Canadians in Colorado

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Canadians in Colorado

Mollie Putzig

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Aside from a maple leaf flag by the door, the U.S. natives at Lowry Beer Garden on March 15 had no way of knowing they were heavily outnumbered by immigrants.

No work-worn boots, no language cues, not even a foreign accent eh?

They look the same, they sound the same and they can cross the border without a second thought. Most Americans are oblivious to our invisible immigrants.

As Trump’s campaign scares many Americans into contemplating a move up north, Canadians in Colorado clink glasses to the 25th anniversary of the Canada Colorado Association.

Nina Morton, a Canadian immigrant who’s lived in the states since 1999, said living in the U.S. as a Canadian is easy because everyone assumes she’s American. Once they know she’s Canadian however, they claim to have known all along from the way she talks.

“People say, oh obviously you’re Canadian you always say aboot,” Morton said. “I never say aboot … I have never in my life met a Canadian that says “aboot.”

Morton came to Colorado after moving from Calgary to Winnipeg, nicknamed Winterpeg for it’s heavy snow and temperatures that plunge below negative 40. She only lasted a few years before fleeing to Colorado’s warm weather and sunny skies.

“The only thing is every time I go back to Canada, and I grew up not doing this because my mother did not let us speak this way … but now when I go to Canada I come back and say eh.”

The CCA began in 1991 seeking to foster business relations between Colorado and Canada, and presently became a social hub for Canadian Coloradans. The group now offers a plethora of networking opportunities mixed with social events, golf tournaments and sports outings (heavy on the hockey).

CCA members also get together to celebrate their roots with like-minded Canucks. They offer celebrations for Canada Day, Canadian Thanksgiving, Victoria Day and the Grey Cup football playoff.

“I was at the very first meeting of the Canada Colorado Association,” said Garth Wilson, a CCA board member. “It was called the Canada Colorado Business Association back then. And this is what they did at the start,” Wilson said, gesturing to the crowd at the Beer Garden. “Mostly networking. People coming down from Canada wanted to find out ‘how do I find a house, how do I find a job, what kind of taxes do I have to worry about.’”

Wilson and his wife Betty, who have lived in Colorado for more than two decades, moved here for his job.

“I’m an engineer and I worked overseas for eleven years and the company was headquartered here in Denver,” Wilson said. “When I got enough gray hair they said ‘come and work in head office,’ and I fell in love with the place. The mountains, the climate, you can’t beat it.”

The CCA is adding a segment specifically for young Canadians living in Colorado. The Young Professionals committee held their inaugural event, a tour and tasting at Stem Cider in Denver, Saturday, April 2.

Wilson says the main purpose of the CCA now is to give Canadians a place to make connections and learn how to feel at home in Colorado.

“We talk a little bit funnier than you Americans do,” he said. “It helps us feel comfortable here.”

 

 

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