You know I get this question at least 15 times a year….. It happened to me twice in Toronto on Saturday. So this article is not going to be all dazzling and glowing by any means but this is my personal thoughts.
Now I have made Brandon home for the last 26 years and you know overall this place isn’t that bad. The two biggest complaints I hear from my friends is:
# 1 – property taxes are insane compared to other cities
# 2 – lack of good clothing stores
So let’s look at some of the positives.
Crime & safety factor – maybe I have been lucky but only had my truck broken into once in 26 years and that was my fault for not locking the doors. But when people talk about crime etc. you really have to think the Brandon Police Service does a good job.
Education – for a city of this size to have BU and ACC and all the other secondary education opportunities that exist we have nothing to complain about.
Quality of Life – Golf Courses – Curling Rinks – Baseball diamonds – Hockey Rinks – Walking trails and paths – Indoor pools – gyms once again you have to give the city a passing grade.
Nightlife – Trends have shifted for sure over the past 5 years and it appears that people just don’t go out. The other day a girl said people meet other people now online and back in the day the only place you could really meet someone was in a nightclub. We have Houstons and various other pubs and lounges and really if you need to see a major concert you have to go to Winnipeg or Minneapolis. Unless you are into ZZ Top then you don’t need to go to Winnipeg for shows.
Arts & Culture – I perhaps the worst person to ask about this topic but from what I see on Facebook and Twitter it appears that we have a pretty active community.
Dining Out – This has greatly improved over the years and places like East Side Mario’s etc coming to Brandon just adds to your options for lunch and suppers. We have just about every franchise possible with the exception of a Red Lobster or Olive Garden.
Cost of Living – House prices are perhaps considered high when you look at Winnipeg prices and all the time I hear our rental prices are crazy. But it is all supply and demand and if someone can rent a condo for 2000 dollars a month and get it then so be it.
Jobs and Opportunity – Good question because you hear people complain about no jobs and then you hear employers say they are so short staffed. Tons of jobs for people with no training or education but then you are going to make 12 bucks an hour. For the educated people expecting to make say 100k a year then those jobs are not as abundant.
External Image – Wheat City image is perhaps outdated and needs a refresh. Of course Agriculture is a major factor to overall economics of the city but those signs on the Trans Canada really tell you nothing about Brandon. Not even sure what the sign is about. But for sure the city does suffer from an identity crisis.
Medical Services – Of course we are somewhat limited as to the doctors and specialists that say Winnipeg has but for all your basic medical requirements Brandon has you covered.
Air Service – Huge leap forward and now with flights to Toronto this really does help people considering moving or doing business here that Westjet offers regular daily flights.
Easy to be the armchair quarterback and bitch and complain about what the city does offer but for having roughly 50,000 people you have to set your expectations to a reasonable limit. You won’t find a Gucci store or some huge outlet centre where you can buy a pair of Nikes for 30 bucks. However we can cross the city normally in 10 minutes from point a to point b and not worry too much about crime and most people would agree a pretty good place to raise your kids.