The Armstrongs, from left, Jennifer, Emily, Cole and Lyle are shown in their backyard overlooking the beautiful Cobequid Bay.
A rural Ontario family recently made a brave and uncharacteristic move.
Discovering a dream home for sale in Upper Economy, they purchased the home and on Canada Day, moved in.
Lyle and Jennifer Armstrong, their son Cole and daughter Emily, had lived in Renfrew, Ont., an hour west of Ottawa in the heart of the Ottawa Valley. Sometimes, the pieces to a puzzle fall in place; this was the case as the Armstrongs made the move to Nova Scotia.
Jennifer’s father Bob Johnson had attended University of New Brunswick with
Keith MacKenzie. Their friendship has carried on for many years and with
MacKenzie owning a cottage at Bass River, the Johnsons also purchased a cottage at there. This led to the Johnsons enjoying many summer vacations in Nova Scotia.
“Lyle and our family started coming to Bass River on vacations 10 years ago,” recalled Jennifer, who attended Mount Allison University in the mid 1990s. “Since
2007, we’ve been coming back every year. We’ve been taken by the beauty of the
Fundy tides and people’s friendliness.”
And Lyle felt it was time to look beyond those annual visits.
“It was about five years ago while vacationing in Bass River, overlooking the beautiful Cobequid Bay, that I told Jen I really liked this area and that I’d consider retiring here.”
So each year they would look at real estate listings and dream of living here. “Last summer, things started to fall in place,” said Jennifer.
An important introduction took place.
“After we came to Nova Scotia last year, Keith and Dianne (MacKenzie) got us together with Carolyn Vanderleest,” Lyle said. “Carolyn had this property for sale – it was a very quick decision, we took small steps and everything fell in place.”
The Armstrongs are appreciative that Vanderleest wanted to see them own the beautiful property. Making the important move to the east from Ontario became a family decision.
“We wouldn’t really have considered moving to Nova Scotia had both of the kids not been interested,” said Jennifer. “With both Cole and Emily on board and excited, this was important to the final decision.”
Arriving on Canada Day, 2017 is something Jennifer will never forget.
“We found it really nicer than we ever remembered. To wake up and see the view every morning – it makes you want to pinch yourself.”
However, the move has still brought tremendous change.
Cole Armstrong, left, with the family pet Benson while Emily Armstrong holds the family cat Gatsby.
“I really like the quality of life out here,” Lyle said. “I really like the people, but still, we sometimes wonder about the decision? It’s been a big move coming halfway across Canada. But, overall, I think things are coming together quite well.”
“We are blessed to have great neighbours on both sides, Kathy and Jim Reid and
Charlie Casselman and Irene Gunn. Keith and Dianne MacKenzie are kind of our east coast family; Lyle and I bounced a lot of things off Keith and Dianne before we made the move to Nova Scotia.”
Cole, 15, has a background that includes playing several sports – soccer, baseball, badminton, cross country and downhill skiing among them. He plays the saxophone and is also an artist.
“I’ve enjoyed hanging out with Keith’s grandchildren,” Cole said. “I like the idea of starting fresh and making new friends in Nova Scotia.
He’ll attend grade 10 at Cobequid Educational Centre in the fall.
“I want to try out for the sports I played before. I’m looking forward to school.”
Emily, 13, sings and was in two choirs in Renfrew. She will be taking grade 8 at Ecole acadienne de Truro.
“I took dancing lessons in Renfrew,” Emily told me. “I also love to read. I really like living here although I know I’m going to miss my family and friends. At first, I was upset about moving to a new place, but once I got here and saw where we were going to live, I really changed my outlook.”
Lyle, who ran his own contracting business in Ontario, put his resume out and is now employed by Global Construction of Debert. A volunteer firefighter in Horton, Ont., he recently joined the Bass River Fire Brigade. Jennifer, a talented singer, signed a recording contract while in university; she recorded a country CD and had an audition in Nashville.
A family with a deep Christian faith, the Armstrongs are very thankful for their new Nova Scotia home.
Lyle Carter’s column appears every second Tuesday in the Truro Daily News. If you have a column idea, contact him at 902-673-2957.