50 years???

Just where did the time go.

In 1956 I was eleven, my oldest brother Kit and wife Bridget came to Canada.  on their honeymoon and decided to stay. They would send home Canadian scenic calendars and after seeing them I wanted to be here.

We arrived in Montreal 2nd July 1969 and haven’t looked back. My former wife, my oldest daughter Lisa, who was 18 months old at the time, and I came by ship. We were probably one of the last immigrants to come this way.

My first sight of Canada was Bell Island peeking out through the fog in the mouth of the St Lawrance river. Shortly after I saw my first sign of Canadian life; a cop car driving up a hill with it’s blue and reds going. Two sights that I will never forget.

My other brother, Joe, and his wife Jean picked us up from the dock and drove us to Toronto. My first impressions are a bit vague after all this time but I couldn’t get over how far we went without seeing civilization. In England, we’re used to driving a couple of miles and running into another town or village.

Our first weekend was spent camping on an island on one of Ontario’s many lakes. We fished, water skied, swam and I thought this was paradise; and of course, it is.

The adjustment was huge, not only the language but customs as well. We knew about Halloween but trick or treating was a mystery to us. Also, what was Thanksgiving all about? And what the heck were weiners and beans? The cars at that time were huge and we loved them. In England, we call an eraser a rubber which cased a few giggles in the pharmacy.

My favourite stores which we didn’t have in England at the time were K.F.C, Dairy Queen and K Mart. I loved wandering around K Marts huge (to Me) store and just looking at all the stuff.

We settled in and eventually bought a house. As soon as we were able, we got our citizenship.

We spent four years in Ajax and Pickering  Ontario but then decided to move west. That’s when we bought our school bus and headed out. We eventually got to BC  via Wawa, and stayed eleven years before the work ran out. On a visit back to Ontario to see family, I was offered a job with Chubb Security. I accepted and ended up as the Installation Manager.

Eventually, Chubb and I parted ways, which is a whole other story. Anyway, by this time we had three kids. The whole family missed the West Coast so after four years we went back again.

After a few more years my wife and I decided to split. I eventually met Rosalie and have lived on Vancouver Island ever since.

I’m Canadian through and through but sometimes I get hit with something so English I can’t explain it. I  sometimes come out with words or expressions from way back and even I’m not sure what they mean.

I came to Canada mainly to make a living but the main benefit has been for my kids. I think they are smart enough to have done well for themselves in England, but they have had a better chance here.

When I go back to England these days I feel out of place. I suppose fifty years away will do that. For instance, I find it odd being in pubs and not knowing what to order any more. Over there I’m told I speak like a Yank which is very annoying. As you all know I speak just like a Canadian.

My home town of Rochester has seen a lot of changes but it’s still nice to see the old haunts again. Even though I’m only there a short time I miss being home in Canada.


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