After 3 weeks of hanging out in Canada (Toronto, Prince Edward County, Montréal, Quebec City), I'm coming to think of Canada as the control country and the U.S. as the experimental one.
Maybe it's just because the U.S. is at serious risk of turning its government over to an insane and dangerous man, while Canada is just happy it's summer and its big neighbor isn't a crater yet.
Maybe it's because in the U.S., guns and war are default answers to threats, while in Canada the answer tends to be, "hold on, let's see what we can work out."
Maybe it's because U.S. history begins with a War of Independence against the British throne, while Canada worked things out over time, spilling a lot less blood, with two mother countries.
Maybe it's because politics in the U.S. has devolved to Rightland vs. Leftland, while in Canada politics is more of a spectrum whose members still seem able to hear each other, at least to some degree, and still share common narratives about culture and history.
Maybe it's because in the U.S. race is a huge thing that still seems to need lots of working out, while in Canada it's a much smaller thing. (A main difference: slavery. We tried to make it work for awhile, had a bloody war over it, and are still dealing with what didn't get fully solved, while Canada gradually got rid of it, with much less bloodshed.)
I could go on.
Here's another interesting thing. Servers in restaurants here (or at least the good restaurants which as foodies we seek out) are remarkably convivial. In at least two cases the server pulled up a chair to sit and talk with us, because ... why not, if most of their work is already done and we're having a good talk already?
All of this is both superficial and provisional, of course. Just sharing thoughts in progress.