A big move is always exciting, but we can sometimes get so caught up in finding the perfect home that we forget about choosing the right neighbourhood. Your community can have a big impact on your lifestyle and quality of life, so here are some features to consider when scoping out locations:
1. Getting around
Do you like being able to walk or bike everywhere you go? Do you rely on public transportation to get to work? Or do you have mobility issues and prefer driving? Make sure potential neighbourhoods are suited to your favourite method of transportation—that means plenty of bike paths for cycling or lots of lanes to avoid car congestion. Census data can give you a good idea of which Canadian communities are most accessible for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers. Plenty of useful and interesting data about transportation and other aspects of your community can be found on Statistics Canada’s website.
Many of us like to live with people who are in a similar life stage. A quick scan of the census data for a specific community can tell you useful things about its inhabitants, like the age of local kids and even what kind of work people do. Factor this in when making your decision and keep in mind what schools, daycare facilities, retirement homes and jobs are available, depending on your family’s needs and career paths.
An affordable neighbourhood is just as important as an affordable home. Is the main street filled with pricey restaurants you’ll only be able to afford on special occasions? Are there opportunities for fun, free things to do, like libraries or a skating rink? Before committing to a neighbourhood, make sure you can afford to have fun and experience what the community has to offer.
4. Environmental factors
Make sure your surroundings are suited to your lifestyle. For example, an area full of bars and nightlife might not work if you have small children. If you love nature, you might want to pick somewhere with a nice park nearby. Or, if you have a dog, proximity to dog parks and walking trails might be a top priority.
Nothing replaces reality, so get offline and out of your car and take a walk around the neighbourhood you’re considering buying. You’ll get a really good feel for the neighbourhood and the people living in it by walking its streets and sidewalks. It’s a great way to discover amenities that might otherwise have remained hidden.
Visit census.gc.ca to find useful demographic information for planning your move. Contribute to your neighbourhood’s future by completing the 2021 Census in May 2021.