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The Immigration Story of Don Bapst (American immigrant)

The Museum reviews and accepts donated personal or family memories and histories into its collection. As a learning institution, the accounts help us understand how individuals recollect, interpret, or construct meaning from lived experiences. The stories are not modified by Museum staff. The point of view expressed is that of the author and not that of the Museum.

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Crossing the Border

I came to Canada from the U.S. in 2007 after a more than two-year intake process that began shortly after same-sex marriage was legalized at a national level in Canada.

More than a decade before, I had been involved in a 7-year relationship that was constantly troubled by the immigration issue. As a same-sex couple living in France and hailing from two different countries, we were not allowed to live together with full working papers in either of our nations of birth (U.S.A. and Germany), nor could we reside in a third country for any length of time, at least not with the right to work and contribute actively to the society. It became too much for us, and we eventually broke up.

So when Canada legalized same-sex marriage, I applied for the skilled worker visa, pleased that a country treated its gay citizens as complete and equal members of the community. Not that I had anyone to marry at the time, but from a purely political point of view, it made sense to me to live in a country that put its talk of "acceptance " into law.

A lot of people (from Canada, the U.S. and elsewhere) assume that immigrating for Americans is easy. But applying for a skilled worker visa involves the same steps for Americans as it does for people hailing from most other countries. It is precisely these steps that people tend to overlook when speaking of immigration.

Wanting to share my story, I created "How To Immigrate To Canada ", an auto-biographical film of my journey to the Great North. The film is available in short installments as a podcast or "vlog " on my site:

It's the story of my immigration, but also the story of everyone who has ever been through change. For, as the narrator says, "We are all immigrating, whether we like it or not. "

Don Bapst