Welcome to Springbrook Acres: New Canadians Living the Dream, in Rural Hastings County
By Michelle Annette Tremblay
Do you ever feel like you’re just not cut out for the traditional 9-5 job, or the typically busy urban lifestyle? Like there’s got to be something more to life than commuting and paying bills? That’s exactly how Laura Neacsu and her husband Mitranand (Mitch) Singh felt.
Laura and Mitch met and fell in love here in Canada, after immigrating from Romania and Guyana respectively. They were relatively happy in the city, but both yearned for a simpler rural lifestyle, in which they could spend their time doing the things they love, and not hurry all the time. Laura especially wanted to spend time outdoors, run her own business, live life on her terms and be around animals. After considering all their options, Laura and Mitch joined a growing trend: they left the city, and settled in rural Eastern Ontario, in the province’s second largest county, Hastings County.
Bordered by Prince Edward County’s wine mecca to the South, and world-famous Algonquin Park to the North, Hastings County is a wonderland of lakes, forests, and postcard-worthy small towns. With inexpensive real estate and lots of space, it was the perfect spot for the couple to settle.
Now Laura spends her days at home, running Springbrook Acres in the small community of Springbrook. A typical day for her may sound like a fairy-tale to someone still feeling cramped in the city.
“I get up, feed the animals, take care of whatever needs to be fixed or mended around the farm, and then the rest of the day I have to do what I please,” Laura says, grinning, as she tends to her animals. The small farm has eggs for sale, as well as chicken, duck, pork, lamb, and goat, and alpaca fleece.
Upon moving to Springbrook, Laura says she immediately felt at home, largely because her neighbours made her feel so welcome. They came to the house to introduce themselves and welcome her and Mitch to the community, letting them know that if they ever needed anything, help was just a phone call away.
This has come in handy more than once. Laura says the local Amish community has been especially welcoming, helping them to erect out-buildings, or giving livestock advice. Now Laura and Mitch count their neighbours as dear friends and can’t imagine living anywhere else.
“They welcomed us with open arms. We never felt like foreigners or outsiders. To everyone around here, we’re just the couple with the alpaca farm. We fit right in. We’re at home here… And it’s such a relief and such a break from the wheel of the city.”
Even though they’re away from the city, Laura says she and Mitch really don’t feel disconnected at all. There are plenty of places to go out for food or entertainment nearby, and with reliable high-speed internet at home, they’re able to stay in touch with friends and family members on the other side of the world.
“We don’t feel like we’re remote,” says Laura. “We feel like we’re just a stone’s throw away.”
Laura’s advice to other people considering leaving the city for a more authentic lifestyle: “Don’t be afraid. Take the leap!”
“I absolutely recommend, if you can, and you’re willing to have a change of pace and a change of lifestyle, to move to the countryside,” says Laura, as she pets one of her dogs. “We love it here!”
If you’re ready to leave the city and live the life of your dreams, visit www.ILeftTheCity.ca to read more blog posts profiling the growing number of people choosing to live their dreams in Hastings County. And if you’re a new Canadian thinking of choosing rural or small-town living, visit the Hastings County website for resources and information about settling in beautiful Hastings County.
For more information about Springbrook Acres, follow them on facebook at www.facebook.com/springbrookacres/