Demar and Natasha Anderson stop for a photo in Grande Prairie, Alta. on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024. They are the minds behind the YouTube and podcasts for the Di Anderson which highlights life in Grande Prairie from a new comers perspective. They also offer advice to people looking to move to Canada and Grande Prairie. (Photo by Jesse Boily)Jesse Boily

A local family is showing the world what it’s like to live in Grande Prairie as newcomers to Canada. They’re even inspiring others to choose the city as a place to live.

The Anderson family, or Di Andersons Family as they are known online, has been posting to YouTube for about four years.

“We moved to Grande Prairie from Jamaica in 2019, and before moving to Grande Prairie, all we could find was old photos of men riding horses back in the day; it wasn’t very modern,” said Demar Anderson, content creator.

He said the lack of information they found in Jamaica led to them wanting to share now what Grande Prairie is really like. They started posting videos, giving walking and bus tours, showing what shopping was like and interviewing locals.

The videos gained the attention of others worldwide as their YouTube channel grew. From just the two of them being the sole subscribers, they now count more than 11,700 subscribers and generate over a million views. On TicTok, they have 15,000 followers and over 10 million views.

“Integrating into a new country, we wanted to show other people what is possible, the expectations versus reality,” said Demar.

It has led the Andersons to share the ups and downs of their journey.

“We share our journey, unfiltered; I think people really like it when you share your journey in its entirety,” said Demar. He said the cameras were rolling through tough times, like when the pandemic shut down many places and the newcomers were stuck inside a house after freshly arriving in a new country.

They also had to adapt to a new culture.

“Of course, there’s a lot of diversity here, but it’s not always evident, like there’s no Jamaican restaurant here, so we missed our food and stuff like that.”

He said many people do not realize that when people immigrate to Canada, it is like starting over with nothing.

“We worked hard in Jamaica gotten to a point and then now you’re coming to a new country, none of that matters, you come here and you’re starting at zero,” he said.

The Andersons came to Canada with a purpose.

Demar and his wife Natasha married in February 2019 after dating for about seven years. They decided to move to Canada soon after because they believed it would be a better life for their child.

The Andersons’ child, Malika-Jade, is autistic, non-verbal and globally delayed.

“We wanted to go to a country where we thought she would have more access to better resources, just so she could have the best life that she could have,” said Demar.

They would arrive in Grande Prairie in September 2019, with Demar starting back at the basics by attending Northwestern Polytechnic (then Grande Prairie Regional College) and studying Business Administration and Marketing.

It would be the first time he or his family ever left their homeland.

The transition brought difficulties, such as figuring out things like driving in a new country, how the busses work or even where the bus stops are.

The realness and personalities of the Andersons keep people tuned in, said Demar.

Now, they’ve become local celebrities in a way, and have people stop them in the streets.

“Walking the streets, we have people approaching us saying, “We made a decision to come to Grande Prairie because of you,’” said Natasha. She noted that a person from Nepal recently approached them and said they chose to immigrate to Grande Prairie because of their videos.

Demar said people follow his family’s journey as a blueprint for a way to move to Canada.

Natasha says it’s fulfilling knowing that they are impacting the lives of people who are trying to make their lives better.

Demar and Natasha are working full-time jobs and now, as their YouTube channel is growing, it’s beginning to generate some revenue.

The Andersons hope to be full-time content creators one day as they begin to spread out to try different mediums such as their recent podcast.

They hope to reach 50,000 subscribers this year and maybe even ultimately reach 200,000.

“It’s something that we love,” said Natasha.

“We do content that we think is going to be able to make a difference in someone’s lives,” said Demar.

He said their love of creating videos has made it an easy pastime, even in the northern Alberta winters.

“It’s easy because you love what you’re doing.”

When the Andersons are off-camera, they enjoy being home together as a family and cooking, said Natasha.

The Andersons are on YouTube at Di Anderson Family and @diandersons on social media.

By Jesse Boily, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Feb 22, 2024 at 10:56

This item reprinted with permission from   Town & Country News   Beaverlodge, Alberta

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