As a REALTOR® working in the Almaguin Highlands I often here from my clients “we are looking to move here and retire”. Many have vacationed in the area and fell in love with the nature and slower pace that surrounds us . Unfortunately some do not think things through before making a relocation decision. They are swayed by the lower taxes, more economical house prices and the general allure of the area. Here are a few questions everyone should ask themselves before seriously looking into moving to a small community or rural area.
1) How often do you visit family and do they spend holidays such as Christmas with you? Generally family life is busy and it may not be possible or practical to travel long distance especially in winter to visit. Make sure that you are not expecting more visits from them because you are living in this beautiful area…it also may be an economic hardship for them to travel. You may have to consider visiting them instead or be prepared to have them stay for more extended visits throughout the year.
2) What expectations do you have with regards to area activities? If you are into nature enjoy the outdoors and like participating in community events you have moved to the right place. If you like to go shopping several times a week and like being close to a mall or big box stores that may not be a convenient option for you. Most of the smaller communities offer good shopping and a variety of small businesses are even located in many country settings.
3) Will you be staying in the Almaguin Highlands throughout the winter months? Some people that move here are what we call “snow birds” and these people spend several weeks in the winter in warm sunny climates. Others do not travel much… so you must understand that although we have a winter wonderland here, the season is a long one and can be very restrictive and lonely for those not getting out and involved in the community though the winter months. The warm friendly manner of the people here always welcomes newcomers to join the many community functions through the year.
4) Gardening a passion of yours? Our growing season is much shorter than in southern Ontario or Toronto Area so you must learn what types of plants grow well here. You can have very rewarding gardens but things such as wild life eating your plants and trees must be dealt with. Of course i think there Is nothing better than to look out my window and see a Deer and her fawn nibbling in my garden…that sight alone is worth a little re-planting that is necessary.
5) Oh yes and those pesky Black Flies…they are definitely a nuisance however they are short lived mainly from the end of May to the beginning of July. Then they are much less disturbing as for the rest of the warmer weather.
I have now named a few things that people overlook when they are making a decision to move north. Some may have sounded not very important but believe me it is the little things that become irritating if you are not prepared for them.