Hello Forum Members
This is to inform you all that I and my family landed in Canada via Toronto on Wednesday 7th Dec 2011. I have not been able to get online since hence this belated narrative of our experience. All in all, it was a pleasant but tiring trip. A trip of about 26 hours via Emirates Airlines from Lagos on Tuesday Afternoon (Dubai: 8 Hours, Toronto: 14 Hours, Calgary 4 Hours)
We had an 8 hour wait in Dubai and a 3 hour wait in Toronto. We had to land in Toronto and proceeded to terminal 3 to board a westjet airlines flight to Calgary. We arrived Calgary on Wednesday night by about 11.30 pm Calgary time: 8am Thursday Nigeria time
(the time diff is 8 hours with Nigeria); to the waiting reception of Gent2. More on that later.
Why this long route? Well, this was the cheapest one way ticket I could get.
Our journey to Calgary started from Kaduna on Friday 2nd Dec. We had planned to leave for Lagos on Saturday 3rd, but Kogi elections changed that entire plan. With all the post election crisis, the risk was too much to think of travelling that route after the election. (Thank God, we learnt, there was no crisis afterwards). My wife and 4 boys left for Lagos by ABC transport because of the luggage they had and also to be able to drop off my house help at Lokoja for my parents to take care of on our behalf. I had a meeting in Kaduna that day and so had already booked a flight to join them later in the evening via Abuja. Can you believe I still got to Lagos before them? I now truly understand what God meant when he said: I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end (I was there when their journey started and I was there waiting when it ended). You should have seen the look of amazement on my little boy's face when he saw me waiting for them at Jibowu Park at about 2 am when they finally arrived.
We stayed at a friend's place in Lagos until Tuesday. I sorted out my Forex transactions on Monday at the Bank. Tuesday, we were at the MMA at 11.00 am for the 2.45 Emirates Flight. Check in was smooth. As soon as the custom officers saw our luggage, they asked, “Are you checking out?” And I said sure! “I beg remember us oh” They did not bother checking our luggage and I gave them a nice thank you gift. Some attendants helped us to repackage our luggage to the required weights and we were off to go. The flight left on schedule and arrive Dubai about 7 and half hours later. Could not get internet access on my computer there else I would have began this post since then.
The flight to Toronto left about 1 and a half hour behind schedule at about 10.45 am dubai time 9Dubai is 3 hours ahead of Nigeria). A tyre had to be changed before the big airbus A380-800 (double decker) cruising at 38,000 took us on our journey. We took a great circle route over Moscow, St Petersburg, Tromso, Reykjavik, over Greenland and arrived Canada from the North, 14,000km, a 14 hours journey. It was amazing!
We arrived Toronto at about 4.15 pm Toronto time. We cleared the first immigration check and we were told we need to go into another room to land. There were a couple of other people there landing but the queue was not too long and in about 45 mins we were done. The immigration officer identified each person first, asked them to wait while I as the principal applicant completed the formalities. He asked for how much funds I had which I told him-he did not bother to check, just wrote the amount on my PRF. It was more than half of the required funds, asked to confirm my address in Calgary which I did. He cancelled the visas on each passport and signed the PRF and asked me to sign them off. I signed for myself and kids while my wife signed for herself. He told me to expect my card in 6 to 8 weeks, but if I would be leaving Canada before then, then I would have to apply for a re-entry visa at any Canadian high commission (for where!!! I no go anywhere until my PR card dey my hand!!!). He gave us a duplicate copy of the PRF and returned our passports to us and said “welcome to Canada”. We were then directed to another office where we were given welcome packs containing information on further documentations expected of us in Canada within the weeks ahead and province specific packs also (Alberta).
Our luggage was also not checked. We had initially declared the egusi, beans, garri and other stuff we were bring on our landing card which was confirmed ok. With that done, we went off to claim our baggage and off to catch the westjet airlines flight to Calgary. The flight was for 7.15pm and we were already running late. People are looking for fast buck everywhere and once the luggage attendant saw our luggage and understood we had to catch a flight in the next one hour to Calgary, he offered to give us a smooth assistance for a tip. His job was only to assist us with our luggage to the exit for the official fee of $30. But Westjet Airline is in terminal 3 and we had to take a train within the complex and ask for directions. We did not have that time and quickly took his offer for a tip. It was worth it and we made the flight in good time.
The plane was a Boeing 737 like Aero, but this one had TV. But by now we were all fagged out. The boys slept from takeoff to landing in Calgary (4 hours). It was a smooth flight also and we cleared our luggage and called a 2 mini vans to take us to our rented home in NW Calgary. As soon as we stepped out of the warmth of airport terminal, the cold nearly blow us throwway!!!!! My 2 year old boy was wondering what hit him!!!!
At this point, I used the mini vans phone to call Gent2 who met us at the house with the keys to the house along with his wife and daughters. It was a glorious meeting. They brought hot cooked rice and stew, bread for breakfast, cereal etc. This was at about 11.45 pm Wednesday night. (7.45am 9ja time Thursday) I can't appreciate this forum enough for making me and Gent2's part to cross.
Right from Nigeria, I had made contact with him when I was trying to rent a house via the various websites. Each time I applied and put 9ja phone, no response. I now had to call one of the agents who said yes he saw my mail but he deleted the mail because he did not understand how someone from Nigeria would want to rent a house in Calgary! This is how I drafted Gent2 to my cause and started putting his phone no in my applications, and many processes down the line, we were able to get a house to rent before coming. Although I must say that, the Landlord was also God sent because, he agreed to waive credit check, making do with only post dated checks for the first 4 months rent and the security deposit. Our choice of house was influenced by the fact that it was close to their intended schools, elementary and junior High schools - about 5 mins walking distance.
With Gent2's help we have been able to settle down fast. He took us round town to buy household things, SIN reg, Health reg, Phone purchase, getting things at a reasonable price and making life easy. Because, the COLD no easy, just coming from 9ja. How we for do? We for still dey shake for inside blanket by now. But Gent2 has really given us a head start.
Calgary is nice and we shall keep you posted in the days ahead.
PS: We keep waking up by 12 midnight (8 am 9ja time). Our body clock is still trying to change to Calgary time. I understand it may take a while to fully adapt.
Congrats and thanks for this beautiful experience sharing.
Canada will definitely yield its increase unto u. Amen.
We will all get to the promise land soon.