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We are still collecting information on the Canada Vancouver Mission. If you served in this mission and are willing to share your experiences with us, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Snapshot of the Canada Vancouver Mission – Canada’s two official languages are English and French, although English is the official and primary language in British Columbia, the most western Canadian province. British Columbia is considered part of the Northwest along with U.S. states Oregon and Washington. Many Canadian students learn French in school, which is the official language in the province of Quebec. About two-thirds of Canadians identify as Christians, with another 24% not having any religion. Canadian culture has been mainly influenced by England, France, and native traditions, although Canada has lots of cultural crossover with the United States. American entertainment is especially popular in English-speaking areas like British Columbia. Many Canadian musicians, entertainers, and writers have found success internationally. Ice hockey and lacrosse are Canada’s most popular sports, though curling and Canadian football (a variant of American football) are also popular. Popular Canadian foods include Poutine (french fries covered with cheese curds and gravy), butter tarts (a dessert item), and maple syrup. Several different types of meat are hunted and eaten in more rural areas of the country, including caribou, venison, elk, and even seal. Seafood is popular on the coastal sides, including salmon and crab. Street vendors sell hot dogs, falafel, pizza, and other fast-food-type items in major cities.
Canada has over 187,900 members overall organized in seven different missions. As of 2013, British Columbia itself has around 28,900 members in 76 different congregations, and 39 family history centers. It recently gained a temple as well: the Vancouver Canada Temple was dedicated in 2010 by President Thomas S. Monson. Sometimes members in northern Washington commute across the border to attend this temple.
Canadian food is similar to that found in the United States, with many chain, fast-food, and international restaurants in larger cities. Poutine (french fries covered with cheese curds and gravy) is unique to Canada and is popular in many parts of the country. Candy selection and desserts vary a little from a typical American selection. You may find a wider variety of meats that are hunted in more rural areas of the country, including caribou, venison, elk, and even seal. Seafood is popular on the coast, especially salmon and crab, which are famous in the Northwest. Some areas in Vancouver are renowned for their fine wines, so vineyards abound.
Depending on the urban/rural area and time of year, missionaries may walk, bike, drive, or take public transportation. British Columbia has up-to-date bus systems and a light rail.
Canada in general is very safe. Extreme weather is of more concern than violence, and missionaries will be alerted by mission leaders for such conditions. Missionaries should of course be aware and alert especially after dark. The U.S. State Department notes that “Although Canada generally has a lower crime rate than the United States, violent crimes do occur throughout the country, especially in urban areas. Visitors to large cities should be aware that parked cars are regularly targeted for opportunistic smash-and-grab thefts, and they are cautioned to avoid leaving any possessions unattended in a vehicle, even in the trunk. Due to the high incidence of such crimes, motorists [in Vancouver] can be fined for leaving their car doors unlocked or for leaving valuables in view. Be aware of your surroundings. As in the United States, travelers in popular tourist areas may be targeted by pickpockets and other petty criminals.” For up-to-date information on safety in Canada, go to the travel.state.gov website here.
Vancouver is a thriving metropolitan area and a culturally diverse city. Along with large minority populations from Asia (notably high populations of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Filipino, and South/Southeast Asian), about 2% of the population is Aboriginal to the area. The city features many theatres, a professional symphony orchestra, art galleries, a maritime museum, several professional sporting teams, and other places of cultural interest.
“Pop” = carbonated beverage (more common than “soda”)
“Eh?” = tag at the end of questions to denote “don’t you agree?”
“Loonie” = one-dollar coin; “toonie”/”twoonie” = two-dollar coin. This comes from the picture of the loon
“Washroom” = bathroom
“Serviette” = napkin
“Zed” = “Z”; “zed” is the French and British pronunciation of the letter.
(Some of these terms are specific to particular locations in Canada. For more terms, see this article.)
Coats, scarves, and other warm clothing for Canadian winters. Although some parts of British Columbia are quite mild, the majority of the inland and northern areas can reach negative 40 degrees.
An article on the current mission president, President Karl Tilleman.
8440 Williams Rd
Richmond BC V7A 1G6
For alumni and local members: http://www.mission.net/canada/vancouver/
Unofficial site: http://www.vancouvermissionmemories.com/
Blog page with information: http://elderhawkinson.wordpress.com/mission-info/
Straight from the Canada Vancouver Mission:
*What items were hard to get or not available?
“Refried beans and tortillas were very hard to find. No Taco Bell.”
“Corn on the cob. Spicy food.”
*What did you eat the most of?
“Fruit, veggies, meat, and potatoes.”
*What is the craziest thing you ate?
“Pickle potato chips.”
“Homemade yogurt and liver.”
*What was most surprising about the culture?
“So many things felt like I was in the United States except the money was all different colors and you had to pay to use shopping carts. Oh, and everything was labeled in English and French.”
“Very polite, laid back.”
“Even when we speak the same language, attitudes and cultural norms can be quite different. People can live quite healthy lives in lots of different cultures.”
“Canadians really are as nice, like people say. I was especially surprised at how culturally diverse Vancouver is!”
*What advice would you give to someone going to the Canada Vancouver Mission?
“Buy some good rain boots and an umbrella. It rains A LOT!”
“Be obedient, especially wake up on time.”
“Make up your mind early what type of missionary you’ll be and stick with it. Also, think of wherever you’re serving as home. You need to learn to grow where you’re planted.”
“Get a good umbrella—you’ll use it a lot!”
*What do you wish you had known before you served?
“That some companions are crazy.”
“Not everyone that agrees with what you say or will want to live according to gospel standards.”
“That you can never know all the answers but, the Spirit does.”
“As a sister missionary, I wish I would have known to pack more clothes than the paperwork instructed me to bring. I ended up buying more once I got to the field.”