Love the place you’re in.
When I started looking for my house, my main focus was trying to find something within my budget. And of course, that’s what most of us are looking for (since it’s so rare for us to be able to buy homes today). But even when renting, cost is the motivator.
Neighbourhood then becomes second-place. I’ll admit, mine was a full-on gamble. I had gone to college west of Toronto, so I was familiar with the landscape and economy, but I knew nothing about the specific area I was about start looking in (probably not the best way to go about things).
The good thing is, a sense of community is a big deal for me, so I was super excited when my real estate agent narrowed down to one or two close-knit neighbourhoods with a down-to-earth mentality and community feel.
I moved in during the dead of winter, so I thought it would be a miserable experience. Unexpectedly, within two days, all my neighbours had passed by to introduce themselves, everyone was outside on sunny days, and I had a new favourite restaurant within walking distance of my house.
A lot of people who live in Toronto decide to make the big move to Hamilton – for affordability, without giving even a wink of thought into being part of the community. Or, they do it thinking they’ll just sleep here and work elsewhere. The thing is, if you’re going to move somewhere, you should do it because you LOVE it. You should do it because you want to be part of the community, not bulldoze it and create a “mini-Toronto.” You should understand that industry is what has built this city up, and keeps it alive and thriving.
You need to bring respect, openness and appreciation when you move somewhere new – not just your things. There’s beauty in everything. I wouldn’t change a thing.
There are so many wonderful things about Hamilton that you just can’t find anywhere else. The eccentricities, the industry, the community. And weekends are wonderful here. Last weekend was the first warm weather we’ve had in a while, so some friends came over to see the house and explore.
A new little butcher shop, owned by the farm itself, opened down the street and their weekend sourdough bread, eggs and butter are to die for. Not to mention the meat, grown hormone and antibiotics-free.
Spring colour is everywhere now that the sun is out and bright. I find myself looking up and finding little delights around every corner. And there’s something about the way the light shines on these 1920s houses when it gets low in the sky. There’s a magic about it.
Every couple weeks, I get a community newspaper and make a point to read it. It’s how I know that there’s a giant greenhouse that’ll house palm trees, being built in the park not far from my place. It’s how I found out about the poetry society and poem workshops. Going back to the simple things, like reading a newspaper, have become a way for me to come out of my little house and become part of the community.
I would not live anywhere else. I love this city like mad. I’m so, so glad I moved in with openness.
What do you find helps to create community where you live? Let’s chat in the comments below.