Hao Yu: A persevering entrepreneur who supports other newcomers

Hao Yu and Truck

“I love Saint John, as it is a harbour city,” says newcomer Hao Yu.

Yu started planning to move to Saint John with his wife and their son in 2016 from Shanghai, China, another coastal city on the other side of the world. They were moving to Canada, hoping for a better life and their son’s education. Taking a pragmatic approach, Yu visited Saint John in January 2016 with his family to be acquainted with the city.

Right in the beginning, they were welcomed by a snowstorm. Seeing that his family was not scared of the storm, Yu moved to Saint John permanently through the entrepreneurial stream in January 2017.

Yu joined the Canada School program at the YMCA of Greater Saint John’s Newcomer Connections to get used the life in Canada. He usually stayed back after the classes to ask Rhonda Downey, Settlement Trainer at Newcomer Connections, about the tourist attractions, such as Saint Andrews, Saint Martins, and Fundy National Park. Yu also received many community connections and references for sports like kayaking and fishing. All the information he gathered supported him in planning his travel agency, Dalu Travel Services.

“Tourism brings more money from outside (the country). It helps people know about our beautiful province and city. It also spreads positivity,” says Yu expressing his happiness in contributing to the local economy by bringing customers to Saint John.

Dalu, in Chinese, means the main road, and a tonal variation means big deer. Yu wants his business to act as the main road to bringing tourists from China. His clients loved Saint John for its food, scenery, natural beauty, and outdoor activities. Yu loves local food and encourages all newcomers to go outside and try local food.

“The best thing about Saint John is the outdoor activities – I never get bored here,” says Yu.

During the off-seasons, Yu usually prepared for the upcoming travel season by promoting his business in China, learning more about New Brunswick, and polishing his conversation skills through LINC (Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada) classes. Additionally, Yu applied for casual jobs to build a supplementary income during winter.

During his business research, Yu got the idea of purchasing a minibus to drive tourists around and realized he needed a Class 1 license. He joined the Truck Driving SSELT (Sector Specific Employment Language Training) at Newcomer Connections, where he received three months of language classes and three months of training at NBCC. Soon after completing the course, in November 2018, Yu was hired as a casual long-haul truck driver, which he could do during the off-season.

Yu’s success kept on building, and he purchased a truck in the winter of 2019. He eventually decided to stay off the road, hired a driver to operate his truck, and started looking for another casual job.

Always ready for the future – is Yu’s motto, which came into play when the Pandemic hit. Nevertheless, Yu was prepared right on time and decided to grow the trucking portion of his business. He purchased another truck in 2020 and hired another driver. By the end of 2020, he had four of them.

“In your life, not everything is good or bad. Working hard is the way to go,” says Yu.

Yu puts in the effort to connect with the community. He loves to go outside for golfing, ice skating, and skiing at Poley Mountain with his family. In the future, Yu wants to invest in his business, make it sustainable, and provide employment to more newcomers. He also wants to help other newcomers set up their businesses. Yu also appeared as a guest speaker for a couple of sessions at Canada School.

 “The Y has helped me a lot, and I want to give back to the community.”