What Canada Means to Me
Ellie MacPherson, SVP Strategic Meetings + Incentives, a part of Vision Travel Solutions

by Martha Chapman

Ellie MacPherson

Where do you live?  Right downtown in Toronto’s St. Lawrence neighbourhood.

Where were you born?  In Somerville, New Jersey.

When did you come to Canada?  In 1981.  Why did I come? Because I married a Canadian I had met while travelling in Europe. He had kids so it was a given that we would live in Canada. 

How was the adjustment?  It was a big undertaking, becoming a wife and a stepmother and leaving my home and my job and my country. I was in the incentive business even back then.  

I did have a couple of winters where I wondered what I was doing here. November and April in particular, when it just seems like winter is going on a bit too long. NJ gets cold, sure, but 10 degrees can make such a difference.

What were your 1st impressions of Canada?  Since I came from a small town, the multi-culturalism, even then, was such a difference and such a delight. 

What was your 1st job here?  I worked in a small incentive house for 6 months and then decided to go into business with a partner. The market overall is smaller here than in the U.S., but I’d have to say a friendlier one. 

Would you ever go back to the States?  No. Canada is home now after this many years.  But I still will sing both national anthems when I go to a game!

What do you appreciate most about being Canadian?  Health care. I also like the mindset, it’s a more polite society. And I think the politics are a little more civilized.

If you could live anywhere in Canada, where would it be?  Hmmm. That’s a good question. I think Toronto. I like the arts scene, the number of cultural events, festivals, the cuisine.  A second choice would be Vancouver, if it didn’t rain so much!

What do you think you’d be doing if you had remained in the States?  I’d still be in the incentive industry. I think it’s addictive!

How do you traditionally spend Canada day?  Either with friends at a barbecue or cottage, or travelling.  Every summer I try to visit somewhere in Canada I’ve never been before. I’ve been to Newfoundland, Cape Breton, Victoria, Calgary, Banff, Lake Louise. I’m just missing a big hunk of the Prairies!

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