5 things you'll HATE about small town life

Plus rainy day car repairs in Val's Vlog #16

We’re a bit behind schedule on the newsletter so this edition is a catchup twofer. First up are the five things you’ll hate about moving to a small town from a big city. In the second video, you’ll get to see Paul fix a car in the rain and watch Val take a truncated hike on Mount Elphinstone.


Things you'll HATE about moving to a small town

This post was written using a transcript from the above video. It’s been edited for clarity.

PAUL: In 2014, we moved from the big city of Edmonton, Alberta to the small town of Gibsons, BC. We feel like trailblazers because in the past couple of years, leaving the big city for a small town seems to be the trendy thing to do. There are lots of things we like about living in a small town, but if you’re coming from the city, there are some things to be aware of. So here are five things that you might hate about living in a small community.

1. Limited choices

VAL: Number one is having fewer choices. This can include things like restaurants, shopping, and car dealerships.

PAUL: We never feel like we have no choice when we go out to eat or to go shopping. But if you're living in a big city, you might literally be used to having the choice of a hundred different places to go eat. Here on the Sunshine Coast, we have dozens of places to choose from. That doesn’t mean that we can't go out for dinner, it doesn’t mean that we go hungry, and it doesn't mean that we don't have fabulous restaurants. It just means we don't have hundreds of restaurants to pick from on the Sunshine Coast. And if you're moving to a small town, that might be your experience as well.

VAL: I really didn't think about it until the friend said that fewer restaurant choices was the one thing they couldn't stand. This friend moved from Vancouver to Gibsons and it was our comparatively limited choice of restaurants that really jumped out at them.

PAUL: It's not just restaurants - it goes down the entire list of services. For example, we have three car dealerships on the Sunshine Coast and they're all American. If you want to drive a Honda or Toyota or something like that, then you need to go to the city. You can definitely buy a new car here and our three dealerships will take very good care of you, but you don't get to pick from every brand of car that exists. Same with pretty much any category of retail store. You won’t have the entire catalog of possible businesses to choose from.

2. No big events

VAL: Second on our list is the lack of theatres, concerts, and big events. You could even include movies in this category, because in Gibsons, there's only one movie that plays for a week at a time.

PAUL: In a bigger centre, you have lots of choice. Here, your choice with the movie theaters is take it or leave it. If you don't like this week’s movie, maybe you'll like next week’s.

VAL: With big events in small towns, you’ll likely end up missing big concerts. You’ll probably have to go into a nearby city for a big concert, or big sporting events.

PAUL: It also depends on your specific location. In Gibsons, we're fortunate that we're close to Vancouver. For us to say, "Oh, we're going to go to a concert,” or, “We're going to go to a hockey game," it's not really a massive undertaking. But if you're living in a more remote or isolated region, or your next nearest big centre could be a day away by car (or more). In those cases, you likely don’t have the luxury of running to the city to see a hockey game or go to see a concert without it turning into a multi-day trip.

PAUL: That said, on the Sunshine Coast, and I'm sure in a lot of other small towns, you have a lot of local events. There are local bands and local plays and local art galleries. But we're never going to see Lady Gaga come to the Sunshine Coast. If seeing big shows and professional sports are something that's important to you, you're going to miss them living in a small town.

3. Limited (or no) public transit

VAL: Number three has to do with public transit. On BC’s Sunshine Coast, our local transit system has less frequency than you’d expect in a big city. The outlying areas which transit can reach is also limited. There can only be so many busses and they can only go so far and run so often.

PAUL: We're fortunate here on the Sunshine Coast that we have any type of transit at all. I think the bus only runs every hour-and-a-half or two hours. That means if you miss your bus, you don't just wait 10 minutes for the next one.

PAUL: There can be long waits between busses but I think that's a big step up over what a lot of smaller communities have. We've talked about it before but we do have a local version of Uber here on the Sunshine Coast which means we even have ridesharing, which is a bit of a luxury for a small, rural community. Val’s from a small town in Northern Alberta. Did you have public transit growing up?

VAL: No, just the school bus.

PAUL: I grew up just south of Edmonton in a small town and we didn’t have bus service, either.

VAL: There was no transit where you grew up?

PAUL: Nope. For a little while, I think there was a bus that would take you into Edmonton but that was it. There was no transit in town. You either walked or you got mom or dad to drive you.

VAL: Oh, boy... The good old days!

PAUL: If you rely on transit to get around, that might be something you really miss if you move to a small community.

4. Fewer romantic prospects

VAL: The other thing you might be missing out on is a huge variety of choice in the dating pool. In smaller towns, that pool is a lot smaller

PAUL: Yeah, it can be pretty shallow in some small towns. Thankfully, that's not anything I worry about anymore. A lack of romantic prospects is a frequent complaint about small town life. Also, a lot of relationships are intertwined. You date one person and doesn't work out, so then you date the friend. And then that doesn't work out, so you date the friend’s friend. Maybe that’s fine, maybe that’s awkward. But in a small town, that's just the way it is.

