July 06, 2012

New Land - Glynis Belec

In April 1967 we left Scotland on the Empress of England with Montreal, Canada as our destination. Mom had her hands full keeping her eye on four children and a collie dog on the long trek overseas. Dad had flown to Canada two months earlier, found a job and rented us a home in London, Ontario.

Even though I was a wee lass, I still recall pulling into Montreal thinking we had landed on a strange planet. I was to learn later that all those odd buildings and strange homes were part of Canada's centennial celebration called Expo 67. The natives did not live in round homes after all, nor did the flats (apartment buildings) look like individual homes randomly stacked like a poorly constructed Lego structure.

As I looked at the odd constructions and observed the milling people in the park-like atmosphere, my imagination went into overdrive. It was my Treasure Island.

Unfortunately, we didn't stay long in Montreal and we soon found ourselves being whisked across the countryside in a speeding train. The vision of the vast country and beautiful log cabins tucked in the hillsides of Quebec and Northern Ontario were next to capture my imagination and remain etched in my mind.  

We soon settled into our home. I recall the first 3 songs I learned in school - En Canadien Errant; I'se the B'y That Builds the Boat and in Oh Canada, the part about God keeping our land...glorious and free...well I loved it and was hooked.

I remember Mrs. McLeod, one of my first teachers in Canada. She often told me I was good in composition and that I should always try hard in English. I had plenty to write about after all and wasn't afraid to put my thoughts down on paper. I have often thought about Mrs. McLeod over the years and as a new immigrant to Canada, I remember fondly how she took me under her wing, protected me from the big boys and encouraged me to write.

I wonder if it was her encouraging words that initially made me think I could write. I believe God puts people in our path to help point the way. Maybe Mrs. McLeod was one little cog in the wheel.

I am glad my parents made the decision to emigrate and settle in Canada. I'm glad that God pressed upon my heart the need to share my words. I'm glad I still live, work, breath in the true North Strong and Free...God keep our land...glorious and free!



  1. Reminds me of our trip across the pond and the land to Alberta in 1965. It was a good move!

  2. From where do you hail, sir? Ours was a good move, too!


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