Nanaimo is a perfect fit for Erik Tully and Eleanor Thompson's active lifestyles and mutual love of the outdoors, which is part of the reason the couple has chosen to stay and settle down. Tully, who came from Toronto in 2010, and Thompson, who comes from Seattle and is in the process of getting her Canadian citizenship, are even getting married at Neck Point Park on Saturday. The two are currently living downtown and love to hike, bike, swim and kayak together.
What drew you to Nanaimo?
Eleanor: I technically haven't arrived yet. I have been coming through Nanaimo for 18 years going (on regular vacations) to Yellowpoint Lodge. Then I met Erik a year ago April and he lived here already. I've always wanted to live on Vancouver Island anyway. It was always awful for me to leave the Island when the vacation was over in Yellowpoint. What drew me to Nanaimo was Erik, obviously. I had an epiphany one morning when I walked out on Commercial Street at 6:30 a.m. and I thought: "who am I kidding, I want to be in this city."
Erik: I came to reconnect with my parents in their final years.
They lived here. After spending 22 years in Toronto (doing technical work) with CTV I wanted to make it to a quiet town. I was attracted to the moderate weather and coastal living.
What challenges have you faced in settling here?
Eleanor: I love the farmers markets now but when they go away, keeping up with affordable organic produce. Any quantity of it is very difficult here. In the States, we have California (produce) available. I don't know if it's an Island thing or what. That's probably my biggest challenge here aside from dealing with immigration.
Erik: A lack of support network and lack of employment opportunities in the entertainment field, particularly in television.
How have you integrated here and what do you bring to Nanaimo?
Eleanor: Erik is very involved in the theatre which has always been a huge interest of mine, so we volunteer. Once I get residency I'm really looking forward to doing more of that and really digging in.
Erik: I've acted or lit shows for Nanaimo Theatre Group, Yellowpoint Drama Group, Ladysmith Little Theatre and Western Edge Theatre. I've just finished a contract as a summer theatre manager for Echo Players in the Village Theatre in Qualicum. We'd like now to change gears and get into sales.
What has been the most pleasant surprise?
Eleanor: Hands down, outdoor activities. I run and I love the trail around Westwood. And the biking. Love the biking and hiking and I'm an avid swimmer. Erik: The sheer volume of outdoor activities on land and sea. Exploring hiking trails with my fiancée, kayaking and sight seeing.
Any advice for newcomers?
Eleanor: Just get out into the community. A really good in is the abundance of community theatre here. And it happens to be a big draw for me. It's a wonderful way to get to know people and a lot of different kinds of people. And just any volunteering. There's a lot of it available. Erik: Get out there. Put yourself out there. Network. Try service work, join clubs and organizations and, most of all, enjoy the outdoors here. I mean it's just amazing.
" If you know anyone new to Nanaimo with an interesting story to share, please call reporter Cara McKenna at 250-729-4230 or email CMcKenna@nanaimodailynews.com
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