Settling in to a New Community

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Moving isn’t just about making your new house a home – it’s about making your new community a home. Sometimes it can be intimidating to be in unfamiliar surroundings. Now that you’re in a foreign town, you have to find out where the best grocery store is, where the nice parks are, and establish a daily routine. This National Moving Month, we want to help you through this transition by providing some tips on settling in to a different neighbourhood.

Get involved in community associations

Most neighbourhoods have associations for residents to join, through which you can attend all types of events and participate in volunteer opportunities. Whether it’s a summer barbecue, a gala fundraiser, or a community clean-up, these activities provide you with a chance to get to know your fellow residents. You can mingle with other adults and families and find out what they like best about living in the area, all while immersing yourself in the local culture.

If you’re looking to get even more involved, you might want to consider joining one of the planning committees of the association itself. By working with your community’s leaders, you’ll get to know all the ins and outs of your new neighbourhood. You’ll be spending time with the people who will likely be able to answer most of your questions about the area. Looking for a grocery store with extended hours for your late-night ice cream cravings, or a barber who offers discounts to regular customers or residents within the vicinity? They’ll probably know. Additionally, planning events first-hand will give you the chance to get to know the local venues and businesses for yourself.

Not sure if your neighbourhood has a community association? You can check out the bulletin boards at your local grocery stores or library to see what kind of information they have.  There, you’ll usually find posters advertising upcoming public events where you can meet new people. City government websites are also a great resource. Alternatively, keep an eye out in your mailbox. Local associations often create newsletters or contribute to them, and you can usually find their contact information in these documents.

Visit public spaces

A convenient way to familiarize yourself with your new community is to explore the area. Take a walk around to discover what kind of places are nearby. Find a café with WiFi for those remote working days, or a charming local business where you can buy unique clothing or home décor while supporting the local economy —you could find a special place that you’ll regularly peruse for thoughtful gifts.

There are also usually free public classes available through different organizations. The library, for example, often offers free programs for adults, children, and both together.

If you have pets, you can get to know the neighbourhood by exploring with them. Take your dogs for a walk at the local park and strike up conversation with other canine owners. Ask them about their four-legged friends—what’s their name? How long have they had them? Do they know any tricks? Find out if there are any other greenspaces their pups love to play at, or if there is a reliable dog walker you can use on busy days. Which groomer do they use? Do they have a favourite pet store? You could also mention that you’re new to the area; many people could be happy to show you around, themselves.

You can also meet other adults by taking your kids to the playground or signing them up for a sports team or activity group. Parent and tot swimming classes, soccer teams, or a scouts group could give both you and your little ones an opportunity to make friends with similar interests to yours. Once you’ve met some other families, arrange supervised playdates for your boys and girls so they can play together while you and the other adults continue to get acquainted.

Host a potluck

Once you’ve finished unpacking your boxes and you’ve settled into your new house, why not consider hosting a potluck? Invite your neighbours over for a casual get-together where everyone can share homemade dishes and chat. Talk about where you’ve moved from and ask for suggestions on local activities and hotspots. Maybe you always went to the yoga studio or the driving range in your old town. Ask around about where you could engage in those same activities here, and you may even find a buddy or two to go with!

If there are lots of kids at your backyard barbecue, you can bring out the hula hoops and balls for them, or even set up a net for a badminton or volleyball game. Games don’t have to be just for the kids, either—bocce ball, croquet, and other lawn games invite friendly competition and create a relaxed, easygoing atmosphere that’s enjoyable for everyone.

The potluck is also an opportunity for you to talk to your immediate neighbours about your shared property. For example, if you both own half of the fence that divides your houses, check in about what the expectations are for its upkeep. If you live in a new community that doesn’t have fenced yards yet, you can discuss the possibility of building one and splitting the cost. You might just identify a shared vision that you can help each other realize.

Moving to a new community can be a fun and exciting transition. For more information on choosing the right neighbourhood for you, check out this blog. If you’re planning a move, reach out to an AMJ Campbell moving specialist near you today.