Small Towns, Big Perks: Why Newcomers Love Chatham-Kent
Community With a history of welcoming newcomers, Chatham-Kent provides a safe and quiet place to settle that still offers access to big-city amenities.
Equipped with ample services for newcomers and community supports, Chatham-Kent is an inclusive and picturesque region conveniently located in what locals refer to as a “geographic sweet spot,” close to major US and Canadian urban centers, while providing a healthy dose of rural lifestyle to newcomers and long-time residents alike.
Located in southwestern Ontario, nestled between Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair, Chatham-Kent is a municipality with a strong history of welcoming and settling newcomers in the area. The community was recognized by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) as Canada’s first welcoming community during the Syrian refugee crisis and is known for being a safe and quiet oasis that is conveniently located close to bigger cities. While Chatham-Kent has seven access points for commuters from the 401, the community still has ample local job opportunities for people in many different industries.
Chatham-Kent's more laid-back quality of life is very attractive to newcomers and a strong draw for people who may not be used to the rapid-paced lifestyle that exists within Ontario’s larger urban areas.
For newcomers seeking support services that include how to start a business and secure financing, find employment, and additional family support, there are services available. A settlement services agency (Adult Language and Learning) and a Small Business Centre are great first stops to assist newcomers with any of their concerns and point them in the direction to find the appropriate supports.
Being situated between two lakes ensures that Chatham-Kent enjoys mild weather, making it ideal for experiencing the great outdoors. Beachgoers and water-lovers who enjoy spending time in nature boating or fishing with family and friends will find plenty of opportunities to do so in Chatham-Kent. Whereas in big cities like Toronto or London it’s commonplace to experience things like daily traffic congestion, those elements are rare occurrences in Chatham-Kent, making for a more laid-back quality of life that is very attractive to newcomers and a strong draw for people who may not be used to the rapid-paced lifestyle that exists within Ontario’s larger urban areas.
A wide range of job opportunities exist within many sectors and employers are welcoming new residents to fields including Skilled Trades, IT, Healthcare, Manufacturing, and Support Services. Covering 2,500 square kilometers — a huge geographic area (about the same size as Prince Edward Island — and with a relatively, small population (about 106,000), of people per capita is quite low, improving quality of life. The affordable cost of housing in Chatham-Kent is another major draw that lends to the increased quality of life.
Whether you are a beachgoer, nature lover, trail runner, or someone who enjoys culturally diverse events, you will find something to enjoy in Chatham-Kent. Every weekend is full of festivals, events, and activities throughout the summer months, and unique indoor and outdoor activities are held throughout the year.