Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Cars, Journeys and Change part 3

In eastern Canada cars don’t last very long. The long harsh winters with all their ice and snow necessitate the use of lots of salt on the roads. The salt eats away at car bodies so they rust away in a matter of a few years. It is unusual to see cars on the road that are more than seven years old. 

In Vancouver cars bodies last so it is not unusual to see cars that have been around for fifteen years or more. And those are just every day cars. The older classic cars come out on fine summer days. But when we first got here, it was the winter days which were the most amazing to us as we were used to winters in the east. Instead of parka, toque and boots; it was warm enough to wear a simple jacket in December. 

It was not just the weather that induced so many young easterners to join us in the west. It was the call of opportunity. Our group from Nova Scotia established ourselves in Vancouver and soon the word got out. More friends, family and acquaintances made the journey down the Trans-Canada Highway and over the Rockies. 

This was chain migration in action. It was a movement of people similar to the Scottish settlers who followed each other to Canada in the 1800s. As they had done, we stuck together in a community. But we differed from those older settlers in that we weren’t banding together against the wilderness of the new land, there were more single people than families and instead of ships and wagons, we settlers headed down paved roads in our own cars. Like the Scottish settlers some of us made our home here and some went back.

The trek across North America from Halifax to Vancouver must have been long and tiring (especially through Ontario which was one construction zone after another in the summer). But we, the group who started it all, didn’t set out to go to Vancouver.   


Haywood, John. The Great Migrations: From the Earliest Humans to the Age of Globalization. Quercus, London, 2008.


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