After one year living in gorgeous Canada, I have nothing but beautiful words to describe this fabulous place. A country of miscegenation, tremendous natural wealth, vastness, but among all of that, FREEDOM.
If there was something I must highlight from what I learnt from Canadians, that would be their sense of freedom. Europe is a pretty open-minded region, but the 21st century brings out tons of new challenges ahead. Challenges related to migration, sexuality, religion and other social affairs which, in my opinion, should be faced in a “Canadian” way.
What´s that “Canadian way” about? First of all, respect. Above all. Secondly, understanding than the beauty of life is based on diversity, and acting consequently.
Wandering around a city like Toronto means hearing different languages every couple of minutes, experiencing frequent cultural shocks and learning something new about each and every situation. In such a diverse environment, integration is key, and no doubt about Canada´s success on that!
The majority of people I met there had no Canadian roots, were sons, daughters, grand-sons or grand-daughters of inmigrants from every corner of the world, gathered in this welcoming place. I also had the pleasure of meeting people from the so called “First Nations”, during my trips through Ontario, there are just a few of them sadly, but they still keep all of their ancient traditions, supported by the Government.
Another interesting community I got to know within the province of Ontario were the mennonites, who inhabit the southern side of the territory. These people follow their own belifs in what respects to crucial matters such as education, law and technology. For example, I had the chance to visit some towns were there was no running water or electricity, shocking at first sight, and even more when you realize temperatures in that area go as low as -30 degrees during winter.
Scarborough Bluffs and Toronto Islands were for me the best places in the city where to relax and feel at peace. Just a short drive from downtown Toronto there were many other unique places where to connect with wild life. Ontario is known as the land of lakes, and one of the most popular activities to do there is renting a cottage on one of the thousand islands with friends, being in winter or summer. Luckily, I could experience both, walking on a frozen lake and sunbathing on the quay.
Leaving Ontario aside, I had the chance to visit one of the most spectacular natural reserves on earth, Canadian Rockies. This was the first place that came to my mind when I was told I was gonna move to the second largest country in the world, I wanted to go there no matter what! And it happened! I went on a trip all by myself for a week, starting in awesome Vancouver, travelling through the Rockies and ending in Calgary.
In my 25 years live experience, I had never seen a place like that before! I thought I was immersed in a fairy tail, where colours like the one from the water in lake Moraine seemed to be somehow photoshoped and brought into life.
Calgary was a big surprise for me, as I had no idea there was a Canadian Texas! Rodeos are something big there, and of course I couldn´t leave without attending one of those magical shows!
Fall arrived and I took a flight to the French region of Quebec.
“Québec je me souviens”, they say. It makes perfect sense to me, as I was somehow transported back home, to Europe. As leaves were falling, streets were coloured in the most magical way, the dream of any photographer, or photo enthusiastic like me.
It´s uncommon to find Middle Ages alike castles out of Europe, but Quebec´s Chateau Frontenac is one of them! I thought I would be dissapointed, as that´s not something I was expecting to find there, but I just felt amazed.
O Canada, keep being glorious and free!