After traveling for a year abroad in Australia and Asia, it was time to move back home to Montreal and start my adult life. I had already graduated from university and fulfilled my traveling needs, so the next step was to begin looking for my first “real” job.
At the time I didn’t care where my first job was located; I would be happy to simply be employed, so I was willing to go anywhere. After a few applications and an interview, I landed a job working as a real estate appraiser in Prince George. Knowing nothing about the city, I packed my bags and flew across Canada.
Like many folks, my initial idea was to temporarily move to Prince George, get some good resume experience, and then move to a bigger city the moment an opportunity arose. Fortunately for me, Prince George had a lot more to offer and I stayed.
A welcoming community
The first thing I noticed about Prince George is that the people here are genuinely nice, which makes the transition to a new city and making new friends much easier. Since a lot of people move to Prince George to start or grow their careers, many arrive without a core group of friends and are open to making new ones. I found this out during my first dinner out at Nancy O’s restaurant where I met three university students who were eating dinner beside me at the bar. I told them I had just moved to the city, and by the end of my meal they had invited me out to see a live band perform at the Legion. I was already off to a great start.
Short commute times
Once I started work, I began to realize how much more time I had in my day. Coming from a larger city like Montreal, I know how traffic can be a soul-sucking waste of life. In Prince George, traffic is almost non-existent. In typical day I can finish a full day at work, do a yoga class, grocery shop, cook dinner, go for a walk with a friend, and still have time for Netflix before bed.
In some ways Prince George gives me the freedom like when I was a child. Growing up, I was always able to jump on my bike and find my way to a friend’s house with ease. Well here you can drive anywhere in the city in under ten minutes, which means plenty of time for a personal life.
The ability to buy a home
I’ve also found that living here I have more money in my bank account. A healthy budget for your rent would be around 30% of your income. Living here allows for a variety of affordable living options where you can meet this budget. Plus, house prices in Prince George average $285,000, which means it’s financially feasible to buy your own home as a young adult.
After a year and a half of saving, I bought my first property all on my own. I moved into the master bedroom, rented out the remaining two bedrooms to university students, and found tenants for the separate basement suite. The income I make covers my mortgage, property taxes, and house insurance, leaving me room to save up for my next investment property, and fund a few surfing trips along the way.
Plenty of entertainment
There’s also never a shortage of things to fill my nights and weekends. During 2016, we had the following performers in town: Keith Urban, Bryan Adams, Flo Rida, Nitro Circus, George Thorogood, Florida Georgia Line, and many others. And as far as restaurant options go, I have never had difficulty finding what I was craving. Whether I’m looking for an Italian stone oven cooked pizza, a fresh homemade pasta dinner, Thai fusion cuisine, or even a good old steak from The Keg, Prince George has it.
Lots of outdoor activities
Lastly, there are endless outdoor hobbies to start here including downhill biking, hiking, fishing, hunting, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, speed skating, etc. The combination of having more time in your day, making new friends, saving more money, with plenty of entertainment options, means an overall better quality of life.