Little Details

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Entries by tag: canada (misc)

Wheelchair use and non-dog service animal in Toronto
I'm planning to write two characters who live in Toronto and use wheelchairs (they can walk, but it's safer if they don't try). One of them also has a (sapient-but-pretending-not-to-be-to-regular-people, magical, well-behaved and responsive to his person's verbal instructions) cat, who prefers to accompany her when she's out and about. What should I expect Canadian wheelchair-using characters (usually in Toronto, with visits to Grand Forks, BC) to experience that might be different from what I learn about the American experience of same? Will a lot of establishments refuse the cat entry, can he legally count as a service animal and if so is there a certification process (he does get things off shelves for his person and perform other tasks), should he wear a vest to indicate same?

I'm also curious about what the experience of getting the wheelchairs through Canada's healthcare system would have been like; they would have started using chairs when they were little kids.

(Adding search information per mod request: I googled things like "Canada service animal" and "Canadian disability law" and kept getting American results, or sometimes dog-specific results, often both. I eventually found the Ontarians With Disabilities Act but it didn't tell me what I needed to know.)

French and French-Canadian hockey terms, gendered and aspirational language

Setting: Boarding school with interscholastic sports in the northeast United States, somewhen in then next ten to fifteen years but functionally now

Prior research: The dreaded Wikipedia,,, "french hockey terms", "french-canadian hockey terms", "hockey sur glace," several French textbooks and multiple semesters of collegiate French class. Unfortunately, this is also a usage question and I'm not sure how to google that, so please please please forgive any egregious or obvious errors on my part.

Here is the situation: I have a character, E, who is writing an essay in her sophomore (or junior year, I honestly haven't decided yet) French class about hockey. She plays right wing on her school's college prep girls hockey team, and she is definitely dreaming big, because she wants to play in the NHL. Her friend in this class, S, a goalie on the boy's prep team, hails from the greater Ottawa metropolitan area, and he has a fair bit of Canadian French (though both are native first-language English speakers.)

This is where things get complicated. I am assuming the focus of the class is continental/Parisian French, which is what most American schools seem to teach, so S isn't a total authority on the subject, but he definitely knows enough to mock E and her incorrect usage when he sees it. What I am trying to communicate is that E is writing that she currently plays right wing for her school, but that she is going to be a right winger in the NHL. I know I'll have to play with tenses, and I want to do it in such a way that S pokes fun at her presumption. (As an example, though I can say "J'écris des histoires," that carries different weight than saying, "Je suis écrivain," and I am fully aware that saying "Je serais écrivain," is NOT the same as "Je serai écrivain.")

So how do I do this? And furthermore, how does E refer to herself in writing? This is something of a joking conversation, E and S are definitely 'bros' in modern American parlance and teenagers at that, but E nevertheless takes this idea very seriously and is somewhat superstitious about the power of intention, and she's very firmly saying she's going to be in the NHL instead of that she wants to be. (Futur instead of the conditionnel here.) I know there are feminine terms for hockey positions, and I know there must be some usage difference between hockeyeur/hockeyeuse versus joueur/euse de hockey, but I'm also aware that in many modern professions (admittedly dependent upon which country you're standing in) gendered language is no longer used because to do so implies a lack of respect.

Keeping in mind that E isn't a French prodigy by any means, is it the 'correct' mistake in this situation for her to say, "Je serai le mailleur ailier droit dans le LNH!" or would it be more that she says she's going to play in the NHL? I've every intention of S 'correcting' her mistakes to bring the essay back into the realm of possibility/correct usage, but by that point E is frustrated enough to be asking their teacher how to say what she'd rather be doing than writing a stupid essay. "Professeur, comment dit-on 'punch myself in the face?'"


Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance!

Taxi dispatches, CB radios, and vehicle identification
red flag over TO
Setting: Toronto, 1979-80
Search attempts: Taxi dispatches, taxi CB radio, CB radio channels taxi, taxi vehicle identification, listening very closely to the radio whenever I'm riding in a cab

The protagonist of my story is a cab driver who's just had his car stolen and used in an exciting high-speed chase. He's trying to track it down with little success—the police are unhelpful, the news doesn't give a clear picture of where the chase is headed, and he's without vehicle or wallet. I had the idea of him finding another cab driver and trying to make contact with his own car—successfully or otherwise, since his car is actually at the bottom of the Don Valley by the time he finds it—over the dispatch system.

