St. Lawrence vs Bay of Fundy

We’re going to Saint John for the March break today. And every time we go back, we ask, “Why don’t we live here again?”

Looking back over my blog’s archive, this is a theme I return to all the time. At one point, it was very much going to happen as I was actively seeking employment with interviews and everything. Eventually, those plans were put on hold as we focused on building a life here by purchasing a home and deciding on a community to put down roots.

Now, I find myself asking if it could still happen. The reasons are simple: family. Neither of us has any family immediately nearby, other than my brother-in-law in the 450 and sister-in-law outside Ottawa. Living in Saint John would offer a pre-established social network. Our kid wouldn’t feel quite so alone as he would have cousins his age, grandparents, and aunts and (1) uncle all nearby.

My job makes working from home easy. So long as I have my laptop and iPhone and a WiFi connection, I can work anywhere. This week, I only went to the office twice. Of course, some of that has to do with my very unpredictable train line which is being dismantled in favour of the REM, leading to an eventual shutdown.

My office has talked about increasing telecommuting options which I would certainly benefit from. So why not work from another province?

But moving to New Brunswick, sadly, has many disadvantages:

  • Few high paying jobs. I’m making almost twice what my previous paid me. I doubt very much I would find a job that pays that much in Saint John.
  • Lack of available healthcare. For all our public healthcare system’s faults, the quality of healthcare in Montreal far surpasses Saint John.
  • Fewer choices in education
  • Fewer cultural choices. Saint John springs to life in summer but Montreal always has something happening.
  • Fewer career options for our son

But, on the other hand, Saint John has much cheaper real estate and, generally, friendly people and a little of that goes a long way.

It’s always like this. Montreal and its fast-paced lifestyle can be alienating. Friendly Saint John can feel like living in a fish bowl where everybody knows your business.

But I know we’ll stay in Montreal. Because every time I go to the old hometown for a visit, by the end of the week, I am very much ready to go back.

By John

Former Maritimer living in the suburbs of Montreal.

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