“It was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down,” he said.
Zahir applied for the job on the suggestion of a friend he went to college with in Ottawa who was already working at Rawlco in Saskatoon.
“If it wasn’t for one of my friends also from out east already working here, I probably wouldn’t have moved here myself. While I was living in Thunder Bay I didn’t know anything about Saskatchewan,” he said.
“There was such a negative connotation back east. None of my friends seemed to understand why I was taking a job in Saskatchewan.”
Although it may have seemed unusual, these two are part of a definite trend. Thunder Bay suffered the largest percentage decrease in population in all of Canada, losing 10.3 per cent of its people. Conversely, Saskatoon grew by 9.3 per cent.
“We’re all just bouncing around in the prairies and trying to make the best of it,” said Zahir. “I don’t regret for a second moving here at all.”
The census counted 33.5 million people in Canada. For the first time in Canada’s history, there are more people living west of Ontario than east of Ontario. 30.7 per cent of these people live between Manitoba and British Columbia, while only 30.6 per cent live in Quebec and the Atlantic Provinces.
“Saskatchewan has gone from a province where people were moving out, to a province where people are choosing to stay and are moving in,” said Premier Brad Wall in a press release on the census. “That is because of our growing economy, plenty of job opportunities and our great quality of life.”
Although the entire country grew at an average of 5.9 per cent, the West grew faster. Alberta, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan led the country in growth rate.
Noah S. Wernikowski is a contributing reporter for the University of Regina School of Journalism's 2012 news service for weekly newspapers in Saskatchewan. He is from Regina and has spent 13 weeks in the newsroom of CKOM Newstalk Radio in Saskatoon. He will graduate this spring and then will go to Ghana for an internship with Journalists for Human Rights.