I moved from Canada to the UK 7 years ago, and while I love London, I can see why Meghan Markle prefers my home country

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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry love Canada, and as someone who has lived in both the UK and the Great White North, it's easy to see why they'd want to move there.

When the royal couple officially give up their royal duties in the spring, they plan to split their time between the UK and Canada, Buckingham Palace confirmed this month, though rumors suggest they could move to the North American country permanently.

The former actress spent seven years in Toronto filming "Suits," and Canada appears to have remained special for her and Harry ever since. Toronto was the location of one of their first public appearances as a couple.

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Meghan and Harry at the Invictus Games in Toronto.
Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Instead of spending Christmas with the royal family, last year the Sussexes opted to take baby Archie to Canada for the holidays. Then, shortly after announcing their plans to "step back" from the royal family this month, Markle and Archie returned to Canada, where they have remained.

Nearly seven years ago, I moved from just outside Toronto to London to pursue a career in journalism. While I still absolutely love my life in the capital, there are certain things I miss about my home country — and it's easy to see the appeal for Harry and Markle as they look toward the future.

Canadians are among the friendliest people you'll meet

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has welcomed Markle and Harry with open arms.
Hau Dinh/AP Photo

When announcing that they were spending Christmas in Canada, a statement on behalf of the couple read: "They are enjoying sharing the warmth of the Canadian people and the beauty of the landscape with their young son."

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responded by tweeting a welcome message to the family, writing: "Prince Harry, Meghan, and Archie, we're all wishing you a quiet and blessed stay in Canada. You're among friends, and always welcome here."

This friendly openness is one of the main things I miss about Canada while living in the UK.

While this is not representative of the entire country — head north to the likes of Liverpool and strangers will openly say hello — people are definitely less warm and chatty in the capital than they are at home, and strangers will even look at you like you're crazy if you attempt to start a conversation.

I'll never forget arriving at Heathrow years ago, weighed down with two heavy suitcases and being surprised that not a single person offered to help.

The landscape is stunning — and incredibly varied

Having spent most of my life in southeastern Canada or Europe, I can't attest to the beauty of the west coast of Canada, where Harry and Markle appear to be spending most of their time. But the landscape across the country is breathtaking.

From forests, lakes, and beaches to mountains and waterfalls, you can find just about everything the outdoors can offer, which would certainly be appealing to a couple who are used to constantly trying to dodge hordes of press.

Here's the view from my balcony overlooking Quebec's incredible Lac Sacacomie, where I stayed for a wedding in August 2017.

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My view over Lac Sacacomie, Quebec.
Alison Millington / Insider

And sunset at Wasaga Beach, the longest freshwater beach in the world that was just a 30-minute drive north of my house growing up. This is where I spent sunny summer days as a child.

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Ontario's Wasaga Beach.
Alison Millington / Insider

There's also a seemingly endless number of lakes. Here's Lake Simcoe in my hometown of Barrie, Ontario, a short walk from my parents' house.

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Lake Simcoe in Barrie, Ontario.
Alison Millington / Insider

You never get bored of taking walks when the view looks like this.

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You never get tired of lakeside walks in Canada.
Alison Millington / Insider

The cities have a lot to offer

And while most people visit Canada to spend time in nature, its metropolitan areas are pretty great, too.

Growing up north of Toronto, I had access to concerts and theatre, sporting venues, restaurants, and great food in a place that happened to also be pretty beautiful, right on Lake Ontario.

Here's the view from the ferry that takes you to and from the Toronto Islands, home to beaches, housing, parks, and even an amusement park.

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The view from the ferry to the Toronto Islands.
Alison Millington / Insider

The CN Tower is pretty impressive.

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The CN Tower is pretty impressive.
Alison Millington / Insider

As is the Rogers Centre, the 50,000-capacity stadium that sits below it and is home to the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team.

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A Blue Jays game at the Rogers Centre.
Alison Millington / Insider

The towns can be quaint too

While it's easy to assume the UK would come out on top when it comes to cute towns and villages, Canada can also deliver on that front. Niagara-on-the-Lake is a perfect example.

Situated close to the iconic Niagara Falls, this is a step back in time town packed with gorgeous streets and flowers, adorable B&Bs, and more wineries — yes, Canada makes its own wine — than you can count. I can see Markle, who has been vocal about her love of wine in the past, being a fan.

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Niagara-on-the-Lake is as quaint as it gets.
Alison Millington / Insider

Cottages are the perfect laid-back break

There are plenty of places to get away from it all too.

If you live in Canada, chances are you know someone who has a cottage, and is willing to host you for a weekend of sunshine, swimming, boat rides, campfires, and drinks on the dock.

There's a huge difference between the big lakeside lodges I'm talking about and the type of "cottage" you'll find in the UK — tiny, cozy houses like the one in "The Holiday."

This is what every weekend in the summer looks like for a lot of Canadians (with the common addition of a few golden retrievers):

A friend's cottage in Ontario, Canada.
Alison Millington / Insider

Canada gets real seasons and all are sunny

While I won't pretend I miss the often harsh Canadian winters and subfreezing temperatures, I do miss experiencing a consistently hot summer every year.

Sunshine in my parents' backyard.
Alison Millington / Insider

As well as a bright spring, a brisk fall, and a snowy winter.

Snow can be pretty magical, as Meghan and Harry's son Archie recently found out.

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A full drop of Canadian snow.
Alison Millington / Insider

Even when there's tons of snow on the ground, Canada is still beautiful thanks to regular sunshine, which is something the UK doesn't see a lot of.

Canadians don't let the weather get them down, either — even on a bitterly cold day, you'll see countless people out for a walk (usually with their dogs).

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A sunny hike at Christmastime.
Alison Millington / Insider

Ultimately, Canada means being closer to family and friends

I, like Markle, have spent the past few years in London living with a Brit. I have a job that I love and have made some great friends over the years, but I definitely miss the support system I have back in Canada.

Having grown up in the US and spent so many years living in Toronto, Markle's close circle is largely in North America too.

Being closer to family and friends is a big draw of being in Canada.
Alison Millington / Insider

Markle once named her mother, Doria Ragland, in a list of "10 women who have changed my life" for Glamour, calling her a "best friend."

"We can just have so much fun together, and yet I'll still find so much solace in her support," she said.

I consider both of my parents to be among my closest friends, so even if the country's landscapes, seasons, and friendliness weren't enough, I can see why being closer to family — both blood-related and chosen — would be a huge factor in Markle's decision to move to the True North, strong and free.

Read more:

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Harry and Meghan's big 'step back': This is what it looks like when a monarchy can't hold itself together

A former royal bodyguard told us the security challenges Prince Harry and Meghan Markle could face in Canada

Racism in the British media may have been a driving force behind Meghan Markle's 'step back' from the royal family