Immigrant Perspectives: Experiencing a better quality of life in Canada

This is the third and final blog in the Immigrant Perspectives: The Blog Series. In the first part, I blogged about the apprehensions and hopes shared by my fellow writers/bloggers and myself as we waited at the airport to board their flight to Canada. And in the second part, we talked about finding relevant career opportunities as a newcomer. For this final piece, we decided to share our thoughts on what better quality of life means to each of us and further, we explore whether we’ve been able to find it after moving to Canada. 

The 911 emergency 

Let me begin by narrating an incident that I witnessed very recently. For context, I live and work downtown in the heart of the city that’s popularly known as the Entertainment District. I’ve been blessed with the luxury of walking to work every day because my office is only a five-minute walk from my residence. 

One evening while I was returning home from work, I noticed a man screaming at someone in a car in the middle of the road — very unusual in Canada. There were many people who had gathered around on the sidewalk and some were even recording the scene on their phones. Out of curiosity, I stopped to see what was happening. While I waited, here’s some of the things I saw: a man yelling at the driver asking him to step out of the car, the man’s bicycle was lying in the middle of the road, driver refused to step out, continued to stay put and then suddenly hit the accelerator causing the (yelling) man to jump on the hood of the car, the driver then suddenly stopped and the man continued shouting, occasionally asking people around if they’ve got it all on camera. 

I heard people around me saying that they had never seen anything like this in their lives in Canada and that they’ve lived here for a very long time. In the next 5 minutes, the cops arrived and tried to sort out the matter. Within 5 more minutes, there were additional cops who arrived at the scene along with an ambulance and a firetruck. Very obviously, someone had called 911. I was horrified and amazed at the same time! Eventually, I learned that it was just a case of road rage and no one was physically harmed. A man next to me shouted, “Show’s over, everyone, go home.”

People smiled and at that moment, standing there, I thought about how moving to Canada was one of the best decisions I’d made! In my personal journey to Canada, I’ve had many highs and lows and there were times when I really questioned myself if I was doing the right thing. I haven’t written or talked about it much. But now that it’ll be close to two years since I’ve moved to Canada, I do intend to blog about it. My thoughts on this topic can get very deep and philosophical and so I’ll leave that for another blog or perhaps, poem. 🙂 

People have often asked me about my motivations to move to Canada and like many others, I’ve stated ‘better quality of life’ as one of them. But what does ‘better quality of life’ mean? What does it entail? 

Here’s what my fellow writers have had to say about a better quality of life:

“Better quality of life to me has always meant being able to have time to do things outside of work. I love my job and the work I do but it was important for me to be able to make time to try new things. In India, I worked pretty long hours and spent almost two hours a day commuting which didn’t really leave me with much time and inclination to pursue anything else. Now my commute is 30 minutes, I work fixed hours (on most days) and have had time to train for my first half marathon!”

Shomik Roy, newcomer in Canada, a marketing and sales professional, and a passionate blogger.
“There is probably more than one meaning to the phrase: ‘better quality of life’. From better medical facilities, educational opportunities, travel opportunities, and greater exposure in professional fields — these are some of the reasons why Toronto is the seventh livable city in the world. This city is void of the reservation system which is one of the biggest hindrances in India. The dollar rate is another important factor that I considered while making the move. For those who have been bitten by the travel bug, PR holders can get a visa exemption in about 23 countries. The highlight of living in Toronto is that companies believe in work-life balance. You get to spend quality time with your family thanks to the flexible work culture. If all of this does not constitute ‘better quality of life’ then what is?!” 

Mrinalini Sunder, newcomer in Canada and a freelance writer and content creator.
“To me, there are two aspects to ‘better quality of life’:
(1) The perks of a first-world country. Infrastructure, education, global culture, work-life balance, universal healthcare, public facilities, etc.
(2) Clean air, water, nature and its changing shades in every season.

I believe that if you’re the first generation from your family immigrating, you should do it for your parents and for your future generations. Sure, it’ll be a huge struggle to get used to doing every little thing by yourself and especially adjusting to the weather, but trust me, you will come out a stronger person. When you look back, even if it is six months from the day you landed, you’ll feel proud of what you’ve achieved. And, you can use that as fuel to keep going and doing more. It might be a bit difficult to understand why you’re paying so much tax when you begin working here but slowly and surely, as you build a life here, you’ll realize that you’re receiving ten-fold when it comes down to the two points I listed above.”

Saif Razvi, newcomer in Canada and a professional copywriter.
“My wife and I do not have an extravagant lifestyle to be able to give an out of the box answer. For us ‘better quality of life’ means being able to breathe fresh air, lesser noise pollution to be able to live in peace, have quality food to eat, earn enough to be able to support our families and save a bit after that, access to good public infrastructure, medical facilities and access to religious places. I feel these are basic human requirements and all of that is available in Canada. This keeps us happy. 

The biggest perk of a ‘better quality of life’ is the amazing work hours (compared to how I slogged back in India for 14 hours a day!). That leaves me with much time to spend time with my wife and friends. I can read, write articles (especially on LinkedIn), and spend time doing religious studies. That makes me happier than ever. 

Of course, there are challenges that everyone goes through in terms of adjusting to the new place. Adjusting to cold, doing all the household chores on your own, living away from family and friends, not being able to attend family functions, understanding the tax, transport, driving, etc. in this new country. However, all of it is part of experiencing the ‘better quality of life’ that everyone keeps talking about.” 

Ronak Gandhi, newcomer in Canada and a risk management professional.

Keeping it simple… 

My thoughts on ‘better quality of life’ aren’t very different from what my friends have shared. In my mind, I like to keep it simple — to me, better quality of life is what I witnessed on a busy street in the Entertainment District the other day, walking home from work breathing in the fresh air after working for (a very balanced) eight hours, having the entire evening and weekends to pursue my hobbies or a side project or even travel and explore the city, basking in the moonshine as I drift asleep on spring-summer nights, blissfully watching the pink and purple skies during fall-winter, and most importantly, just being in a constant state of non-chaos! So, as you can tell, I’ve most certainly found a better quality of life in Canada. 🙂     

On that note, we’ve reached the end of this series. I would like to thank my co-writers for collaborating with me and for being so patient as I took forever to write this final piece.

Through the Immigrant Perspectives Blog Series, I hope that we’ve been able to provide a glimpse into what it’s like to move and settle in Canada. As writers of this series, we hope you can make all your dreams come true, and see them to fruition in Canada!   

How did you like this series? Comment below and let us know your thoughts. And please look forward to many more interesting blogs and poetry. 

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Until next time,
N

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