Newcomers is a regular series featuring the impressions and experiences of new residents. Whether they came from another town or city, province, country or continent, Newmarket newcomers each experience unique challenges, but they all share the same love for the town they now call home. To share your story, send an email to email@example.com
Starting a new job and relocating from one country to another is stressful in the best of times, but doing it during a pandemic requires a lot of careful, detailed planning.
Surojit Sarkar, a chip circuit design engineer and his wife, Sukanya, a social media marketing analyst, moved to Newmarket in September 2020 from South Korea.
According to Sarkar, they chose Newmarket because it was close to Sarkar's job in Markham and thought it looked like a "nice, quiet peaceful town."
Being in Canada has fulfilled Sukanya's lifelong dream and the couple don't have plans to move again any time soon, he said.
"My wife always had this childhood dream to be in Canada. We want to be Canadians one day," said Sarkar.
Their move was the result of careful planning — right down to securing their Ontario driver's licences in advance — so it would be as seamless as possible.
When COVID-19 case numbers started dropping in September 2020, "We were seeing a sort of silver lining," Sarkar said, and he and Sukanya decided it was a good time to fly out.
They had found a home to rent remotely and furnished it by making a lot of purchases online.
Sarkar said their new landlord was "super kind," coming regularly to make sure deliveries were brought in and even allowed items to be shipped to her own home.
The Sarkars are seasoned travellers. Having lived in India and England before a decade-long stay in South Korea, they have dealt with many situations but quarantine was not one of them.
When they first arrived, they didn't have the opportunity to explore their new neighbourhood or meet their neighbours because they immediately went into quarantine.
Sarkar said he's grateful to have been able to quarantine in a home with a backyard rather than having to be confined to an apartment.
Their backyard neighbours tried to make them feel welcome by waving from their yard but being isolated was tough, he said.
"We really wanted to go out and talk to people but what happened was we were stuck in the house for 14 days so we were not able to do anything."
It was "a big relief" when the quarantine period was over and the Sarkars were finally able to meet their waving neighbours, he said, but due to the ongoing lockdown restrictions, they weren't really able to get to know many other people.
"In October, November, most of the things were in lockdown so we couldn't really go and knock on neighbours' doors and kind of talk to them because people are kind of hesitant these days because of the pandemic, but I think that will get better," he said.
Sarkar was thrilled when things began looking up and he and Sukanya were finally able to get out and meet more people and experience their new town as they would have without the pandemic.
While the pandemic caused a lot of Canadians to seek a change of scenery, their tough experience hasn't put a damper on the couple's love for their new country and especially their town.
"We love Newmarket so far and wouldn’t want to move anywhere else!" said Sarkar.