Whether you have recently moved or are thinking of relocating, getting to know the neighbourhood should be first on your list of things to do.
Explore on foot. The best way to get your bearings, remember streets and possibly run into neighbours and members of the community is to take to the streets and walk your way around. You’ll also know how far it is from one destination to another and get a sense of how walk-friendly the area is: what the traffic is like and whether it has sidewalks and connecting trails.
Hoard maps. Search out as many area maps as you can find: trail maps, road maps, downtown core maps, attractions and events maps. These will help you navigate. Find out where the happening neighbourhoods are: the places you want to be near and have easy access to. Having these maps close at hand will help you feel more oriented and settled.
It’s always a good idea to take the time to sit and experience a neighbourhood. Bring a newspaper or book to a nearby park and watch the world go by. Make sure you do this a few times at different times of the day.
This way, you will find out how noisy it is, the activities those in the neighbourhood partake in and what kind of people walk about and hang around the area. Plus, you may just meet some potential neighbours while you’re out enjoying a beautiful day.
Take note of where the grocery stores, convenience shops, hospitals, schools and other useful hot spots are located. Depending on how much this weighs in to your appreciation of the neighbourhood, this fairly easy research can be worth more than you think.
Community newspapers are a great way to familiarize yourself with the area in an intimate and informative way. Also, check out local libraries, community centres and cafes for bulletin boards. This is where you’ll find events, clubs and services you wouldn’t find otherwise.
For more specific neighbourhood tidbits, ask your real estate agent or visit HomeZilla, an online service providing information on schools, transit, stores and restaurants. Just type in the full address, street name or postal code and start acquainting yourself with the neighbourhood.