So my questions:

1. Back in the day, would most taxis have CB radios so that drivers could communicate with each other? Would each company have their own channel? Is there a way to get in contact with a particular vehicle, or would he just put a call out to everyone?

2. I assume they wouldn't use the same code or slang as truckers, but was there any sort of specialized language or jargon that he might use?

3. How are vehicles identified within taxi companies? (I.e., can I have him say, "I'm looking for Crown Taxi car #12345" or something to that effect?)

4. Assuming that the owner of the company is a jerk, which he is going to be, what kind of consequences would my character be looking at once the totaled cab is discovered?

Tracing a Call
Would the technology for tracing a telephone call (pin-pointing the caller's location) be available in 1950, even if not commonly in use by the police?

Location: Vancouver, Canada (phone calls would be made within the city)
Terms googled: many combinations of telephone, trace/tracing, call, history, police, all of which return many hits for how to trace your current phone history; have skimmed several articles about the history of telephones in general and in the 1950s/1940s; any suggestions for google searches also welcomed

Canada, Prison or Hospital Term for Murder
Setting: Canada, Now

The character in question gets weapons, kills a few people in a spree, police catch him.
They diagnose him as psychotic. He believes to be a supernatural creature. As he failed to achieve his plans he is not violent anymore and gets along with law enforcement, He also takes whatever medications he is given, but when asked with still insist on not being human.

How long would he be in prison and how long would they try to treat him for his psychosis?

Searched for treatment murder psychosis canada prison term in various combinations

[ANON POST] Bear trap injury - effect of wearing boots?
music, serious face

I have two main characters (Males, 25 & 27) who are hunting in the woods. One of them has the bad luck of stepping in an illegal clawed animal trap, or bear trap. He is wearing leather hiking boots and the trap clamps him on the boot, just above the ankle.

I would like to know what kind of damage have I done to him? Would it be realistic to have a crush injury, such as a broken bone and puncture wounds despite having some kind of protection from the boot? They are carrying a basic first aid kit but would still need to travel at least a couple of hours to get back to the car before getting proper first aid.

Also not quite sure how to spring him from the trap. Despite my googling efforts ('bear trap release') and reading up on Wikipedia, I can't seem to find if they have a special release button or they need to be pried open to be reset? They will be carrying a hunting knife, would this be strong enough to use as leverage to force open the trap?

Setting is modern day Canada. I've tried search a variety of terms, such as 'bear trap injury', and 'bear trap leg' but a lot of the results relate to animal injuries rather than human, which doesn't really help.

Just trying to make sure I didn't miss anything.

Thanks for any help in advance.

Adult Psych Evaluation - Details Needed
Search terms already used: "adult psych evaluation," "adult psych evaluation in hospital," "psych evaluation in hospital," "psychology exam Canada"

Setting: BC, Canada in the year 2017 (I wasn't going for that year per-say, but doing the math from my MC's birth date makes it that year).

Background information:
-The character has been admitted to hospital following a medical (physical health) emergency and is now staying for an unknown length of time while the cause of his illness is identified. (It will be determined that he has hyperinsulinism)
-He is also struggling with PTSD, and he has told the attending doctor this. He has never received an "official" diagnosis because the only person helping him with this so far is his wife. She is a psychologist, but it would be unethical for her to make an official diagnosis due to the personal connection. (I believe it would also be illegal?) The doctor knows at the start of the investigation into his physical illness that it has something to do with hypoglycemia, and since both hypoglycemia and PTSD can cause anxiety/panic symptoms, she wants the PTSD officially documented for the benefit of anyone else working on his case. The character has agreed to speaking with the psychologist/psychiatrist on staff.
-When the interview with this psych doc takes place, he has already been in the hospital over night. His wife stayed with him all night and has now gone home for a nap, but his brother is present.
-This is not an emergency psych evaluation (which is why my searches have disappointed me). This is completely voluntary, and the purpose is more or less to simply confirm the PTSD diagnosis and "make it official." He is willing, and he is an adult. [Edit: I'm intimately aware of the diagnosis requirements for PTSD, I'm not looking for help with that. I'm just not familiar with the process of confirming a diagnosis that was made "unofficially" by a professional. I've also seen the DSM V draft of the PTSD criteria, so I know that what I'm writing should still be considered accurate for the time setting of this piece.]