VAL: I think that's part of the reason why young people finish high school in a small town, and then say, “I am out of here!”

PAUL: The flip side of dating in a small community is that I would assume breakups can be a bit awkward.

VAL: Yeah, for sure.

PAUL: If you're in a big city and there's a breakup, you can likely avoid that person. But in a small town, there might not be that choice. Maybe your ex works at the grocery store or one of the restaurants and there’s really no avoiding them.

5. Shorter business hours

VAL: Last on our list is shorter hours for businesses.

PAUL: The theme for all five of the things on our list is that in a small community, your choices are a little bit limited. It's the same with business hours. You’re restricted to when you can shop. In Edmonton, we were spoiled that we could go grocery shopping every night until midnight. Convenience stores and drug stores were open around the clock. In a big city, if you need something, you can likely go get it.

PAUL: That's not really the case in a small town. Here in Gibsons, our grocery stores close at nine o'clock. The drug store closes at nine o'clock. There's not really anything opened too late into in the evening. It's a slower pace of life than it would be in the big city where everything is open all the time.

This post was written using a transcript from the above video. It’s been edited for clarity.

Paul is a Handsome-Handy-Dandy-Man! Val's Vlog 16

We're into fall here on BC's Sunshine Coast and the fall colours are so pretty. The leaves on the trees are changing colours and we have reds, yellows, and orange. I just love it but I feel like it goes by so fast. In no time, the wind will pick up and blow the leaves and that colour right off the trees.

But it's still very pretty right now and I'm living in the moment! I wish I had more time to play and walk around and take videos and photos but this week has been busy. Work comes and goes and this week is a busy one. There's just more work than play so that's what it is. That's alright.

Fixing the car in the rain

It's pouring rain outside today so it seems like a good idea to go fix the car.

The fan in our car doesn't blow all the time. Paul said that if he had diagnosed it right the first time, he would have saved himself this job in the rain. I’m too intimidated to take the car apart like Paul does but it doesn’t make him nervous. He’s so confident that he’s GUARANTEED he’ll get the car fixed today. Alright, we’ll see about that...

He found instructions on the internet explaining how he can fix the broken electronic part instead of replacing it. He says it can be fixed with a jumper wire before putting the part back in the car. The part was not quite exactly what he was expecting when he disassembled it but it’s similar enough that he thinks he can still fix it.

He uses his multimeter to check the part and yes, it needs a jumper wire soldered to it. Unfortunately, his soldering iron doesn’t want to heat up when he plugs it in. Instead of a relatively easy fix, Paul says this is now the project that'll never end.

“I had a soldering iron but it decided not to work anymore,” said Paul. “Then I thought, ‘OK, I'll just order a new part,’ but the new part won’t arrive until tomorrow. It's pouring rain right now and because the car’s blower fan doesn’t work, I’ve got an inverter plugged into the car so that I use a house fan to keep the windows clear. So even though I ordered the part, I still had to buy a new soldering iron so I can try to scab together the old part so I can safely see out the windows when I’m driving around.”

He solders two contacts on the old part before installing it back in the car. Before starting the car and testing the fan, he says he hopes the car doesn’t blow up. He’s joking (I think) but I cross my fingers. The car starts and... the fan works!

“That'll last me until tomorrow,” Paul said. “I’ll pick up the new part and replace the old one and then button the car back up to make it look all nice. Then we’ll be good for another 200,000kms.”

We picked up the part ten days ago (thanks Kenmac). The part is still sitting on the work bench at home and we haven't put it in yet. I'm not picking on Paul because we've had a really busy time and the part he fixed seems to be OK. He’ll get to it when he gets to it. PAUL’S NOTE: The new part is now in the car.

Short hike at Sprockids

My next little adventure is hiking with Donna up in Sprockids. I wasn’t going to bring my camera but at the last minute I changed my mind. But when I got to the trail, I changed my mind again didn't really feel like filming until halfway through the hike. This means you catch up with me part way through the hike.

We’re on a trail called Wicked Ditches. The name suits this old logging road perfectly: There are lots of wicked ditches to contend with. But then we cross some cute little bridges that carry us over some streams.

We reach the intersection of Tramway Trail before heading back down. Upper Tramway Trail is a nice path with some gradual downhill and is marked with red markers. There are massive stumps left from previous logging. I can’t help but imagine that ancient forest each time I’m out here walking among the trees.

Connect with Val & Paul

We're Val and Paul and we're a married couple who live on BC's Sunshine Coast! We moved from Alberta to Gibsons in 2014 and love our life on Canada's West Coast! Subscribe to our YouTube channel and email newsletter and you'll learn what it's like to live in the most beautiful place in Canada.