Quinte, On. real estate agent: Know Thy Neighbours

Know Thy Neighbours

not knowing

I was showing a client some houses the other day. We came across one house that had security bars on the windows and a stick that jammed the back door shut.  The client asked whether we were in a bad neighbourhood. We weren't really, the vendor of this house was probably just a little more security conscious than your average citizen.

Trenton is a pretty small community, maybe about 20,000 people. In essence, the whole town is one neighbourhood. Sure, there are streets and even small areas of the town that are more aesthetically pleasing than others because the houses are a little more upscale, newer, or better tended to, but when you live in Trenton, you'll never be too far away from people who are economically disadvantaged.

This situation can be a little disheartening to some people, and they end up buying their retirement home in a more upscale community. Trenton just doesn't have the "small town" atmosphere that they were seeking. It's certainly not a Norman Rockwell painting. Quaint it aint, and that's O.K. with me.

One of the advantages of living in a town like this is the benefit that my children have derived from it. You would be very hard pressed to find two less judgemental souls on this planet. They have grown up with the same group of friends their whole lives, and those friends include kids from all points along the economic spectrum. Some of their friends have grown up in trailer parks, while others come from the multi million dollar homes on Rednersville Road. If you were to watch those kids in a group, you would never know who was who. They have learned to judge each other on their merits as human beings, and I don't think that's a bad thing at all.

Obviously there will be situations that they will have to learn to be wary of as they get older (and as their dad I'm pretty certain that there already have been situations that I'd rather not know about), but I'm sure that their exposure to different lifestyles will stand them in good stead when they are adults. I would really hate to see the "gated community" trend take hold in this neck of the woods as it has in the States. I don't think it will (mostly because of our more sensible gun culture), but there already is that division in the larger urban centres. It's a shame.

People tend to gravitate towards others who appear to be similar to them. Usually these similarities are on a very superficial level though. Living in a small town like Trenton has enabled me to see that. I don't have the luxury of being selective about who is around me in my daily life, and I'm glad for that. I would have missed a lot of the good people that surround me every single day.


Comment balloon 10 commentsMalcolm Johnston • September 29 2010 12:38PM


Malcolm- I grew up in a large city but have often wondered what it would be like to live in a smaller community.  

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) over 8 years ago

Malcolm: Birds of a feather, flock together!


Posted by Ty Lacroix (Envelope Real Estate Brokerage Inc) over 8 years ago

Hi Malcolm,

I grew up in Kitchener, but then had moved to a small town to raise my kids. While there were the usual niches in high school, good and bad, all the kids knew each other and that was a good thing. 

Posted by Not In Real Estate Any Longer over 8 years ago

Thanks Malcolm ... I believe everyone understands the reality of different worlds (communities).  And we want to see our kids 'street smart' to the ways of the world ... but we want to live in the peace and comfort of our own homes.  

As an x-cop,  I left a big urban centre everyday to draw the shades of what I had witnessed and returned home to my family 'in the country'.    The cost of that commute is measured in different ways.  The kids got their 'street smarts' in different ways too.  And all turned out pretty well.    - Len

Posted by Len Kobewka, You Can Scape-it (Prairie Scapes / Scape-it™) over 8 years ago

Kathy Streib- Stager-South Florida - 561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) Hi Kathy, I think smaller towns are great places to grow up in and be from, but I also think that kids should move away when they get to a certain age so that they can experience bigger city life too.

Envelope Real Estate Brokerage Inc They do indeed Ty, although I hope nobody would think that the picture in this post is of me flocking together with someone else. Nice legs though.

Pam McInnes - Here to Help You and Your Pets (Team Realty K.W. Inc., Brokerage - Kitchener, ON Canada) It is a good thing when kids allknow one another Pam.

Len Kobewka (Agent SargeTM - Realtor® RE/MAX) (RE/MAX ACA) Sarge, you're right. Kids will learn one way or another. You just can't stop them.

Posted by Malcolm Johnston, Trenton Real Estate (Century 21 Lanthorn Real Estate LTD., Trenton, Ontario) over 8 years ago


It's just one bad incident. It seems more serious because it's Trenton. Really, this is no big deal. It's still a a very safe place.


Posted by Brian Madigan, LL.B., Broker (RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage (Toronto)) over 8 years ago

Malcolm this is an excellent post.  I have suggested it for a feature but may be too late.  I don't know if they only feature them the day the are written or not.  I hope not.

You have been brutally honest about your community and I'm sure that also makes you a good person to deal with when buying or selling real estate.

You and I know that we don't the gated community type of developments here in Ontario like they do in many parts of the U.S. 

And you also know that sometimes those gates are invisible but still there.  My kids grew up in Oakville but their schools also drew from very diverse demographics and ethnicity.  I feel that our kids were brought up in a very different culture than we did.  In fact when we grew up there really was no culture.  Kind of dull actually.

Posted by Jenny Kotulak, Broker - Oakville Ontario Real Estate (RE/MAX Real Estate Centre Inc., Brokerage) over 8 years ago

Your blog reminded my of the good Samaritan which shows that love of neighbor is possible if we view them as the Creator does.  You have given me an idea to a future blog on being a neighbor, with a different prospective of course, thank you.

Posted by Dee Mayers, San Gabriel Valley, CA over 8 years ago

Brian Madigan LL.B. (Royal LePage Innovators Realty, Broker) Overall, it is a very safe place Brian.

Jenny Kotulak Oakville Real Estate (Broker RE/MAX Aboutowne Realty Corp. Oakville, Ontario) Thanks very much Jenny.  Honesty is the best policy in real estate.

'Dee' Mayers : License #01461870 San Gabriel Valley, CA REALTOR® (First Citywide Realty) Thank you Dee, love of neighbour is always very possible.

Posted by Malcolm Johnston, Trenton Real Estate (Century 21 Lanthorn Real Estate LTD., Trenton, Ontario) over 8 years ago

I grew up in a small town and now live in a large urban area (LA).  Both have their advantages and disadvantages but I'm happy I've experienced both.  Life should teach us tolerance if nothing else.

Posted by Norma Toering Broker for Palos Verdes and Beach Cities, Palos Verdes Luxury Homes in L.A. (Charlemagne International Properties) over 8 years ago