[Many thanks to Cody (@CDNBeer) for the photographs in this story. They're great shots.]
As wonderful as small town life can be, it's not always the best of times.
In a world where fast-paced technology and big cities are driving the economy, many small towns are struggling to attract new residents and keep young people from leaving.
Not because it isn't a great town, with great people. But because there aren't as many business or job opportunities as in big cities.
Well, a town in southwestern Manitoba has come up with a bold idea to attract new people to the community.
It's offering plots of land for just $10.
The town is Reston, Manitoba. About 550 people live there. It was founded as a railway point for the Canadian Pacific Railway.
Right now, there's a mini-oil boom happening in Manitoba and Reston is hoping to capitalize by luring businesses and families to the community.
And it seems to be working. The town has put 24 lots up for sale for $10 each. So far, more than half have been sold.
Not only that, but the town is getting offers for lots that aren't even up for sale yet. And officials are talking about expanding the program to other towns nearby.
Plus, for the first time in years, enrollment at Reston's elementary school is up.
Here's how it all works. If someone wants to buy a lot in Reston, they have to put a $1,000 down payment, and follow through with the deal within a year.
If they don't, they lose the down payment. If they do, the municipality will refund $990 once the construction is done and an occupancy permit is issued.
You can read the full policy here.
The municipality's website says it has grown into a "prosperous area" and "each community offers a safe, friendly, and easy-going charm with the quality of life so many people are looking for".
Of course, a lot of small towns in America are in real trouble these days, with the U.S. economy in the shape it's in.
Here's a couple of documentaries that show how bad things are in some places.
It's also the hometown of Republican Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan. Here's the trailer.
Here's another film called 'The IV Renaissance: Braddock and Beyond Documentary'. It's about a series of towns outside Pittsburgh that are on the brink of dying.
It's by Cool Attitude Films. Here's the trailer.
Also, here's a piece about the town of Millinocket, Maine. This past year, its local paper mill produced 5,000 tons of paper that Random House used to publish 'Fifty Shades of Grey'. You can read more here.
And here's one about Milan, Indiana - a town of fewer than 2,000 people. You can read that story here.