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We chat to Singer Songwriter Marie-Jo Therio about her new album “Chasing Lydie” Whale watching in Quebec
La Main the soul of Montreal Meet the Mayor: Marc Bureau, Ville de Gatineau
follow your passion, live your dream...
✓ Reaching from the Bay of Quinte to ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓
Algonquin Provincial Park Ontarioʼs Artisan Cheese Region Double the national average of artists & artisans One of the top 15 places visited in Ontario (Statcan) Weʼre “Rurban” - rural with an urban ﬂair 90 minutes to Toronto, 2 hours to Ottawa
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Well, it is back down to earth this month after our anniversary celebrations. Thanks to everyone for their good wishes and comments about the new look website and magazine. In this issue we have several features about Québec, the main one being about a wonderful singer who calls Québec her home - Marie-Jo Therio. This amazing woman has just released her third album, her ﬁrst English-language album and she tells us of her journey into the music business and what this latest album means to her and her family. We also speak to Marc Bureau, Mayor of Gatineau, Québec to ﬁnd out about his likes and dislikes and what makes him tick. Still on the Québec theme, we take a look at the Whale Route on the north shoreline of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. This is one of the best places in Canada to view over a dozen species of whales. But if whales aren’t your thing, then how about trying out the cultural activities that Montréal has to offer? Also in this issue we also talk to the Draper family who moved from the UK to Canada in 2006 and have made Prince Edward County, Ontario their home. We ﬁnd out how they made their big move and their trials and tribulations since arriving. We also talk to Deepshikha Brar, an Indian-origin immigrant who has proved to be a formidable business woman in Calgary, Alberta. We hope you enjoy the May issue of Muchmor and as always if you have a story to tell, or know someone who does, please get in touch. We would love to hear from you. Enjoy…..Jane Toombes Editor This months Cover. Marie-Jo Therio
Making waves in Calgary
Meet the Mayor The Whale Route, Quebec
La Main, the soul of Montreal
Voice over: Deepshikha Brar makes waves in Calgary Meet the Mayor: Marc Bureau, Ville de Gatineau, Quebec Invest in cheese please
24 25 26
Canada the preferred destination of UK expats Jobs, 10 simple tips for success
La Main, the soul of Montreal
Real life story: Still on a high since landing in Canada. The Drapers story of life in Canada
We spoke to singer, song writer Marie-Jo Therio about her debut English-language album “Chasing Lydie”
Financial advice: How to pay your bills and invest too.
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The Drapers real life story of life in Canada
The Whale Route, Quebec
By Jane Toombes
© MTOQ / Bouchard, Claude ; Lavoie, Jean-Guy
As with most Canadian locations Quebec has an abundance of wildlife. But one of the most amazing and certainly the largest creature to be observed is the whale.
To see a whale breach the water, swimming within meters of the boat you a re o n i s a t r u l y u n f o rg e t t a b l e experience. Thirteen species of whale can be viewed including belugas, humpbacks, ﬁn and the largest mammal ever to live on the earth - the blue whale. Whale watching can be experienced at many locations in the province between May and October. Most require you to get on a boat and travel to where they congregate, but you may also be lucky enough to be able to view whales from the safety of the shore. The Whale Route (Route des baleines) is an area running along the north shoreline of the Gulf of St. Lawrence where all thirteen species of whale can be viewed. The Route stretches over 900 km (560 miles) and encompasses forests, beaches, campgrounds, towns and villages. There are sections which are accessible for cyclists as well as offering opportunities for water sports enthusiasts. The start of the journey is Tadoussac which sits on the banks of the Sanguenay Fiord. Close by is Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park which offers some of the best whale watching opportunities in Canada from both land and water. The fjord creates very deep water that the whales love meaning some can be seen within a few meters of the shoreline. But if you want the true whale watching experience you need to get on a boat and go to them. The Marine Park is one of the national marine conservation areas of Parks
Canada. This means that although the tourism industry is very important to the area, the wildlife is protected. A code of ethics has been in place for many years to help protect the whale species in their natural habitat whilst at the same time allowing visitors to view them. Although the whole route offers great whale watching opportunities there are some areas which stand out. We mentioned Tadoussac, this is one of the main departure points for boat tours. Further down the coast, Les Escoumins is another village offering many boat tours. If you want to get a true insight into whales and other mammals then you
should visit the Mingan Island Cetacean Study (MICS). You can book visits here lasting from one day to two weeks where you will engage in the study of whales alongside world-renowned marine biologists. Sessions usually start in April and extend to mid September and range in price depending on the type of session booked and of course the duration. T h e y d o h o w e v e r, i n c l u d e a l l accommodation and food and transport during the session. Not only is this route excellent for whale watching, it is also an area of magniﬁcent natural beauty. Don’t just conﬁne your trip to wildlife viewing, take
© MTOQ / Lavoie, Jean-Guy
in the stunning scenery and other interesting locations along the route. One example would be Baie-Comeau where you can view the The Daniel Johnson Dam which is the largest buttressed multiple arch dam in the world. Pointe-des-Monts has a beautiful lighthouse dating back to 1830. It incorporates a large exhibition with entertainment and restaurant. Booking a whale watching trip When deciding to go whale watching you need to decide a few things to make sure you book the trip that is right for you. •How long do you want the trip to last? •What size boat do you want to travel on? •Do you want to be part of a small or large group? •What language do you prefer? •Does the trip offer underwater acoustics so you can hear the whales? •Do you require wheelchair accessibility or other special requirements? •Is food provided or can you provide your own? •Does the boat have a washroom? •Does the boat have storage facilities for your bags etc? •Are there speciﬁc species you want to see? •What safety equipment is on board i.e. navigation, lifejackets? •Does the boat have a covered area? You should also make sure the company you book your trip with respects the whales and their environment. Do they follow the code of ethics? Are the guides on board trained and qualiﬁed? What are the safety measures on board - do they follow the Canadian Coast Guard Regulations? Check for references and testimonials from others when selecting.