My questions:
1. Is it a psychologist or a psychiatrist? [Edit: I know the difference between the two, and I do not want the character medicated right now, so it doesn't need to be a psychiatrist. I'm asking which of the two would most likely be on staff and be conducting this interview.]

2. Would the brother be allowed to stay in the room, or asked to leave regardless of the character's wishes? Would the brother be asked a few questions by the psych doc before/during/after? Would the psych doc want to consult with the wife (especially being that she's a psychologist herself)?

3. What sort of questions would be asked? What sort of questions would not be asked that might be asked if it were an emergency situation?

4. How likely is it that the character would be able to refuse medication for his depression & anxiety symptoms at this point?

[Edit: For those wondering, the specific hospital he'll be in is Surrey Memorial, and yes, they do have a fully-functioning psych ward. I've known people admitted to both their psych ward and the one at Langley Memorial. Reminder, though, he isn't ending up there.]

teenaged in Toronto
Location: Toronto, Canada
Time: early 1980s (1982-1985)
Terms googled: 1980s, Toronto, "growing up in Toronto", Toronto 1980s + (school, television, cinema) [and for '1980s' I substituted individual years as well]

I'm writing about a teenaged boy growing up in Toronto in a single-parent family. Here are some of the questions I have not found answers for:
1. would his mother be likely to own a car, and be able to park it in front of the house? Would he be likely to live in a detached two-story house? [checked Google Street Views, but that's modern...]
2. what evening television shows would be popular? [I know what was on-air, but not what was popular with teens] Would most TV sets still have dials and antennas (similar to these Electrohome models)?
3. would a high school student generally take a city bus to school? walk? bicycle? (I will be making up the school in the story)
4. what would a cheap cinema be?
5. would he have said he sat on the 'sofa' or 'couch'?

If there are any other things that writers often get wrong about Toronto or Canada, I'd appreciate knowing. Thank you!

ETA: Thank you so much to everyone who shared their experiences and advice, this is fabulous information. I very much appreciate the time you took to help.

Broad request for information about multiple countries
Hi, all! I’ve got a really broad question for all you lovely folk here. It’s to do with the places in which y’all live. =D

A little background: I’m writing a fic where my main character (35-ish years old, ex-military) winds up accidentally travelling around the world (it’s complicated). Essentially, he comes into some money at the same time that something happens to make home (modern-day London) unpalatable. He gets it into his head to do a spot of travelling – within England at first, then other parts of the UK, and then somehow he finds himself heading overseas. He’s going to wind up going on pretty much a world tour in his quest to reconcile himself to recent events.

My problem is that I’m not what you’d call a seasoned traveller. I want to write my character taking the less-beaten path. He might start out at tourist hot-spots, but he’d rather people-watch than do the typical tourist thing. He’s one for walking, and taking buses and trains and things, and just watching the world around him. He’s equally at home in urban areas (he’d especially love places he can just sit and people-watch) and out in nature (any kind, and here he’d probably prefer solitude… or at least fewer people). Money is not a problem, though he is by nature frugal. I’ve found that looking online and checking out my local library doesn’t really give me much in the way of these insider details I’m looking for, so I’m turning to you guys in hopes of help.

So! I’m throwing the field wide open here. What are the places you’re familiar with? Where might my character wind up going? Any little, out-of-the-way shops he might visit? What kind of people/food/events might he encounter? Where might he stay (he’d prefer cheaper places – motels, backpacker hotels, etc)? Also, probably an odd detail to look for – what are the policies on people sleeping overnight on a park bench or something? Would the local police kick him out/arrest him/leave him be? – because I might want him to do that for a night or two occasionally.

