Twenty-six years ago my parents made a huge decision to uproot our lives and move us across the globe to Canada. It was a decision that, at 9, shook my world. I was angry and frustrated; leaving behind friends and a life I loved.
Canada was tough, we were immigrants in a strange place. We knew nobody, had no family, and no network. My parents quickly burned through their savings trying to find jobs. Doors were slammed as they had no Canadian work experience. Our story is no different than countless imigrants coming into this country.
What made us stay?
My Mum came home one night and met a couple in the elevator of our building. They chatted briefly, and my Mum told them about our family and the move.
Later that night, a knock on the door broke our usual quiet night. The couple from the elevator were there…they came with a small plant and a few odds and ends as a welcome. Noticing that there wasn’t a TV. They ran downstairs and within the hour showed up with a spare.
That is why we stayed. We stayed because Canadians make this country.
Canadians would do anything to make strangers feel welcome.
Today I walked the street and saw people leaving a mosque, smiling, laughing and wishing. I saw strangers grin at each other and felt the warmth of this country. This country where it doesn’t matter who you are, where you are from, you are always welcome.
Canada is a country built by immigrants. They worked together to build a nation… a young 149 year-old nation.
As the fireworks boom, this year more than any other, I’m so proud to be Canadian.