I am still a newcomer to Prince George, having been here just over a year after travelling the world working. Originally from Vancouver, I left the Lower Mainland in 2005 to teach English overseas.
Travelling the world for work
I had always thought it might be fun to live and work in another country, but I didn’t realize it would turn into a period of 18 years out of Canada. I came back in the summer of 2019, when my visa and my rental contract both expired. I ended up teaching in seven different countries in the Middle East and Southeast Asia, and it was a great cross-cultural learning experience. I had come back to Canada to take advantage of the many financial benefits- like a bigger pension. I was hired by the Takla Nation as a teacher on the reserve, which is located near Fort St. James. I thought it was a gift from God, but, unfortunately that teaching job did not work out, so I needed to move again after a couple of months.
Visiting, then moving to Prince George
I came to Prince George as it was the closest city to Takla, and I was in the habit of travelling to Prince George on the Takla bus every couple of weeks and staying for weekends. I stayed at the Fraser Inn (cheapest option), Camelot Motel (great breakfasts!), the Carmel Inn and the Coast Hotel (great service).
When I moved to Prince George, I stayed at the Canada’s Best Value Motor Inn for five weeks until I found an apartment that would take me and my dog, and I have been at the Connaught Hill Residence ever since. My plan was to stay for at least a month, and I was reluctant to return to the Lower Mainland as the rents are so much higher and I didn’t have a social network anymore after being away for so long.
Getting to know the outdoors and the kindness of locals
Being an adventurous individual, I didn’t mind starting all over again, as I have done this many times in my life. What do I like about Prince George? Many things: The beautiful scenery: pine trees laden with snow, spectacular sunsets, the flowing Nechako River, and the lovely parks within walking distance of my apartment. But these are inanimate things.
Most of all, I love the small town friendliness of the people here. They are great, and so many have gone out of their way to help me, a senior lady. Once I was in the Missions Thrift shop and it was snowing. A man was there picking up his wife, and they dropped me off at home. They didn’t have to, but they did!
As a side note, I would recommend this Thrift Shop for its homey atmosphere, friendly volunteers and great
bargains on household goods, clothing, books and CDs. Many days everything is 50% off, and as I write I am wearing my latest acquisition, a pair of black dress pants for $1.50!
When I was still at Takla, I wanted to go to church on one of my weekend visits to Prince George and a lady at the door asked me if I was the one who had come by taxi. She (Joanne), and her husband Ken gave me a lift that day (how kind is that!). On subsequent visits they would pick me up from wherever I was staying, and we have had some delicious lunches too! They have become good friends, even though we are unable to see each other during COVID.
The owners of Canada’s Best Value were especially kind to me as well. When I moved into my apartment, Nina asked me if I needed any linen, and I left there with towels, sheets and a bedspread that she said was warm. Mike and Nina have owned the hotel for over 32 years! I would highly recommend their hotel, Canada’s Best Value Inn, for its good value and professional friendly service.
I have been taking the bus to get around. The first time I got on one was at night, and the driver said goodnight to every person getting off. Some of them looked like they could use a friend, and I’m sure they appreciated the greeting.
Settling into my new home
I have now been in Prince George for a year, and although things are difficult due to COVID, I have still been able to make meaningful connections and am grateful for the people I have met. I am looking forward to continuing to call the city my home.