Remember that no trip organizer will ever guarantee that you will see whales, after all they are free spirits that come and go as they please. Some companies offer either free or discounted future trips if no whales are seen. Adverse weather conditions also need to be take into account. Always check the terms and conditions before booking. When you are on the trip you will need to take certain things with you, after all once you are on the boat you will not have the opportunity to get anything you have forgotten. A camera is a must, but also remember to take spare batteries, ﬁlm, lenses etc. However warm it is on land, it is often cooler out on the water so wear layers and take warm clothing with a hat or tuque. Make sure you have comfortable footwear that is not too slippery. Flip ﬂops and similar footwear is not recommended. Sunscreen and sunglasses are a must. Depending on the type and duration of the trip you may want to take food and drinks with you. Above all enjoy the experience. Few people have the opportunity to see these magniﬁcent mammals in their natural habitat, so never take this for granted.
Photo: © MTOQ / Tscherter, Ursula
La Main: the Soul of Montréal
By Tourisme Québec Unabashedly forward, delectable and hip, it keeps the Sabbath, eats Greek, dances Salsa and shouts Forza Azzurri. Boulevard Saint-Laurent, known as “the Main” to aﬁcionados, is a city within a city. Numerous communities—Jewish, Italian, Greek and Portuguese, to name the principal ones—are found in this true cradle of diversity in Montréal. Often associated with the establishment and development of ethnocultural communities, Boulevard Saint-Laurent has been the gateway to Québec for thousands of immigrants searching for a better future. In 1996, the government of Canada designated this grand boulevard as a national historic site, thereby commemorating it as a sign of hope and an essential passage for newcomers. Eleven kilometres long, the Main crosses practically every important street, avenue and boulevard in Québec’s largest city. Running north-south and dividing the city into East and West, Montréal’s principal thoroughfare draws droves of people in search of its intense cultural life, hip restaurants, and friendly urban lifestyle. Also treasured by the artistic community, it has inspired such major writers as Mordecai Richler and Michel Tremblay, in The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz and SainteCarmen de la Main, respectively.
Warm and welcoming, it is home both to essential services and to entertainment venues. In bygone days, it boasted a large concentration of places for a good time. From loose women to impossible love stories, the Main has always had a libertine reputation. As a part of town known for vice, where erotic shows, houses of debauchery, clandestine gaming houses and places to smoke all sorts of illegal products were established, it earned Montréal the nickname of “Sin City”. Today, the Main is also a delightful dance ﬂoor and outdoor market. When summer comes, it is a sure sign that great rejoicing and revelry are just around the corner. With the Grand Prix on the “Main”, Club “Main” and Mix’Arts, there are plenty of opportunities to celebrate the uniqueness of Montréal’s queen of thoroughfares. Every year, from Rue Sherbrooke to Avenue du Mont-Royal, streets are blocked off to make way for “unmotorized” trafﬁc. For all Montrealers, it is a true celebration! Music, food from all corners of the world, happy people and united colours—worthy of a Benetton commercial. The stage is set! Now for the merchants, giving their sales pitches like Romeo crying out his love for Juliette. There’s the sound track! To play the roles, all that’s missing is you! Visit http://www.bonjourquebec.com for more information about visiting Quebec.
Voice Over. Deepshikha Brar makes waves in Calgary
By Peeyush Agnihotri
There are two types of people in this world — followers who tread a set path and leaders, who carve a niche for themselves and inspire other to follow. Deepshikha Brar, an Indian-origin immigrant to Canada, falls in the latter category.
This lady from North India is an inspiration to many. An AllIndia Radio (AIR) announcer, who came to Canada nearly 10 years ago, with many dreams worked hard to realize them. Today, she owns a string of diverse businesses that include an ethic media production house, cosmetics clinic and an education plan agency. Deepshikha plans an electoral debut, now. A popular face in the South Asian community, this Alberta Centennial Award winner, 2005, is seeking nomination as an MLA from one of the Calgary north east constituency on the Wildrose Alliance ticket. “Since childhood, I was keen on co-curricular activities. My leanings towards poetry and writing brought me into media. I hosted my ﬁrst radio show in India in 1996. Three years later, we (me and my family) moved to Edmonton, Canada, and to Calgary in 2003, she recalls. The move didn’t come with many surprises as she and her husband were pretty ready to face the Canadian way of life.
