Why I Moved to Canada

Yes, It Gets Cold (Ottawa, March 2014)

Yes, It Gets Cold (Ottawa, March 2014)

I “dis­cov­ered” Canada in Feb­ru­ary 2002, at the end of a three-month long back­pack­ing trip from Mex­ico to Brazil (yes, by bus). A stop in Canada was not part of my orig­i­nal travel plan—it was a last-minute deci­sion, I got a good deal on a one-way ticket from Rio de Janeiro to Toronto. So I fol­lowed Feng, my Cana­dian travel-partner-turned-partner-turned-spouse, to Ottawa, and caught a glimpse of the coun­try before even­tu­ally fly­ing back home to France a few weeks later.

I stopped over once again in 2003, before head­ing to Cen­tral Amer­ica for yet another back­pack­ing trip with Feng. In Feb­ru­ary 2004 we flew back from Guatemala City to Toronto, broke and tired. I had been given a six-month “tourist” stamp upon land­ing in Canada, so I decided to stay in Ottawa for a bit to see if I actu­ally wanted to move there. For the fol­low­ing few months, I worked on my Eng­lish skills (I did not speak much Eng­lish back then), scouted the job mar­ket and had many snow­ball fights.

It turned out that I liked Canada. I started to research how to obtain a work visa and the famous “per­ma­nent res­i­dent” status.

In Sep­tem­ber 2004, I trav­eled to France and applied for a Work­ing Hol­i­day Visa (WHV). Canada was not yet a pop­u­lar destination—the WHV was free (!) and the yearly quota was not even close to being filled. I showed up at the Cana­dian embassy in Paris and left a cou­ple of hours later with the pre­cious WHV sta­pled in my passport.

I flew back to Canada in Novem­ber 2004 and started work­ing right away while com­plet­ing my uni­ver­sity degree in France (yes, it was chal­leng­ing). By mid-2005, I was ready to apply for per­ma­nent residence.

I decided to apply in the spon­sor­ship cat­e­gory since Feng was my main rea­son for stay­ing in Canada.

For more info and anec­dotes about my immi­gra­tion process, you can check out the inter­views in the Press Review page.