To me, Vancouver Island is a small piece of paradise
Why I love living in... Canada
Danny Hamilton: ‘The international mosaic of people is one of my favourite things about life in Canada.’
I have just finished filling up at the barbecue, I’m sitting on driftwood which has crashed up on the beach, we are readying a campfire for after the sunset, and across the sea is a view of neighbouring US and the ever beautiful Mount Baker sitting 2,300m tall, forever snowcapped while we soak in the last of another glorious sunny Vancouver Island day.
This is an average Friday evening to finish up the week’s work. This stretch of sand could be any one of the numerous beaches, woods, waterfalls, lakes or islands we could be camping by on any given weekend, which we do on a regular basis.
Here on Vancouver Island you cannot help but be active outdoors. Apart from camping and hiking or just lying on the stunning beaches, if you have made this island your home, you are likely to have signed up to the mixed volleyball or dodge ball league, play softball, or go rock climbing regulalry. Since I moved here I have also started playing football again, which is a big confidence and ego boost, as Canadians aren’t great at games that don’t involve skating on ice with a stick in their hand.
I have been amazed how the Irish have adapted to this outdoorsy way of life so wholeheartedly. I feel so privileged to be Irish here, and to have the familiar comfort and support of other Irish people around is very important to me. I love more than anything the humour the Irish I know bring to my life here.
Having said that, the international mosaic of people is one of my favourite things about life in Canada. Everybody holds on to their own culture and identity, which has helped me learn so much from people from every corner of the world.
We have numerous festivals, outdoor markets, community events, potlucks where people bring a different dish, and free piles where you can leave or take household items.
We are so close to the US, on any given week we could fly to California or Vegas, boat to Seattle, drive the Oregon coast and visit Portland. The island is populated and surrounded by the most magnificent wildlife, and I have been lucky enough to see countless eagles, bears, and the most impressive of all, orca whales.
There are four distinct seasons every year, and the weather here is just perfect.
As a place to make a long-term home, it is difficult to find fault with Vancouver Island, with all these things I’ve mentioned as well as access to great transport and healthcare systems. When I consider where it is I want to rear my children, the answer has to be right here.
To top it all off, I met my partner here. She is truly Canadian in that she is half Greek, half Italian. For her I will always love this place, and hope we spend many happy years together on the island I now call home.