I arrived in Canada “off the boat” in September 1982. I certainly could not have predicted how things would transpire and that 25 years later I would be here running my own company. I don’t feel too bad about not being able to make that prediction … our industry has had some notable predictions that bombed!
Tom Watson when he was Chairman of IBM in 1943 predicted there would be a “world market for maybe 5 computers”.
Ken Olson, President of Digital Equipment Corporation in 1977 suggested that “There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in their home.”
I think that the fact I have been able to build a company has to be both (1) a testament to the opportunity available in Canada and (2) good news because if I can do it, then so can anyone!
I can remember the immigration official laughing when I told him how much I had in savings! It was a good thing that I was coming to a job and not having to fend for myself for a while!
The differences in culture between the UK and Canada are really quite subtle, and superficially you might think it would be an easy transition from there to here. The reality is that emigrating from your home culture, leaving your family, friends and all the familiarity of that environment is a tough thing. I can’t imagine how much harder it would be for someone from a very7 different culture with a language to learn!
I remember my first visit to the grocery store and trying to buy the basics when everything was different. I remember the little things that
I remember thinking it strange that the light switches work exactly opposite to the UK … what’s up with that!
I had the joy of learning to drive on the other side of the road … and had to make an insurance claim a month after arriving here!
I guess the saying that if it doesn’t kill you it will make you tougher is a good one, and a lesson that I have carried through since finding my feet here in Canada. I truly believe that if you always take the easy road then you will not grow and learn and become a better person. A little adversity, while never welcome, should not be avoided but rather seen as an opportunity!
After 25 years in Canada I could not conceive of moving back to the UK, although I love to visit my family who are all still there. I still like a pint at the pub and some fish & chips and of course the opportunity to spend time with my family.
I was nervous about the Canadian weather and I am still not an “outdoors” person, but I love those very cold Winter days when the sky is bright blue and the temperature is -30C. Such a contrast from the low hanging, rain laden clouds that spend so much time in the British skies.
I remember when I was feeling a little homesick I would drive along the Ottawa parkway at night, with the big river on one side and the sense of space I got from the parkland that was so Canadian. A little thing … but I loved that drive!
Canada has certainly been a land of opportunity for me and I would not want to be anywhere else. Thanks for letting me in!