I welcome both broad details/suggestions for places he might go, as well as intimate details that will help me really get a feel for the place he’s in. Share personal experiences or point me to blogs/books/etc that might be helpful – anything goes. Thanks in advance to anyone who can help!

[Special thanks to kutsuwamushi for allowing me to post such a broad request!]

ETA: You guys! You are all so very, very awesome. Thank you for all the great comments you've left; I have so many new things to research now, which fills me with so. much. glee. *happy dance* (No, not ironic - I love research.)
RL is getting progressively busier, so I may not be able to respond to everyone who's commented, but I just wanted to say that I've read and treasured every last comment and I adore you all. ♥ THANK YOU!

Emotional Abuse and Child Services?
Howling Moon
In my story, Zeke, a modern-day 21-year-old guy from Ontario (Canada), seeks psychiatric help for depression. During the sessions it was discovered that he also suffers from anxiety disorders and that his father is emotionally and verbally abusive toward his mother and his younger siblings. The father also becomes physically aggressive during those outbursts, but he never hit the kids or his wife. The psychiatrist reports the abuse to child services, who then makes Zeke's father undergo psychiatric help himself. During this entire time Zeke's father is not separated from his wife or his kids.

Is this a believable scenario? I know a psychiatrist is required to report suspected domestic abuse, but does emotional and verbal abuse count as domestic abuse? Also, is it possible for child services to keep a family together, including the abusive member?

I know each country and even different States have different laws regarding child services and psychiatric responsiblities. I tried searching "ontario psychiatrist report abuse" and "psychiatrist obligation report abuse". The results I got were either advice for physical abuse or reserach papers. Ontario Children's Aid Society gives info on signs of emotional abuse but no info on what warrants the removal of children from a home.

I hope I made my questions clear. Your assistance is much appreciated. Thanks!

Dialect check: Canadian Maritimes
I’m writing a story where the viewpoint character is an Acadian from Nova Scotia, and I want to make sure his English vocabulary is appropriate for that background. In particular, I would like to have the appropriate terms in that dialect for:

  • backpack (esp. the kind that an infantry soldier would carry)
  • prison
  • to break out of prison
  • Tsuga canadensis (Eastern or Canadian hemlock)
  • wild shrubbery or scrub, generically (the setting is a valley in rural Maine)
  • Viburnum lantanoides (hobblebush or witch-hobble or moosewood, a shrub that grows in eastern North America)
  • Oxalis montana (wood sorrel)

Resources consulted: Wikipedia s.v. Canadian Maritime English; Carelton County Colloquialisms; the “Canadian Slang and English Words” page on CKA.


Quick Question About Toronto
[dw] ten snoopy
Londoners call their subway the "tube", Bostoners (ETA:) Bostonians call theirs the "T". Does Toronto have a nickname for its subway system?

Anon post: Repercussions of victim skipping attacker's trial, Canada
It's a small town in modern-day BC, Canada. Someone tries to kill the protagonist, who escapes by the skin of his teeth and goes to the RCMP to file charges. The attacker was dumb enough to film everything and put it online, so there's no delay before he gets arrested. However, between then and the slated trial date--before the protagonist can even settle on a lawyer--he (the protagonist) is forced to skip town. (More people want to kill him and the only way to survive is to run away to Vancouver and blend into the crowd.) Being hotheaded and traumatized, the protagonist decides to wash his hands of the whole affair, not only not going back for the trial but not even phoning a lawyer, basically trying to pretend the whole thing never happened. My questions are: 1) What would happen to the protagonist? 2) What would happen to the attacker?

I presume that skipping a trial you called for has *some* legal repercussions, but Googling variations on "victim skipping attacker's trial" has gotten me a lot of contradictory answers: everything from the extreme-sounding "you can be forcibly brought to court to testify" to the mere "it bolsters the defence's case". Also, I've learned that the majority of victims who want to skip their attacker's trial are abused wives and girlfriends, which doesn't apply: protagonist and attacker are both male and they've barely spoken since high school. They weren't friends then, either, to say the least.

