New in Town: The Igor Family


By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: Sept 13, 2015

SQUAMISH bewitched Igor and Raquel Oliveira the first time they came to stay a few years ago at the Executive Suites Hotel. The couple who lived in Vancouver at that time came for a weekend escape but left with admiration and a lingering desire to perhaps call Squamish their home at some point.
“I was very impressed with Squamish and the nature and really enjoyed looking at the stars in a very peaceful, small-town setting,” says Raquel.
They had been planning to move away from a hectic west-end downtown life to a smaller community and were researching buying a home in the Greater Vancouver area. That visit and a chance encounter with a Squamish family helped them pick Squamish as the best place to move. It was at a Horseshoe café they overheard a couple talking in their mother tongue, Portuguese. That couple was Mario and Ananda Gomes, who told them what an amazing community Squamish was for raising a family.
Igor and Raquel took their advice and moved to Squamish with their three-year-old daughter, Lara. So far, they have loved the small-town setting, the kind and helpful community, abundant nature and of course, the easy access living in Squamish provides to both Vancouver and Whistler.
At the Stan Clarke Park in downtown Squamish, they talk as their daughter plays freely.
“This is what we love about living in a small town,” Igor says as he points to their daughter being helped by a local mom on a swing.
Igor, a personal and a business coach, works in Vancouver while Raquel is setting up Knit it Out, a knitting design company in Squamish. Igorgoes to work to Vancouver but the stunning Sea to Sky scenery leaves him energized rather than tired.
“The scenery is so beautiful, it gives me a sense of peace when I’m driving on the Highway 99 to and from work,” Igor said.
The change from a bustling downtown Vancouver to a quieter downtown in Squamish was challenging at first for Raquel but she is slowly adjusting to our town’s gentle, sleepy rhythms.
“I’ve had some adapting to do but I feel like I belong here and we feel quite welcomed here. Everyone seems nice and open and it’s great to meet people in the grocery store and in the park,” she said.
Originally from Sao Paulo, the couple moved to Canada to study English in 2008 but later decided to call it their permanent home. They are currently renting an apartment in downtown Squamish but their plan is to buy and stay and raise a family in Squamish. Besides the Gomes, they have also befriended other Brazilian families that have helped ease the transition to Squamish.
Igor is also planning to launch his personal and coaching business soon and says he would love to help local businesses run their operations more efficiently. They have been to the local recreation centre several times and plan to explore local hikes. They soon plan to spend a day at the Sea to Sky Gondola.“We would love to explore nature with our daughter and be able to connect with the community and be more involved in our town,” Igor said.