Growing Up Canadian

Tara Lerer with her degree in front of Parliament Hill in Ottawa

Many students travelled across Canada recently to join Athabasca University’s Faculty of Business for Convocation festivities in Athabasca and Edmonton, Alberta. One of the Bachelor of Commerce students, Tara Lerer, made the trip back to Alberta from our nation’s capital.

Tara was born in Leduc, Alberta, where she spent the first three years of her life, but is currently living in Ottawa. Tara has lived in Ottawa for over 25 years now, but she previously lived in three other provinces and territories between living in Alberta and Ontario. “No matter where I go, remote towns, farms, far north or big cities – all of Canada is a friendly, beautiful place to live,” said Tara. She spent parts of her childhood in Alberta, British Columbia, Yukon, and the Northwest Territories before settling in Ontario. “As an adult, with my family, I love to walk along the Rideau Canal and through the Arboretum behind Dows Lake in downtown Ottawa,” says Tara.

Tara left a full-time job after the first year of her degree to focus on her studies. “Athabasca [University] allowed me to control my own speed,” explains Tara.

While concentrating on her degree full-time, Tara managed to complete two full year’s worth of courses in only one year, that’s 20 courses! All her dedication and hard work has certainly paid off, with Tara receiving the highest GPA in the Bachelor of Commerce program. “Even though it meant long days, late nights, and time away from my family, I wanted to complete my degree quickly for a few reasons.” Finishing her degree quickly meant that Tara could promptly move on to get her Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) designation.

Tara at 10-years-old (wearing the polka dot sweater) at the top of Hamar mountain in Normal Wells, NWT. This photo was taken on the longest day of the year at midnight, June 1988.

Tara has been challenging herself in school from a young age. While living in Destruction Bay, Yukon, Tara attended a school that had only one room for multiple grades. She said that it, “allowed me to be challenged and my mind stretched from a young age.” This experience was one of Tara’s fondest memories from the year that she lived in Destruction Bay, that and being able to tell people that she had gone south to Alaska.

You could imagine that someone who had lived in five different provinces and territories across our great country would have some unique experiences. Tara went from running through fields in Alberta as a toddler to visiting the Canadian Tulip Festival in Ottawa with her own child. Each different province and territory has left its own unique impression on Tara.

Tara (left) at nine-years-old in Norman Wells, NWT

An extraordinary memory Tara has from Norma Wells, Northwest Territories, was seeing the Northern Lights for the first time. “The skies lit up like magic when I was a child.” She also adds, “going to the garbage dump to watch bears scavenge was a family outing and entertainment!”  Does it get more stereotypically Canadian than going to watch bears for entertainment value? Tara added that when she was nine-years-old, living in Norman Wells, she was chased by a baby black bear while riding her red BMX bike!

When asked what her favourite part of living in Canada is, Tara replied, “my favourite part about living in Canada is how safe and free I feel, no matter where I go.”

Happy 150th birthday to this beautiful country that many of us are lucky to call home. Wishing everyone a safe and Happy Canada Day!