Tuesday, 7 February 2012

What makes a city easier to connect within?

I just read Kate Zimmerman's article, Lonely Town in Swerve magazine. http://swervecalgary.com/2012/02/03/lonely-town/ In the article, Zimmerman reflects on how much easier connecting and making friends was when she lived in Calgary.

Having lived in both cities, I must agree that I have found it much easier to connect with people in Calgary. Although Vancouver will be forever one of my favourite places for its beauty and lifestyle.  In Zimmerman's article she speaks about the transient nature of Vancouver's population, and peoples' theory that this leads others to not want to invest time in you since you are likely to leave anyway. The word cliquish is used- a word I dislike as it tends not to put you in the others' shoes. And Calgary has plenty of people transferring in and out of the city.

In Vancouver it seemed many people still had friends they had made in their youth and perhaps family, so they are not necessarily stand-offish as portrayed in many media articles but I think they simply have full lives and see no need to embrace us imports.

As a Maritimer; a region well known for its friendliness, I was surprised at how difficult it was to make friends when I moved within the region. I relocated as a single person to Prince Edward Island and later as part of a family move to a new city in New Brunswick. Both times, I found it more difficult to make friends in those smaller cities than I ever did in Calgary. Again, the commonality I saw was an area where people were very welcoming on a superficial level but since they had lifelong friends and family nearby, it never occurred to them to reach out to newcomers as much as if they had relocated themselves. Their address book was full.

In all the moves I have made the common factor for friends has generally been other people who did not grow up in that city. Therein lies the common bond, a deeper need to reconnect as we have left existing connections behind.

What characteristics of a community make it easier for you to feel at home?


  1. For me it is being able to find ingredients for one of my passions - cooking! We've lived in some places where you had to be very resourceful and I now appreciate living somewhere where most ingredients are readily available.

  2. I can see where finding ingredients would be an issue. Even the same ingredients can taste different in different locales- or so my fussy eater child tells me :-)