By Matthew Casey
I recently got back from a trip back home to Moncton, New Brunswick and have come to the realization that the people who live in the Maritimes enjoy, most likely, one of the best qualities of life in the country. Now, I can’t say for one hundred percent sure it’s the best because I have never lived in the western half of our gorgeous country, but in terms of the east, it is the best hands down and I do not make this judgment based on my bias of having lived there for 21 years of my life.
I remember when I lived there that at times it seemed boring and like such a small place to live with not much to offer. I longed for an opportunity to move away from the area and experience life in the big city. After living in Toronto for a year now I have quickly come to the conclusion that I should have gotten out and enjoyed the simplicity of life in New Brunswick more when I lived there. Toronto is a nice city but the hustle and bustle of this booming metropolis is enough to make me feel like I have aged almost ten years since moving here. I honestly don’t know how anyone could spend their whole life in a city like Toronto or any other major urban centre.
After spending a mere seven days on the east coast, which seems to go by almost as fast as the blink of an eye, I got to sort of take in a big injection of some of the offerings that Maritimers can enjoy so readily. I spent time on the beach and got to feel the warm, wet sand beneath my feet for the first time in a long time. I almost forgot what that was like. I got to taste the salty ocean air on my lips and feel the chill of the beach water as I stepped into it for the first time. Unlike the beaches here in Toronto, I actually felt safe with the water in terms of its cleanliness. In fact, just the drive to the beach was amazing as it allowed me to take in the beautiful scenery that spreads from the outskirts of Moncton all of the way to where the ocean meets the land. Just that slow leisure drive and tasting the salinity in the air increase as I got closer to the coast line was so refreshing for my body and soul.
The Maritimes are also rich in food culture too, and after living a year here in Toronto I have noticed that good seafood is hard to come by. Nothing here compares to the freshness of the seafood that is brought in directly off the boats and sold in the small fish markets of Shediac, New Brunswick. While I was there I took time to indulge on lobster and a very classic French Acadian dish, poutine rapee (pronounced raw-pay).
So this recent visit home has made me appreciate my Maritime roots even more and makes me now long for the day when I can call that little piece of heaven on earth home again. I promise myself that when I do live there again I will indulge in all that the east has to offer and never take anything there for granted again. It really is true what the song says that you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. I guess moving far away from home is what it took to make me realize how lucky I really was to have the chance to call such a great part of our country home.