The promised land

[Continued from A step back…] What gave me hope again, what got me so excited was the possibility of a “promised land”. A place where I could find my people, outside of Montreal. A friend told me about Val-David, a very small town an hour North of Montreal filled with nature-lovers, yogis, raw foodists and other people living their lives within the paradigms of sustainability, love, & freedom. Basically, what I had been trying to build with my triplex, but for a whole community. Wow, I may not be bound to Montreal after all! Everything that I love already exists somewhere else and it would probably be less expensive to establish our household there than on the Island.

I immediately contacted a friend that lives there and organized a visit. We would experience first hand the vibe of the place, its energy and its people. On our way there, Francis told me he thought that was too far from Montreal, where he currently works and where most career opportunities are for him. I kept that in mind, still eager to see it for myself – maybe he would change his mind and think it was worth the distance?

Seeing my friend was great, we had a wonderful day with her. And even though we hadn’t seen each other for more than 6 months, everything felt right immediately. I was home with her. The rest of the town though, the Saturday morning market and its folks, seemed to me set and somehow closed. It wasn’t the love at first sight I was hoping for. So with this impression and Francis’ preferences, we decided to continue looking for some place else.

But now, we were aware of other real, feasible alternatives if the triplex didn’t work. Why would we be tempted by an alternative in the first place? Well because I seem to still be learning the ropes of entrepreneurship, it’s taking a while, and we would like to own a house in a near future.

So where could we find that place we would call home? How to find it, would we recognize it when we’d see it? I went on the website of Statistics Canada and printed the mean age of the population of every town in Quebec. I kept those that were under 37. (I thought age would mean openmindedness.) I mapped the alternative schools of Montreal, Laval and the Laurentians, together with the daycares that had subscribed to organic vegetable baskets. Within a radius of 30 minutes drive from Montreal, there were a few cities that had the potential to share our values on health and right livelihood: Boisbriand, Ste-Marthe-sur-le-Lac, and Blainville. Bellefeuille (St-Jérôme) was also interesting but it was a bit far. In my exploration of other ways of making it work, of having an ecological home of our own, I considered building a single house outside of Montreal. I used and looked for lands for sale under 75,000$. Francis suggested we consider Laval too, since it was so close but not as expensive as the metropolis.

We went for a drive in Laval and what we saw was truly gloomy: identical row houses, in neighbourhoods where one could get lost for days amongs the labirythian streets, no trees older than 10 years and very little back yard. Oh yes, it is a larger house for the same price in Montréal, but it’s also very far from the fun and action of the Plateau. That was a very depressing sight. And everywhere we went, it was all the same… Except in the old Sainte-Rose: real houses (different), back yards, trees, community life. Ah! At last! Back home, I checked immediately the houses for sale in that suburb. I found one – a beautiful 125 year old patrimonial house – we visited, made an offer, and bought it. Sold! It’s ours! And now, we can seriously think about the triplex. Our money is not leaking out from our wallet any more, we can do it right without rushing the process.

So I thought we’d be moving to Val-David, but we stayed closer to our friend, our yoga center, the city; & we secured our money. For now, having twice as big a home than before for 100$/month more, is well worth it 🙂


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