A History of Residency

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Welcome to my friend and guest poster Nan Kulset. Glad to have your reflections posted here! This is something I wouldn’t have thought of myself but now that you mention it…


A History of Residency

1966 – 2015

As a Student Finance Advisor, I meet with a lot of eager students who are hoping to tap into our fine country’s public financial reserves with the end goal of making their way in life. Every province in Canada has a different name for government student funding. In Ontario, it’s known as OSAP. The funding tool is helpful to students with financial need and I’m grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the process. In fact, I get a strong sense of pride when students graduate and meet their educational and career goals. In this way, I have a sweet job.

It’s not a bad educational funding system and for the most part it works smoothly. There are times, however, when I’m left scratching my head, and feel a great deal of empathy for the applicant in terms of the documentation that required of them. There is one particular document that is sometimes required of students who haven’t lived in Ontario their whole lives and who haven’t correctly selected the “How long have you lived in Ontario” part of the online application.

When the OSAP robot thinks that an applicant may not have lived in Ontario long enough to qualify for OSAP, a form called: History of Canadian Residency is required to be filled out in precise detail. No matter what it has to be filled out with no exceptions. Basically, the applicant is required to write down every single place that they’ve lived from birth to the present with exact dates and addresses.

I’ve struggled with enough applicants filling out this form to have paused and placed myself in their shoes. What if I had to fill out a History of Canadian Residency form myself? What would this look like?

I took 30 minutes while multi-tasking on a boring webinar one Tuesday morning to draft out some notes. The end result was a list of approximately 2 dozen different addresses in the span of 45 years. I knew in my head that it would be a long list but writing it out brought back a flood of memories and tons of emotions. I had gone from Timmins to Quebec City to France and back to Canada. From there I went to Japan and then back to Toronto and all around Southern Ontario to where I am now in Bowmanville, Ontario.

The History of Residency process can be very interesting and brings out a lot of stories that I believe each and every one of us has.

Here’s the list and a nugget of detail from each separate address:

  1. Toke Street, Timmins, Ontario 1966 – 1980
  2. Pine Street Apartment, Timmins Ontario 1980 for a few months
  3. No fixed address – travelled from Quebec City to Le Havre, France via the Alexander Pushkin soviet era cruise ship and back again to Canada via airplane through London, England
  4. 3 Payne Crescent, Port Hope, ON – with relatives
  5. 1235 Radom Street, Pickering, ON – first experience with cockroaches;
  6. 1235 Radom Street, Pickering, ON – nice view of the parking lot beside the ravine, same shit different unit
  7. Timmins Gardens, Pickering, ON (fuzzy red velour wallpaper in bathroom and ‘Master’ bedroom)
  8. RR Claremont, ON – interesting rental on 10 acre wooded lot – mice a plenty and rented out with 2 sad looking and overfed, under exercised dogs
  9. RR Uxbridge, ON – log cabin style house with limited cooking facilities – we used hot plates and became creative with meal preparation, utilities were not always in working order for some reason
  10. 4 different addresses in Waterloo while attending University;
  11. Toyota City, Japan – taught ESL and travelled SE Asia for 2 years;
  12. Wedgewood Drive in Toronto – first experience with voices in my head;
  13. Homewood Avenue in Toronto – trying to think of something funny and not depressing
  14. Conley Street in Toronto – great big house, very little furniture
  15. Pickering Parkway, Pickering – landing pad for when I was trying to find work
  16. Spencer Avenue – first experience on Welfare (now known as Ontario Works) party city
  17. Mowat Avenue – loft life with all the perks of being a student – party city
  18. Spencer Avenue – Parkdale neighbourhood – rich cultural and anthropological experience (i.e. crackheads and prostitution, low rent area in all it’s glory)
  19. Manchester Street, Toronto – daughter Jade took first breath here
  20. Nickerson Drive, Cobourg – moved to where the air was cleaner and less noisy
  21. Concession Street, Bowmanville – the start of a new chapter of my life with a same-sex partner and our 2 kids, 4 cats and 1 dog
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