In the process of winding up our establishment in Dubai, serving our notice periods at work and planning our move to Canada, we saw an advertisement in a local newspaper from a Canadian real estate agent who was in Dubai to drum up business.
Thinking it would be a good idea to hear what he had to say about renting versus buying, we called and fixed an appointment.
The gentleman was very helpful, and provided us with copies of recent real estate-related articles in Canadian media to give us an idea of what to expect in terms of prices and sizes of homes.
Did we have any particular area in mind, he wanted to know, or were we open to moving anywhere?
We have friends who live close to downtown Toronto, I said, and we were hoping to be close to them – help from a network of family and friends is invaluable to new immigrants.
Properties in downtown Toronto – both rental and owned – tend to be pricy, he said. Had we considered Mrs Agha?
“Mrs Agha?” I asked, wondering who she was and why we should ‘consider’ her.
He looked blankly at me for a minute.
“Mrs Agha?” he repeated. And then the penny dropped.
“Mississauga! It’s one of Canada’s big cities, close enough to Toronto, but way more affordable. And it has a large immigrant population, so you’d find everything you need, groceries, etc. really easily.”
We moved to Canada soon after and sure enough, made our home in welcoming, friendly Mississauga – known in our family as Mrs Agha!
– GURINDER SINGH