Toronto — Saint John, N.B.-born Rachel MacDonald, 26, has become a local celebrity in her hometown after she packed a U-Haul and moved to the bustling Canadian hub of Toronto, ON.
MacDonald, who studied business at UNBSJ, said that, ever since she was a little girl, she’s had big dreams. “I guess you could say I felt destined for a life beyond the borders of New Brunswick. My friends all wanted to marry a rich Irving employee and live in a nice house in Rothesay, but not me — I was always convinced there was a wide world out there for me to discover, and that everything I was looking for could be found in Toronto.”
Toronto, a city of around 2.6 million people, is known for its diversity in language, food, music, entertainment and culture.
“It’s the polar opposite of New Brunswick,” said MacDonald. “Coffee shops are open later than 8 p.m.; people have tried Ethiopian food; there are actually some jobs for people in their late-20s and early-30s. It’s a veritable utopia.”
MacDonald’s friends and family could not be happier for Rachel, and are ecstatic to know someone who’s accomplished so much in such a short time. “We’re living through her now,” said Neil Morris, a former classmate. “In the New Brunswick social order, people who’ve moved someplace as glamorous as Toronto are at the very top of the food chain. I didn’t aim that high, so I’ll probably be stuck working at some company here in Saint John, but still, it’s cool to be from the same city as her. I hope she posts lots of pictures on Facebook.”
A few acquaintances of MacDonald — who were completely unable to conceal their envy — said they themselves have moved to Toronto only to return shortly after. “It’s really not as big a deal as it’s made out to be,” added one anonymous commenter. “I bet she’ll come crawling back to Saint John within a month.”
“I couldn’t make it out there, so why should she?” said another envious friend. “She’ll find out the hard way that it’s better to be a big fish in a small pond.”
MacDonald’s brother, Joey, said that until recently, he didn’t truly believe Rachel would amount to much. “People always use Toronto as a vague threat, like ‘Oh yeah? I’m just going to move to Toronto — then you’ll be sorry’ and that kinda thing. I guess in her case it was no empty promise. I’m going to miss her, but I sure am proud of her for getting out of New Brunswick without resorting to the oil rigs.”
“It’s the kind of thing everyone talks about, but to see someone actually do it is quite another story,” said MacDonald’s aunt, Karen Brighton, of her niece’s big move. “I always knew there was something special about Rachel, though, and she’s proved me right.”
MacDonald is reportedly unable to find work in Toronto as she has never held a job, and prospective employers have never even heard of Saint John, N.B.
“Regardless of what she’s doing there, just being there makes her a success in our books,” added Brighton.