The first family drawn to Cape Breton by a Facebook ad promising a job and free land has arrived in Whycocomagh.
Kerry and Brett Walkins arrived with their two young children on a rainy Sunday night. Two more families are expected to follow them. All of them are from B.C.
The three families were drawn from across the country to new lives in Cape Breton thanks to a Facebook ad posted late last month by the Farmer's Daughter Country Market.
The ad promised free land for labour and a chance to become part of a small rural community.
The Walkins arrived from Ontario tired, but woke up excited on Monday.
"It felt like home," says Brett. "It just felt like we had finally reached what we've been looking for."
He was laid off from his job in British Columbia in January and the family spent the past several months travelling Canada in their trailer in search of a simpler life.
Dreaming of the simple life
They dreamed of a place they could put down roots, where Halle, 5, and Nolan, 1, would have room to play outside, and where they'd grow up knowing their neighbours. The Farmer's Daughter ad seems the realization of those dreams.
Kerry will take the job at the market while Brett stays home with kids and works the land. He said he's already been offered handyman work at the nearby RV park.
"Just walking down the street here, two minutes down the road, and people were waving at us as they drove by, and everyone had a smile," said Kerry.
"Everyone seems interested in us so far. A lot of people sneaking sideways glances to see who we are and what we're all about, but everyone seems really friendly and happy to meet us."
She said it was a "good feeling" to be excited.
Two more families en route
Heather Coulombe, co-owner of the Farmer's Daughter, shares that emotion. The business received several thousand responses to the Facebook ad from around the world.
"I'm really excited they're here. It's new beginnings for us, and growth for us and the community."
After choosing the first three hires earlier this month, she's happy to be welcoming the first family. The two other families include a single mom and her 10-year-old daughter, and a young couple who plan to use their land to grow organic produce to sell at the market.