“Nelson is beautiful. It’s like a little Switzerland,” says Miriam Martinez, about her picture-perfect home. “It has everything from restaurants to nightlife and family-oriented spaces. You can walk everywhere or bike if you don’t want to have a car. There are great beaches, and the weather is pretty good.”
Miriam and her 16-year-old son are originally from Guadalajara, Mexico, and moved to Canada in September 2021. After spending lots of time narrowing down their options, Miriam’s love for the mountains encouraged their move to British Columbia, and a friend suggested Nelson.
“I really wanted to offer my son the opportunity to learn a new language and live in a beautiful and safe country like this!” Miriam reflects on their decision to move.
Right before coming to Canada, Miriam and her son faced the devastating loss of Miriam’s husband. The family was supposed to move to Canada together, and his passing made it especially difficult. “It was hard to listen to people in the airport calling his name because he wasn’t showing up. I had to go and tell them he’s not coming,” says Miriam. “My son didn’t like it here in the beginning because he was in mourning and didn’t want to leave his friends.”
Now, her son is well-established and has his first job after receiving his permanent residency (PR). Miriam works as a baker at the Kootenay Bakery – a job initially lined up for her husband. She raised her hand to step in for him, knowing she possessed similar skills. “I think the most attractive thing about baking is making something from scratch. From powder and other ingredients. It’s an interesting process to make something delicious.”
When they moved to Canada, another baker at Kootenay Bakery was leaving the country. “It aligned pretty well. We became really good friends, and I ended up moving into his apartment and getting his car and some of his belongings when he and his wife left. It was really amazing.”
Miriam discovered the West Kootenay Rural & Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) program through a YouTuber who creates content about Canadian travel and immigration. “I thought the program would be good for me, and bakers are in-demand. I already had six months working at Kootenay Bakery so I talked to my employer, and they’ve always been so supportive. They said, ‘Yes, let’s do it!’”
“RNIP made it easier to get PR before I expected to get it. I think it’s a great resource for people that already live here like I was – temporarily,” says Miriam.
Miriam is an excellent example of an applicant who successfully made it through RNIP, a program that changes lives.