“We were prepared, supported each other and are now where we are,” she says and adds her husband has been a pillar of strength despite being from a diverse religious leaning. “My husband has always inspired and encouraged me in pursuing my dreams. We are more of fast friends rather than a hubby-wife duo,” she says. Once in Canada, after hosting live community radio shows, Sandli Paidan and Chanan de Vanjare, Deepshikha moved on to the national television. Cohosting with a couple of other media personalities gave her the needed exposure and she started her own production company, Pravaas TV, which drew huge response from the public. The programmes highlight many social issues of immigrant’s concerns. Currently, she hosts Aagaz, a panCanada TV programme on social and cultural aspects (Vision TV) targeting the South Asian community, besides Hard Talk and Deepshikha Live on ethnic radio. She also owns a cosmetics clinic and an education plan (RESPs) agency. All this was possible as she studied and worked hard in Canada to make a mark. A commerce graduate, she honed her
media skills as also worked towards getting credentials in the ﬁelds of RESP and cosmetology. And is she dabbling successfully in all these diverse sectors? The trophies and community awards that adorn the room say it all. Her success mantra? “Know your worth and always wear that what’s-my-worth tag up your sleeves. Never compromise and sooner or later you will get into the ﬁeld of your choice. Work passionately to achieve the goal and opportunity sure will knock your door,” she advises. Miffed by the non-use of the vast immigrant talent that Canada has, Deepshikha says: "It costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to educate a doctor, engineer, or other professional. We have thousands of highly educated and experienced professionals working in other sectors. We can easily get rid of the problem of shortage of doctors and nurses, and many others, if we accelerate and streamline the process of recognition of their educational and professional credentials,” she says. She already is creating (air) waves in Calgary. Will her political foray be able to create some more ripples? We’ll soon ﬁnd out!
Meet the Mayor
Elected Municipal Councillor for Hull for the ﬁrst time in 1999 and Councillor for the new city of Gatineau in 2001, Marc Bureau (55) became Mayor of Ville de Gatineau, Quebec's fourth largest city, in 2005. He also holds the post of President of Développement économique – CLD Gatineau and the Commission conjointe d'aménagement de l'Outaouais. He sits as a member of the Big City Mayors Caucus of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, of the executive committee and the board of directors of the Union des municipalités du Québec and of the Conférence régionale des élus de l'Outaouais.
Marc Bureau, Ville de Gatineau, Québec
By Jane Toombes
As an entrepreneur, starting in 1982, he also served as acting director of recreational services for RouynNoranda. As an active member of his community, he was the founding member and vicepresident of the “Association des gens d'affaires de Hull” and vice-president of the executive committee of the “Commission scolaire des Portages-del'Outaouais”. Born in Abitibi, Mr. Bureau is married to Christiane Gourde and father of four children: Eloï, Audrey, Chloe and Chanel. He has a Bachelor's degree in recreation from the Université du Q u é b e c à Tr o i s - R i v i è r e s a n d a certiﬁcate in administration from the Université de Montréal. Always close to citizens, Mr. Bureau p r o m o t e s t r a n s p a r e n c y, s o u n d management of public funds, maintenance of basic quality services, development of a safe living environment for all, affordable housing development and promotion of a dynamic economic development in Gatineau. The environmental protection and sustainable development are at the heart of the actions of Mr. Bureau, who
wishes to make Gatineau a city always greener, one city that stands out for its quality of life. Mr. Bureau gave his time to answer our questions so that we can ﬁnd out a little more about him. Q: What was the ﬁrst car you ever owned? A: Honda Civic Q: If you could own any vehicle what would it be and why? A: The new Nissan Leaf. A 100% electric car, with zero emission, that will be available this fall in Canada Q: What has been your most embarrassing moment and why? A: When I tore the Achilles tendon during an election campaign. It was a long walk to victory! Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to ﬁnd about about you? A: I dance Salsa!!! Q: If you could change anything about yourself what would it be? A: Be able to let go off work more easily. Q: What do you most value in other people? A: Respect and loyalty.
Q: Mac or PC? A: PC. Q: Where has been your most memorable travel destination and why? A: Japan. It is a beautiful country that impressed me for its culture and the technology. Q: If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be and why? A: Do not laugh, but it would be here in Gatineau! It is a beautiful city which combines the urban and rural environments. No wonder that the Gatineau-Ottawa region is the best place to live in the country according to a study for MoneySense. Q: What is your favorite movie? A: Gandhi with Ben Kingsley. Q: What was the last book you read, or are currently reading? A: Detour from James Siegle. An excellent thriller! Q: What sports do you support and/or play? A: I love tennis, skiing and walking. Q: What hobbies do you do to relax? A: Being close to several rivers, I love to relax with ﬂy ﬁshing in the summer. Q: What has been your best moment since becoming Mayor? And your worst? A: Best: Without doubt, the Québec Games in Gatineau last summer (2010) which coincided with the opening of new Sports Centre, a world-class building that became the home of the men's team of Volleyball Canada. Worst: I haven’t found one yet.
