Sweet Northern Home

There are a lot of misconceptions about life in Northern Ontario, but most of them are wrong. Life in the North is pretty sweet

We moved here to the beautiful community of Fauquier in North Eastern Ontario just over a year ago from busy Southwestern Ontario (SWO). It was the best decision and we could not have anticipated the warm welcome we received from the locals and just how much the beauty of this region would affect us. Our friends and family in Southwestern Ontario thought we were crazy for wanting to make such a drastic move. Even our southern friends who had grown up in the north in places like Kirkland Lake, Kapuskasing, Timmins, and Temiskaming were quick to point out  “it’s cold up there,” “it’s so expensive,” “there’s no jobs!,”and “there’s nothing to do!” I’m glad I didn’t listen to them because this has truly been the best adventure!

It’s cold up there!

Yes, the winters are cold and they start earlier than down south. On the plus side however, the houses are better insulated, and heating with wood is a fairly inexpensive option compared to down south, significantly reducing our heating costs. We get about as much snow as Huron and Bruce counties in SWO, but thanks to all the trees we don’t have to put up with all the blowing snow and drifts that make driving there in winter such a nerve wracking experience. Having a proper winter, with proper snow isn’t such a bad thing either. Being stuck in doors with the kids for weeks on end because its slushy snow and freezing rain all winter is no fun at all. Even in areas down south that do get significant snowfall, the recreation opportunities can be limited by  geography, transportation, cost and regulation. Up here things are a little different, backyard skating rinks are still a thing, snowmobiling is something the majority can afford rather than the minority, and an abundance of trails, parks, and crown land provide thousands of acres of prime, snowshoeing and cross country ski opportunities that don’t cost a dime and are usually within walking distance if they aren’t right outside your door.

It’s so expensive!

The only thing I have found that is significantly more expensive is the gas price. I have to admit I hate it every time I have to fill the tank. It has ranged between $1.06 and $1.35 since we moved here in the Fall 2017 (I think it hit the $1.40 range once or twice but I was fortunate enough to have a full tank at the time). Despite the higher price we are not really spending more for gas than  in SWO, even commuting 20 minutes or so each way to get to work there’s no gas guzzling city driving. That’s really the only thing that is a higher price up here. Even housing, what was always the biggest expense has now become the lowest.

There’s no jobs!

It would be easy to make this assumption, especially looking at sites like monster.ca, indeed.ca, and jobbank.gc.ca. It’s pretty rare to see more than a handful of jobs listed for here, which is a shame because there are SO MANY jobs up here that go unfilled. Local businesses and organizations rely more on local services like Centre Emploi, community bulletin boards and good old fashioned word of mouth. Granted many of the jobs are part time and casual similar to what seems to be common just about everywhere else these days. There’s a big difference here though, many of the part time jobs are higher paid then their counterparts down south, and there are usually lots of hours available. Employers here recognize that if you are working for them part time or casual you will have to coordinate hours between jobs. I level of consideration that often doesn’t exist in SWO. Quite frankly though many of the seeming part-time and even casual jobs will keep you busy and with the lower housing costs its far easier to make ends meet.

There’s nothing to do!

Each town and village from Smooth Rock Falls to Hearst has its own long list of community events, festivals, parks, trails, rivers, lakes, and playgrounds there is often too much to do!

Life in the North is not for everyone. If clear skies, fresh air,  thick forests, abundant wildlife, endless rivers and lakes, good people, clear traffic, and affordable housing don’t do it for you, your probably better off in the city. 😉

 

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