stormont dundas and glengarry

These small Ontario townships will literally pay you to come live in them

We've seen some truly creative marketing campaigns in recent years from smaller Ontario towns and cities looking to boost their population (and skilled workforce) numbers while city dwellers were leaving Toronto en masse for larger, cheaper spaces from which to work from home.

In early 2021, the economic development corporation of London, Ontario, started promoting a beautiful, comprehensive website for prospective residents called "Don't Tell Toronto."

There, officials highlighted the number of high-paying jobs, low population density and impressive amounts of trees that could be found a few hours down the 401 in an attempt to lure talent from the big city.

Owen Sound tried something similar (albeit less thought-out) the very next month, promising free pajamas to anyone who might relocate to the self-described, newly-minted "Work From Home Capital of Canada."

Smooth Rock Falls was ahead of its time when it started offering up vacant residential lots for only $500 (90 per cent less than market value) back in 2017, prompting more than 1,000 queries within the span of a year.

Reports on the success of this campaign in early 2022 further intensified interest in the Northern Ontario town of roughly 1,330 people, turning the heads of many Torontonians who were at the very least enticed by an average residential property listing price of $137,000.

Timmins, Ontario, appealed to young urbanites as well with its low home prices and lack of hair-ruining humidity.

It's been a few months since these types of campaigns have circulated locally, but they're still popping up post-pandy — and with Toronto's real estate and rental markets both completely frigged, it's not a terrible time to promote the idea of life beyond The 6ix.

Enter The United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, Ontario.

This amalgamated municipality roughly 4.5 hours east of Toronto boasts a combined population of just over 100,000 people, and is looking for one special person to essentially bankroll for an entire year.

SDG, as the region is called for short, recently published a page on its website with the title "Date My County."

"I'm looking for that special someone. Someone who's up for fun. Craves adventure. Loves long strolls, and longer paddles. Someone who enjoys quaint road trips. Dabbles with all kinds of delightful detours. Someone who wants to mingle. Stay awhile, like a whole year. Is that you?" reads the site.

"I'm Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry. And I'm ready to go steady."

It's a different angle, sure, but I appreciate the county's creative take on this trend — and whoever wins this "dating contest" will surely appreciate the $1,500 a month (or $18,000 per year) they'll get to live in SDG.

"I'm offering $1,500 per month, for up to one year, to one lucky date. A passionate suitor who wants to move in for the year, experience all of SDG and share our stories. Lovestruck? I hope so. This is your chance to explore," reads the website.

"We will pay one winner up to $1,500 per month, for a 12 month period to live and work here in Stormont, Dundas or Glengarry... Winner who is moving into SDG can be in a rental, or purchasing a home. Winner can either work locally or remotely."

The contest just opened last week and will remain open for applicants until Nov. 1, 2022. Those interested must convince SGD Counties and related tourism boards that they are "the one" with a video submission and a 50-word essay.

Whoever wins could literally afford the mortgage on a pretty big house in SDG with their monthly prize winnings alone, but there will be work expected of them in the form of two blog posts per month "to be shared on the SDG Tourism and SDG Counties social media accounts and website, and any other media platforms approved by SDG Counties."

The location may be a bit far (past Ottawa, closer to Quebec) but the counties do look flush with opportunities for exploring nature, culture and history. Plus, who couldn't use a year of free rent? 

Bonne Chance, to whoever enters. I look forward to reading your blog posts about living in Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry.

Lead photo by

Doug Kerr

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