Post Summary: If you’re planning on moving to the country, this is your guide. We’re sharing all the things you need to consider, pros and cons, and a few other personal notes.
Well, this post has been a long time coming! If you’ve clicked on this blog, you’re probably considering trading in a bustling city for the slow-paced life of the country. As someone who has made the transition from a lively city life, like Toronto to the country, I’m here to shed some light on all the things you should consider. Grab your favorite cup of tea, and let’s talk about life after the big move—fixer-uppers, conveniences, and opportunities included.
Things to Consider Before Moving to the Country
Moving from a place like Toronto, where everything is within arm’s reach, you’ll want to give some thought to location. Proximity to essential amenities like grocery stores, healthcare facilities, and even the occasional café or restaurant for your social sanity is important.
For us, we decided that we wanted to be as close to the water as possible. We ended up choosing a cottage that sits across the street from the lake, with direct access anytime we want. At an affordable price.
But in exchange for affordability, we had to give up closeness to the nearest town. At the time the commute for Tony was the only thing we had to worry about. However, four years later when our daughter started school, we noticed the 20-minute drive to her school was a little far for us. It’s an example of why it’s important to think about how your needs will change over time. Are you looking to be in a more rural or remote location? (which is a topic we will explore more about below).
My Dodge Journey became my best friend when I moved here. Unlike Toronto, where the TTC could take me just about anywhere, the country demands personal transportation. Make sure you’re prepared for this change because it’s an expense you’ll need to add in when planning budgets for your move.
We spent a lot more time than I originally thought in the car. Especially now with kids in the mix, we’re always driving to and from events, activities, and play groups.
Home Sweet Home: The Fixer-Upper
I fell in love with our sweet little cottage, but it needed a bit of love. If you’re going down this route, remember: what you save in the purchase price, you’ll either use in renovation or time, doing the renovations and upgrades yourself (which is what I personally love to do). So, consult a local contractor and make sure you’re well-versed in any zoning laws or restrictions.
Pros and Cons of Rural or Remote Living
- Peaceful Environment: The tranquility here is unmatched.
- Space: Forget tiny Toronto condos; here you can sprawl out.
- Nature: Lakes, hiking trails, and gardens galore.
- Community: Smaller populations mean tighter-knit communities.
- Affordability: Generally, you get more bang for your buck when it comes to property size.
- Limited Immediate Amenities: No more late-night convenience store runs.
- Distance from Healthcare: Medical facilities may not be as close as you’re used to.
- Social Life: A more spread-out population can mean fewer immediate social opportunities. But keep reading because I’m sharing why I think it’s not as bad as you think.
- Maintenance: From snow removal to lawn care, you’re the new caretaker of your domain.
- Wildlife: Beautiful to look at but can also be a nuisance—or even a danger.
Conveniences and Misconceptions
Extracurriculars and Jobs
Contrary to popular belief, moving to the country doesn’t mean kissing your career or hobbies goodbye. Remote work is increasingly common, and local businesses often have opportunities you wouldn’t expect. My husband for example makes just as much as he would living in Toronto and we obviously save a lot of money living in the country with expenses compared to the city.
As for extracurriculars, there are SO many! I would even argue, that there are way more opportunities for extracurriculars in local towns. Things like local theatre groups to sailing clubs, there’s no shortage of activities for you and the kids. The truth is, a lot of people worry their kids won’t have the same opportunities once they leave the city, but that’s not true. I found that there actually more opportunities to get into programs because the population isn’t as dense as the city. It’s rare to find a sport or event with a big waiting list, which I appreciate.
Managing Land and Wildlife
Im not going to sugarcoat anything, especially the work that goes into taking care of a property in the country. Gone are the days of calling building management for every little issue. Here, you’re the king or queen of your castle, but you’re also the groundskeeper.
Be prepared for physical labor, whether it’s cleaning gutters or removing a dock in the fall. You’ll also be sharing your space with local wildlife. It’s a thrill to see deer and birds in your backyard but bear in mind that not all wildlife is friendly. You’ll want to consider fencing and other deterrents for unwelcome critters.
Social Life in Cottage Country
While the social atmosphere in the country is different, it’s by no means dull. Potluck dinners, community fairs, and local gatherings provide a tight-knit sense of community you’d be hard-pressed to find in a big city. There’s a warmth here that I didn’t realize I was missing until I experienced it.
Personally, I find we’re still hanging out with our friends just as much as we were in the city. From lunch dates with girlfriends to dinners with other couples.
Ready to Move to the Country?
Whether it’s the allure of peace and quiet, a more sustainable lifestyle, or simply room to breathe that has you thinking about moving to the country, know that it’s a journey worth taking. With careful planning and a willingness to adapt, you might find that the slow-paced life is the perfect setting for your next life chapter.
So from one former city dweller to another—welcome to the country! Trust me, the grass really is greener on this side. Let us know if you have any questions, we’d be happy to answer in the comments.