‘My home and native land’

Memories of 'life elsewhere' have only increased my love of Canada

I still remember, albeit somewhat vaguely, a “family meeting” held at our home in Oakville, Ont., when my parents informed us that we would be moving to the U.S. in just a few months.

The circumstances weren’t terrible (my Dad was with Ford Motor Co. and the company was transferring all its engineers from Ontario to Dearborn, Mich., where the automaker is headquartered).

But it was a little surreal for someone who was just about to enter grade 8 and would be essentially “wedged” into a new culture, with no friends and little prospect really for a seamless integration.

My younger sister and brother—five years and 18 months respectively—may have found the transition a little smoother.

And I eventually not only graduated from high school but found my calling at university where I “stumbled” into journalism and absolutely loved the work (and still do).

When I finished my last class, which was on a Wednesday, I had made up my mind to head back to Canada, not sure absolutely why at first, but later, when I met my wife (we’ll be married 42 years this November), it became more obvious.

I was coming home.

It was, in a very real sense, like waking from a dream.

I couldn’t have told you before arriving in Toronto and staying with my grandmother for a few days before I got settled, even the most basic of things Canadian, having immersed myself in the U.S. culture for nearly eight years.

But now, a few decades since then, I can look back on the flow of a career that’s involved telling stories—and lots of them.

Some of those were done for companies like Dow Chemical Canada before it decided Sarnia maybe was no longer the best place to do business, but more recently as editor/publisher of a publication first started by a former Canadian prime minister.

I do think about what might have been and living in this country (and this community), just feels right and proper.

Whatever your story, please don’t take this great country that we’ve inherited and even built up to be a little stronger and kinder over the years, for granted.

Some of us were born here and lived elsewhere. And some were born elsewhere and have come to appreciate the differences that have brought us together.

On this Canada Day, we’re all able to enjoy our unique and common bond.

Bless you all.

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