When I was in high school, I discovered the show "Northern Exposure." The beautiful Alaskan scenery, quirky characters and small town life was so far from anything I had experienced in my own suburban neighborhood. If you asked me then if I ever thought it was possible that I would actually be moving to a town not unlike the fictional Cicely, Alaska, I probably would have called you crazy. But here we are, preparing to move to Balmertown, Ontario, one of six small communities within the larger municipality of Red Lake. Altogether, Red Lake has a population of around 5,000 and is surrounded by numerous lakes and untouched wilderness.
Upon performing an initial Google image search of both Red Lake and Balmertown, I was presented with a selection of mining photos, people holding giant fish, hunters posing by dead animals, and lots of water planes. We are moving to the Canadian boonies...and I. AM. SO. EXCITED.
Though I adore living in Tahoe because of its natural beauty and proximity to larger cities, there is still the feeling that you are living in a seasonal, tourist town. We now have the opportunity to live in a tight-knit community, largely centered around the mine and its employees, and get our first taste of small-town living. We can live in a house. I can have a real garden. Daisy can snooze in our backyard. And above all, we can explore this gorgeous new region together.
Here are some fun facts about Red Lake:
1) There is no movie theatre or book store.
2) The nearest big city is Winnipeg, which is 4 hours away.
3) Red Lake is the most northwestern municipality in Ontario (described to us as "where the roads end" by Canadian friends).
4) People are reeeallly into curling there.
5) Red Lake is the "Norseman Capital of the World," which I now understand is a type of vintage bushplane. There is a festival for these planes every year.
6) Temperatures can get as low as -31 degrees F in the winter.
7) You can see the Northern Lights there!
8) People are seriously into hunting and fishing.
9) In the winter, most people get around on snowmobiles.
10) It will take us 33 hours to drive from Tahoe to Red Lake.
Now it's time for me to get back to taking care of the million things that need to be done before our move!