A New Canadian’s Love Letter: Discovering Canada From Coast To Coast

As I sit here in my Vancouver apartment, reflecting on my journey, I can’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude and pride. My name is Jason Li, and I am a Chinese Canadian who moved to Vancouver after graduating from university in Toronto. Today, on July 1st, Canada Day, I want to share my love for this incredible country that I now call home. This is my story—a story of discovery, acceptance, and a deep appreciation for the beauty and diversity of Canada.

Moving to Toronto in my teens, I was always aware of the multicultural tapestry that made up my surroundings. My parents, who emigrated from China, instilled in me the values of hard work and respect for others. Yet, it wasn’t until I moved to Vancouver that I truly began to understand and embrace the spirit of Canada. Here, on the western coast, I found a new perspective, a new beginning, and a new family.

One of the first things that struck me about Vancouver was its breathtaking natural beauty. Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the majestic mountains, the city is a paradise for nature lovers. I remember my first hike up Grouse Mountain, where I was greeted with panoramic views of the city below and the vast ocean stretching out to the horizon. It was in these moments, surrounded by the splendor of nature, that I felt a profound connection to this land.

A new Canadian invites the world to visit Canada on Canada Day.

Like millions of others I have found Canada to warm, accepting and a land of peace and prosperity.

But Canada is more than just its landscapes. It’s the people who make this country truly special. From the warm smiles of strangers on the streets of Vancouver to the friendly conversations in the cafes of Montreal, I have been welcomed with open arms wherever I go. Canadians are known for their kindness and inclusivity, and I have experienced this firsthand. In a world often divided by differences, Canada stands as a beacon of hope, where diversity is celebrated and everyone is made to feel at home.

My travels across Canada have taken me from coast to coast, and each province has left an indelible mark on my heart. In Quebec, I was captivated by the rich history and vibrant culture of Montreal and Quebec City. The blend of French and English heritage creates a unique atmosphere that is both charming and dynamic. Walking through the cobblestone streets of Old Quebec, I felt as if I had stepped back in time, surrounded by centuries of history.

In the heart of the country, Ontario, I revisited Toronto and marveled at its cosmopolitan energy. The city’s skyline, dominated by the iconic CN Tower, is a testament to Canada’s progress and innovation. Yet, amidst the hustle and bustle, there are pockets of tranquility, like the serene shores of Lake Ontario, where I would often sit and reflect on my journey.

As I ventured further east, I discovered the rugged beauty of the Maritimes. The picturesque fishing villages of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, with their colorful houses and stunning coastal views, felt like scenes from a storybook. In Newfoundland, I was struck by the resilience and warmth of the people, who welcomed me with tales of their seafaring ancestors and shared their rich cultural traditions.

The Prairies, with their vast open spaces and endless skies, offered a different kind of beauty. In Saskatchewan and Manitoba, I found a sense of peace and serenity, where the golden fields stretched as far as the eye could see. The people here, too, were incredibly welcoming, eager to share their stories and traditions with a newcomer like me.

And then there is Alberta, home to the majestic Rocky Mountains. Driving through Banff and Jasper National Parks, I was awestruck by the towering peaks, turquoise lakes, and abundant wildlife. It was here that I truly appreciated the importance of preserving and protecting our natural environment. Canada’s commitment to conservation is something that fills me with pride, knowing that future generations will also have the chance to experience these wonders.

Living in Vancouver has also given me a deeper understanding of Canada’s commitment to equality and fairness. As a new Canadian, I have been afforded opportunities and rights that I do not take for granted. The country’s healthcare system, access to education, and social services are testaments to its dedication to the well-being of its citizens. In Canada, I have found a place where I am not judged by the color of my skin or the origin of my name, but by the content of my character and my contributions to society.

One of the most profound experiences I’ve had in Canada was participating in a traditional Indigenous ceremony. The respect and reverence for Indigenous cultures and their contributions to this land are deeply embedded in Canadian society. It was a humbling experience that taught me the importance of acknowledging and honoring the history and traditions of those who were here long before us.

As I celebrate my first Canada Day as a proud citizen, I am filled with a deep sense of belonging and gratitude. This country has given me so much—an education, a career, and a community. It has opened my eyes to the beauty of diversity and the strength that comes from embracing our differences. Canada has shown me that it is possible to create a society where everyone is valued and respected, regardless of their background.

To anyone considering visiting or moving to Canada, I can only say this: come with an open heart and a willingness to learn. Embrace the beauty of the land, the warmth of the people, and the richness of the cultures. Travel from the rugged coastlines of the Atlantic to the towering peaks of the Rockies, from the vibrant cities to the tranquil prairies. Canada is a country that will capture your heart and soul, just as it has captured mine.

As I look forward to the future, I am excited to continue exploring this incredible country and to contribute to its growth and prosperity. I am proud to be a New Canadian, and I am grateful for the opportunities and experiences that this land has given me. Happy Canada Day, everyone. Life is a journey, and I am honored to travel this path as a citizen of Canada.