Sault Ste. Marie provides warm welcome for new residents (Toronto Star)

New Residents around fire

Sault Ste. Marie provides warm welcome for new residents

As a seasoned world traveller, Arshad Ali has seen enough to know that Canada is the best place for him and his family.

As a seasoned world traveller, Arshad Ali has seen enough to know that Canada is the best place for him and his family.
Originally from Pakistan, Ali spent years working as a corporate banker there before settling in Dubai for over a decade, all the while travelling the globe and exploring new places.
In 2016, he took his first trip to Canada and, since then, has seen more of the country than most of those who have lived here their whole lives -- Toronto, the East Coast, Calgary, Edmonton, Jasper. Last year, a friend suggested he explore Northern Ontario, which brought him to Sault Ste. Marie.
Arshad Ali

For Ali, that experience was life changing.

“I was living all of my life in a metro city, mostly,” he says. “Sault Ste. Marie is small, calm, and it’s so beautiful, it’s progressive, there is work here and my kids -- I have four kids -- would get a great education. I have travelled a lot but I have found that Canada is the best place to have a family, to keep a family. So, that’s the reason I decided to move here.”

Ali ended up meeting with Jean Morrison, a well known local realtor and owner of Superior Property Management, who offered him a job -- one he knew he couldn’t pass up.

“This city is growing,” Ali says. “They need a lot of new people, new immigrants here, and there are a lot of opportunities and, when you see one, you need to grab it.”

Ali and his family made the permanent move to Sault Ste. Marie in October. Along with a pile of paperwork to make it all official, he was also faced with the daunting task of enrolling his children -- ages 11, 12, 13 and 14 -- in school, navigating a completely different education system than what he was used to.

Superior Heights
Superior Heights, Sault Ste. Marie

“In my country, Pakistan, or even in Dubai, it is all private schools -- it is a business, not an education,” he explains.

After making a few calls to figure out what steps he needed to take to get his kids enrolled in school, Ali connected with Megan Turner McMillan, Multilingual Language Learners Coordinator for the Algoma District School Board (below, pictured left), who made arrangements to meet with his family, show the kids their new schools and work out all of the necessary paperwork.

“The Algoma District School Board strives to provide welcoming spaces for all our students and families. It’s an honour to welcome families who are new to Canada and to support a positive first school experience for them here,” Turner McMillan says.

“As their children begin their education journey with us, families engage in a registration and orientation process that is designed to help parents make informed decisions about school placement and program options.”

Megan Turner McMillan
Megan Turner McMillan pictured on the left

Ali’s three oldest kids are now enrolled at Superior Heights College, while his youngest is a student at Northern Heights Public School. The board has even made special transportation arrangements to ensure Ali’s children all get to and from school safely on the bus.

While navigating the education system in a new country can be overwhelming, Ali says the Algoma District School Board made the process easy, calling it a seamless and stress-free experience.

“We are profoundly grateful for their unwavering support and we look forward to

being active and engaged members of the vibrant community they helped us become a part of,” he says.

To learn more about the opportunities that await you in Sault Ste. Marie, visit

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