January 20, 2021

Young Ontario families moving east are helping to change the population of New Brunswick

Like a scene from a 1970s Canadian movie classic Downtown Road, Jess and Jordan Owens decided to take up their priorities in Toronto this summer and head east, rather than going to the seas for a better life instead of leaving people.

“I just said for a moment, you know, enough is enough,” Jordan said of working from home during a bedroom epidemic, with his wife Jess and their toddler Iri in the $ 1,500 a month basement apartment.

“When COVID hit, it got a little harder,” Jess said.

“Our place seemed a little small. We used to travel a lot into the city and have experiences outside of our home, so it was a little challenging to be in our small apartment.

“I think it’s come down to how much we pay for that little space … it seemed a little unfair to us.”

The couple talked about it with savings from Jess’s working years and Jordan’s 12 years of professional hockey career in North America, Europe and Australia, where they found a place to live and began buying their own home for less than $ 100,000.

Jordan and Jess Owens and their daughter Ire have not been able to use their icy fire pit since moving to Saint John in November, but they have been enjoying the space and affordability of their new home. (CBC News / Graham Thompson)

New Brunswick selection, without here

After scanning national real estate listings and social profiles, they decided to make a move to Saint John – although they had not both set foot in New Brunswick.

“We’ve lived in a lot of places, we consider it an adventure, come to a new place and explore our surroundings,” Jess said.

“I’m so excited to explore what New Brunswick has to offer, which is completely different from living in a big city like Toronto.”

With the help of a real estate agent, Owens bought a home for 99 99,000 in the distance and drove themselves and their belongings here in November.

Watch: Jess and Jordan Owens emigrated from Ontario to New Brunswick in November. They bought a house in St. John, 000 for 99,000 and documented the adventure on their YouTube channel, A Tribal Ovens.

Owens, somewhat provoked by the epidemic, made the move without any prior contact with the province – and documented the adventure on their YouTube channel. 2:19

NB sees the largest net transaction in 42 years

This is a move that more and more young Canadian couples are considering.

Last Thursday, Statistics Canada reported that 11,987 people had moved from Ontario to New Brunswick since the beginning of 2018.

According to Statistical Hall of Fame statistician Stacy Holman, the largest net transfer from Ontario to New Brunswick in that period of 42 years was 2,641 more than in any other direction.

Some of those settlers are former New Brunswick residents returning home to retire.

But increasingly, people like Owens, who have no prior contact with the province, are coming in, impressed by the extra space and the opportunity to own property.

“Buying your first home is becoming harder and harder,” Jess said. “Of course in Toronto it’s not on our budget.”

Owens was encouraged to come to New Brunswick by Jordan’s high school friend Christa Beehler and her husband Shane, who made a similar decision several months ago.

St. John’s Waterfront ‘Fits All Criteria’

The Behlers and their two children moved out of their Toronto home in July with a “small courtyard” into an ocean in the vicinity of St. John’s St. Anthony’s, although it was never east of Quebec.

“When the epidemic hit, we thought it was a good opportunity to explore living elsewhere in Canada,” Shane said.

“We wanted to live on the water if it was possible within our price range. St. John’s fits all criteria for living still in a populous city, but with affordable housing prices.”

As a software developer, Shane is free to work from home, the family now spends their free time outdoors, wandering around the forest and exploring the beach, each throwing a stone from their front door.

This ocean house in St. John was bought in the distance before the Behlers moved. They were renting a semi-detached house in a “small yard” in the Eclinton and Dufferin area of ​​Toronto. (Roger Cosman / CBC News)

‘We took a gamble,’ it paid off

Behlers say the move has turned out better than they expected.

“We were welcomed with open arms. I don’t think the community is ready to be so friendly,” Christa said.

“It was great to be here, to have everyone join us right away, to include us in their plans, and to invite us to do things. All of our neighbors came and knocked on our door and introduced themselves.”

The people here are very welcoming and nice, which has blown our minds.– Christa Beehler, moved from Toronto to Saint John

He admits they “took a little gamble” not being able to see the street and the community they were coming from first.

“But when we heard about how beautiful the people on the East Coast were, we took that gamble and it was 100 percent true,” he said.

“The people here are very welcoming and nice. It’s blown our minds. We plan to travel a lot to Canada. We want to show our kids the whole country from beach to beach – but make sure this is our home now.”

Owens, who arrived in New Brunswick four months after the Behlers, was equally positive about the experience so far.

“It takes a little courage to do this. But being out here, even for such a short time, we believe we made a good decision and we still love it,” Jordan said.

“We don’t have to work around the clock to pay for living. We can spend more time with Irie, spend more time together as a family, and spend more time with ourselves, doing the things we really want to do.”

He said the people of St. John and New Brunswick were “extremely welcoming.”

“Canadians have a reputation for being very polite and helpful. Here, it is exaggerated.”

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