Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What I've Learned: New West is not Second Best

My year of shopping only in New Westminster is winding down, so I've started reflecting on what I've learned and discovered over the year. Instead of writing one big long post at the end of the month, I've decided to do a few posts throughout the month.

First of all, I've learned that New West is not second best.

When I first moved to Vancouver in 1999, my attitude was decidedly anti-suburban. Whether or not New West is actually suburban is another question. At the time, I thought it was.

"If we're going to move to the city, we're going to live in the city," I told my husband. I remember openly sneering at someone who told me they had just moved to Burnaby. Burnaby! The horror!

(This seems a fairly cocky and snotty attitude for someone who moved to Vancouver from Kamloops.)

But after a year of living just off the Drive, I got a job in New Westminster and we wanted a bigger place to live. We found a great apartment with the Holy Grail for renters: in-suite laundry.

While we liked lots of things about New West, including its small town feel, I think I held on to remnants of my originally snotty attitude even years after moving here, especially with regards to shopping. I thought, sometimes subconsciously, sometimes consciously, that if a store or restaurant was in New West, it was bound to be not as good as a store or restaurant elsewhere, particularly in Vancouver.

After about a year of working in New West, I started working in Vancouver again. That only solidified my attitude. New West was where I slept, but the exciting stuff—shopping, eating out, entertainment—was elsewhere.

Over this past year, my attitude has been transformed dramatically.

I can say with confidence that I've found many stores, restaurants and services in New Westminster that stack up against the best anywhere.

Here's just a few of the experiences that have changed my mind.

Over the past year, I:

All in New Westminster.

I'm still not sure what I'm going to do when my year of shopping locally is over. It's doubtful that I'll stick solely to New West for all my shopping. But I do know this: I will look in New West first and for many items and services I won't even think of going anywhere else. There's no need to leave home when I can find the best so close by.