I came to Vancouver, BC from England in 2013 with my Canadian wife, who I met in London and we haven’t looked back. I’d visited beautiful British Columbia as home-port in my days working on cruise ships, but never dreamed that I’d call it home.
One of the most incredible, and constantly surprising things about this province is that everyone is so genuinely nice. I don’t mean the “Have a nice day” painted-smile kind of nice, I mean that they actually want you to have a good day. People here talk to you in the queue for coffee. When I’m out for a run, other runners nod or smile in appreciation that you’re doing something good with your day and sharing in their experience. One even high-fived me! As an Englishman, that’s an alien concept but I went with it and it made me feel that weird kind of warm goodness when you’re a mixture proud and surprised.
Since living in Vancouver, my pace has completely changed. I no longer feel the frantic rush of life in London. The air is clean, the water tastes good and everyone is on their way to, or coming from hot yoga or a spin class. I haven’t succumbed to living in yoga pants just yet, I just don’t have the bum for it.
Canada has embraced my silly English-ways and accepted them. I remind myself that I’m incredibly lucky every day. I get to work, run, and breathe it all in, right here. I get to raise my family in a city that adamantly promotes acceptance and lifestyle choices of all types. I am proud to say that I live here.
This July 1st I will be celebrating Canada Day with the rest of you. I have never felt like an outsider. In fact, I feel more at home here than I ever did in London. England’s capital has a funny way of making you feel like you could be invisible. It’s an inspiring city, but it’s hard to make a mark on it. Canada Day is all about celebrating all the things that you’re proud of about this country, including its willingness to promote local talent, business, and ideas. When a local musician or actor comes on TV, someone will always whisper “they’re Canadian!”.
Canada is a nation of stories, people, and talent. It is a country that spreads across vast distances, snow-peaked mountain ranges, desert and lush farmland. It would take me a lifetime to explore it all, and there wouldn’t be a wasted second.