Q: If you could have any job in the world, what would it be and why? A: Before becoming a politician, I owned a bookstore. I loved the contact with books and people. If I had the opportunity I would return to this work with pleasure. Q: If you knew the world was going to end tomorrow, what would you do today? A: Spend time with my family. Q: If you had to choose a last meal, what would it be? A: It would probably be chicken with a starter of shrimps. As for dessert, a large bowl of pudding. Q: If you could choose one of your personality traits to pass on to your children, what would it be? A: The love of work, to be passionate about what you do! Q: If you had to evacuate you home immediately, what one item, other than family members & photos would you make sure you took with you? A: My dog, Dolce. Q: If you could give a newcomer one piece of advice, what would it be? A: Be patient! Through hard work and perseverance you can change the world! a year!) Visit the Ville de Gatineau city website
Invest in Cheese Please...
connoisseur. Well now is your chance!
By: Lesley Galloway
Ever wonder how cheese is made...ever wonder,.. how to become a cheese
Hastings County's Economic Development Department has joined forces with 3 fellow Eastern Ontario Ofﬁces in order to make it happen. The four Eastern Ofﬁces are Frontenac, Prince Edward County, Lennox & Addington, and Hastings County. The goal is to expand Eastern Ontario in the Cheesemaking industry by educating the public. They have expanded this to a new iPad application that will soon be available to the public. HOW TO START A CHEESEMAKING BUSINESS IN EASTERN ONTARIO is a new informative information iPad application that will soon be available to the public. This is a great opportunity to learn about the craft of cheesemaking, and the steps that are involved. It contains all the information from what animal's milk to choose, and the pros and cons for each choice. Every reader is encouraged to participate in workshops before jumping into this trade. This is a trade that allows you to be creative and make money all at the same time, but is a full-time job! The information states that according to the Expansion Strategy 2009, current cheese-makers are not interested in expanding their businesses. This leaves a large expansion rate for new cheese-makers. With Sales expected to rise by 25% in the next decade this leaves room for another 25-50 new cheesemakers, with a sale of $2-4 million dollars. Keep your eye open on this blog for new information on the new iPad Application named: HOW TO START A CHEESEMAKING BUSINESS IN EASTERN ONTARIO. Don’t miss out on daily blogs http://www.communitieswithopportunities.com/and tweets (HastingsCounty), for all up to date information.
Canada the preferred destination for UK expats
It seems the pull of the beautiful Rockies, the Mounties and the marvelous taste of maple syrup is a real sticking point for British expats.’ Canada has the best quality of life for British expats who have voted its resources, natural beauty, peaceful attitude and fairly administered judicial system as the best in the world. Canada tops the fourth annual NatWest International Personal Banking Quality of Life Index with 92% of expats rating its working environment as very good or excellent and 90% regarding their ﬁnancial security in a similar vein. The majority, 92% rated Canada, as the best for its diverse environment, natural beauty and resources, while 94% said its peaceful nature was a real draw. Expats from around the world now account for more than 70% of the whole Canadian labour force growth. Canada leads the G7 in terms of the safest place to live and conduct business with the most fairly administered judicial system. It was the leading performer among the
hard-hit G7 developed economies during the global recession, helped by its sound banking system and the fact it avoided the property crash seen in the United States and much of Europe. In second place is New Zealand, followed by Australia, France and South Africa. Making up the rest of the top ten is Portugal, Spain, the United States, the United Arab Emirates and Singapore. As well as the country’s natural beauty and peaceful reputation, Canada’s healthcare system is also well regarded by expats living there and was rated high by 90%. Furthermore high standards of education are enjoyed by expats in Canadian Schools and Universities. Canada has the highest percentage of individuals achieving at least college or university education among the top 50 countries surveyed b y t h e Wo r l d C o m p e t i t i v e n e s s Yearbook, 2009. ‘This is the second year Canada has topped the tables of the NatWest IPB Quality of Life Index. Its excellent working conditions, ﬁnancial security and peaceful reputation have pushed
Canada into this year’s pole position. It seems the pull of the beautiful Rockies, the Mounties and the marvelous taste of maple syrup is a real sticking point for expats,’ said Dave Isley, head of N a t We s t I n t e r n a t i o n a l P e r s o n a l Banking. ’As a member of the Commonwealth, Canada offers Brits common values and goals shared with the UK, helping British expats settle into the country and feel at home,’ he added. The booming economy in Canada also makes the country more attractive. Canada‘s recent expatriate intake has been double those of the United States, with priority given to highly skilled workers. Financial assets in Canada are up 6% from last year’s levels. Household ﬁnances improved in the fourth quarter of 2010, and net worth is rising to record levels. Household net worth per capita increased to $181,700, representing the highest level on record. Canadian household net worth grew by 2.2% in the fourth quarter of 2010 to $6.2 trillion. The gain pushed
