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My Canadian Experience
15th June 2005

On 10th June I visited the MDS facility to get my ECG and found the folk there pleasant to deal with. I just handed over my form along with my OHIP health card and waited for about 20 minutes and then was called in.  I got around 20 wee sticky things stuck all over me and then wires were attached,  They took the ECG and said that's it you can get dressed now.  So.. I was left to remove all the wee sticky things and out I went.. only to find as I sat in the car that I'd missed one of the sticky things :-)

On the way back I headed into Canadian Tire to get a cooler box so I can bring back all the food from the Scottish Company in Toronto.  While there I got myself one of these wee two step stools so I can reach the higher cupboards in the Kitchen.  Also got myself an alarm clock and a couple of soap dishes.

Heading for home I thought I may as well go by that Dutch supermarket in Chatham and was pleased to find a mixed blood and tongue sausage. They gave me a wee taste of it and it was very like lunch tongue so I think this will work as a substitute.  I also found they did smoked back bacon so also tried that and when I got back I had a bacon sandwich which was excellent.

They also had what they called a sugar loaf (bread) and I was able to get a half loaf to try and with all the currents in it I found it very tasty.  So looks like I'll be visiting this store on at least a semi regular basis :-)

It is quite warm today so have the air conditioning working and the ceiling fan and it's now quite comfortable although you really do fee the heat when you go outside.

On 14th June I went into Toronto to attend the monthly board meeting of the Scottish Studies Foundation and Society which went well.  But today (15th) was the big day because it was time to see if Canadian Customs would allow my home contents from Scotland into Canada.

So down I went in the late morning to do the deed and I have to say it went very well and very fast. When I walked into the building I probably looked like a drowned rat as the heavens opened and down the rain came so I was soaked when I got into the building.  I got a grin from the chaps on reception and they pointed me in the right direction.

When I got there there was no-one in the room so I just went up to the window where I found a very nice customs lady who took my manifest.  She checked it over and then handed me a one page questionnaire to fill in.  Mainly it just wanted to know the usual things like were you bringing in alcohol, cigarettes, firearms, were there any business items or stuff for re-sale.. stuff like that. After I completed it she checked it through and then stamped my manifest to say it was allowed in!!!  Yeah!!!

Then she asked if I had to do anything with the form and I said I was just told to fax it to the carrier and then they would arrange delivery.  And then to my surprise she offered to fax it for me which I was happy to agree to and off she went to do that.  She also gave me a fax receipt that proved that Customs has indeed sent them the fax.  Now wasn't that helpful? 

And the form on the left is the one with the official stamp and the one on the right is my fax receipt from Canadian Customs

I did phone the carrier but the women wasn't in that day and so I'll phone tomorrow to arrange delivery to Chatham.

I did one other visit while in Toronto and that was to the Scottish Company to pick up my Scottish food stuffs.  I was rather disappointed that they hadn't managed to get me my Scottish Plain Bread or the Haggis but they got me the other things I had asked for.

On the left you'll see the grocery products and on the right the Square sausage, black pudding, Scotch pies and steak and kidney pies.  And on the extreme right the potato scones.

Here is the English Bacon I'm also trying although I must say I found a Dutch Supermarket in Chatham that does some very good smoked back bacon.

On a business note I got in an email from the local Economic dept. of Chatham Kent trying to push an advert in their online directory. While I admire their enterprise I will say that their sales push was a reply to an email I sent them suggesting that they include a web site address, email address and at least a short description within their free advert.  They didn't see fit to respond or even acknowledge my comments.

On a general note I will say that in my mind all Economic departments across the world all seem to have the same short sited view.  As a new resident in Chatham I was naturally trying to find companies that could help with various items.  Like was there a company that might help with grass cutting, helping me do something with my back garden which is a mess.  I am also looking to get a sign made for Electric Scotland to hang at the side of my door.

Small things I agree but simply listing a company and giving their address does not in any way give you any indication as to what that company does.  I don't want a big highway sign so which company could do a small sign?  Did I really need to phone every company to find out what they could do?  A short description would at least have helped me sort out which companies might be relevant to my needs.

I maintain that Economic Development is there to help promote the businesses in the area and thus increase employment opportunities and help to increase sales so that in turn they will also raise more in tax revenue.  They also need to showcase companies so that others that are doing research on perhaps bringing business to the area can ascertain what support services are available. I can't for the life of me understand why they should charge for such basic information.

It is also quite common for Economic Development departments not to address issues raised in emails which to my mind is inexcusable. Note that I am not getting at Chatham Kent in particular but I was disappointed that they seemed to be much the same as everywhere else in the world.

I remember well when I went to the web site of the local Chamber of Commerce back in Scotland you had to be a member to even view the list of companies that were members.  Just plain stupid in my view.

Anyway... I am going to try and see someone in  the Economic Development department to see what they can tell me about the area.  I do certainly commend them for their welcome pack but it just seems to me that like most organisations they seem to treat their online communication in an entirely different way from traditional methods and at a much lower standard.

PS I had a coffee with Barry Fraser of Chatham on Thursday 16th. Neil Fraser had told him I was in the area and so we met at Tim Horton's for a coffee and a wee blether.  Hopefully as a result of this meeting I might get some tales of more Scottish pioneers :-)

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