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I took this photo as I walked by the first house my parents bought in 1985, in East York. My family were the Vietnamese Boat people sponsored to Canada in December 1979.

We lived in Mississauga the first year. My parents changed jobs and we moved to Toronto. They worked hard doing manual labour jobs.

Two jobs for my mom for many years. We didn’t have much money but we never felt poor. My parents did their best to provide for us.

We rented a few places around Toronto over the years. Finally they saved enough to afford to buy their own home.

I remember the moment my parents took my siblings and I to see the house.

We stood on the front porch. My dad held up the keys and said “this is our house now”. They were so happy and proud as they opened the front door for us.

For the next few years we lived on the main floor and basement. We rented out the top floor to help with the mortgage payments. It was a tight living space for a family of 5 but we managed.

Two years later my parents were able to stop renting the top floor so we could have our own bedroom (and shared one for my sister and I).

It feels good to see this house again, 36 years later.