Truro is No. 4 on the list of Canada’s friendliest towns, according to a recently released report by Expedia.
While Truro was beaten by Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., Airdrie, Alta., and Tofino on Vancouver Island, the report noted local highlights such as the downtown core, farmers’ market and boasted a photo of the Joseph Howe Falls at Victoria Park.
“It gives me a great amount of satisfaction, because years ago when we started this business of municipal government, we talked about what we could do,” said Truro Mayor Truro Bill Mills. “We can do anything we put our mind to.”
But the key aspect of Truro’s friendliness is its people, who Mills said often go out of their way to help visitors. The mayor recalled receiving letters from people as far away as Texas, saying how locals would walk with them to shops or restaurants when they asked directions.
Other tourists can enjoy friendly chit-chat with farmers and artisans selling their wares at the farmers’ market. Those seeking natural beauty can find it on the trails of Victoria Park and its waterfalls, just a short walk from downtown, or watch the tidal bore on the Salmon River.
Mills said successive municipal governments have invested in tourism and beautifying Truro. This includes new signage for tourists, the Civic Square, the Rath Eastlink Community Centre and a library that has won both engineering and architecture awards.
And the town’s efforts are starting to pay off: the community centre’s swimming pool will soon host the World Down Syndrome Swimming Championships that will bring competitors from 29 countries to Truro.
The town is also receiving attention from across the pond, as the British Broadcasting Corporation is filming a show next month about the Joe Howe Falls and Truro’s historic railway. The rail line to Halifax first opened in 1858 and other lines towards Amherst, Windsor and elsewhere were soon built.
“You really could sum it up in two words: critical mass and that’s where we’re at. I just see more good things on the horizon,” said Mills. “Maritimers are embarrassed to toot their own horn, but it’s not bragging.”
In his view, people in Truro were taking the town’s slogan ‘make the connection’ to heart.
Over at the Downtown Truro Partnership, executive director Samantha Madore agreed.
“There’s a new energy in the people that are living and working in Truro,” she said.
She said that unlike bigger cities like Halifax, customers using Truro businesses typically enjoy a more personal experience and can build a stronger connection, again in keeping with the town’s slogan.
Expedia released its report after looking at hotel review data from 2017, finding the highest-rated service scores. The ratings helped determine the most “helpful, dutiful, and welcoming experiences across the country.” The towns and communities picked by Expedia all had at least 100 reviews and a four-star rating or higher.
Halifax checks in at No. 10 on Expedia’s list, while Dartmouth is ranked 13th and Enfield 24th.