Places

My British parents met and married in Scotland and, after service in WWII (my dad was in the Royal Navy and my mum was a sister at Aberdeen Royal Infirmiry) they decided that the UK would not be an ideal pursue their careers and raise a family. So, as the family story goes, they had friends in South Africa, Australia and Canada all of whom were willing to help them relocate. For some reason, Australia was ruled out early on in the decision making process which left Canada and South Africa as possible new homes. Apparently it was a toss up. Whether they flipped a coin or just made the call, they ended up on the Empress of Scotland bound for Montreal. Who their four children might have been growing up in South Africa has always been a question that has rattled around in the back of my brain. What is the effect of place, of locale, of region, neighbourhood, latitude, longitude on the shaping of character and point of view? As such, I have always considered myself an “accidental Canadian” driven to see and to understand this country my parents chose, more and more conscious with every passing day, every adventure that they chose north instead of south and how profound a decision that was in shaping who their children came to be.