The pleasures of living in Canada

As a recent immigrant, now permanent resident of Canada, people ask what made someone in their mid 50s leave England and move to Canada. What is so good about Canada? Here are some of the things I would hate to leave behind now that I have found them.

How I arrived at this list

It was during a recent journey to the airport en route for England, I started thinking how I would feel if this was my final journey to the airport. What if I was leaving Canada for good, only to return for holidays? How would I feel? What would I miss once I was back in the UK? So here is the list . . .

Space and wide-open spaces

All of the social problems in the UK can be traced to over population, and the situation is getting worse every day

First we need to put space into context. There are two Canadian provinces (British Columbia and Ontario) that are each four times the area of the UK. Alberta is 2.4 times the area of the UK. (More geographical facts) The population of Alberta is roughly 1/17 of the UK population, but spread out in more than twice the area.

The UK is overcrowded. All of the social problems in the UK can be traced to over population, and the situation is getting worse every day. There seems to be no control on immigration or asylum seekers. More and more arrive every day and the present government seems to be doing nothing about it. In contrast Canada has a very firm attitude to immigration and the type of people that are admitted. If you do not have the right education and experience, then you can forget coming to Canada - unless you have money. Money will get you in under some special schemes whereby you lend the government a lot of money, interest free. Strange really that you can get in with money.

The west of Canada is empty when you compare it to Europe and the UK in particular. Here in Edmonton there are 'hiring' signs everywhere. However, do not be misled into thinking that if you come to Canada there will be a well-paid job waiting for you. That is not the case. Most of the jobs are very poorly paid. I do not understand how people can work for the low pay and survive.

Once you are out of the cities, Canada is empty. I would miss that more than anything else.

Diverse different climate - real seasons

Winter is cold, summer is hot and the change from one to the other is fast

Canada has real seasons, particularly in the west. Winter is cold, summer is hot and the change from one to the other is fast. It is dependable too. You can plan a barbeque and be almost certain that the weather will be kind to you. Canadians spend a lot of time outdoors, especially in the summer. Even during the winter you will find family groups having an outdoor barbeque in the park surrounded by snow.

Dry snow

The snow here in Edmonton and further west in Alberta is dry. In fact the humidity is very low, which means that there is not a lot of rain. Precipitation falls as snow when the weather is cold. Snow like you never see in the UK. Dry powder. The crystals are fine and it blows about in the wind just like sand. Why would it do anything else when the temperature is typically -10C, it is not going to melt. That also means that you can lift a whole shovel full of snow easily, because it is not wet. Clearing snow like that is not too difficult.

Straight, uncrowded roads, wide streets and avenues

In the city the streets and avenues are straight and wide, although in new housing developments there is a marked tendency for the residential roads to be strange curves. Main streets can easily be six traffic lanes wide. Most of the time traffic is not a major problem, the people of Edmonton do complain about traffic, but they have never experienced the UK's M6 motorway around Birmingham on a friday evening, complete with miles of stationary traffic.

Out of the city the roads are straight. You can drive for hours with very little effort and you can use cruise control. Where in the UK could you actually use cruise control? The distance between Edmonton and Jasper- a popular mountain resort is about 350 km, that can be done is around 4 hours including a short stop, and staying within the legal speed limits. Where in the UK could you do that?

Friendly people

People talk to you. At first I was very apprehensive, I was not used to anyone talking to me unless they were going to ask for money or I would find out that they were a little strange. Not so in Canada, there are not so many people, so others have time to pass the time of day with you.

Less suspicion and political correctness

The UK got it wrong and is now living with the consequences of admitting to many who have not made any effort to integrate. This problem is made worse by a government that makes too many concessions to immigrants and other vociferous minorities.

The UK has the largest number of surveillance cameras in the world. You can not do anything or go anywhere without being filmed. Your car journeys are monitored, your mobile phone calls and text messages are monitored etc etc. Canada is relatively free of this 'suspicion culture' where everyone is regarded as guilty. Political correctness is still evident, but not like in the UK where you can not say anything about any 'visible minority' (even the language you have to use in the UK is perverted!) without being accused of being racist, homophobic or worse.

Like stepping back in time

Living in Canada is like stepping back in time by at least 20 years, to a time when things were different. An age of innocence when people liked each other and were friendly to each other. Why? Because Canada has not admitted so many people. People are expected to integrate and fit in, there are employment opportunities so there is no excuse for being unemployed.