My name is Allison Sulman, and I grew up in Chatham. I moved baCK in July 2020 after living and working in downtown Toronto for a decade. Here is my journey and the many reasons that I love being #baCK2CK.
In early March 2020, after almost a year of trying, I was finally pregnant. My husband, dog and I were living in a cozy one-bedroom apartment, and we were taking things one day at a time. With a lot of family and friends living in Chatham, moving back and buying a house was something we talked about often, but it didn't seem realistic for either of us, career-wise. At the same time, we felt that owning a home in Toronto seemed next-to-impossible, financially.
Then Covid hit, and things got a bit scary. All of a sudden, a job opportunity came up for me as a digital marketing and ecommerce manager at a Windsor-based company and they hired me at six months pregnant! In July of 2020, I moved back home and stayed with my parents for a few months while doing a hybrid commute to Windsor. The commute is a breeze compared to taking an hour streetcar across downtown Toronto. In November 2020, our son was born. We moved into our own home in December in Chatham.
I returned from mat leave a year later and now I commute into the office no more than two days a week and am able to work from home for the majority of the time.
What has helped make CK home again is that everyone is so welcoming and friendly. As a first-time mom on maternity leave, I was thrilled to reunite with friends from high school who were also on mat leave. From Stroller Strides classes in Kingston Park to singing nursery rhymes at EarlyON, there have been so many ways for me to connect with other moms and build a community here.
I have been blown away by the sheer number of activities available, both as a family and an adult. From amazing breweries and farmers markets to seasonal activities and awesome restaurants. We have incredible long-established businesses, but there's also a wonderful entrepreneurial mindset among residents here and a drive to support local.
I love so many things about living here, but as an active person, I love the access to nature. O'Neil's nature preserve, Rondeau Park, Erieau, Mitchel's Bay to name a few locations, have beautiful paths to run and walk on - all within a short (traffic-free) distance. Plus, as an avid cyclist, I am thrilled to see the development of bike lanes—especially the loop along the Thames River.
I am so happy to be raising my son in a safe, welcoming community. I loved growing up here and it's such a joy returning to places like the library, museum, arenas, and parks that I haven't been to over 20 years - and seeing them through my son's eyes. I also am so grateful to live near my family again, especially my parents.
The advice that I would give someone considering moving baCK to CK is that things have changed so much in the last two years, job-wise. There are so many remote work opportunities for various corporate job - marketing, PR, accounting, IT, HR, etc. Choosing to live in CK is a no-brainer!
Whether you're a young family, a couple or single adult—there's something for everyone here. The lower cost of living allows for a better quality of life. As young professionals/families, you can actually save money for education and retirement and even travel. Detroit and Toronto are not far away at all - plus there's London and Windsor, too. It's an easy drive to attend a work conference or a key meeting if you're working remote/hybrid.