Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Tax Evader

I don't think it's any secret that I'm proud of being an Albertan. And despite living in Ontario for the last 4 years, I still am one, at least legally. Full-time student status has allowed me to keep my Alberta identification, my Alberta health care, even my Alberta kickbacks (why would I ever give up Ralphbucks?) But all that's about change.

As of six months from the date that I finish school, I officially become an Ontaritononian (that's what I call people who are from Toronto). In November 2008, I will become an Ontarion resident.

Now, I could just dodge it all. I could lie. I could never switch over my ID, continue to file my taxes in Alberta, even completely disregard my health care coverage (hey--I have benefits now--so why not?) just for the sake of insisting that I'm an Albertan. I could become a fugitive of the law, just for my love of Alberta. (Okay, or because I just like the idea of being a fugitive of the law. It sounds kind of sexy.)

But I'm willing to give Ontario a chance.

I'm willing to acknowledge that my knowledge of Ontario is limited to Toronto, London and Ottawa. I'm willing to acknowledge I've spent nearly all of my time in the city hear, and according to the television ads, "There's no place like this, no other place like this for meeeee. . .Ontario!" (It's kind of a catchy song.)

So here's the plan. Over the course of the summer, I'm going to devote all my free weekends to investigating my new potential province of residency. If Ontario wins me over by the end of August, I will embrace my status and get an Ontario health care card. (Bold move, I know.) If not, at least I'll have something sexy-sounding to put on my business card.

For my birthday weekend two weeks ago, I decided to put the plan into action. Alex Dodd and I drove to Collingwood. I wasn't impressed at first. See that big hill in the distance? That's what they call a mountain in these parts. Blue Mountain, in fact.

But I got to feed fish, so I guess that's a point for Ontario.

We went for a hike up to the Collingwood Caves. Gorgeous view of Georgian Bay? Another point for Ontario. Eight thousand and twenty two people with little kids also hiking up to the caves? That's about minus 10 points for Ontario. There's seriously way too many people in this province.

Cool boulder thing where people were allegedly sacrificed? It's not Head Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, but I guess it will suffice.

My favourite part of the hike was Fat Man's Misery.

It was actually a breeze for me to get through, but Alex had a tougher time. It's more like Tall Fat Man's Misery.

This would look like a more hardcore caving experience if it wasn't for the signage in the cave.

I was introduced to Ontario's provincial flower--the trillium. Alex told me it was rare and illegal to pick, so I thought it was a definite step up from Alberta's wild rose. But according to Wikipedia, this isn't the case:

While it is a popular belief that it is illegal to pick the common Trillium grandiflorum (white trillium) in Ontario, in reality no such law actually exists. However, the rare Trillium flexipes (drooping trillium) is protected by law in Ontario [1], because of its very small Canadian population.

Verdict on provincial flowers? Well, the trillium is definitely prettier, but a bit of a pansy (ha, get it) and can be injured easily, whereas the wild rose is thorny and grows like a weed. It's a tought choice, really.

Ontario and Alberta both have trees. Good work on that, Canada.

There was something so soothing about being pulled behind a tractor.

Ontario does have one solid thing going for it: Alex Dodd. He bought me a professional kite for my birthday (I know!), which I promptly flew directly into the top of a very tall, non-sturdy, prickly tree. Alex, in an act of sheer chivarly, prevented me from crying by climbing the very tall, non-sturdy, prickly tree, all while a group of kids gathered around watching and adding commentary like, "I kind of want to see him fall" and "I knew a guy who fell out a tree once and is paralysed now."

In conclusion, I'm going to have to conduct further investigations in this Ontario matter. . .with my monocle!


  1. Anonymous7:48 PM

    Things to check out in Ontario (with your monocle):
    The Teaching Rocks, half an hour northeast of Peterborough on Highway 28 in Petroglyphs Provincial Park. It's the largest concentration of Aboriginal rock carvings in all of North America.
    Birdhouse City, Picton, in the Macaulay Mountain Conservation Area on County Road 8. It's home to over 100 distinct birdhouses.
    Temagami and White Bear Forest, home to Ontario's provincial tree, the giant white pine.
    The Diefenbunker,at Carp west of Ottawa.
    Happy belated birthday!

  2. You need to practice a few maneuvers with your new stylin' monocle:

    First, you need to be able to emulate the Count from Sesame Street (I'm assuming they have Sesame Street way up North) -- "One...Two...Three...Four...FOUR BEAUTIFUL FEET OF SNOW AH AH AHHHHHH!"

    Secondly, you need to be able to let it fall from your eye in a fit of aristocratic incredulousness -- "WHY I NEVER! [monocle falls from eye in an expression of sheer horror]"

    Thirdly, you need to be able to do a good impression of the Monopoly guy. This might require both a top-hat and mustache, but you may be able to pantomime both while ranting about the merits of the Boardwalk hotel.

    I fully support your act of lawlessness by sticking it to THE MAN and not paying your due taxes. But always remember the advice of the bard -- "to live outside the law, you must be honest!"

  3. Ontario can't be judged from the south alone. You need some long weekends for northern explorations. I challenge you not to fall in love with Lake Superior (oh how I pine). Or at the very least, make a trek to Tobermory.

  4. I went for it. My Ontario driver's licence came in the mail about a month ago. So, I'm here. Count that as a point against Ontario if you must.