#MyCanada - Bashir


“I came to Canada at 3 years old as a refugee. My family is from Somalia and lived for six years as refugees in Kenya. That’s where I was born. We didn’t have a say on which country the United Nations would send us, but my mother was so happy when she learned that we would be moving to Canada. She had learned about Canada while in the refugee camp, and believed it would be the best place for us.

We landed in Edmonton in February, 1994. I remember it vividly. The ground was covered in snow. My older sister tried to convince me the snow was sugar, so I filled my backpack with as much as I could, only to discover later that it all had melted, and was definitely not sugar.

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#MyCanada - Aaron

Aaron, facing east on Fraser Street

“My mom’s family is First Nations, from Cowessess First Nation in Saskatchewan, while my dad’s family is from St. Vincent in the Caribbean. I spent a lot of my childhood visiting my family’s house on the reserve with my great-grandparents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. I grew up in Edmonton, and each summer, my mom would take me on the local powwow circuit. We would hit up 10-15 powwows each summer, and I loved it. As a little kid, you would usually find me outside the dance circle, doing my best to keep up with the dancers with my own moves.

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#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

#MyCanada - Kim


"My parents were in the travel business, which meant we moved every few years. Calgary, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Edmonton, and even Peru. As an adult, work took me to Nelson, Prince Rupert, and all over northern Alberta. At a certain point, I stopped really identifying with all the places I was in, and just felt that I lived in Canada, whether I was in southern Ontario or the Pacific Northwest.

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