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FRESH OFF THE PLANE: Newcomer sings a loony tune

Before moving to Canada, we had lived in cities where we counted ourselves lucky if we spotted a sparrow or two. Thus we were thrilled to discover the natural beauty of Canada as newcomers, all the lakes and all the birds and squirrels – even a few rabbits – running around the yards.

Every opportunity we got, we took pictures and sent them home to family and friends,

We saw our first raccoons and skunks, and learnt of ways to combat the stink should we ever be sprayed by a skunk.

However, when we saw ducks on a pond in a park, we knew what those were, at least! Or so we thought.

When I excitedly told our neighbour Mark the next day that we had seen ducks, he looked surprised.

“Ducks? That’s interesting! I have only ever seen loons and geese there!”

I, of course, had no clue what a loon was, hadn’t even heard of one until that point.

Luckily, I had taken pictures on my digital camera (this was before phone cameras ruled the world!) and ran inside to bring it to show him the birds I was talking about.

“Yes, that’s what I thought,” said Mark. “Those are loons. The same as the ones on the loonie!”

I went back and looked up loon in our kids’ encyclopedia (this was before Google ruled the world!).

And that’s how I learnt two things in one morning. That the one-dollar coin was called a loonie because it had a loon on it – something that seemed so obvious when I heard it that I wondered why I hadn’t thought of it myself earlier. And that loons and ducks are not even in the same family!

Now when we meet newcomers to Canada, I am happy to introduce them to the country’s natural beauty and also tell them a thing a or two about “ducks”.

                                                                                                                                     – Naresh Rai


What’s your story? Every newcomer, no matter how savvy or where he or she comes from, has a Fresh Off the Plane (FOP) story to share about their early days in Canada. Do you want to share your story? E-mail it to us at canadaboundimmigrant@rogers.com.

Posted: Sep 5, 2019

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