Coming to Canada: Reflections on the Great White North

Arriving with his family in 1989, an emigrant from India express his heartfelt love of Canada.

Surjit Singh Flora first came to Canada in 1989Photo: Surjit Singh Flora

An Appreciation of Canada

Cold weather and hockey may be internationally recognized symbols of Canada, but beyond its climate and recreational activities, this great nation has a lot to offer to newcomers.

I chose to immigrate to Canada because of the wonderful and helpful Canadians I had met along my life’s journey. When I first arrived from India in 1989 with my family, everyone was extremely nice and kind, and tolerant of my language difficulties, helping me learn to speak and read English very quickly.

Canada is successful as a nation because it has always been a country founded and built by people who came here by choice, who immigrated for a chance at a new life, and who have worked hard, generation after generation, to build a tolerant society. Unlike many other places, here in Canada everyone is free to dress as they wish, speak English or the language of their birth or ancestry, worship and live in peace.

Canada is a nation where the culture of peace has the deepest roots. People here can freely express their ideas, participate in politics and depend on a fair judicial system to protect their rights. The country’s multicultural policies also help everyone to find their place in society.

Ours is one of the greatest countries in the world, with free health care, accessible schooling for kids with physical handicaps or intellectual disabilities, and many helpful non-profit organizations such as the Friendship Circle, which helps people develop a social life, without having to resort to cyberspace. And, yes, we love the game of hockey and our four distinct seasons. Add into the mix the natural tendency of Canadians towards peace and love—and you can see that we have it all here, in abundance.

I find it fascinating to live in a multicultural environment such as the Greater Toronto Area because, as a journalist, I have the opportunity to meet people with very different backgrounds and learn about their cultures. I believe that Canada as a whole draws strength from its multicultural spirit.

The people of Canada have worked hard to build a country that opens its doors to include all, regardless of race, religion or community, and as such, is a country that respects and gives equality to all.

While violence is prevalent in many parts of the world, and takes many forms, Canada has built a culture of peace by adopting and developing values, ways of thinking and attitudes that are in keeping with equality, tolerance, sharing, generosity and respect.

Canada is my home now, and I have a lot of fondness and love for such a fantastic country. It has given me hundreds of special moments and the opportunity to forge incredible friendships and continually make new acquaintances.

I would say that Canadians get along with everyone, unless someone tries to step on us or our friends, in which case, look out, because we will stand up for one another. Overall though, Canadians are easygoing, and blessed with a vast amount of land and lots of clean water for drinking, swimming and fishing. Our forests are rich with timber and scenic beauty, and our farms are fruitful with good harvests. We do indeed have to face the cold and snow in winter, but that is bearable for most and enjoyable for many.

I’m proud to say I am a Canadian, proud also that my children will be able to say the same. There is no other country in the world with the freedom and choices our Canada has to offer.