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…From there we went to our first house on the Gorge RD East (it was owned by Mrs. French who also owned Victoria taxi), the house was furnished with second-hand furniture that the ladies had donated from St Vincent de Paul society. Our own furniture that we brought from Holland would arrive a month later. And that turned out to be all smashed up inside the container. Apparently this box was dropped out of its sling during unloading. The ladies were given mattresses for us to sleep on, and so, we slept on those without linen, and on the floor the thing that I remember most about this house was that at night, and trying to sleep in the front bedroom, cars would drive by almost under our window and a manhole cover in the road would go “clank-clank” every time a car drove over it. We were about 6 months in this house and I never became used to that. But still, we were grateful for the roof over our heads and no one complained…” Abe Baanstra, Netherlands 1953
…Mom and Dad worked had to improve the family way of life. Mom worked in several homes as a housekeeper and Dad would take on various landscaping jobs to earn a little extra money they needed to fix up their first house. I remember the house having just a small dug out basement, and over time one wheel barrel full of dirt at a time would be pushed out a hole made at the back of the house, then Dad would spread the dirt out to build up the back yard. Their hard work provided the extras, a car, and what a car it was! A 1952 Pontiac. Then in 1958 we got a television set, with a radio and record player all in one cabinet…” Ed Smith, Netherlands 1952
…In 1966 we bought our first house in Etobicoke, a suburb of Toronto. Now that my family and I were settled, the rest of my family in Malta began to see how well we were doing and how wonderful Canada was. Eventually, they all ended up coming over including my parents...” Charles Bonello, Malta 1951
…We first lived in an apartment on the main street. Mom returned to nursing and was content to give up farming life. My father and his friends built our first house in 1953. It still stands solid there on Chestnut Street. My sister Alice and later my twin brother and sister Jim and Bonnie were newborns when they were brought home to that house. Over the years, we moved a few times but stayed in the Whitby/Oshawa area. One of my earliest memories as a young child is being present in the old courthouse when my parents received their Canadian citizenship…” Rudolf Dasberg, Netherlands 1948
…I worked for three years for other painters, and then Inge and I decided it was time to start our own painting business, which we did. In 1963 we bought our first house in West Vancouver where we had our business, we paid $11,000, which was a lot of money in those days. We also became proud Canadian citizens that year…” Borge Eskesen, Denmark 1957
…In the spring of 1947 we bought our first house; a two storey log house in Bear Creek. A Swede that had lived on the creeks had built the house. The house was one great big room downstairs and one great big room upstairs, my husband and his brother soon had the rooms divided. Kitchen, dining room, and living room on the main floor and two bedrooms and a bathroom with cold running water upstairs. I learned to bake bread on a large wood-burning stove (you can now see those stoves in the museums today) our son David was born in January 1948 it was 60 below zero…” Kathleen Fournier, English War Bride 1946
…January 1, 1953. Our agreed time to work and save as a family was up. I began saving for my wedding. Early March we married. We rented a small apartment and could not afford a car. We biked and bussed. Two years later we did buy a car. 1957. We bought our first house, and we have become Canadian citizens. 1959. We have our four children…” Jack Devries, Netherlands 1952
…Our first house was near Botanical Gardens so guess where we went for walks on Sunday afternoons? We lived in a 4 1/2 , it was supposed to be rented to 4 people, so whenever the landlord would come upstairs, my role was to quickly hide so as not to be seen…” Pietro Di Ioia, Italy 1950
…In early March, 1970, I attended a meeting on co-op housing in Sackville, and came home a member of a Co-op shortly after that, we were assigned a building lot, allocated $14,000, and we were on our own. I got the hole dug for the foundation, stepped back and looked at it, and wondered what I had done. In the meantime, we had picked out our house design, so I ordered all the building materials, and with the help of a couple of friends, Dolores got our first house built. We were on our own because the rest of the group felt that as I had to go to sea once in a while, I would not be able to with the true concept of working on each others house, to bring them all up together. As it turned out, we were the first house finished, and as we wanted to go on mortgage, the pressure was on the rest of the group to complete theirs. And we moved in July. Another Milestone…” Stanley Jones, England 1948
…We arrived in Oshawa very early in the morning at a totally deserted train station. Kees and his friend Alydus arrived soon and took us to our first house in Canada. It was a farmhouse 2 km outside of Bowmanville. Alydus and his wife Christine had one half of the house and we the other. There was a small hand pump over a sink in the kitchen, but no drain, so the water was thrown outside which, in winter became like an ice rink. The outhouse was appr. 50m from the house. Shortly after we arrived there was a big storm and the next morning we couldn’t find it again. It had blown away. I don’t remember whether it was rescued or whatever we did after that…” Berber (Bep) Koster, Netherlands 1953