#MyCanada - Nader

"My parents met in the U.K. in the 1970s: my mother had moved from Norway and was working in London, while my father had arrived from Bangladesh to pursue an educational opportunity. They met  and eventually married. When they decided to have a family, they were very conscious about living in a country where they would be accepted, and where there would be opportunities for themselves and their children.  They chose Canada.


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#MyCanada - Morie

“My mother always made us appreciate the things that we had. Growing up, things were tough, and she would work three jobs to ensure we had enough. My mother also believed in the importance of community, making time to develop relationships with our neighbours and inviting people over to our home. I acquired both my work ethic and unwavering belief in the power of community from her.

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#MyCanada - Will


"I was born in Victoria, B.C., the traditional and ancestral lands of the Songhees, Esquimalt and WSÁNEĆ peoples. I have grown up and spent most of my life in Vancouver, B.C., the traditional and ancestral lands of the Coast Salish Peoples, including the territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm, Skwxwú7mesh, and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh Nations. Vancouver is the city and Canada the country that I eventually will be buried in – it is home for me now and forever.

I am the second-generation product of parents who were both medical doctors in Shanghai, China. As first-generation immigrants, my parents experienced the hardship of settling in a new country, learning a new language, and having to restart their careers from scratch. They worked hard, often multiple low-paying jobs, with the dream that one day their children would be on a level-playing field and could pursue professional occupations that were beyond their own financial and temporal means. Throughout this process, they have never shared with me a single story of the overt and institutionalized racism they must have experienced. Of the hardships they faced, they spoke very little, internalizing the migrant struggles that I am privileged to be able to speak to very publicly today. They instilled hard work and the importance of living a value-driven life to me and my sister. To use a hockey lingo, ‘they never took a shift off.’ Unfortunately, my father skated his final shift just over three years ago.

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#MyCanada - Ranjan

“My dad arrived to Canada in the early 1970s. He moved to northern BC to work in the lumber mills, spending his evenings studying retail management at a local community college. After graduating, he got a job setting up SAAN Stores, a department store chain from Winnipeg, in small towns across western Canada. His job was to move into a town, open up the store, get it running, and then move on to the next town to do the same.

My parents married in 1976, and together they continued to move between small towns across western Canada setting up SAAN Stores. My parents’ stories from the time really highlight the multicultural vision of Canada. My dad, often the only visible minority in town, was treated with respect, even authority, as the manager of often the town’s only department store. In one town, he was even asked to run for mayor (which he quickly declined). They were welcomed everywhere they went.

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#MyCanada - Ian


”I grew up on a small farm outside of Calgary, near Balzac. We grew wheat, barley and canola, but also had egg-laying chickens. My dad’s family’s has been in Alberta for over 100 years, arriving from Ireland, likely seeking opportunities in Western Canada. My mom immigrated when she was young, moving from London, England to Toronto. When she got older, she moved to Wetaskiwin, then to Calgary where she met my dad. They married and my mom moved to the farm where I spent my childhood.

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#MyCanada - Jennifer


“My parents’ marriage was an unlikely union. My mom, Irish Catholic from Belfast, and my father, English Protestant from Montreal. My sister and I grew up with stories about The Troubles (the three decades of political violence in Northern Ireland). My mom’s family lived in Ardoyne, a working-class Catholic area in North Belfast that was in the middle of much of the conflict. At family gatherings I’ve heard tales of spotting backyard snipers, bombs going off down the street, and near-death escapes.

Like many Canadians, my mom’s family came here for a new opportunity.

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#MyCanada - Arundeep


“I was born and raised in Edmonton. My parents came separately to Canada in the mid-1980s, and were married here on Christmas Day, 1986. But, members of my family can trace their lineage in Canada to as early as 1906. I only realized this a few years ago and it really changed my sense of Canadian identity. I hear the phrase “new Canadians” often used for my community, but in reality, we’ve been here for over a hundred years.

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#MyCanada - Maggie


“My parents decided to leave everything they’d build back in Taiwan — friends, family, careers and all — just so their daughters could have a higher chance of success. My dad took the dive first and moved to Canada by himself to scope out opportunities and make sure there was a place for his family to live.

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#MyCanada - Robin


"My Canadian identity is complicated. Like many immigrants, my family came to Canada to escape the consequences of colonialism. My father grew up in Bangladesh, during a period of instability and intense violence that culminated in the Bangladesh Liberation War. The war cost my father’s family everything. By the end of it, he was living in a refugee camp. My mother’s family immigrated to Revelstoke, BC in the 1970s for better economic and social opportunities that were limited to them due to Indian class systems influenced by British colonization. Their experience as one of the few families of colour in that small town was not easy, but they persevered. 

My father ended up leaving Bangladesh to come to Canada for graduate studies. He met my mother in Calgary, where he was doing his master's degree, and they married. We moved around the country for his academic career. We lived in Toronto, Waterloo, Peterborough, Montreal, and Victoria, where my parents have built a wonderful life together. 

Experiencing Canada from these diverse vantage points showed me different ways of being "Canadian". I am grateful to live in Canada, but I know that as much of our Canadian story is, in part, about escaping the consequences of colonialism in South Asia, we participate in a new system of colonialism here that still greatly impacts Indigenous peoples.

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#MyCanada - Sheena


“Both of my parents were born in India and immigrated to Edmonton, Alberta.

Living as a second-generation Canadian has been an interesting experience. At home with my family I never felt Indian enough. I struggle with things like communicating with my grandparents who don’t speak a lot of English l and my Hindi is terrible.

At work or school I never feel Canadian enough, or feel like I fit in completely. I always get asked the “Where are you from?” question by new classmates or colleagues. When I say “Canada” they go on to say, “No, but where are you really from”? After graduating from university at 22, I started working in Calgary in the oil and gas sector. More often than not I catch myself in a meeting room where I am the only visible minority, and sometimes the only female. I once had a colleague jokingly ask me in a meeting if I was getting an arranged marriage.

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