Blessed to call two countries home: looking back on 50 years in Canada
'We had no idea of the life Canada would offer us.'
This year marks Colin and Ann Broomfield's 50th wedding anniversary. It's also 50 years since they first arrived in Canada from England to a life of unexpected turns. Throughout 2017, we're asking Canadians, "What's your story?" Colin Broomfield, of Kelowna, B.C., shares his.
I graduated Bakery College [in England] March 17, 1967, got married March 18 and, together with my new bride Ann, flew to Canada March 19.
We knew no one and had just over $250.00. Our first stop was in Toronto, where we went through the immigration process. Then we were able to continue on to Vancouver. Looking outside, we were amazed at the size of the cars and the openness of the area.
Monday morning March 20, I had an interview set up for a job with Kelly Douglas Offices in Burnaby, B.C. I was hired on the spot and asked if I would mind working in Nelson. I said that would be perfect — Ann and I had passed Nelson Street on our way to Burnaby and thought it a lovely area to live. How surprised I was to learn it was actually 13 hours by Greyhound!
For Ann and I, our first months in Canada would always be special. We still have friends that we made back then. We lived on wedding cake, peanut butter (never had that before) and toast.
We became citizens as soon as we were able, I believe it was after five years. Since that first touchdown in Vancouver, we have moved back and forth between England and Canada a further three times.
The difference between soccer and hockey...
While living in Nelson we became avid hockey fans and went to every game. We'd always go to work the next day and discuss the game, but what we didn't understand was that the score was always different [from what we remembered]. One day, full of embarrassment, I asked a coworker why the score changed. He said it doesn't. He asked when did we leave, and I said always just before the end of the second period as we wanted to avoid the rush. He said don't you mean the third period? What, there's a third period? We had been leaving too early, thinking that like soccer the game had two periods.
The freedom, the space, the kindness of people
In Nelson we had German friends who shared their bratwurst and potato salad recipes with us and Italian friends who I met when I joined the Nelson Soccer club. In Trail. B.C., we had Italian friends who taught us how to can fruit and veggies and in Grand Forks, B.C., we had American friends who taught us the art of BBQ'ing. We all assimilated into Canadian society, never losing our heritage.
We look back on our life, our choices, the many times we have crossed the Atlantic and wouldn't change a moment. We hope to retire soon, and know how blessed we are to be able to call two countries home.
It is difficult when we watch the Olympics and both Canada and England have participants, and we will always miss the land of our birth where all our relatives are, but we have such a wonderful life here in Canada, we do not regret a single moment. In fact, we wonder how come we were so smart to have made the decision to come to Canada in the first place.
When we first made the decision to make Canada our home, we had no idea of the life Canada would offer us. The freedom, the space, the kindness of people.