I had left Canada at the young age of six years old, when my parents decided to return to England in search of a different, and perhaps ‘better’ life. 20 years later, in 1986, I found myself officially returning to Canadian soil with my Dad and a little one in tow; my four-year-old son, Scott.
Canada always held a special place in my heart as I had made points of visiting the country during several summers while growing up. During my teens, I spent time on Vancouver Island with my Uncle and Aunt, and up in the Caribou with family friends. I loved the country and the people. Canada somehow spoke to me in the way England never did. Even then I could feel it was a place of opportunity. It called to me. It felt like home.
In 1986 the UK was not a place of hope nor of opportunity. There was an economic depression and a lot of violence. I was searching to make something of myself and to grow. At the time, I just couldn’t see how it was going to happen there.
Then, it happened like this: my sister was travelling to meet her boyfriend in Australia and was going to spend six months in Canada. Literally, I woke up one morning and this thought popped into my head; “I’m going too!” Three months later, on September 13th, 1986, we landed in Toronto. My Dad decided that if my son and I were going, then he was coming too! A new life began.
What has ensued? The better life that so many come here for. The chance to make the life that I aspired to because hard work and talent means something here. So much has happened in the subsequent years. Opportunities have come my way that I never dreamed of. There have been ups and downs, joy and heartbreak, and many incredible people crossing my path. Looking back, I am so grateful and feel so fortunate that I’ve had the chance to start my life on a different path. And even more-so that I can keep making choices to do so.
At 26 I started my life again, and what do you know; almost 30 years later and approaching 56, I’m getting ready to do it again!
Thank you, Canada. I am proud to call you ‘Home’.