We’ve all heard about the lifestyle immigrants who are adding to Kimberley’s population — people who choose the town to retire, or semi-retire, because of all it offers in terms of lifestyle.
But who are these people?
Meet Jill and Brian Laing. The Laings live and work in Houston, Texas; Brian by way of Toronto, Jill from England originally.
They began visiting Kimberley ten years ago at the urging of their good friend Gord Jenkins, who, though born and raised in Kimberley, had only recently moved back.
Jenkins says he knew his friends would love it here. He wasn’t wrong.
Kimberley grows on you, says Brian, with its charm, friendly people and recreation opportunities.
“Our first visit was in 2005,” he said. “It was March and we came up to ski. Our boys (12 and 16 at the time) had only skied baby hills. It was their first adventure on a big resort. We stayed with Gord and Ethel.”
What was the first impression?
“We live in Houston and Kimberley is so small. The people were so welcoming. Gord had just arrived so he only knew half the town then. Now he knows them all.”
“We loved the ski hill,” Jill said. “No lines, the runs are so much fun. It was good for all our abilities — the boys weren’t as good at that time.”
“But there was plenty of difficult stuff too,” Brian adds. “We came back every March. Four or five years ago, we came in the summer to play golf. Now we come back every summer.”
The Laings began to rent condos when they visited and in 2014 purchased a house on Sunrise Crescent.
They began bringing friends and business contacts with them, introducing Kimberley to more people.
“In 2007, Brian brought his Houston management team to town,” Gord said. “That’s 18 people from around the world. They stayed at Trickle Creek. That’s a big economic impact. Now their 12 and 16 year old sons are young adults. They love the place. One of them brought eight fraternity brothers for a visit. They went to a hockey game, they went curling, they went skiing. They’re still talking about it.”
Brian says he once visited for 79 days and he skied for 72 of those days.
The Laings made six trips to Kimberley in 2015 and hope to spend even more time here.
“From our perspective, if you go to say Lake Louise or Canmore, they are so big. There are no issues with security here. We have fabulous neighbours. The overall community spirit is very attractive. Through skiing we have met other friends. There’s lots of entertainment here; good restaurants. Our youngest son loves the climbing centre.”
The Laings have also taken to mountain biking, fly fishing, cross-county skiing and snow-shoeing, becoming a part of Kimberley’s active outdoors community.
“Ideally, we would like to spend even more time here once we retire,” Brian said. “It’s a magnetic community.”