An immigrants ode to the wonders of Canada

Let us celebrate the freedom we have to live where we wish

To the Expositor:

I chose Canada!

I am very proud to call Canada—my home! I chose to come here and what a life I have had; and continue to have!

When I was a teenager in England and at school doing geography we did the Great Lakes. Canada sounded so romantic—wide open spaces, lakes, forests, the Mounties. After I had finished my nurse training in London I applied to various places in Canada for a job. British nurses often came to Canada and worked with the Inuit or through the Grenfell Mission etc.

I applied to the Department of Indian Affairs, Hudson Bay Company and the Outpost Department of the Red Cross in Ontario. I was accepted by the Outpost Department of the Red Cross 18 months before I actually arrived here. I had no idea where I would be; it could have been Red Lake, Minden, Burk’s Falls, Richard’s Landing as well as Mindemoya.

What an adventure it was for me coming to Canada. I sailed across the Atlantic on the Empress of England and up the St. Lawrence Seaway to Montreal. I came with two trunks of my possessions and I had to tell the porters in Montreal where Manitoulin Island was! One of my trunks did not arrive for another month! I came in the Fall of 1969 and what a spectacular sight it was for me as I was driven from Sudbury through the Espanola hills. I could not believe my eyes—the beautiful vivid reds and oranges of the trees—so different from the yellows and browns of England.

I drank in all the wonders of Canada and I still do. I loved making maple syrup, ice fishing, skiing and being able to own a horse here. I marveled at the beauty of the snow and the huge snowbanks. I came with the new Mindemoya hospital in 1969 and the new high school.

I have loved every minute of living here on Manitoulin. I am so proud to live here, to have married and raised a family here. I have enjoyed so many challenges and wonderful opportunities; the wonderful Island people, my First Nation friends and co-workers.

Canada 150 years! Let us celebrate the freedom we have to live where we wish and say what we think. O Canada, My Home and Native Land.

Mary Buie