What Canada Means To Me Tim Croyle, VP, WestJet Vacations
by Martha Chapman
Where do you live? In Calgary. I’ve been here since the end of 1995.
Where were you born? In Romsey, Hampshire in southern England.
When did you come to Canada? I came via a slightly circular route, I left England in the fall of 1990 with some friends and went backpacking though India, Nepal and Sri Lanka for six months. I ran out of money so went to Hong Kong because at the time, British passport holders could work there, and got a job in a pub where I met my wife. She is from St. Paul, near Edmonton. We were together for four years there before coming here.
Why Canada? My wife wasn’t particularly interested in the UK and I was looking for a change.
What were your first impressions? Two years before we moved here, I came to “meet the family.” We landed in Vancouver which is just spectacular. We had a couple of hours to kill and went outside and the smell of freshness was overwhelming. I’ll never forget it.
What was your first job here? I worked at Nortel, as an engineer. I actually studied industrial engineering in Nottingham, back in England.
What do you appreciate most about being Canadian? A couple of things. The quality of life is very good, almost a cross between the standard of living of the U.S. and the government and social outlook of the UK. And I do truly appreciate the multiculturalism. We are also viewed as good world citizens. Before I moved here the overwhelming sense of Canadians is that they are so nice and polite and friendly.
If you could live anywhere in Canada, where would it be? I love Calgary, it’s great, very active and manageable. But having grown up on the sea coast, I do miss the water. So, I’d say Victoria.
What do you think would make Canada an even better place? An interesting question. For me, I’d like to see Canada take more of a leadership role on renewable energy and think we could be better stewards of our environment.
Is there anything you miss about England? Day to day, not really. But we went to the UK a couple of years ago and the sheer history of the cities really struck me. The ability to get in a car and go to York or Bath, we don’t really have that.
How do you traditionally spend Canada day? Like most Canadians we barbecue something. Do something outdoors like go for a family bike ride. It’s all very Canadian Tire!
What do you think you’d be doing if you had remained in England? Gosh. I have no idea. I wouldn’t be doing this, that’s for sure. When I worked there for an electrical company, I remember sitting at my desk and looking at Dave, my friend and colleague, who was in his 40s. Dave, in his suit and tie. And I realized I didn’t want to wake up one day and be Dave. I decided travel and adventure would work for me. And it has!