McAdam, N.B., was once an important railway town, near the U.S. border, but the trains stopped coming in the mid-90s.
For the last 20 or so years, the village lost many of its people to points west, but that started to turn around about two years ago.
Many people are coming back and there’s an effort to bring back even more.
Over the last decade, McAdam’s village council has been keeping a list of the names of people who’ve left.
But about two years ago, Mayor Ken Stannix started noticing a shift.
“They’re coming from all over Canada, really,” Stannix said. “Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland, we’ve got three families that have moved in here from Texas.”
Many of them are drawn not necessarily by a job, but the way of life, like Sharon McMahon from Ontario.
“We just found the dream house in McAdam,” said McMahon.“We weren’t looking here at all; we just happened to find it and couldn’t have found a better place to live.”
Or Mary Hann from Newfoundland:
“The people here are so friendly, they are just, so kind,” said Hann. “I’ve never met such wonderful people.”
There have been more than 60 homes sold in two years and, for the first time in a half-century, McAdam is seeing its population increase.
“I think the census was 1,151, but based on the number of houses that have sold here in the last two years, we feel that the population has probably grown to about 1,250,” Stannix said.
So much so, they’ve been running out of houses so Stannix came up with an idea.
“We started look around to try and find some land,” Stannix said. “N.B. Housing had some property in the village that had not been sold, so we decided to give them a call.”
Some of the property he’s talking about has already been divided into lots, but there’s a catch.
Anyone who commits to building a home that’s up to 1,200 square feet within the next two years can buy the lot for just $1.
“We’ll try and entice younger families, retirees to move to the community and to live here,” Stannix said.
The village is even offering free water and sewer hookups.
His vision doesn’t stop there, Stannix says.
There are plans for new businesses and tourism opportunities are already in the works.
They’re aiming to build on the momentum of a village once known for its rails and hoping the lure of land will land the village back on the map.