My husband and I are both from small town Ontario. Towns with around or less than 5,000 people. Everyone knows your name, your brother's name, your dog's name and your Timmies order. The issue with small town Ontario is that it is no longer that. Many small towns have grown tremendously in the time since we lived in them, or they have amalgamated with larger townships which come with different rules, regulations and more people moving into the area. And what is unfortunate about Ontario is that if you still want to find that small town feel, you're left paying a big city price tag.
In the early months of 2021, my husband and I, along with many other individuals, couples and families around the world, were struggling to find joy in our current situation. We were locked in and locked down in Southern Ontario. The end kept looking further and further away and our hopes of buying our own home and starting our own family looked the same. We kept reminiscing about a certain trip we took. It wasn't our weeks spent in Ireland or Scotland. Our trip out to British Columbia. It wasn't the time that I spent living in Northern Norway. It was our 2019 trip to Newfoundland that kept coming up as the topic of conversation. The way we felt about the island after our three week long vacation in 2019 was something we had never experienced before. We had never felt so attached to a place, never felt anything similar to the many towns we had since lived in in Ontario. The way we felt about each stop along our trip - St. John's, Twillingate, Gander, Steadybrook, Flowers Cover, St. Anthony - could not be replicated no matter how many overpriced homes we looked at in overcrowded towns.
In mid 2021 we decided to chase this happiness. We decided to move to the island. Our decision to move specifically to the west coast came from our love of the outdoors. In July of 2021 we packed up all our belongings into a U-Haul and made the trek from the GTA to Corner Brook. Physically, I could almost feel myself coming out of what I can only describe as a big city fog - a pressure, an anxiety, a stress that lifted with every stop along the journey. When the ferry came into Port aux Basques and we could see the coastal homes that littered the shore it was a foreign homecoming. To help better describe that oxymoron, I only mean that I felt that we were coming back to a place that had our heart.
After months of living on the island, we have never looked back. We have never once regretted our decision. We took a leap of faith, put all our eggs in one basket, threw a hail mary. Whatever you want to call it, the island did not let us down. I can say that since we have come here, our overall health - our skin, our hair, our attitudes, our relationship has been better. We have benefited so much from what this island has to offer. The accessibility to the outdoors, to some of the world's most breathtaking nature, has changed our lives. We realize that it is a privilege to live here, a privilege to be in the company of this beautiful fall we have been having. We take advantage of every moment and take extra minutes to soak in the beauty that surrounds us. We have never felt more at home in a place, and we are a thousand miles from our home. This is our thank you letter to the island, and to the people who live here, the real Newfoundlanders, from some mainlanders who could not be more happy to be in your company.
Submitted By: Riley Kelly