09 March 2015

Kimberley BC is the Best City to Raise a Family

In early April 2013 the Reader’s Digest released a list of the Top 42 Canadian Cities to raise a family in based on these categories: Transit, Median Age, Infant Mortality, Maternity Leave, Daycare, Cost of Food, Mom Groups, Intimate Partner Violence, Child & Youth victims of crimes, Libraries, and Park Space. Of course Kimberley was not on the list because it only looked at provincial capitals and centres with more than 80,000 people. The top five communities were: Windsor, Calgary, Guelph, Ottawa and Sherbrooke. So with all due respect to these concrete urban centres let’s take a look at why Kimberley is the best city to raise a family.

Kimberley, BC

Population: 6,652

Median Age:  46.3. This number is getting lower as young families are moving in, plus there were five kindergarten classes this school year.

Infant Mortality: 4.9 per 1000 live births in the East Kootenay’s. According to Statistics Canada, this is on par with Canada, but just slightly higher than the BC rate of 4.2.

Daycare: There are several great daycare facilities in Kimberley, from First Steps and Second Steps daycare, to Pre-K programs at the Independent School & Gymnastics, to aftercare programs offered at schools, plus several at home providers.

Education: There are two elementary schools, one middle school, one high school, and a not-for-profit school (grades K-9). There are great teachers and support workers at each of the schools.  The College of the Rockies has a satellite campus providing continuing education courses. Plus there are transition programs from Pre-K/Daycare into Kindergarten such as Ready, Set, Learn.

Mom Groups: For such a small community there are a lot of mom support groups. My favourite is Strong Start that offers free supper to families with children under five on Wednesday’s. There are other programs called Baby Goose, Bellies to Babies, Alphabet Soup, Nobody’s Perfect Parenting and Roots of Empathy. Go to cbal.org/Kimberley to learn more about these groups.

Transit: There may not be a scheduled BC Transit service, but there is an affordable door to door bus service. There are also plenty of friendly neighbours who could give you a ride. My neighbour has always been able to find lifts up to the ski hill and around town when their car was unavailable.

Cost of Food: Compared to larger urban centres the overall price of a food basket is more expensive. But pay attention to the flyers, there are some great deals in there. Also, if you have a child under the age of five you qualify for the monthly Salvation Army Good Food Basket that has about a value of $40 in groceries but only costs $10.

Crime: Every community has crime; it would be a lie to say a community is crime free. But in all seriousness, it is more likely that my neighbour’s three-year old son breaks in to play with toys than any other kind of crime. Kimberley has a great RCMP detachment that provides weekly updates.

Park Space: All of Kimberley is a park. There are a couple of designated park spaces for play structures. But when you consider the Rails to Trails, the Lions Trails, the Marysville Falls and the Kimberley Nature Park; there are many outdoor locations for hiking, biking, swimming, running, walking and playing!

Libraries: There is one public library for every 6,652nd person in Kimberley.  In Toronto the ratio is one public library to every 26,684th person.  Windsor is one to 21,089. Ottawa is one to 25,982. Guelph is one to 28,219. And in Calgary there is one for every 60,945th person.

Hospital: Kimberley does not have a hospital, but the East Kootenay Regional Hospital is only a quick 20 minutes away and received a rating of ‘B’ on CBC’s Rate My Hospital. There is a Health Centre, which I have learned can stabilize severe peanut allergy reactions.

Family Doctors: When my family moved here we were able to get a family doctor on our first visit to the clinic despite still having out of province medical cards. This is completely different from experiences we had in different cities where we relied on walk-in clinics.

Health: In the January 2013 Health Profile of the East Kootenay’s it found that there is a higher perceived quality of health, and mental health than the average of BC. The perceived life stress is lower than the average of BC. This is probably correlated to the active outdoor lifestyle and the laid back personality.

Kimberley is the best city in Canada to raise a family, but let’s keep it our little secret.

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This was originally published in GO Kimberley, Summer 2013

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