Canadians’ net worth to a new record high, 4.1% above the pre-recession peak seen in the second quarter of 2008 and 14.6% above the recessionary trough seen in the ﬁrst quarter of 2009. ‘UK expats say they are living a more fulﬁlled lifestyle abroad, whilst also beneﬁting ﬁnancially. This is particularly true for UK expats in Canada who not only say they beneﬁt from ﬁnancial security, improved cost of living and a happier working environment but a better work life balance and equal opportunities,’ explained Isley. For the wider expat community, living and working abroad enables them to earn and save more despite the current economic downturn. More than half of those living and working abroad earn between £50,000 and £100,000. Expats based in Hong Kong have the highest salaries with close to half earning more than £100,000 a year. The factors that inﬂuence individuals’ decisions on where they pursue their careers are many, but a key factor is the powerful link between earning capacity and the ability to build a nest egg. Some 74% of respondents claim to have increased disposable income since becoming expats. Top 12 Expat Destinations: 1. Canada 2. New Zealand 3. Australia 4. France 5. South Africa 6. Portugal 7. Spain 8. U.S. 9. United Arab Emirates 10. Singapore 11. Hong Kong 12. China
While the popularity of online job boards puts millions of jobs at one’s ﬁngertips, it has also made the job applicant pool that much bigger. For this reason, national job search sites and the Internet as a whole have gotten a bad rap from some industry professionals as an ineffective job seeker tool; on the contrary, the Internet actually can be a great resource for job seekers — they just need to know how to use it.
10 simple tips for success:
1. If you build it, they can come. Instead of simply posting your résumé on a Web site, take it one step further and design an easily-navigable Web site or online portfolio where recruiters can view your body of work, read about your goals and obtain contact information. 2. Check yourself to make sure you haven’t wrecked yourself. Google yourself to see what comes up — and what potential employers will see if they do the same. If you don’t like what you ﬁnd, it’s time to do damage control. 3. Narrow your options. Many job boards offer ﬁlters to help users reﬁne their search results more quickly. You should have the option to narrow your job search by region, industry and duration, and, oftentimes, you can narrow it even more by keywords, company names, experience needed and salary. 4. Go directly to the source. Instead of just applying for the posted job opening, one of the best strategies to ﬁnding a job is to ﬁrst ﬁgure out where you want to work, target that company or industry and then contact the hiring manager. Also, many employers’ career pages invite visitors to ﬁll out candidate proﬁles, describing their background, jobs of interest, salary requirements and other preferences. 5. Find your niche with industry Web sites. Reﬁne your search even more by visiting your industry’s national or regional Web site, where you can ﬁnd jobs in your ﬁeld that might not appear on a national job board. More and more employers are advertising jobs on these sites in hopes of getting a bigger pool of qualiﬁed applicants.
6. Try online recruiters. Recruiters will help match you with jobs that meet your speciﬁc skills and needs. Not sure where to start? Sites such as recruiterlink.com, onlinerecruitersdirectory.com, searchﬁrm.com and i-recruit.com provide links to online headhunters for job seekers. 7. Utilize video résumés. Video résumés are just one more way to stand out to employers.
supplements to — not replacements for — traditional résumés, video résumés allow job seekers to showcase a little bit of their personalities and highlight one or two points of interest on their résumés. 8. Run queries. You run searches on everything else, from your high school sweetheart to low-fat recipes, so why not jobs? Enter a query that describes the exact kind of job you’re seeking and you may ﬁnd more resources you wouldn’t ﬁnd otherwise (but be prepared to do some sorting). 9. Utilize job alerts. Most job boards have features that allow you to sign up to receive e-mail alerts about newly available jobs that match your chosen criteria. Or go a step further and arrange an RSS (really simple syndication) feed from one of these job sites to appear on your customized Internet homepage or your PC’s news-reader software. 10. Get connected. How many times have you been told that it’s not what you know, but who you know? Thanks to the emergence of professional networking sites like LinkedIn.com, job seekers no longer have to rely on the old standby of exchanging business cards with strangers. These sites are composed of millions of industry professionals and allow you to connect with people you know and the people they know and so forth. (A word of caution: When you sign up for online social networking sites, you are in a public domain. Unless you are able to put a ﬁlter on some of your information, nothing is private, and it can be difﬁcult to erase once it is posted.)
Search for your perfect job
Still on a high since landing in Canada. The Draper’s story of life in Canada
By Jane Toombes As one of British Airways’ youngest pilots, Steven Draper and his wife Caroline and young son Callum had a good life in the UK. They owned a Jacobean farm house with over 60 acres of land and stables which they rented out to people wanting to ride and graze their horses. Caroline managed this enterprise having given up her career as a college lecturer after having their son.
