James and Rebecca Armstrong | Knowledge.ca

James and Rebecca Armstrong

September 2016

James and Rebecca have lived in Canada for just four years, but they’ve already put down roots. The couple, who emigrated from Britain to San Francisco and then the Vancouver area for James’ job, have settled into their house on Coquitlam’s tree-lined slopes, and now they’ve got 13-month-old Hazel toddling about. They’ve even spotted bears in their backyard – something of a rite of passage for those new to the neighbourhood.

In the pre-Hazel days, the energetic pair explored much of the southern part of the province, but now they find themselves sticking closer to home. Though time is tight with a little one, they manage to get out twice a week for a family outing up nearby Coquitlam Crunch, a less intense version of the North Shore’s Grouse Grind. Strapping Hazel in a backpack, they hike up the trail’s 400+ steps.

“There’s a beautiful view on top. You can see Mount Baker,” says Rebecca.

The sight of the snow-topped volcano is familiar to Lower Mainlanders, but it’s not the only local icon that the couple has become fond of. After moving here, they discovered Knowledge Network and quickly became monthly donors. Like many of our Partners, they’re big fans of Midsomer Murders, and in James’ case, the series hits particularly close to home. He comes from the Cotswolds, the same area where it is set.

“I often recognize places I’ve been to,” he remarks. “I’ll say, hey, I’ve drunk in that pub!”

Coast is another favourite series about the UK, but they also like shows with a more international focus, such as the documentaries about art, history and geography. 

“TV that’s a little more cerebral, like you find on Knowledge, is appreciated,” says James. “In your idle evenings, it’s a way to broaden your mind about how different parts of the world work, and why things are the way they are.”

Not that “idle” is something James and Rebecca experience very often, between demanding full-time jobs and looking after a busy toddler. They’ve found a solution through modern technology, watching pretty much everything on-demand through the Knowledge website.

“With our schedules we can’t always watch things if they’re on at a certain time or on a certain day,” says Rebecca. “Being able to watch it online is great. I like the usability and the fact that the website tells you how long a program is available.”

While Hazel is still too young for TV – her parents are limiting screen time for now – James jokes that he already has the

Knowledge Kids Go app waiting for her on his phone. They feel comfortable with the quality of Knowledge programming and the fact that it’s commercial-free.

Coming from the UK, where paying a fee to the BBC and other broadcasters is mandatory, James and Rebecca appreciate the fact that here they have the choice of who they want to support. For them, that choice is clear: “If you value something, like Knowledge, you have to do your part to make sure it continues to exist.”

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