Aargh, I hate finishing an Eric GarciaRex book. I don’t get lost in too many books, but Eric’s ones do that for me. I’d finished Hot & Sweaty Rex, then re-read Anonymous Rex ‘cos I couldn’t get enough of that dino-noir (dinoir?)
Garcia’s books are clearly works of fiction. I mean, to say that 5% of the population are dinosaurs in heavy disguise — the real number’s much higher …
May 4-Ebar Guelph ON
May 5- The Jane Bond. 004 Princess St, Waterloo ON
May 6- Music Gallery- The Over The Top Festival Toronto ON (advanced tics recommended for this one).
May 7- Casbah. Donut Rock City (Hamilton) ON,
May 8-10- TBA
May 11- The Paramount. Moncton NB
May 12- World Cafe 2412 Agricola St , Halifax NS
May 13- Gus' Pub 2605 Agricola St, Halifax NS
May 13-17- TBA
Don’t want no car, don’t need no barbecue… But I can always use another coffee from Tim Hortons.
(for those outside Canada, every spring, the Tim Hortons donut chain has a prize promotion. It always provokes a national response little short of hysteria. You can win big things, but winning a coffee is just dandy by me.)
Off to markham, to are some of my old haunts. The sweetcorn and pumpkin truck farm is now buried under a mall. Gandalf Graphics is now a self-storage, after Larry Downey and the few remaining staff went to Total Graphics in Vaughan. Most of the fields where I watched groundhogs gambol are now building sites.
Is nostalgia supposed to cut in after less than four years? At least one thing remains the same; Markham Delight in the 1st Markham mall still does the best fried beef rice noodle you can get for $5. And that soymilk they have!
01 Jun 2001: Sent forms with all fees
13 Jun 2001: Receipt acknowledged
26 Jun 2001: Medical forms and interview waiver received
07 Aug 2001: Took medicals
01 Sep 2001: Visas received
02 Apr 2002: Arrived in Canada
18 Mar 2006: Took citizenship
It’s been hard work, but worth it. Canada’s a decent place to live.
Some observations on how immigration worked for us:
We did the application ourselves; all you need is on cic.gc.ca.
Research ways of getting your money into Canada without incurring swingeing foreign exchange charges. This was perhaps our single biggest cost, and I’m sure we could have avoided some of it.
Canadian banks are rather stuffy and inefficient. Expect to pay bank charges, and also expect the “free banking” banks to turn you down until you have a credit history.
It takes several years to become credit worthy in Canada. It took about a year before we had a credit card at all.
Get to know and love your public transit system. Most Canadian cities have decent transit, and living near a busy transit hub gets you around quickly.
Join the library. Books, internet access, and information of what’s happening — and free, too.
Owning a car is quite expensive. It’s not the purchase price or the fuel cost; insurance for new immigrants with no insurance record is unbelievable. If your employer can put you on their policy to drive one of their vehicles, you’ll find that it’ll cut your insurance premiums drastically.
I ended up changing jobs more than I thought I might.
Volunteering helped me get into the industry I really wanted to be in.
Professional qualifications don’t import well. Ontario is getting a bit better at accepting foreign qualifications (my UK CEng counted for nothing) but there’s still a long way to go.
Not long after we arrived, I remember being slightly irritated when a fellow UK immigrant said, “The first three years are difficult, then it gets easy.” Looking back, I now agree with him.
I love the HP LaserJet 4+. Built like a tank, good print quality, and now available used/refurb for pennies. Sure, they weight about as much as a Sherman, and suck power like there was no tomorrow, but one of my 4+s has nearly a million on the page count, yet prints crisp and clean.
Last weekend I scored a 4+ with built in duplexer from eBay for very little. It didn’t want to print at first (giving a cryptic 13 PAPER JAM error), but removing the rather beat-up full-ream paper tray fixed that. It may need a new cartridge (at almost twice what I paid for the printer), but I’m happy.
Wonder if I can direct-connect one of them to the ethernet port on Catherine’s eMac? I know my router won’t talk AppleTalk, so we can’t network just one printer.
… Third cheer is definitely go. I’ve been having a think about this, and some words with the folks at the OSEA reception, and I think it’s good. Very good. There are still some details to work out, but this is pretty much exactly what I could hope for.
Serendipity: took a wrong turn coming out of the
federal building, and found ourselves in Scottish culinary heaven (which is not an oxymoron, I assure you). At the corner of Ellesmere & McCowan is The But ‘n’ Ben Butchers; they sell all sort of quality Scottish foods. So far, we’ve sampled and can approve their butcher’s pies, plain bread and empire biscuits. They’ve also got a supply of UK Heinz Beans, which knock the gummy North American beans into a cocked hat.
Next door but one is St Andrews Fish & Chips. They’re amazing. I think the chips (hand cut, of course) are deep fried in some unhealthy, but tasty, animal byproduct. And they have Irn Bru, too …