As a final note, the protagonist has... unsavoury... connections and could buy a favourable verdict, a new identity, or whatever else necessary if he felt forced to do so. However, despite being a hothead with unusual choice in friends, he's an idealist who would prefer to stay within the law if possible--especially since *he's* the one who got stabbed.

Original location of visiting bullpen in Toronto SkyDome
Where were the visitors' and home bullpens located in the SkyDome in 1990? I know where they were in 1993 and later but I haven't found anything on the original locations of the bullpens or if they had in fact been moved.

I've searched for "1989 skydome" "1990 skydome" "skydome bullpen" and looked at all the large online ballpark nerdery resources. I haven't hit the reference stacks at the Minneapolis Central library, but that's next. Unfortunately, Stieb's no-hitter was on the road and that's the only 1990 Jays game that would be re-run.

French names in Canada, modern day
history is from europe
I have a character who is mid 30s/40s, male, Canadian. The story is set in 2100-2150 or so. So, not-so-distant-future. He's from Quebec and his first language is French. I am very torn about what to name him!

I'd like his name and last name to signal his French background, if possible. I've sort of been in love with the Jean-Something construction, but:
1. I don't know which Jean-X names are/aren't currently in fashion in Canada and which you'd expect to find in someone 100 years in the future (probably whichever names sound horridly old fashioned now).
2. Since he's going to be referred to by his first name by the other characters, whichever name I pick I'd also need to know how French speakers would shorten it (if at all) and how English speakers would shorten it, assuming non Francophone Canadians or Americans.

My research has turned up that men named Jean-Pierre or Jean-Francois sometimes go by J-P/J-F but in that case I'd also like to know how that's pronounced. Would they introduce themselves as "JP Lastname"? Would French speakers pronounce the letters in French and English speakers in English?

Finally, failing the Jean-X thing, my backup option is Mischel. I've known a few Mischels in my time but none of them were Canadian so I don't know how popular the name is in Canada.

googled: canada boy names common, french boy names, jean (wiki)

Thank you for your help!

Changing last name on birth certificate
witty comment
Where: Northwest Territories, Canada
When: 1970, 1998 or '99
Googled: "northwest territories changing birth certificate", but I really have no idea how to phrase this properly

This is about a fandom character, but is only for my own personal head-fanon, not for a story or anything.

The character in question, who is only known by her married name in canon, was born in 1970 to parents whose spouses had both recently died. She was probably brought up to believe she was the posthumous daughter of her mother's husband (who'd actually died at least four months prior to her conception).

Regardless of whose name was put in the "father's name" field (I think either the mother's dead husband, or - if she thought someone would catch on to the discrepancy or had a crisis of conscience - nothing at all), I figure this character was given her mother's surname at the time of the child's birth, which was almost certainly still her dead husband's last name.

In 1998 or '99, when we actually meet this character in canon, during the course of the episode she learns who her actual biological father is.

Now, after all that, my question. After providing proof of her newfound paternity (timing evidence, DNA tests with canon half-brother, etc.), would this character be able to change the surname on her birth certificate from to match her bio dad's? I know, with proof, she could probably correct whose name, if any, is on the "father's name" field. But she wouldn't want to give up her married name to legally change her surname to her bio dad's, so that leaves just the birth certificate.

I suspect the answer is "no", she wouldn't be able to change the surname, but it never hurts to ask.

Travelling in Canada - highway/topography, landmarks, accents
Setting: Present day. 
My characters are going eastward from Vancouver, taking hwy 1 (17 in Ontario) straight through to Sudbury.  I have only hazy childhood memories of 13-hour drives from Vancouver to Edmonton (which is for the most part a different highway altogether), so I have a few questions:

I remember being taught in elementary school that BC = mountainy, AB/SK = flat, MB/ON = hilly.  Now I know that's a huge generalization acceptable for grade 1s and not many others, but, along the highway, does this hold more or less true? 

Is highway hypnosis/falling asleep at the wheel an issue during the flat/straight prairie farmland bits?  Are there those curves that highway engineers put to prevent this from happening?

Also along the AB/SK/MB leg, about how often would you encounter some sort of a township/settlement?

