Here is your happy Monday story, a little late- I know. My apologies.
Late in August of this year, a tiny town in Canada- Whycocomagh, to be exact- put out a simple plea for people on Facebook:
“BEAUTIFUL ISLAND NEEDS PEOPLE. We are an established business in the heart of Cape Breton, rich in jobs, land, and potential, but no people. Are you someone who is looking to live a simpler life, close to nature, in an area that still believes in community meals and weekly jam sessions?
We can’t give you big money, but we can give you an awesome life. Our business is busy from May to December, with slower months January to April, so you can enjoy our amazing winters. We have lots of good ideas and we want to continue to build on our accomplishments but we don’t have enough hands to help. We are located in a little village called Whycocomagh, which can be found in the middle (the heart) of Cape Breton. It is an area surrounded by beautiful mountains and the shining Bras d’Or lake where kayaks and canoes outnumber motorboats.
We are a true four-season climate and we love it that way. We are looking for people who are environmentally conscious, want to be part of a community and will see our business not as you work for us, but we all work together to create something to be proud of. If you take pride in being friendly, helpful, and positive and have skills in the food industry or customer service, then you are who we are looking for. We cannot offer you big money (wages in local small Cape Breton businesses are not high) but we can offer you a great incentive to come and try us out. One thing our business does have is LOTS of LAND.
If you decide this opportunity might fit your dreams and goals for a close to nature and community focused life, then we are willing to offer you 2 acres of woodland where you can immediately set up your tiny house or quaint cabin. Plus give you access to our farmland and other resources we have available. If you are still working with us after five years and we all still like each other after that time, then the land is yours for the cost of migrating it out and putting it in your name. Cape Breton is amazing but our population is decreasing. Corporate development has been seen as the solution in the past but that often comes at the expense of our environment. We think there is a better way.
To get a sense of where Whycocomagh (population 850), Nova Scotia is (which is on Cape Breton island, at the easternmost end of Nova Scotia- home to about 100,000 residents) check out the video below:
What would you have done?
Well, over 3,500 people answered that ad and they’ve recently hired their first 3 families, all of whom currently reside or have recently lived in British Columbia.
Sandee Maclean, who owns Farmer’s Daughter Market with her sister, Heather Coulombe, sent out the ad on Facebook because they needed the help but also wanted to see their beloved community thrive.
And thrive is just what single Mom Sonja Andersen, 42, and her 10-year-old daughter Ava, were looking for. Sonja had struggled to make ends meet in West Vancouver, even while working as a mortgage broker and poor Ava had suffered through five years of bullying at school.
From the Mail article:
“‘This is a minimum wage job so not moving to get rich but rather more affordable living as we have struggled to even put food on the table for far too long,’ she wrote on a Go Fund Me page before their move.
‘Elementary school bullying for five years has driven my daughter to such deep sadness, so with no friends being left behind she is already at the door with her bags packed!'”
Sonja and Ava had no desire to move to the big city and are now settling into life in Whycocomagh quite nicely.
More from the Mail article:
“‘We needed to just completely escape,’ she said. ‘Running away is never the answer. I don’t feel that we ran away. I feel we were just done and we needed a fresh start with new people.'”
We are so happy for them and the other two families and wish them all well in their new lives. Maybe we can get up and visit them this summer, looks like a LOVELY place to see.