Their aim was to renovate the house and add to their chickens and goats to become completely self-sufﬁcient. However, because the property was Grade II listed the renovations they needed to do had to abide by strict standards which increased the cost substantially. Also at this time British Airways (BA) decided to centralize their operations from Heathrow Airport in London, meaning that Steven would have a very long commute and possibly a pay cut. It would mean the couple would have to remortgage and Caroline would have to ﬁnd a job to help pay for everything, if they decided to stay in the property. The decision was made to sell the house and ﬁnd somewhere new. But if they were going to sell and move they would look at moving outside the UK. “We were very sad and reﬂected on everything and decided that enough was enough and that the UK was based on a pyramid scheme with everyone sinking everything into their houses - which meant that a boom and bust was not gonna be far away again.” says Caroline, “I said lets leave and look at New Zealand.” They dreamt of opening a spa on North Island or a vineyard in the Nelson region on South Island. But they soon realized that the reality of such a move would be too much. “Steven would still be working for BA but ﬂying from New Zealand,” explains Caroline, “Also our parents weren’t getting any younger and to expect them to travel such a great distance to visit would be too much for them. So we decided New Zealand wasn’t for us after all.” They then looked at Canada as both had
relatives in the country and Steven could still continue to work for BA. In fact he could get a work permit allowing them to move to Canada relatively quickly and then apply for residency once there. They decided to put their house up for auction and sold it within a week. The next thing was telling relatives about the impending move. Caroline recalls breaking the news. “My parents took it very bad as we had their only grandchild and they were, and still are, very upset that we took him away from them. They said everything under the sun to me: about how bad I was, how they would never forgive me, how I've broken their hearts, etc. Sadly they still feel very much the same. They hate Canada on principal and it hurts me to talk about what we do here with them. But I know that I am not alone in that response from parents after having spoken to many expats its fairly common, but it doesn’t make it any easier.”
So, the couple decided to move to Nova Scotia as it reminded them of Scotland. Steven got his work permit and they moved in April 2006 buying a house in Bear River. Whilst in Nova Scotia Caroline became pregnant with their second child. When she went into labour they had to travel two hours to the hospital. This was a big shock to them as there were very few community hospitals and fewer local doctors to take care of such things. However, despite everything she gave birth to a healthy son Orson. It was during this time that Steven began feeling unwell. They put it down to his job. After all he was constantly travelling and commuting to England every four weeks from Halifax. Steven’s health continued to decline and he became very sick with tonsillitis and was on various IV drips for nearly a month. He was told by doctors that he could not go back to work for several months and that they would continue to do tests to ﬁnd out the cause of his ill health. After six months he was still off work and feeling no better with no end in sight. Eventually he was diagnosed with Hypersommnia. This is a condition which means the sufferer has reoccurring episodes of sleepiness which can occur any time of the day. The constant need for naps meant that his much loved ﬂying career was over. He would not be allowed to keep his ﬂying licence even with medication as this too was incompatible with regulations. This was a huge blow to the family as suddenly they had no income coming in and knew they would have to ﬁnd work. Both Steven and Caroline felt it was very important that she be at home for the boys and so it was down to Steven to ﬁnd work. He decided to look to his second love - photography. Since moving to Nova Scotia he had been a keen photographer and some of his work had appeared in newspapers etc. They decided that if he was going to make his photography business work they would need to move closer to Toronto. They decided to go on a trip to look at different areas and stayed in a B&B in Stirling in the
Quinte region of Ontario. The landlady there suggested that they should look at Prince Edward County or PEC as it is known locally. “She said it was a great place for kids with vineyards and farms for sale and that it was a great place for artistic types like us.” says Steven. “We drove over the bridge to the island and felt at peace for the ﬁrst time in a long time.” This was in early 2008 and they soon found a house they loved and bought it. Soon Caroline found out she was pregnant again and Aaron, their third son was the ﬁrst New Year’s baby to be born in Picton Hospital in 2009. Whilst in Nova Scotia Callum their oldest had been home schooled for two days and in French Immersion for three days, but by now he wanted to go to “proper” school. They enrolled him in a local school which he loves. “It is a totally different school to both UK and NS.” says Caroline, “No fences, wide open playing ﬁelds, and a school based on common sense. It is a small school of just over 200 children and the teachers know all of the children and most of the parents by ﬁrst names.” In 2010 their fourth child Eric was born, yes another boy! We asked the couple what they liked and disliked about Canadian life and if they missed anything about the UK. “We love the fact that we feel part of the community here in PEC,” says Caroline. “We try to get involved in things and it pays off with friendship, work opportunities and lots of things do do locally.
“We love the fact that there are fewer people in Canada with wide open spaces. The roads are easier to travel along, not so much congestion, even in Toronto.” Steven continues, “People here seem to be more relaxed and have a sense of community. People seem to apologize for everything and tend to ‘beat-around-thebush’ rather than tell you as it is. This is not always a good thing as difﬁcult decisions cannot always be made. “Although it is colder here for much longer periods, everyone knows how to handle the weather and gets by ﬁne.” They say the UK was much busier with no one having time for anyone else. There was more noise and pollution, including light pollution. They also had a sense of unease and never feeling really safe and having to ‘keep up with the Jones’. House prices were also very high making it very hard to progress up the property ladder.
