Thank you, Canada!

Michael Coteau Minister of Children
and Youth Services poses with Ila Henry.

We have heard people talk about how kind, helpful and well-mannered Canadians are. We have laughed at the jabs taken at their military, claiming they are too nice to partake in wars or conflict. It is all in wholesome fun, but for the most part, I would say it is true.

I recently moved here from St Lucia to undergo medical treatment for an autoimmune illness called scleroderma. I have had several visits to hospitals, clinics and other non-medical institutions since being here and I have to say the experience has been very pleasant.

The doctor’s I’ve seen, the nurses, dentists, secretaries, ancillary staff even complete strangers, have been wonderful. Almost everyone goes above and beyond their call of duty to accommodate you and it seems like it’s just part of who they are.

It’s not just adults either. The children who you would believe were clueless as to how to interact or aid someone with disabilities, are quite on the ball. The way they situate themselves in elevators to accommodate my wheelchair or eagerly open doors is worth commendation. Imagine kids!

I had to be rushed to the hospital recently, because of an allergy and I am very pleased with the way the EMT’s and hospital staff handled the situation. They were calm, courteous and professional which made the otherwise unpleasant trip quite bearable. The nurses made me feel like I was their sister, daughter or long-time friend.

Something that really stood out for me though, was when my mom was in the hallway apparently teary-eyed for obvious reasons and I heard my attending nurse say to another “TLC for mom in the hallway”. She immediately left her station and went to my mom. That was different and sweet and very unusual for me.

Transportation to and from appointments and leisure activities are quite easy, thanks to wheelchair accessible taxis and buses. The drivers are well trained and personable. I have met a few that could try comedy as a second profession.

Cleanliness has proven to be a very important part of Torontonians existence, which makes for a beautiful city with equally beautiful people.

Whether it is some place as scary as the dentist’s office, or as laid back as the mall, Canadians take the cake when it comes to being polite and helpful. Coming from a place grossly inadequate when it comes to provisions and proper treatment of challenged individuals, being met with the pleasant attitudes, bright smiles and eager hands of Canadians have been a breath of fresh air.

I don’t know if it is the cleaner air, the less mean streets or the maple syrup but whatever it is that make Canadians this way is a godsend. I feel extremely blessed and thankful to be part of it. Hopefully, it rubs off on me in a wonderful way.

Keep doing it just like this Canada, you are doing an excellent job.