The small north Vancouver Island town of Port Hardy (population est. 3900) may not seem like the top choice for most young university graduates looking for opportunity.
So when Georgia Hall, a 20-something who grew up on Vancouver’s plush West Side, found herself in Port Hardy, she “didn’t expect it to become home” as quickly as it did.
In a new article published on the CBC (part of a series called First Person), Hall explains how she transformed from a big-city girl into a small-town forestry worker.
“As I drove down the main street and glimpsed the evening light across the water on the mainland mountains, I knew I’d made the right choice.”
Moving from the Big City
After graduating with a degree in forest sciences from the University of British Columbia, “the few job leads I had lined up vanished overnight, and I finished my exams online and graduated jobless,” she wrote.
She was desperately seeking work when a Port Hardy biological consulting company offered her a job. Despite never having been there and family and friends trying to dissuade her from moving, she packed her bags and prepared for adventure.
“As I drove down the main street and glimpsed the evening light across the water on the mainland mountains, I knew I’d made the right choice,” she recalls.
Port Hardy Became Home
“I’ve traded my Vancouver hobby of watching TV for camping, beach fires, and fishing, just like the locals.”Georgia Hall
For Hall, the smallness is all part of the charm, and the slower pace is a welcome change. She also loves the proximity to the great outdoors, with easy access to swimming and hiking.
She’s been in Port Hardy for two years now and considers herself part of the community. “I’ve traded my Vancouver hobby of watching TV for camping, beach fires, and fishing, just like the locals,” she notes.
Island Locals Chime In
The piece resonated with many Port Hardy locals and transplants. The Hell Yeah Port Hardy! Facebook page posted the article, with one commenter saying they “could totally relate” to Hall’s story.
Nikki Lyon commented, “Being a north island girl has been the best thing in my life. I’ve left & tried to live in Victoria & Vancouver, but nope, it wasn’t home. I’ve raised my children in Port Hardy as well.”
“Your story seems like my own, except that it was 1974, and I was 21,” wrote Sandra Davey. “There was only a gravel logging road when I drove in my first time … I ended up marrying and living there for 13 years and raising our two children there for their grade school years … We loved Port Hardy, and it was good to us.”
“Sshhhhh wtf. Good gravy. Supposed to be a secret,” chimed in Ezra Culwell on the same post.