To begin this trip DRIVING & LIFE is in Vancouver, possibly the cleanest, friendliest and most beautiful city in North America.
One element which clearly separates Canada from the USA is the renowned spirit of independence (aka defiance to be described as 'Americans') among its citizens. They believe they are different, and will go to any length to demonstrate that you are not in a 'Colony of the USA'.
A key area is the willingness of Canadians to accept alternative forms of private car use. Car sharing is big time in Canada, with companies such as Car2Go and Moda being at the forefront.
Basically these are sophisticated pool cars which can be hired for varying time periods, to save the driver the cost of full time car ownership. You can check out the websites for the details, but it is very obvious that Canadians have embraced this concept with enthusiasm.
I parked myself close to a Car2Go parking area in a public car park and over a period of an hour watched people casually walk up to a car and drive it away, or return a car to a free parking spot and walk home. The costs are reasonable and in some cities you can choose a SMART car powered by either petrol or electricity.
MODA operates slightly differently, but the principle is the same. A car when you need it, and all for a cist way cheaper than owning a car - parking it, insuring it and watching it depreciate!
Another innovation sweeping Canada is the 'Meter App' which you download to your Smartphone. Once you've opened an account in your home city, you simply park the car, click on the app and select the amount of time you want to park. The app deducts the charge from your pre-paid account.
Just before your time is up, you get a reminder from the app, and you can then add more time, if your meeting is running overtime. This is technology that's simple to employ, use and is a win-win for the city council and the citizens.
Canada may live in the shadow of the USA, but this is a country which is technologically advanced and a living environment which seems to produce friendly and get-ahead people. It is refreshing to visit Canada, put it on your trip list.