Anglos welcome newcomer

Highway 20 was less than hospitable the day we drove the cube van from Montreal to Québec City. We had just endured a difficult half-day of packing too many belongings into too small a space and were now headed toward our adopted city through a gauntlet of ice and snow. Visibility along the highway was about what you would expect at the end of February during a wintry year in which whiteouts and the words ‘exposed flesh' were common features of weather forecasts.

Still, we persevered, sure in our decision to relocate to one of the most unique and charming cities in all of North America. The instinct to turn back never really kicked in, knowing as we did that my beloved had a new and exciting job waiting for her and that I was now a free agent, able to work wherever I pleased.

A single thought haunted us: will we be welcomed?

Especially when moving from a larger city to a smaller one, it's easy to get the sense that you're imposing yourself on a community already long established and entrenched in its ways -- the quintessential and clichéd ‘You ain't from around here, are ya?' scenario. Québec City has been nothing like that for us. In fact, our experience has been quite the opposite.

Though we're both fluently bilingual, I really wanted to find and integrate into the local English-speaking community. The response, much to my delight, has been warm and welcoming.

Maybe it's because I've made a point of getting out there, introducing myself, sharing my ideas and experiences, offering to help where my skills might come in handy. Or maybe that's just the nature of this small yet tight and determined group of English-speaking Québecers: to recognize one of their own and to welcome him with open arms.

Whatever the reason, I feel as if I've quickly come out of the cold of Québec's harsh winter and into the fold of a warm, hospitable and welcoming community.

Michael Bourguignon

I first moved to Quebec City five years ago when I was posted to CFB Valcartier as a young Craftsman (Private in the Electrical and Mechanical Engnieers) fresh off my basic mechanic's course at CFB Borden, Ontario. I had many of the same anxieties, especially since I'm originally from Ontario, and French was not my first language. I never even knew that there was an English community in the city until I stumbled on it entirely by accident when I saw Louisa Blair's book in the gift shop at Trinity Cathedral. I found out about the Fraser Highlanders, the Morrin Centre, and the LHSQ, and many friends in the small but thriving English-speaking community in this city. So much have I been taken by my adopted city, that I asked to stay here as long as possible, and not be posted elsewhere.