Canadians -- super friendly, family oriented, generous folks and very proud to be Canadian
Tim Horton’s and A&W -- can’t go far without seeing one of these eating establishments and Canadians love their Timmy’s.
Community Recreation Centers – No matter how small or isolated the town, Canadian Rec Centers will frequently have an ice rink and maybe a curling facility as well
Shimmy = outdoor/backyard hockey
Took = stocking hat
Gas Bar = brand of Canadian gas station and generic term for gas station
Law of the ALCAN = stop to help a stranded motorist whenever it is safe to pullover; you may be in need of help someday
Metric System – think liters, kilograms, kilometers. Gasoline is sold in liters. Plan to spend a fair portion of the day converting distances (0.62 km=1 mile), volumes (3.75 liters= 1 gallon), and weights (1kg= 2.2 lbs) on the trip. Don’t be surprised if the locals are not familiar with the conversions. We confused a deli attendant at the local grocery store with our request for 1 lb of sliced turkey. Most gas stations along the ALCAN don’t have credit card swipes. We also found that the majority of pumps along the ALCAN did not require that you pay BEFORE you pump.
Keep car engines running during the winter –many folks leave their car engines running while they shop at the grocery store or stop to have a latte at Starbucks. Cold weather plays havoc with engines and necessitates long periods (20+ min) of time for vehicles to warm up. Folks have adapted to these conditions by strategically installing heating elements within the engine, called “winterizing”. The term “plugging in” refers to plugging a vehicle’s heating elements to an extension cord as a means to keep the engine warm during the cold nights. There are stories of diesel trucks used to work the Alaskan North Slope oil fields which are not turned off for years, except to be serviced!!
Arctic entries– most homes and businesses we visited had an unheated porch with an exterior door that opens into a smaller space used as a staging zone before going into the building. The Arctic entry serves to buffer the cold weather outside from the warm space inside.