Being Canadian, makes you look at immigrants differently. We are all sons and daughters of immigrants here, who crossed seas and land to make a new home. Yes, this is also true for other countries, but first immigrants who landed on Canadian shores, sought out this country and either bought passage or entered overland. Even the Inuit were immigrants at one point, arriving and settling in what is known now as the North of Canada, thousands of years ago.
During the years 1815 to 1850 Canada saw the largest number of immigrants arrive, over 800,00+ , which became known as ‘The Great Migration of Canada’.
I am 2nd generation Canadian on my maternal side and 3rd generation on my paternal side. My father’s grandfather, immigrated to Canada because of the suffering they incurred from the potato famine in southern France, Toulon. The ‘Joudrey’s’ among other surnames, are listed on a monument in Lunenburg, NS. They are named according to the ship they entered Canada from France. The Joudreys were escaping the famine and hardship that occurred after the potato famine, of Toulon France, Toulon. The Joudreys are still one of the local names found here in NS.
My mother’s father was a pioneer. In 1912, when only 17yrs old, he purchased a quartersection of land ( 160 acres) in northern Saskatchewan for a mere $10.00 ( cdn). If anyone knows Canada well, you know that even today northern Saskatchewan is quite remote and winters are brutal….freezing cold.. windy.. and too much snow. Alone, young but full of the pioneering spirit, he built a log cabin and made it ‘home’. Note the picture of my grandfather with the bear skin coat and a frozen sack of potatoes by his feet. He went on to build a large successful experimental farm, developing new wheat varieties for the market.
Me…well…i am kind of a ‘nomad’. I was born in a small northern town of Dauphin, Manitoba. Spent most on my schooling years in Ottawa, then to Dartmouth NS, then Halifax, to Zurich, to Lunenburg, to China, to India and now Halifax. I wonder where my next stop is?
Immigration has always taken place all over the world, either forced or voluntary, and will continue to do so after we are gone. We can fight it, close borders, build walls, or jail unwanted peoples. It won’t stop it. People are the fruit of our world, their world. We can never really own the ‘land’ we live on and it is not ours to say who lives on it or not. July 1st is traditionally the day in Canada where the citizenship ceremony takes place to welcome the new immigrants. Why is it so difficult to become citizens of countries, Canada included? The rules and regulations are made to exclude rather than embrace others, and as we know, becoming more and more difficult. As an immigrant’s (great) grand daughter, I am always thankful that my families were ‘luckily’ accepted here long ago.
The journey on the Camino, was walked alongside many different peoples, young and old, and from various parts of the world. It was truly an eclectic cultural walk. I shared meals and conversations with Korean, Japanese, Brits, Aussies, NZ, Americans, Dutch, French, German, Norwegian, Swedish, Greek, Slovakians, Spanish, Portugese, Italians, Russian, etc. We all shared the same issues, feelings and thoughts. We helped each other get through the tough times, and laughed with the good times. It was refreshing to be among so many different cultures, yet we joined together in support. It seemed like a little Utopia of sorts, a secret life away from the realities of real world. We all joined in and sorted out world problems…but unfortunately…we must have left them there.
We can only do what each of us can do at the end of the day for others. We each have to search our souls and put ourselves in other’s shoes and think what we would like to see happen if we were there…
Send me your thoughts, I’d like to hear from you….I don’t have any answers… I just hope and wish everyone a good and safe journey….to wherever they are headed.