Donovan Family // Calgary, Albert

Contributed by Mike Donovan

I emigrated to Toronto, Canada in June 2017. I had never left Europe before this and was eager to experience something different, to open the door to new opportunities. Within the first few weeks I got a job as a landscaper for an Irish company and met my eventual wife in a bar in downtown Toronto. Things were going well. Toronto is a vibrant city with lots to offer new immigrants.

I circled through a few jobs over the next year until I found a job related to my field of study in a town named Milton just outside of Toronto. It was an engineering position for a manufacturing company, in the dental industry. I worked there for approximately 10 months until the work permit I had expired (June 2019) and so I unfortunately had to stop working. I enjoyed my time there for the most part despite the work being a little tedious.

On 29 July 2019 I married my fiancée Yax-Xul. We had a simple ceremony at City Hall with some immediate family members, followed by dinner, drinks and karaoke at a bar downtown. It was an absolutely scorching day and one I will always remember, the best day of my life.

A few weeks later I was involved in a minor car accident. No one was injured but after my car came back from the collision reporting centre a week later it was estimated to be too expensive to repair and classed as a ‘write-off’ by the insurance company. I was devastated.

That winter was long in Toronto, especially as I was not working at the time, waiting for an update on my Permanent Residency application. It was also about this time that we were having some trouble with life in Toronto. Issues with tenants, commuting, the car accident, the expense of living in a large city, and later Covid-19, had caused Yax-Xul and I to look elsewhere for a better quality of life.

Just before Christmas 2019 we took a vacation to Calgary to visit Yax-Xul’s sister with the intention of scoping out the city to see what life might be like there. We really loved it, so after three years in Toronto, in June 2020 we moved to Calgary, Alberta. Within the first few weeks, we were both working and renting our own one-bedroom apartment, something we would never have been able to afford in Toronto.

In September 2020, I became a Permanent Resident in Canada after a lengthy application process. I am happy to say that although there have been some difficult times, my life in Canada has been a wonderful experience and I have absolutely no regrets in my decision to emigrate.

Mike Donovan