May 29, 2016
New opportunities in a new country
Who would I be without immigration?
Before commencing this project, I had a vague idea of where my family had emigrated from. Realistically, I only knew that my family had a Scottish background. When speaking to my Grandfather on my Father’s side, I learned “[His] Mother, Catherine Crawford, had emigrated from Edinburgh, Scotland in 1912, because of the bright future she believed Canada offered her. She moved by herself at 19 years of age, leaving her family behind because she believed in doing so it would an impact her life positively.” (Inglis).
Prior to completing this project, I was unaware of why my Grandfather’s Grandmother had emigrated from Edinburgh, Scotland to Whitby, Canada. It was not only because Canada was a new and optimistic country, but also because a new country meant new opportunities. Catherine Crawford (My Great Great Grandmother) “was born on December 21, 1893, and later immigrated to Canada in 1912, at age 19. And the reason for moving to Canada was because of new farmland opportunities.” (Inglis). In speaking with my Grandmother on my father’s side, I discovered another interesting fact. I discovered that my maternal Great Great Great Grandfather was named an United Empire Loyalist. He was given a grant of “200 acres of farmland for remaining loyal to Great Britain when the American Revolution shattered the British Empire.” (Inglis).
Between 1840-1940, “The opportunities were seen as being abroad particularly to America and Australia .” (History of the Scottish) The reason why these two areas were seen as so appealing was because there was “economic depression and mass unemployment” (History of the Scottish) at home. In this time period, the main objective was to find work, wages and new opportunities. There were many push and pull factors that were influential on one’s decision to leave their homeland:
Pull Factor (To Canada)
Collapse of the social structure in Europe
Closing of the American frontier
Transformation of agriculture and industry
New developments in dryland farming
Precipitous increase and population
Canadian Government’s first concentrated policy to promote immigration
Unemployment and economic depression
Completion of the first continental railway and building of otherwise
(Canadian Immigration-early 1900’s)
Upon doing some research about life in Scotland in 2016, I found that there are some subtle differences in their culture, economy and lifestyles but nothing that greatly set us apart as a society. Therefore I would have to speculate that my life would be somewhat comparable to what it is today if my Great Grandmother did not decide to emigrate and I currently resided in Scotland.
Some slight differences would be the ability to travel abroad. Because Scotland is so close mainland Europe it makes travelling so much easier and affordable as opposed to living in Canada where the sheer distance and cost makes travelling abroad more unattainable. Another difference between living in Canada as opposed to Scotland is the real estate market. It is much more expensive to purchase real estate in Scotland than it is in Canada and the size of the properties in Scotland are typically much smaller than those in Canada. Because “there is a big difference in cost of housing and land ownership” (Inglis) This factor alone would have a large impact on my future lifestyle and my ability to purchase a home of my own someday. Another example, because I just received my license, I enjoy driving because it makes it so much more convenient for my everyday life. As gasoline is substantially more expensive in Sootland it would make running a car a luxury.. “Gasoline (1 liter) $1.05 in Canada and $2.05 in Scotland.” (Cost of living comparison) Another negative thing about living in Scotland is the hourly wage for the work force. If I was working part time as an under 18 year old in Scotland, I would be making “3.87 UKL per hour” (National minimum wage and National) Converting that to Canadian dollars, it is approximately $7.40. This is approximately $3 less per hour than what I currently make at my part time job here in Canada. This, in addition to the higher living expenses in Scotland, would make it a considerably more challenging to maintain the standard of living I enjoy here in Canada.
Statistics below show the cost of living is much higher in Scotland than Canada in almost all aspect of everyday living such as eating out in restaurants to renting living spaces.
Consumer Prices in Edinburgh are 13.96% higher than in Toronto
Consumer Prices Including Rent in Edinburgh are 5.87% higher than in Toronto
Rent Prices in Edinburgh are 10.05% lower than in Toronto
Restaurant Prices in Edinburgh are 26.00% higher than in Toronto
Groceries Prices in Edinburgh are 0.49% higher than in Toronto
Local Purchasing Power in Edinburgh is 15.05% lower than in Toronto
In conclusion, there are some small differences in culture, education and employment when considering life in Scotland as opposed to life in Canada however these seem very insignificant when you consider those who have backgrounds in the Middle East or Far East where every aspect of life are drastically different from that in Canada. If I had the choice of living in Scotland or Canada, I would choose Canada because the small differences make a big difference to me. Canada is a great place to live.
“Canadian immigration-early 1900s.” Canadian immigration-early 1900s. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 May 2016. <http://www.british-immigrants-in-montreal.com/canadian-immigration-early-1900s.html>.
“cost of living comparison between Toronto and Edinburgh.” cost of living comparison between Toronto and Edinburgh, United Kingdom. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 May 2016. <http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/compare_cities.jsp?country1=Canada&city1=Toronto&country2=United+Kingdom&city2=Edinburgh>.
“History of the Scottish people-ElectricScotland.” History of the Scottish people-ElectricScotland. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 May 2016. <http://www.electricscotland.com/history/articles/migration_scotland.htm>.
Inglis, Bruce Robert. Personal interview. N.d.“National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage rates.” National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage rates. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 May 2016. <https://www.gov.uk/national-minimum-wage-rates>.