Welcome back Voyageurs!
Whether you’re brand-new to Sudbury or have been living here your entire life (like me), September is the perfect time to get to know the city you live in. It’s easy to fall into the habit of doing the same things and going to the same places all the time, just waiting to take a vacation to some exotic place (even if you’re new to the city) and then the next thing you know your four years are up and you’ve missed out on a lot (take it from me)! Take the chance before school gets too crazy to explore your city, you’re likely to find some cool hidden gems you would have never known existed before!
Head Downtown and Walk
No matter what city you’re in, downtown is usually a hub for community events and unique local businesses. Taking a bus downtown and just spending the day strolling around with friends is a great way to discover new places and hear about upcoming gatherings. Walking (as opposed to driving or taking the bus) will make you slow down and become more aware of the world around you. This way you’re more likely to see that hidden coffee shop, that cool mural, that great local boutique display or that poster for an upcoming event.
Keep an Eye Out
There are plenty of local activities and events going on around you that you probably just don’t know are happening. That’s why it’s important to keep an eye open for posters and other print ads, listen for interesting things either on the radio or just in your group of friends, and pay attention to great sources for local experiences like social media, newsletters and your favourite local businesses’ websites.
Read Local Content
Take some time during your study breaks or while you’re waiting for the bus to read local publications like Our Crater, CBC, the Sudbury Star, city websites or other student blogs to keep track of what’s going on around the city. This is a great way to hear about upcoming events, new businesses, local groups and other interesting activities.
When you do hear about something you’d be interested in, write it down! Start a list on your phone or add it to your calendar so that it doesn’t get lost in all the memory space your upcoming midterms are taking up. Then, when you’re bored on a Friday night and don’t know what to do, you can just check your list!
Sometimes you just need to step outside of the box to find new activities that interest you. Do you love sweets? Spend the day searching for the best donut in town. Want to see more art? Stroll the streets and check out the city’s murals. Living that broke student life? Challenge your friends to see who can come up with the best way to spend day by spending the least amount of money. Don’t always stick to the same restaurant-Starbucks-movies routine, try something new!
Pretend You’re a Tourist
If you’ve lived in Sudbury most of your life, chances are you’re pretty stuck in your ways and routines. A good way to think outside the box and find new things is to pretend you’re not from here or that you’re entertaining a friend from out of town for the weekend. When my friend Nick from Australia (who I met during my exchange in Italy) came to Canada to travel the east coast with me, I made sure to find some fun activities for us to do while he was in Sudbury. This forced me to do things I wouldn’t normally take the time to do, like trying to find the city’s best poutine, going to Dynamic Earth (as you can see in the cover image), walking the Lily Creek Boardwalk and doing a game night at Let’s Scrabbalatte board game cafe. Bonus: If you’re new to Sudbury this will be extra easy for you!
A city is only good as its residents, so give back when you can. You can do this in so many ways: attending a local event, inviting your friends along with you to explore, sharing your experiences online and encouraging others to join you, volunteering for an organization, and so much more! We can’t expect for a city to grow and offer new experiences if we as citizens don’t participate and contribute, even if it’s just in a small way.
Have an Open Mind
This one is key to enjoying your time in any city. It’s easy to look around and say “There’s nothing to do here”, but most of the time it’s the things you didn’t expect to be that great that you end up enjoying the most. It’s all about the people you’re with and the attitude you have!
This summer I took the time to see what Sudbury has to offer beyond my usual routine and hangout spots, and I discovered some great things that I really enjoyed, like Movie Night Under the Stars, Sudbury Trivia Night (my team usually gets prizes for losing horribly), Chillin’ N’ Tubing and Science North’s free Star Parties. While some of these may not be going on during the school year, it just goes to show you that even after 21 years of living here and complaining about having nothing to do, just by putting in a little bit of effort I was able to find tons of things to do for the summer!
I hope this post has encouraged you to spend some time exploring the city you live in, and if it helps you find any cool local event or business, I’d love for you to share with me and the rest of the LU blogging community by commenting below!