Dear Diary – Page 105 (1975)

As soon as my employment was confirmed, the other three made arrangements to fly out!

I was at Toronto International Airport well in advance of their arrival time and waited… and waited… and waited. I checked the arrivals board and they had landed on schedule so I waited… and waited… and waited.

It was a few hours before we eventually met. The delay was caused by a “3rd degree” interrogation by the Immigration people! All three of them were obviously tired as a result of the general stress from moving to a new country; the five hour time difference and the seven hour flight. Apparently Simon, who was just 6 years old then, was leaning up against a portable office partition in the Immigration area when he went to sleep. He fell over and the partition went with him!

I can understand that Immigration had reasons to be thorough, but we all had Canadian Landed Immigrant status before we left England. I cannot imagine what people must go through who arrive without having had prior clearance to live here!

Living in Canada, and working for the City of Mississauga was an education is so many ways. The salary that I was offered was approximately x 3 of what I earned in England, and food and general supplies were equal, or less, cost than in England. Everything was looking really promising until we started looking around for an apartment that was within walking distance of where I would be working.

The cost of accommodation here was so much more than in England that, although we would certainly be financially better off in Canada, it did reduce the difference in the respective cost of living considerably! At the back of our minds though was the fact that we had no money for the return air fare so we had to make it work! Great incentive and motivator!

Within a few weeks of settling into my new position, I experienced my first racial issue. One of the ladies I was working with said to me “You know what they say here about Englishmen?” I gave a very honest “No.” She said “You can always tell an Englishman, because you cannot tell him anything!” She was not smiling.

We eventually got on quite well, working together in the same office, but it took some time.


New immigrants to Canada often complain about the treatment they get here, and their  perception is that it is a racial bias. Their position is that it is based on their color and/or their country of origin. They complain about the thorough interrogation they get at the airport. They complain that their resumes are never being acknowledged and they complain about the racial slur kinds of comments which they hear.

Whereas I am not going to belittle, or invalidate, those sentiments, I wish I could scream from the roof tops “It’s not you! I came from England; am white, and received exactly the same treatment. This is Canada. It has much to offer, including a culturally diverse population but it is not perfect. You are here now so adjust and enjoy your new country!”

8 thoughts on “Dear Diary – Page 105 (1975)

  1. It reminds me of the time when we moved to Liechtenstein. We spoke the same language, perhaps a different dialect. But although we moved only about 20 km over the border you were treated like an alien in this little country. It is better today but back then the discrimination was really awful at times when you did not have one of the common names…

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    • I would like to believe that we have made progress in those matters but… I am really not so sure. Perhaps we are just more aware of prejudice and discrimination now as a result our improved communications technology.

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