Arriving From “Out East” with Stu and Marion McGregor

June 6, 2018

Stu and Marion are children of east Edmonton who ventured a little further “out east” to live in the Lloydminster/Vermilion area.  As a Maritimer I had a little chuckle over this particular terminology, but indeed the couple did find life in eastern Alberta to be a very different pace and climate than what they were used to. They returned “west” in their retirement years. “Why does one retire in Spruce Grove?”, you might ask. Their combined insight was very inspiring and caused me to reconsider the treasure of where we live.

After Stu retired from post-secondary education at the end of 28 years of teaching chemistry and math at Lakeland College, the McGregors moved into a cute little bungalow in Spruce Grove. Marion had retired five years earlier from nursing/home care. Their lives had always been centered around people – educating and nursing people to live up to their best potential. They loved their life in “the east” and found it was a great place to raise their two daughters.

“If we didn’t know where the kids were, our neighbours did!”

But adult children move away from smaller centres and grandchildren grow up. Stu and Marion decided to follow their kids to the Edmonton area to be close for special occasions. Marion says a grandmother has only about 7 years to be that extra special confidant in her grandchild’s life.  She was not about to miss out!

The couple was looking for a bungalow and declare that it is virtually impossible to find one at a reasonable price in a reasonable tax bracket outside of the Spruce Grove area. They find it to be a pretty city that takes great care of the sidewalks, roads, boulevards and trees.  Spruce Grove not only “looks good”, it feels “cared for”. That is an important distinction. There is breathing space between and around homes.

Stu enjoys the indoor walking track at the Tri-Leisure but is so thankful he only needs it three months out of the year. The rest of the time he is walking in the beautiful trail system. And, believe it or not, the climate is better here! The wind never stopped howling in “the east”, and it was hotter and colder than it ever gets in this area.

Proximity to their family on the west end of Edmonton was a huge consideration when moving from their home but they also love that Spruce Grove offers lots of entertainment, activities and health care options. Marion says the health care services here are well in place with good back up systems.

Moving to a new community after a life has been built in another is no small thing.  It can be difficult to find the places and people to which you’d like to belong. A part of this couple enjoys the new quietness of their retired life away from the pressures of serving people. Another part looks for places to connect. Marion has old nursing friends that she regularly visits but has also tried to find new friends in a quilting class. Stu met his new friends while out walking. He meets up with them regularly for coffee at Second Cup. He says that “if you’re alone at the walking track it is because you prefer to be. Everybody is so friendly. Start a conversation and they’ll talk forever!” Even retired people lead busy lives however. It can be a challenge to get past “busy” on every side.

Stu and Marion do worry about transportation in Spruce Grove when they can no longer drive.  Mailboxes are a long way away from your door and are often on busy roads. They can imagine being able to stay in their lovely bungalow longer if these issues were addressed to be more senior friendly. They would also love to see a committed bus to the Tri-Region area that could help everyone get around. Stu says they don’t need to be giant buses – maybe a 15 – 20 seater – that runs regularly. He would also vote for FREE wireless in the city before he’d vote for a hockey rink. “Free wireless would put us on the map and would help everyone, not just the ones who can afford hockey.”

Spruce Grove is lucky to have attracted this lovely couple to our city. They choose us because we are so lovely, and safe, and affordable….and we still have time to make the few little tweaks necessary to make us the #1 preferred retirement city in “western” AB!

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