In 2016 Canada welcomed 320,932 immigrants. Joseph and Valerie Lopez are some of those immigrants. They came to Canada to work, to send money home to the Philippines to support their family. In Canada — Davidson in particular — they found a caring community and opportunities. They found their future. Now they just need to bring their kids here.
By Tara de Ryk
DAVIDSON — When she was a little girl living in the Philippines, Valerie Anne Lopez says she dreamed of growing up in Canada.
It seemed like a fairy tale place where common folk — not just rich people — had bathtubs in their homes.
Canada is also a place where the habit of buying a carton of milk is a daily occurrence, not a carefully considered expense, a big reward that consumes a big chunk of a daily wage.
“My childhood was difficult. I had to work and earn something or we couldn’t afford to go to school,” Valerie says.
She watched her father come and go. He worked as an international seafarer for 13 years.
She recalls going to the airport to meet her father’s flight home. Sometimes he didn’t arrive on the much-anticipated plane and she’d be heartbroken.
Valerie did get to come to Canada. She arrived in December to join her husband Joseph Glenn, who’s been living and working in Canada since 2014.
Before meeting Valerie at the Saskatoon airport, Joseph stopped into Midway Flowers to buy a bouquet of roses, explaining he was picking up his wife, whom he hadn’t seen for nearly two years.
Their happy reunion was bitter sweet because their three young children David, 9, Beatrice, 4, and Georgina, 3, remained in the Philippines where Joseph’s mother is taking care of them.
Joseph’s been apart from his children for nearly three years.
“Our situation is not that unique because every other immigrant has this story,” Joseph says.
A common story for immigrants, perhaps, but it’s one difficult to imagine for most Canadians who get to tuck their kids in bed each night.
For the full story, part of our Canada 150 special, please see the June 26 edition of The Davidson Leader, or call 306-567-2047 to subscribe today.