If you've personally driven the highway - are there any particular landmarks or something like that that you can think of, off the top of your head?  About how much ground did you cover in a day?

I've gone through the relevant Wikipedia pages and am starting on the mile-by-mile itinerary on the highway's official website, but I find that in cases like these, anecdotal information helps a lot.  I've also googled around for images along the route, to try and solidify the picture in my head.

And also:  I have never, ever heard any sort of distinct Canadian accent (excluding the maritimes).  But, I've been living here all my life, and pretty much everyone I know (myself included) lives in fairly large cities.  I was wondering if a sort of accent is more pronounced in smaller communities, and whether it changes as you move further in one direction.

Thank you for your time!

Social Services, Custody and Moving across Boarders with a Minor
I've asked about this topic before and have done loads of research. But before I can go on in my story, I need to ask a couple of more questions. Searched: pretty much everything having to do with adoption, international family adoption, putative paternal rights, Toronto Ministry of Youth and Children Services, laws about child abandonment and custody in Ontario, and much more.

Setting: January 2003, Toronto, Ontario
Background: 12 year-old boy and his guardian get into a car accident. The guardian dies. The previously missing father shows up at the scene completely coincidentally. Due to certain circumstances, he realizes that the boy must be his son. The mother is missing and presumed dead and he had no idea that she was pregnant when she went missing. It's probably not the best idea, but the father takes the son with him and just drives off, trying to work through the situation in his head. They get stuck in a blizzard about two and a half hours north of Toronto and the father intends to return with the boy the next day.

I know that the father shouldn't have left, etc. But he has the power to pretty much do what he wants. He does plan on returning the boy. What I want to know is this: Say the father and boy show up at the police station (by this time the father has already called a lawyer and learned who was in charge with dealing with the accident). Would the Ministry of Children and Youth Services get involved? IIRC, in the states usually a case worker from Social Services is called. But I can't find that out exactly in Canada. Also, if the father requests to keep the son with him while the accident is being investigated, would he be allowed to do so? At the moment, he has no proof that the boy is his son. The father is not a citizen -- would that affect matters any? How long would the boy have to stay in the care of a foster family/in a home? Until the father proved that he was the father? Or longer? It's going to be clear pretty soon that the mother is completely out of the picture.

Also, the father eventually wants to get full custody of his son. The mother has essentially abandoned the boy and because he's the father, I don't believe it would be too hard for him to convince a judge to award him full custody. But: the father was living in London, about to move to New York and the boy has lived in Canada his entire life (but is a US citizen). What country would be the most likely setting for the custody hearing? Seeing as how the boy is a US citizen, would the father have any trouble crossing the boarder if he doesn't have custody yet? Would the police let him leave with the boy if he didn't have an official custody order? Because it's a car accident, I don't think that the police will have too much to investigate. But would they still be involved in the search for the mother and figuring out the details of the guardian's estate?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

How long would the proceeding take? I know that adoptions can take months - or even years - but because this isn't really a true adoption, I'm a bit confused

Canadian Recognition of the American Vice President?
How likely is it that the average Canadian would recognize the American Vice President on sight? (Yeah, I realize your average American wouldn't recognize the Veep on sight!)

Think back to the last season of West Wing -- after Santos won the election, how familiar would Canadians be with the deceased VP-elect Leo McGarry? How likely would it be that the average bar-goer or person-on-the-street would recognize him if they met him in person or were standing next to him in a checkout line?

Story-setting: Forever Knight crossover, Leo's now a fledgling vampire in Toronto.

Googled "american politics canada OR canadians" and "USA politics canada OR canadians" -- sorry, best I could think of.

(My first post here -- hope I got it right.) Thanks!

Edited to add: A wealth of varied answers! Thanks, everybody -- you all helped immensely.


Canadian Age of Consent: Resources
I thought this might be of interest to anyone looking for information on the legal age of consent in Canada.

What's in an Age? is a blog looking at the policies surrounding age of consent in Canada. The blog notes changes made in recent years (the age has been raised to 16 from 14; and there is a "close in age" clause of five years)

Canada's Legal Age of Consent to Sexual Activity, from the Library of Parliament has official information (but is written far more formally).