My grandfather,William, a man I love and look up to for all the things he has accomplished in his life, was an immigrant. My grandfather was born and raised in Czechoslovakia, until he immigrated to Canada at age twelve. Years later he wrote the book, My Adopted Country, an autobiography of his life in Canada.

   His journey begins with my great grandfather, Henry, who left for Canada in 1926, when my grandfather was still a young child. In Canada, Henry found work at a sawmill. He hoped to make enough money to bring his wife, Alice, and son, William, with him.

   In the Thirties there were rumors of a second World War, and Adolph Hitler was becoming a powerful figure overseas. My great grandfather, Henry, feared the worst. In 1936, It was quickly decided that it was time for Alice and twelve year old William to come to Canada to live with him. By that time Henry had finally saved enough money for his family's voyage.

   I can't imagine how hard it would be for a twelve year old boy to leave everything he knew. My grandfather, William, had to leave his friends, his house, and most of his family, to travel to a country where he didn't speak the language. However, my grandfather was brave, and immigrated to Canada along with his mother, Alice. In 1936, they boarded a ship and made their way across the Atlantic Ocean where they met Henry. My grandfather had not seen his father since he was two years old.

   When my grandfather first arrived he had a hard time adjusting. He was unable to speak the language, making it very difficult to communicate with native English speakers. By speaking with neighbors, my grandfather was eventually able to learn English. Even now it is hard to imagine that English is his second language, because he speaks English perfectly.

   Eventually, my grandfather was able to make a life for himself in this strange land. When he was nineteen years old, he quit his job as an assembly line worker. He then moved to Toronto with a friend in hopes of joining the Air Force.  
   Later, he went through basic training, gunnery school, and finished an advanced training course. Doing well in his advanced training course, he received a King's Commission, and was deployed to Europe. There he trained at Coastal Command, and worked as an air gunner on the Sunderland EK591 Aircraft. 
   After the war, he made a living as a forest ranger, and married years later. My grandparents had three children, one who is my father. My father was born a first generation Canadian, making me a second generation Canadian.

   Little did I know that I would have my own immigration story. A story that would be totally different from the one my grandfather faced many years before; facing my own challenges and tribulations along the way. I would be immigrating to a country that was very similar to my own.


  1. Very compelling - your Great Grand father Henry got out of Europe just in time. I look forward to finding out more about your own adventures..:)

  2. @ Rod Thanks for the comment. The book will hopefully be up sometime in February. :)