They do however say they miss unspoiled rural rolling countryside and traditional English pubs. They also miss Sunday football on TV (real footie), as well as cricket. They ﬁnd food was cheaper in the UK and alcohol was also cheaper and of better quality than here in Canada. There have been some shocks to the system too. “The cost of living in Canada is expensive especially when you have to earn in dollars not stirling. Many people in UK look to here and convert with stirling but that is only good if you are living on a UK pension and exchange rates are in your favour.” explains Caroline. “We have also been shocked by the state of health care in Canada. Many people still do not have family doctors, but once you ﬁnd one the process does seem quicker here than the UK.” Steven continues, “There can be a lack of things for families and children to do in the winter other than hockey. After all not everyone is a fan of hockey. There also seems to be a lack of indoor swimming pools compared to the UK. “We love being here and would not move back, but do miss the traditional history and sense of place that the UK has from years of being invaded that has moulded the streets, countryside and ancient castles etc. That sense of history is really missed along with rolling english countryside.”
With the new double album Chasing Lydie, Marie-Jo Therio has broken out from her Francophone world and released her debut English-language album.
Marie-Jo Therio “Chasing Lydie”
Born in Moncton, Marie-Jo Therio grew up with a musical mother and three musician brothers; by the age of 10 she was studying piano and at 16 started performing her own songs. When she was 17, she moved to Montreal to study literature at the Université de Montréal and attend the Conservatoire d’art dramatique, while performing at boîtes à chanson. It was around this time playwright Michel Tremblay auditioned her for his romantic opera Nelligan; director Claude Brassard was impressed, casting her as Nelligan’s younger sister. Then came roles in Les Misérables and three years in the TéléMétropole series Chambres en ville, playing a mixed-up teenager. All the while she performed her music at assorted shows and festivals, and in 1995 released her debut album Comme de la musique. A year later she received the ﬁrst Fondation Félix-Leclerc prize awarded by the FrancoFolies de Montréal, and played Place des Arts. In 1997, she opened for Georges Moustaki at the Casino de Paris, and won the Prix Sentier des Halles. She also won a Jutra Award as best supporting actress for the ﬁlm Full Blast (1999). She teamed up with avant-garde guitarist-producer Bernard Falaise for her second album, La Maline (2000), and the musical theatre creation Arbre à fruits, which both gained Marie-Jo yet more plaudits. By 2004, she had moved to France to ﬁnish Les matins habitables, becoming the ﬁrst Canadian to record for the highly regarded Naive label, selling 50,000 copies (gold) and winning the 2006 Félix Award for best contemporary folk album. And now, with the new double album Chasing Lydie, Marie-Jo Therio has broken out from her Francophone world and released her debut English-language album. The inspirations behind the album are twofold and intertwined, family, travel, and her family’s travels.
“In 1927, Rosalie and Grégoire LeBlanc, my great maternal grandparents and their 11 children, had already left the farm in Memramcook, New Brunswick, to live in Waltham Massachusetts for a hope of a better life.” Says Marie-Jo, “Most of them ﬁrst found work at the Waltham Watch factory (famous for its clocks and watches).
“I remember from my childhood in Acadie, the frequent visits of the relatives ‘from the states’ (la parent des états). The rare mention of my great aunt Lydia (on the maternal side): an adventurous and wild woman it appeared, who chose to be a singer in the 3O's and 40's, was the trigger of an intense curiosity in me. “Chasing Lydie is a quest and an adventure that started as an attempt to know more about my great aunt Lydia, her family, and the story of those who immigrated to the states in the days of New England's industrial boom. It soon became apparent that
Photo Credit: Muchmor Magazine
the adventure itself was taking center stage. Chasing Lydie is also a reﬂection on time, on memory passed on, on the celebration of those things which seem small but can be so hugely important, on the urgency of being fully alive.” Having spent her entire career singing and performing in French, Chasing Lydie was to become MarieJo’s very ﬁrst English-language project, she explains. “Although it was unsuspected at ﬁrst, it soon became apparent that in order to celebrate the intimacy of the project and to get closer to it's emotional core, I had to embrace the language that the LeBlancs who left for ‘the American Dream’ learned upon arrival to the states. It is what felt truer to the project. The songs came naturally in English and were never thought of in French at all.” Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the theme of Chasing Lydie, Marie-Jo has a strong yearning for life on the road and a strong sense of wanderlust. Since leaving her hometown of Moncton at age 17 and basing herself in Montreal (a city she still calls home), she has travelled the world as a performer,
Photo Credit: Rex Roof
visiting France, Spain, Bosnia, Russia, Senegal, Madagascar, Mali, Vietnam, China, El Salvador, Haiti, Burkina Faso…and many more. Not one to name favourites she gains inspiration from, and holds everywhere she visits in high regard with a respect and appreciation of alternative beliefs and lifestyles. “Travelling has always been deeply connected to the creative process for me. I suppose this in some way could be related to my Acadian roots. There’s no doubt that Acadians have been, either by choice or not, big travellers through time.” The album itself is a wonderful mix of many musical genres that come together to create a musical journey that is almost cinematic. The musical colors of the album very much obey the convergence between the physical road of the present – the sound of voices on the way / the sound of windscreen wipers sweeping away the rain ahead – and the archived sounds of the past, or of an imagined past, celebrating its joyous clichés and sweet melancholy.
