The 30-year Question: A New Life in Canada

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Life in CanadaThey say each journey starts with a single step. It’s true. They don’t say momentous journeys start with a one way flight for the first time ever. Well, they do.

Some context is important. This move has been a year in the weekend and part-time planning over a pint and maybe six months of hardcore job searching. Why? Different, and evolving, motivations. Push and pull factors. Beckoning us overseas is the promise of a different experience for ourselves and, more importantly, our children. Immersing them in a culture that will challenge them and us, opening their eyes and ears to new languages, smells, skin colours, phrases, playgrounds, schools, trains and winter hats. The aim is to show them a small slice of the world outside the island upon which they were born, and to bring us along with them for the ride.

Less charged are the push factors. You can’t count it out though. It’s like being pinched in a checkout queue by another lady’s misbehaving child:

–       Stop annoying me

–       Cut that out

–       I’ll tell your mother

Pinch – property tax. Pinch – household charge. Pinch – weekends of 48-hour misty rain.

We may be back in six months, broke and grateful for soft Galway rain and steaming hot fluffy chips from a brown wrapper. The point is though, we will have tried. Beckett was right: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

You see, the 30-year question remains. This has been a guiding principle throughout this whole process, the conversation we may have in 2043 — when the house echoes to the last slammed door and the youngest departs for college — on why we didn’t move when we had the chance. The point is the reasons proferred then for not moving and doing nothing are simply unacceptable to us now.

The motivations are the key. They drive you on past the unreturned phone calls and help you through cold calling people 3,000 miles away who you‘ve interrupted checking hockey scores on the computer and don’t want to listen to your lovingly crafted life story. They push you over the twentieth rewrite of the resume to accompany the twentieth cover letter for the twentieth manager you’ve connected with on LinkedIn.

Without the right motivations these fences assume superhuman dimensions. That’s the core question: is the irresistible force enough to sweep away the immovable object or does it all get too much?

Ultimately, there’s a single way to find out. Give it a shot. The airwaves and the coffee shops and the pubs are full of chat around how Country X is flying.

“Giving away jobs”

“Can’t get people”

“Hiring circus elephants now”

All this is easy to surmise from an ocean’s distance and a clueless start based on remote diagnosis from an island outpost on the edge of Europe. This is the noise, and your job is to identify the signal.


The Blake family moved to Montreal from Galway in 2013. See here for more on moving to Montreal. If you are thinking of moving to Canada in the future, either alone or with a family, see our Planning section and Jobs Board and start arranging your new life in Canada.


Cian is a 36 year-old design manager from Galway recently arrived in Montreal to start work on construction of a new hospital. Between himself, his wife, and their three children under five, they decided to strike out West to experience life abroad before the chance drifted past after a life spent bordered by the Irish Sea and the Atlantic.

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