Exploring the North An Interview with Thomas Pan

What is your name?

Thomas Pan.

When did you come to Canada?

I came in 1974.

Why did you

come to Canada?

While studying for my master’s degree at State University of New York, at Syracuse, I became aware of the beautiful country of Canada, multiple cultures and easy lifestyle rich in resources, especially in forestry, which I had taken up in my master’s program.

Syracuse is a few hours driving to Toronto, Ontario, so I decided to come to Canada.

Describe your work in Canada.

When I started my new life in Canada, at first I had to put the knowledge I acquired from bachelor’s degree, in forestry, from National Taiwan University, and my master’s degree in forestry from State University of New York.

I wanted to learn real and practical work experience through the forest field, not in the campus.

Later I worked for Forestry Resources, Department of Northern Affairs, in Whitehorse, Yukon.

Did you always enjoy working in forestry or did you have other interests?

While I worked for the Saskatchewan government, I had learned from lots of practical experience, especially for the first couple years. But after two or three years, I was thinking I needed further advanced knowledge in forestry.

So after nearly five years working in Saskatchewan, I finally decided to enrol for my Doctor of Philosophy program in Forestry at the University of Maine in Orono, Maine.

While I was at the campus of the University of Maine, I realized that the return of forest growth in a cold [region] like northern Saskatchewan is very slow. I started to question [what I was observing].

Then I saw gold prices jump from $250 an ounce to $550 an ounce, and then later to $850 an ounce. I learned this was a fast return if I could predict the gold-price movement.

All of sudden, I started to fall in love [with] macroeconomic polices, studying U.S. monetary policy and fiscal policy in order to understand national-economy growth, unemployment and inflation.

What do you think of Yukon summers and winters?

I really like Yukon because I love the vast land, fresh air and good nature of people here. [There is] freedom and lots of opportunities for adventures.

In summer, I would jog many trails … many fishing and camping trips in Yukon and Alaska. I love to drive Yukon and Alaska highways as there is absolutely no traffic and the scenery is beautiful.

I like to play many tennis games, sometimes two matches the same day. I would play three nights per week in our Whitehorse Badminton Club.

In winter, I love snowshoeing. I love ice fishing – my favourite winter sport. I enjoy the cold and the fresh air.

I spend [much] time in our great indoor facility, the Canada Games Centre. I do weight training, run treadmill, swim and play [two to three times per week] indoor tennis in the Flexi-Hall.

I enjoy the hot tub, steam room and sauna. The staff at the centre are super nice and I love it there.

This column is courtesy of the Whitehorse Heritage Festival, an event that celebrates the many cultures of the Yukon. This year it will be June 26 to 28 at Shipyards Park as part of the Sunstroke Solstice Festival.

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