Last Thursday I was on vacation in Vancouver with my parents and husband. We spent the day in Stanley Park and then rested in my parent’s hotel before going out to dinner. We planned to eat in downtown Vancouver, which meant crossing the Lion’s Gate Bridge.
We got on the road and the traffic was bad. We were stopped at a light waiting to cross over to the bridge for the longest time. I watched again and again as the light turned green and we either didn’t move at all or only moved a few feet because cars were blocking the intersection.
My parents and I began discussing if we should just give up going downtown and eat somewhere else instead. My husband, however; had his heart set on going to the restaurant he picked out. So we continued to wait.
The traffic was so horrendous that it took us 50 minutes to get to a restaurant that should have taken us 13 minutes to get to. Despite this, no one in the traffic jam honked their horns. I didn’t hear a single honk.
This floored me. In a similar situation in Boston, where my husband is from, there would have been a honk fest along with fists in the air and shouting of obscenities. Even in California, where my husband and I now live, there would have been honking.
When I shared this observation with my husband and parents, my mom remarked, “Canadians are known for being polite.”
This made me wonder, is “politeness” why there’s less violent crime in Canada? I don’t know the answer to this, but I have to admit that I appreciated the politeness on the road. It was bad enough being stuck in traffic, but if people had been angry and honking their horns it would have been much worse.
Photo courtesy of Flicker.