I knew that things were going to be different here in Canada. I knew I’d see things I’d not seen before, eat food I’d not heard of before and that most popular culture references would go merrily sailing over my head. I was, however, unprepared to be confronted with unfamiliar wildlife on my doorstep.
Recently, I took Freddie, my dog, out for his evening stroll around the block and saw something trotting towards us. At first I thought it was a cat and called out to it, then I saw its white ‘bib’ and swaying tail… Skunk! I knew that I should avoid it, I’d already heard dire warnings of the stink of skunk spray, but it was so damn cute! Sigh.. sensibly, Fred and I retreated to the road to watch Mr Skunk serenely trot past. I was completely excited. I couldn’t believe I’d seen something so unusual – to me – right outside my house.
A few nights later, I walked past the rather swanky building at the end of my block which has a swimming pool. I heard something so, on tip-toes, looked through the railings to see what it was. In a scene that was straight out of Disney, three raccoons were frolicking on the cover of the pool in the shallow end. They were playing! Splashing each other with water, and rolling around. It was adorable. I stayed there, silently watching, a huge grin on my face, until Fred became impatient and woofed his annoyance. Busted! The raccoons froze, one stared at me, looking down its pointy nose with those beady eyes behind their ‘bandit mask’ and then scampered off into the bushes.
Just last weekend I took a drive out to Deep Cove, a beautiful spot; all rolling hills and calm clear water, just 30 minutes away from downtown Vancouver. You can kayak and hike there and they have the most amazing doughnuts at Honey’s. As I was walking, I heard something singing. A bird? What? I looked up to the soaring green pine and saw it; not a bird, but something that looked like a squirrel. Perplexed, I tweeted to ask advice – and in yet another slice of Disney-come-to-life, it turns out it was a chipmunk.
I’m already quite in love with Vancouver, it’s full of great surprises, but who knew it was going to end up just like a Disney movie?