“Chasing Lydie is a "ﬁlm sonore", a little movie that progresses kind of like an awakened dream, with sound only, but allowing many images to surface. It invites a real moment of listening in time and space.” explains Marie-Jo. Once the album was ﬁnished Marie-Jo felt there was only one way to road test the new material: to play the music to the people who inspired it. “One of the very important moments on an intimate level was to go back to Waltham with ‘Chasing Lydie’ (the ﬁnished album) and to listen to it with some of my American relatives. At that moment, I felt that this adventure and the music that had emerged from it was something that had an echo in them.” It must have been nerve-wracking for an artist to introduce their family to a work they themselves inspired; would they like it? Would it do them justice? Would the
story come across OK? These concerns were almost instantly swept away by an overwhelming moment of appreciation and emotion and the reaction to the playback couldn’t have gone better for Marie-Jo, who describes the moment as simply, “memorable.” Not only has the feedback from her own family been positive, the English-speaking media reviews have been rapturous, including descriptions such as ‘a stunningly beautiful work of popular art, utterly amazing’ and ‘(throughout Chasing Lydie)… Therio holds the listener in the palm of her musical hands’, while the French media have also been overwhelming in their reviews and support. So does all this mean Marie-Jo will be recording another English album? “Songs are songs. Poetry is poetry: you will not be surprised to hear me say that it’s not about making an album in English, in French or in Spanish but it is to allow an inspiration inside, and to release that inspiration from any restriction whichever it may be. There are so many different ways and paths and I suppose the result of this work has its content of surprise for me. We may make a perfect plan but hey! Life, and the roads chosen, have their own propositions to make.” And on that suitably mysterious cliffhanger our interview is over. As life’s journeys are yet to satisfy Marie-Jo’s wanderlust we hope her travels will one day bring her to the rest of Canada on tour so we can all have the chance to witness this wonderful album performed live.
At the time of going to press tour dates are yet to be conﬁrmed but will be announced at http://mariejotherio.net/. Chasing Lydie is out now on Dare to Care Records.
How to pay your bills and invest too!
There’s no doubt about it, making ends meet is tough. And getting ahead? – well, for many Canadians, that’s a desperate dream for tomorrow when every day brings the reality of mortgage payments, car loans, lease payments, large credit card balances, and other demands on your hard won earnings. Sure, you’d like to start an investment program or add to the small investments you’ve already made, but there just never seems to be anything left over once you’ve taken care of the essentials. And in a world that runs on credit, it’s too easy to carry too much debt in too many places. If you’re staying awake at nights trying to map a way out of the dreaded debt spiral, to say nothing of stretching your income to cover an investment program that could help you realize your dreams for the future, debt consolidation may be just the ticket. Debt consolidation can increase your ability to invest Debt consolidation simply means paying off a number of higher interest rate loans or other high-cost debt by taking out a single loan for a consolidated overall lower monthly payment. You can choose to consolidate such unsecured debts as medical bills, car payments, education loans, credit card payments or lines of credit and the beneﬁt is a single, more affordable monthly payment, that is usually much lower than the many monthly payments you were making previously. It’s an effective way to regain control of your ﬁnances, ease your cash management, generate savings and reduce stress as well as establishing a repayment plan that will move you beyond simply servicing your balances to actually eliminating them. If you own a home, you can consider consolidating your debt using a home equity loan. Your loan is secured by your home and there’s no doubt you’ll be paying a much lower interest rate than you do on your credit cards which can range from 19
percent to over 28 percent for a retail card. By keeping your amortization period the same, but with a lower interest rate, you’ve created additional cash ﬂow that can be used towards other ﬁnancial goals. An easy investment strategy that works Once you’ve got your debt under control, it’s time to bring discipline and consistency to your investment life. An easy way to do that and enjoy long-term investment growth is through dollar cost averaging. This simply means making regularly scheduled investments for a set amount of dollars. It’s a trouble-free investment plan that delivers some powerful beneﬁts: Your investments are automatic you choose an amount that is debited from your bank account and invested on your behalf on a regular basis, such as each month. You are free from scrambling to buy lump sum investments at irregular intervals in an attempt to ‘buy low and sell high’, your automated investments take place on a regular basis. You are able to acquire a greater number of mutual fund units when the price is lower and a lesser number when the price is higher. Over the longer term, your average cost per unit may be lower. Dollar cost averaging is a great way to ramp up your RRSP nest egg and, along with debt consolidation, is one of the many personal ﬁnancial solutions that can make your dreams for tomorrow realistically achievable through the actions you’re taking today. We can help you gain control of your ﬁnancial life and improve your prospects for the future.
Peter Martin BA,CFP Senior Financial Consultant Investors Group Financial Services Inc Call us: (905) 529-7165 Email: email@example.com
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