SouthWest Communities Resource Centre

Canada 150


The SWCRC is proud to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday! Earlier this year we asked residents of SW Calgary “What Does Canada Mean To You?”. We partnered with Jewish Family Service Calgary and received some amazing stories and are happy to share them with you.


Aman’s Story

When I came here it was awesome weather, no doubt it was freezing but I liked that. At that time, I was feeling as I had come to a heaven. Calgary is a clean city, no noise pollution, no dust, just peace…

Canada is well managed and regulated. Great rules, no fear to go out at night, mind blowing medical facilities, people with smiling faces always ready to help [those in need] and a  good transportation system. I can write more on this beautiful city but I think that will be way too much!


VA’s Story

Like many people who immigrated here, my husband and I came to Canada to be with my family to help raise my grandchildren. However, before we arrived to Canada, we did not know much about this beautiful country and what it had to offer. Other than when I looked at the map it was just a green land, nothing to special about it, and I heard that it was a country where they took hockey season very seriously.

“Canada smiled at us” was the saying my son and his wife would tell us, they moved to Calgary 3 years before we decided to come.  Even though it was not an easy move for them, they would always speak so highly based on Calgary, and what it has to offer from the friendliness of the people to the beautiful views of nature and mountains.

As much as I wanted to love the city right away, I had the total opposite reaction. I was very disappointed with this city, coming from Europe I expected to be quite similar but it wasn’t, it was very different. Though with time I began to understand why my son would speak so highly of this city, the beauty and comfort of urban areas, clean air and the convenience and accessibility of transportation.

The people in this city were the icing on the cake, their willingness to always come to aid, benevolence and friendliness. With whom we had communicated first were the bus drivers, sellers in stores, teachers at the ESL class at Bertha Gold Jewish apartments.

The first joy that I had,  was the realization when I began to understand English. It went from a muffled language to being able to distinguish clear words and phrases. There were also other joys that followed new friends, being able to go up the scale in the cleaning business by starting to work for big companies and becoming financially independent.

Calgary soon became my second home, I began to realize that this city offered a lot for me and I was just beginning to become useful for this country.

Libraries were my comfort place, with all the large selection of literature, both Russian and English were available within arm’s reach. During my time in the library my grandson and husband would spend their time playing chess, on other days we would go to the museum and visit historical places.  A place that is impossible to underestimate a lot of help from is the Jewish Centre and Family Service in Calgary, from filling out documents to providing us with various cultural programs which helped me

Alberta is very similar to the nature of my native places, the south of Kazakhstan. The same beautiful mountains, steppes, distant distances as well as the multiculturalism in this city is beyond comforting. That is one of the reasons why I feel at home here, it helped me realize that life is a continuation and know I can proudly say that Canada smiled at us too.

As grandparents, it is our duty to teach our grandchildren about their roots, language, culture and heritage of the country where we came from. However, Canada is our home.


DH’s Story

April 1 1989 was the day when I first landed at Calgary, Alberta Canada. This day was filled with excitement and fear not knowing what this city had to offer. Upon arrival, I was with my husband and kids, we came to Canada from Russia in order to have a better life.

Now Canada is what I call my second home, it’s a country where my kids grew up and got married and had children. It’s a place where the people are the most friendly, genuine and helpful, always extending an arm to help anyone out that may need it. A place where there is such beauty everywhere you go from clean lakes to the mountains in Banff

When we first arrived to Calgary, which was 28 years ago we did not know much English. When we needed help to find a place in the city, I have never encountered anyone that would yell at us, or point it out when we would spoke a sentence wrong. But rather help us, by taking their time to try to understand what we were trying to say and possess such patience that I have not seen before.

An experience during my time here that I will never forget, was the time when I had some health conditions and was in need of seeing a doctor who was in down town. I asked for directions prior to my visit and thought I fully understood where it was. However, upon entering downtown there was tons of buildings and I got lost quite quickly. I started asking around for who could at least give me directions, and there was this one lady who took the time to understand where I wanted to go and how I could get there. She then looked at me and said “Do you mind if I go with you?”  She then took my hand and guided me to the building that I needed to go to and waited with me until my appointment was done and guided me back to the train.

A country that I am proud to have my grandchildren grow up in, a country where you feel safe enough to walk outside no matter the time, which is quite difficult to find elsewhere. A city that is part of a great country where there is so much kindness to go around, and as citizens of this beautiful country it is our duty to give back. Because Canada has offered us so much and most of all accepted us, with open arms.