#MyCanada - Neelam


“I arrived in Canada on January 3, 1975, in Toronto. All I heard about Canada was its natural beauty and open space. No one told me to prepare for the snow and when I landed, the snow was up to my knees! I wasn’t prepared at all — we rushed out immediately to buy a good pair of winter boots.

It took me 2 years to settle. It was a new language, a new home. I had to learn everything from scratch. I spent a lot of time at the multicultural centre in Hamilton with other immigrants learning how to socialize and speak English.

I transformed as a person. I got my first job, working in retail, selling eye glasses, slowly building confidence and becoming more independent. I eventually became an optician. But as we struggled, we developed a broader view of the world.

I think we made it. We had a family here. We built our careers. This country has given us everything anyone could ever dream of. We worked very hard and we are proud of the life we built. Canada is a country where you can do anything. I look at my granddaughters and am excited at what the future holds for them.” — Neelam, Edmonton/ Treaty 6 Territory