An Ontario man considering relocating to the East Coast took to Twitter to ask New Brunswickers why he should consider moving to the province.
Over the next three days, Kevin Brackley found himself bombarded by hundreds of locals giving him the good, the bad and the ugly parts of New Brunswick life as they tried to persuade him to move.
“What really raised my eyebrows was that the mayor of Bathurst, and the mayor of Fredericton, personally tweeted me to say, ‘Here’s my office phone number, send me a DM, I’d love to chat with you, we’d love to give you a tour,'” Brackley said Friday.
“That would never happen in Ontario.”
Fed up with up with the four hours of commuting each day, paying thousands of dollars for rent each month, and with Premier Doug Ford, the 39-year-old Brackley and his wife, Sarah McCardell, gave a wandering eye to New Brunswick.
“I hate to say it but our general impression of New Brunswick was that it’s the ‘drive-through’ province, one of the have-not provinces.’ It’s kind of a province that’s just not on our radar.”
So Brackely, who works in brain injury rehabilitation, took to Twitter on Tuesday, asking New Brunswickers to educate him on what life in the province was like.
For three days he got about 30 to 40 replies an hour.
Those responses offered him insight into everything from commute times to the best places for lobster.
“The fact that you can own land and still commute to work is incredible and unheard of in Toronto,” said Brackley.
“A three-bedroom house in Toronto, even a run-down little crap-shack with poor insulation will still cost you $1.5 million to $2 million,” said Brackly. “Whereas in New Brunswick we could get a three-bedroom house with two bathrooms and a couple of acres of land for less than $300,000.
“You can’t buy a parking spot in Toronto for $300,000.”
The notion of living in the countryside, but working in a city, with a commute less than two hours one-way really took him aback.
“We got a lot of people who told us that ‘we lived in other provinces, but we came back to New Brunswick,” said Brackley.
In addition to a chorus championing the quality of life in New Brunswick, he also got a unique look at how Brunswickers view each other, particularly in other cities.
“People from Saint John will say, ‘Oh, those people from Fredericton, they’re snotty, they’re intellectuals, they’re academics, they’re uppity people,” said Brackley. “And then people from Fredericton will say ‘Oh, it’s all blue-collar idiots and pollution and a smelly oil refinery down in Saint John.”
Bu how New Brunswickers perceive the province’s relationship with Irving-owned companies gave him pause.
“The idea that an oil company pretty much owns the province and all of the politicians bow down to Irving — that’s a little distasteful.”
From a political standpoint, Brackely found New Brunswick’s recent election of Jenica Atwin, the Green Party MP in Fredericton South, a refreshing change from the back and forth between Conservative and Liberal parties in his native Ontario.
“No matter what ‘New Brunswick’s “bad” is it’s not going to be worse than Ontario,” he said.
Despite the overwhelming response, Brackley said he and his wife are not ready to pack their bags just yet.
They plan a summer vacation to the East Coast this summer to check out the Maritimes firsthand.
And he would have to be able to convince his wife about New Brunswick. She has her heart set on moving to P.E.I.