Making the move to the Kootenays

This writer traded the stresses of big-city life for the comforts of the Kootenays

by Gerald Vander Pyl
Photo of Gerald Vander Pyl outside

Gerald Vander Pyl is right at home in the Kootenays. — Photo courtesy Gerald Vander Pyl

When I moved from Calgary to Kimberley recently, I found that many local residents were curious about my decision to make the Kootenays my new home.

“Why Kimberley?” is a question I have been asked repeatedly since arriving, often followed by: “And what do you do for work that you can move here full time?”

It turns out that attracting new residents to communities such as Kimberley is a topic on the minds of more than a few Kootenay folk who want to see the region continue to prosper.

So why did I move here?

As a writer, I can work from anywhere with a telephone and an Internet connection, so leaving the big city did not mean leaving all my work behind—a situation that a growing number of workers are realizing in the digital age.

What I did leave behind were the seemingly endless hours spent in a vehicle, whether it was fighting traffic in the city or driving to the mountains to enjoy my favourite outdoor activities.

I am a diehard downhill skier and snowboarder, and I also like cross-country skiing—all of which I can now enjoy within Kimberley’s city limits.

Kimberley has an amazing network of summer trails that I have only begun to explore on foot and mountain bike. There are wonderfully warm lakes like Wasa nearby, and golf courses in every direction.

Real estate prices remain affordable compared to many similar mountain communities, and are a bargain measured against big-city prices.

Even with the emphasis on tourism, Kimberley still has the feel of a real community, not a seasonal resort town. The people I have met so far have been friendly and incredibly helpful with my questions on everything from where to drop off recyclables to who has the best pizza.

If there is a service I can’t find in Kimberley, it is usually available a short drive away in Cranbrook. On the occasions I need to go out of town for work, the airport is close by—and the drive back to Calgary is less than five hours.

For me, making the decision to leave the big city was easy, and when I considered the lifestyle Kimberley has to offer, ending up here seemed perfectly natural.

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