Open Jaw’s Canada Day Series: Featuring Transformed Brit Vanessa Lee
overwhelmed by the vastness of Canada, Vanessa Lee, President of Cruise
Strategies and publisher of Cruise & Travel Lifestyles magazine, today has
no regrets about making this country her home.
Northwest of Toronto in the Blue Mountains, on Georgian Bay.
were you born?
In Brighton, England.
you come to Canada?
When I was 19.
was a Canadian, and I'd been to Expo 67 in Montreal with my mother and loved
it. I was determined to come back for a few months after I left school. I
arrived in the winter, which was rather silly, so I thought I'd stay for the
summer and then I met the man who'd become my 1
st husband and… life
got in the way!
were your 1
st impressions? Some good and some bad. That Canada was an
alarmingly large, vast country and Toronto so huge with its high rises… I
missed the bucolic English countryside. But Canada was exciting, energizing and
fascinating. And then, some things were just very odd: people taking
their shoes off when they came into your home. Having a pizza delivered to your
house. The vast malls like Fairview and Yorkdale. And, that you couldn't take
your drink from the bar to your table in a restaurant. It was very staid in
st job here? At the original YMCA on College, in the membership department.
you appreciate most about being Canadian?
The opportunity, the freedom, the melting pot
that is Canada. I revel in all things Canadian including the vastness that once
gobsmacked me. I've grown to love the lakes and big spaces and I've
accommodated to the enormity after the smallness of England.
could live anywhere in Canada, where would it be?
Exactly where I am now. I'm sitting in my
home, listening to the birds and seeing the green hills and I love it here.
What do you think would make
Canada an even better place?
Taking better care of our lakes, our wildlife and so forth and doing more about
climate change. Stop using chemicals that kill our bees and butterflies.
you traditionally spend Canada day?
With friends and loved ones, usually a BBQ or
some sort of outdoor activity such as golf.
you think you'd be doing if you had remained in England?
I'd probably be in the travel
business, not living in London but in a thatched cottage in the countryside,
with a pub nearby! Yes I love going back to England and when I go I could kiss
the ground. But I've achieved here what I might not have achieved there. Here
everyone can be equal.