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CWB National Leasing’s Canadian storybook

Janet Seniuk

By: , Public Relations Coordinator

What makes you proud to be Canadian? Is there a time you felt more Canadian than ever? What does it mean to be quintessentially Canadian?

To celebrate Canada 150, we asked CWB National Leasing employees these questions and ended up with some great stories – from traveling across the country in a Winnebago to braving our fierce winters. We learned that “being Canadian” can have many different meanings, and that’s what makes it so special.

This week, we’re counting down the days to Canada’s 150th birthday by sharing our stories. Read yesterday’s story, check out today’s below and stay tuned for more tomorrow!

New friends

Ryan Lobo, Account Manager, Syndication Services, CWB National Leasing
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba

As the son of first and second generation immigrants, I was recently reminded of the spirit of Canada.

This past spring, I had the opportunity to help organize an event for refugees through CWB National Leasing’s GenNext group. We had all heard stories on the news about hundreds of refugees (originally from Africa and the Middle East) crossing the border from the United States to Canada for fear of being deported. They were risking their lives to walk across the border during the cold winter months.

A few Winnipeg non-profit organizations dedicated to supporting refugees provided them with some basic living necessities. We reached out to one of these organizations to find out how we could help and instantly found common ground over one of my favorite pastimes, soccer. When we proposed setting up a game to help refugees get settled in Winnipeg and have some fun, we had an overwhelming response. Everyone wanted to play.

After some planning and setup, we were finally able to make it happen. We showed up to the Axworthy Health & RecPlex joined by about 30 refugees who were well, clearly above our skill level. Many didn’t speak English, so we split them up along with coworkers, volunteers and friends into four teams, not knowing what to expect. A few girls from Somalia got to play, which was big deal for them as they had never experienced playing with men. The game was a blast; everyone was participating and celebrating together after goals. We were exhausted after a couple hours of playing, but everyone left with a smile on their face.

It’s easy to forget while living here that Canada is a unique country. We’re so diverse with people from all over the world, each with a different story of how they ended up here. For me, my grandparents were fleeing for their lives in the midst of the 1940s (WWII). For these refugees, they’re fleeing for their lives in 2017. Canada is a place where different peoples are brought together, where cultures are shared and chances for new perspectives are around every corner.

Carmen Girardin, Bilingual Insurance Administrator, CWB National Leasing
Location: Ottawa, Ontario

In 2011, my mother, also known as my best friend, moved from our native land of Winnipeg to pursue a career opportunity in our nation’s capital, Ottawa. My fondest memory as a Canadian is definitely my very first visit to that stunning city – from touring the most incredible sites, such as the ByWard Market, Parliament Hill, Carlton County Jail and the Rideau Canal, to being greeted at the Rideau Centre in both official languages. Even riding a double-decker bus was a total Canadian experience. I was able to take part in some guided tours, attend the Mosaic Light Show played on the Parliament Building and try my luck at teasing some official soldiers. Fact, if persistent, they will smile.

In addition to touring the more common sites, I found exquisite beauty in the city. The beauty was apparent in the architecture of the embassies, the parks and mostly the people. I was proudest to be Canadian when encountering others, complete strangers, who were always radiating happiness and were eager to lend a helping hand, whether it was friendly suggestions for eateries or giving directions without judgment.

To this day, I treasure the memories I made and I’m eager to see many more sights and meet many more great Canadians across our beautiful country, with my best friend.

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