Celebrating a strong, creative, resilient Lunenburg County
NOW, MORE THAN EVER...
BY TINA HENNIGAR
It was December and Matt Hall and Kara Turner had only just moved into their quaint, heritage home in Mahone Bay when they heard a knock on the door. On the other side of their door was Allan O’Brien, who for decades had welcomed countless new families to his town. “Come with me,” he said, and he drove them to the Ernst Christmas Tree Lot where they picked out their first Lunenburg County grown Christmas tree.
Although no longer with us, Allan was often the first point of . contact for families, making them feel welcome and urging them to get involved in the community. He was often their very first friend in Mahone Bay. “It was harder for us to get involved and make friends in big cities,” Kara said of her time in Calgary, Norway and London. “But it’s far easier here.” Kara noted that an hour commute in Calgary made it hard to find friends that weren’t colleagues. Here, Kara got involved right away by volunteering with the Home and School Association which seemed a perfect place to begin for the mother of three young children. Kara quickly became involved in many festivals in town and her circle of friends continued to grow.
“People ask me all the time, what are the drawbacks of living in a small town, and I honestly can’t think of any. I thought I’d miss shopping in a big city, but I don’t. I buy less, and I care more about what I buy,” she insisted. “As you get older you realize, loving where you live, with friends that you love is far more important than having stuff,” Kara said.
Kara and her family were invited to a community potluck event at the Mahone Bay Centre, where around a hundred people had gathered to share a meal. “They asked all the new people to stand and introduce themselves, and then the community gave them one big welcome,” Kara recalled with a laugh. “I couldn’t believe it. I turned to my new friends at my table and said, ‘Can you believe this is happening?’”
“What I’d say to new people is the more you put in the more you get out of it. Join in. Sign up to be a part of something and you’ll automatically meet a group of interesting, engaged people, and you’ll feel like you’re giving back while you’re learning about the town.” Kara urged.