|Almost 50% of Nova Scotians live in rural areas compared to 19% for all Canadians.|
Photo: Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia
People in Canada have been moving to the city for the past 160 years. Today most of us live in cities. But it wasn't always like that. At one time rural living was the way.
In 1851, nearly 9 in 10 Canadians lived in rural areas. The country reached the 5 in 10 mark between 1921 and 1931, when the Canadian economy transitioned from agricultural to industrial.
By 2011 that number was below 1 in 5, or 18.9%. This was one of the lowest rural populations in the G8 group of countries.
But some provinces are more rural than others. The province I just moved from (British Columbia) is roughly 14% rural. The province I moved to (Nova Scotia) weighs in at a healthy 48%.
Rural living is not for most Canadians, but it seems to work for the good folks in the Maritimes. I think this makes for differences in how people interact with each other.
One of our recent stops on the road was in a small town we turned in to so we could get off the highway for a bite to eat and a nap. We parked alongside a beautiful park.
After we were there for a while (I was falling asleep to the sound of laughing children playing and birds singing) a gentleman stopped outside our van. I heard him ask through the open tinted window, "Are you lost?"
Linda explained what we were doing. Reassured, the man told us where to get good food in town, where the local inn was, and then bid us good day.
Shortly after that a young man approached our van from the program he was running at the playground up the block. He told us that our headlights were on, and had been since we pulled in. I thanked him and tried turning the key. Our ever dependable van started, and we carried on our way.
Linda and I were so impressed with how these caring strangers were watching out for us. It was a warm welcome that made us feel good about our choice of our new home province.
Are people friendlier in rural areas? Do they look out for each other more than people in cities, places notorious for turning a blind eye to the pain and suffering of others? Will rural areas be more resilient while responding to changes on the way for our planet?
If so, the rural life seems like a good way to go, now, and as we move forward. And in Canada, the Maritime provinces are where you will find the highest percentage of people choosing what can now be called an alternative lifestyle.
Will more people choose the rural alternative in the future? Would you, or do you already, live in a rural area?