Making the move to “The Friendly Town”

Post by Dan Fallak from VersaTile, originally part of www.apt613.ca Support Local series featuring local creative types. 

As someone who was born, raised and currently lives in Almonte, I’m probably pretty biased when it comes to talking about the town. So, asking me about how great living here is would likely result in a flurry of one sided responses like; “everyone is incredibly friendly”, “we have the best independent shops and businesses”, “you get incredible value for your property/home”, “everything is in walking distance”, “ the waterfalls are gorgeous”, “the heritage buildings have so much charm” and my go-to response, “Almonte is probably the best small town anywhere, just come and see for yourself.”

So instead of writing a one-sided article, I decided to interview my friends Amica and Scott Perrie, who, decided to move from arguably one of Ottawa’s trendiest neighbourhoods to small town a little over two years ago. I asked them a few questions to figure out how and why they decided to call Almonte home.

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Dan: Where did you guys move from?

Amica and Scott: We were living in Hintonburg in Ottawa. We loved the neighbourhood – there’s a lot to love about Hintonburg, but we wanted a change to a quieter, simpler more family and community oriented life in a small town. We had just finished a catering job that had insane hours on top of our regular jobs and we wanted to hit the reset button.

I know Almonte has a lot going for it, but what would you say was the deciding factor that led to your decision to move to Almonte?

The town feels more progressive than other small towns and has a vibrant, young artistic community with a lot of local producers. In a similar vein, Almonte also has a lot of young working families living here, and we wanted to start up a family ourselves. The more time we spent here looking at homes and getting to know the community, we realized we could see ourselves here starting our own new family. We also saw how there were a lot of opportunities here with great parkland for hiking and foraging, different cultural events, fairs and thriving small businesses – simply put, Almonte seemed rich with opportunity for family and work.

How did Almonte even get on your radar as a potential place to call home? How did you discover our quaint little town?

We actually had our sights set on a different home in another small town outside of Ottawa but it did not pan out. After going back to the drawing board, we checked out other small towns within the same approximate distance and Almonte really stood out for us. Amica had previously visited this town and had really positive memories of it, so we packed up the car and toured around here, walked by the river, drank lots of coffee, had some great conversations with store owners on Mill Street and were sold on “The Friendly Town.”

What is it about Almonte that makes you say “We love living here?”

The fact that we can walk out of our door, down the main stretch on Mill Street, pop in to some nice shops, grab a great locally roasted coffee and enjoy it while walking along the river and taking in some amazing scenery. We can drive for 10 minutes and pick up fresh eggs, meat and produce from a farmer. We can go for a hike minutes away from our home in a giant forest with our boy and forage for wild mushrooms and other wild edibles. We can go to a concert or special event at the beautiful auditorium in Old Almonte Town Hall. Honestly, we feel it’s the Valley’s best kept secret. It’s incredible to be able to own a home and live within our means.

Later this month, busloads of Ottawans will be heading out here for Support Local Almonte Day. What are three things first timers must do in Almonte?

1) Drink coffee: go to Equator Coffee for some of the best, locally roasted coffee we have ever had;

2) Mill Street Shopping: charming stores like the Tin BarnHello YellowMill Street Books, and all of the antique stores for some amazing finds;

3) Go for a hike at the Mill of Kintail and check out the R. Tait Mckenzie and James Naismith Museum.

So now that you are here, do you think you will we stay here for life?

I think so. In the short time that we have lived here we’ve created so many positive memories – like getting married in our living room and having our first child here – that it’s hard for us to see ourselves anywhere else. We’ve also formed a lot of great bonds to people within the community. Of course, an island villa in the Pacific would be nice.

Photo of Scott, Amica and little Rowan Perrie by Scott Adamson of Gaslight Electric