feel like a total adult. Those were the best thing ever.
Brooke: Tagging along my mom's grocery trips are some of my fondest memories. We would get into the car and drive to the closest Zehrs. At the end of every trip – granted, I didn't put too much sugary cereal in the cart — we'd browse the clothes in Joe Fresh.
Ashley: An after-school snack may have consisted of a White Spot milkshake, which I still love to this day. The White Spot chocolate milkshake with whipped cream was my favourite at the time and still is to this day.
Brooke: I would race home straight to our pantry for a batch of fresh cookies and tug the fridge open to pour myself a glass of milk straight from the bag. Yes, we bag our milk in Ontario and then put it in a reusable container for pouring purposes.
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Ashley: Growing up, summer travel plans meant hitting up Canada's only official desert — Osoyoos. It's about a four-hour and 30-minute drive from Vancouver, and even though it's long, it's so worth it. The small town even had its very own desert-themed amusement park which was so damn fun.
Ashley Harris.Ashley Harris.Ashley Harris | Narcity
Brooke: Growing up, I lived in a suburban neighbourhood tucked away in the woods. There was a pond down the street, a pool in the backyard and acres to explore. I spent most of my summers catching tadpoles, wading in streams and running around with the neighbourhood kids.
During the summers, we tended to stay put, but on March break, when it was still bone cold, we'd usually escape the winter for a week in a warmer climate.
Ashley: Celebrating the holidays and a nice break from school, meant playing in the snow — if we got any that is. Vancouver rarely gets snow around Christmas, but it was the best thing in the world if we did.
Brooke: I grew up in a snow belt, so by the time Christmas rolled around, I was neck-deep in snow. My brothers and I would play outside for hours building intricate snow tunnels, sledding on nearby hills, and if we could convince my mom or dad to shovel off the pond, we'd ice skate.
After a long day, we'd go inside for a hot cup of cocoa and on Christmas morning, we would find *reindeer tracks* and leftover carrots in the snow.
Ashley: Science world was a very popular spot for school field trips in B.C. It was a place where we could learn about all things science in an interactive way.
I still remember the static-electricity exhibit that would make your hair fly up in every single direction.
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Brooke: The Toronto Zoo was my favourite school field trip spot. We'd stop at each exhibit and learn about the animals as we saw (often for the first time) lions, bears and even flamingos up close.
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Ashley: When one of my friends threw a summer birthday bash, it was almost always at Splashdown Park, which is now called Big Splash.
The nostalgic water slide park was super fun throughout my younger years and even into my teens. When I was under the age of ten, I still wouldn't dare go on those bigger scary slides.
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Brooke: The most banging birthday parties were thrown at Retro Planet in Barrie, a small arcade that seemed larger than life as a kid. Parents would pay through the nose for tokens, and we would rack up as many tickets as we could, only to inevitably win a funky eraser.


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