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My Canadian Experience
End of my Journal

There comes a time when a journal should end and this is it and I'd like now to sum up what I have learned.

Firstly I would say that people all over the world really have the same aspirations. To have a family, get a home to live in, a car and a decent job where they can pay for it all and hopefully some extra for the wee luxuries in life. In this there is no difference between Scotland and Canada.

The homes in Canada are on the whole built differently to those in Scotland but they last just as long and are as comfortable. In Canada most houses have a walk in basement whereas in Scotland they don't. Most homes also have central air which means you can be warm in winter and cool in summer.

Like Scotland Canada has a national health service although you do need to pay for prescriptions whereas in Scotland you don't.

I had to get used to the food which is mostly similar but with a lot of differences. As Canada is an immigrant nation the food is perhaps more diverse than you would find in Scotland and there is a definite coffee culture here.  But that said you can pretty much eat as you would in Scotland.  At the end of the day the brands are different and I have not found a link sausage that I really like but have found an acceptable alternative. I can obtain lorn square sausage and black pudding but have to drive some distance to obtain these. I have however found an alternative black pudding locally, not the same, but close enough. I have not been able to find cooked tongue so for my occasional fix I just order it online and as it's in a can I can import it into Canada.

If anything fruit and veg are probably more diverse in Canada and plentiful but lamb is not so easy to find fresh although frozen is normally available. I have no local curry takeaway but have found one supermarket that stocks a good curry sauce in a jar, korma, butter chicken, Tikka Masala, Rogan Josh, Vindaloo and others. You can also purchase Nan Bread and Poppadums. And so it just tales 30 minutes to make a chicken Tikka Masala at home. I still prefer the UK Baked Beans as I find the brands in Canada a bit sweet for my liking.

When I first got here I made frequent visits to the local Scottish stores but now I've been here a while I've adapted slightly. It's my impression that Canadians eat out more and use drive throughs more frequently than in Scotland.

The weather is actually not that different than it is in Scotland unless you head further north. Where I located in the South West of Ontario the weather is really very good. There are just as many good schools and Universities here that there are in Scotland and so overall anyone used to life in the UK will feel perfectly at home in Canada.

The house prices in some respects are cheaper than Scotland although some places are rather expensive like Toronto and Vancouver but still cheaper than similar places in Scotland.

I would say that your money will go further in Canada than in does in Scotland. Corporate tax rate is the lowest in the G8 so good for business.

Laws are much the same although contractors in Canada need to be examined very closely as in my opinion they are worse than in Scotland. They can even take you to court even if it's their problem that caused the issue in the first place.

Of course Canada with around 34 million people is a huge country with massive potential. Most of you will know that Canada has come out of the global financial crisis in much better shape than in other countries. They regulated their banking industry much better than others. The vast natural resources of Canada gives the country a tremendous future and the current Conservative government is going all out to expand trade with the world. The future of the country is thus very rosy indeed.

However as the country is vast it does take a lot of time to get anywhere. Flying from Toronto in Ontario to Vancouver in BC is a six hour flight. Several days if you want to drive it.

Outdoor activities are enormous, hunting, fishing, sailing, canoeing, camping, RV'ing, snow machine trails and ATV's are common. So if you are an outdoors type you will be spoilt for choice. Ice hockey and Basketball are very popular. Football is available as in Scotland but much smaller. Curling is also a popular sport.

Just like in Scotland you contribute to a Government old age pension and there are benefits when you retire like they cap prescription charges at $100 a month for seniors.

Pretty well anything you can do in Scotland you can do in Canada but even more is available. Most homes will have an outdoor BBQ which is used in both Summer and Winter.

Should you be prepared or able to work outside of the big centers of population then house prices can be very low indeed.  Like I might have mentioned that with some renovations my home cost me $95,000, around 60,000 at today's rate (April 2012). It is a detached house on a corner lot with three bedrooms, dining room, large office, living room, kitchen, 1.5 baths, but also has a two room full walk in basement, (which could easily be converted to a one bedroom flat). a full walk in attic (big enough to be a master bedroom with ensuite), garage and small back garden. It came with central air. And I have a walk around porch on two sides of the house.

There are the usual large supermarket chains, home depot, etc. as you would expect in any modern society. Lots of great wee villages and towns, tons of shopping of all kinds and plenty of activities for the Kids.

So how do I sum up my move to Canada?  Frankly I think it was the best move I ever made. My money goes a lot further here and my quality of life is better than it was in Scotland. But the country is vast and so it will take a lot of research to decide where you'd like to settle. Of course if you are fortunate enough to be offered a job over here then your place of residence will be decided for you.

There are perhaps other places I might have settled like PEI, Cape Breton, Elliot Lake, Kimberly in BC, etc.  I visited them all and they were great places to settle. If you watched Will and Kate's trip to Canada you'd have seen a very diverse country. I have just as it happens added some videos of the various Provinces in Canada which you can watch at and I have started a Canadian web site at where you can learn more of the countries history.

You will also meet some of the First Nations people with their own unique culture and I might add that they say there are over 200 languages spoken in Toronto. People have come here from all over the world and I have spoken to a lot of people from different ethnic groups and they all had nothing put praise for their new country. When I went to my citizenship ceremony there were some 60 odd people getting their citizenship and they were from some 32 different countries in the world.

I would end by saying that the Scottish influence in Canada is huge and you'll meet Scots just about anywhere you go in Canada. It really is a land of opportunity from natural wealth of its mining and oil sectors to space and everything in between. But if you are going to the north then watch out for black fly season!

I hope you've enjoyed my journal and through it learned something about settling in Canada. I've become a Canadian citizen and so I feel that demonstrates my commitment to my new home although I will always have a soft spot for Scotland.

So from arriving in Canada in October 2004 I leave you in April 2012.

Return to my Canadian Experience Index Page


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