The strength of Canada lies in our diversity. Our harmony comes from knowing that there is commonality within this diversity.
Our first home in Canada was in the Mile End neighbourhood of Montréal. Back then it was far from being the gentrified hipster hangout that it is now. It had served as the stomping grounds for waves of immigrants, notably English Protestants, Irish Catholics, Jews, Greeks, Italians and Portuguese, long before we arrived. By the time we settled there, in the 70’s, it was already embedded with relics from its rich history.
Every Saturday morning, we took the 55 south to do our weekly shopping on The Main or boulevard Saint-Laurent as it is officially called or Saint Lawrence Boulevard as it was called back then among English-speaking Montrealers. My parents found the shops along this strip far less daunting than the pristine aisles of the large chain stores like Steinberg’s and Simpson’s. These smaller shops were more in line with what they had been accustomed to back home in India. Money was tight and if a little haggling could save a few quarters and pennies, it made all the difference. On Saturday mornings, the place was bustling, streaming with new and old immigrants alike. Everyone spoke with a different accent if not a different language, and although everything was new for us, we were strangely comforted by the diversity of it all. Continue reading “rye and tuna patties & a tale of two immigrants”