This silence that I am enjoying while my kids are away reminded me again of one of the things that I appreciate about Canada. I love the peace and quite surrounding. We rarely pay attention to different sounds around us…but if you’ll think about it, the sounds that we always hear just like scent, whenever we hear a sound, without even thinking we immediately recall a memory. It can be a reminder to us about a person, a place and even an important event. As for me, there are certain sounds that I hear almost everyday that I’ve come to associate with Canada, sounds which I’m sure most Canadians are very familiar with —
Ambulance, Fire Trucks and Police Sirens
A few days after I came to Canada, I noticed that it is very common to hear the sirens of the fire trucks, police cars or paramedics vehicles. Whenever the magic number is dialed (9-1-1), a fire truck, an ambulance and police will be sent. In the past, whenever I hear the sound of siren in the neighborhood, I will immediately peak in the window to check where the sound of siren is coming from, but after 6 years of hearing it almost everyday, I’ve learned to treat it as part of my day.
I often wonder why there should be three vehicles to be sent even on a medical call… I read somewhere that it is best to have the extra help immediately available when it is needed to prevent a loss of precious minutes when a life is on the line.
Different Accents and Dialects
Everyday at work (actually wherever I go), it is very common for me to hear conversations not just in English or in Tagalog, I hear people talking in French, in Mandarin, in Spanish, in Italian, in Vietnamese, even in Korean or Punjabi. This is not surprising, right? Canada is a multicultural country and with the big population of immigrants almost everywhere in Canada hearing people talking in their native language is not unusual.
“Hi, may I take your order, please?”
If you are a coffee drinker who cannot come to work without passing to the nearest Tim Hortons to your work, you probably know what sound I am referring to – the metallic voices from the speakers in a coffee shop’s (or other fast food) drive thru. To be honest, I still prefer ordering inside the store and not in the drive thru, but even if I am inside the store, you will hear one of the store staff wearing a headset talking to the customer on the other end, “How do you want your coffee?”… “Anything else?”… “You want a large, double-double?” After taking the orders, the customer will proceed to the drive-thru window wherein a paper tray with cups or a brown bag is handed out to him.
“Press 1 for English …”
Since Canada’s mother tongue is English and French, more often than not whenever you call any government agencies or businesses such as bank or an insurance company at the start of the call a pre-recorded message will ask you in which language you would like to do your transaction, ““For English, press 1, pour le français, appuyez sur le 2.”
The “Seasonal” Sounds
We have four seasons here in Canada – winter, spring, summer and fall, every season there’s familiar sound that would remind you of the season that you are in.
Winter has a sound uniquely its own, aside from the gust of wind blowing the snow – the most common sound you’ll hear during winter is the sound of a massive, diesel-powered snow plow truck going around the street to clear your driveway, after a heavy snow fall, you would hear this trucks “beeping” sound as it backs up, dumps the snow, comes back and scrape again. And who would not notice the “ cracking sound” the snow creates whenever you step or drive on it?
The hum of the lawnmower cutting the yard grass is the most recognizable sound of spring and summer (most specially).
You know that it is really spring when you hear the cackling sound coming from the large groups of Canada geese flying in V-shaped formation as they start to return “home.” However, this sound is also a signal the transition of the season into autumn, but this time around these geese start to migrate to a warmer place outside Canada.