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New website highlights the perks of living in North Bay

'We came up with the idea to show them that it’s not about what they are giving up by leaving those areas, but it's about what you are gaining by coming to our communities'

Rooted is all about the people and the places that make us proud to call our community home.       

--- is a website that launched in April and is dedicated to showing off everything North Bay and the surrounding area has to offer to prospective future community members.  Sue Symons is the Broker/Owner of Royal Lepage Northern Life Realty, Brokerage and she says this website was a year in the making.  

“In 2022 I was with friends having Easter dinner and one of the people at the table was this very vibrant and bright young lady who is from North Bay but works for a marketing firm in Ottawa now. I was talking to her about this idea of trying to reach consumers before they come to North Bay and to try and really get the general public to understand what we have to offer in North Bay and area,” she says.  

“As a business owner, my business is helping people buy and sell real estate, the city and the community that surrounds us is our storefront. That is what we are selling every single day. Our community. So, I thought, why not take a different approach and let the consumers see who we actually are and what it is that we have to offer and what we’re selling and try to connect with them on that level as well.” 

Symons, who has been in North Bay for 32 years, says she and her husband benefited greatly from being in this community and understand the joys of being here and raising a family here. With all of that in mind, the work began in putting together a website that could showcase the many qualities of North Bay and the surrounding area.  

“We had to understand the different demographics and consumer buying habits and understand who is really looking at moving out of those typical big urban centres,” says Symons.   

“The second part was figuring out how to really connect with somebody. We came up with the idea to show them that it’s not about what they are giving up by leaving those areas, but it's about what they are gaining by coming to our communities. That’s where the marketing plan was really born and the imagery that we are using. For example, you could have traffic or you could have trails.” 

Symons says the imagery is all built around that idea, while using local photographers to piece that together.  

“Using real images of who we are and where we are. Most of the images that you see on our website are of people and places in North Bay and the surrounding area,” she says.  

Symons says since the website has gone live they have received great feedback from users.  

“People love the imagery and the messaging. I’ve been getting a lot of feedback from local business owners – they also ask why we’re promoting the city this way and that gives me an opportunity to say ‘Because that’s what we are selling in real estate, we sell our community.’” 

Symons points to her own story of relocating to North Bay in 1991 as proof that once people get to North Bay it is a place that is hard to leave.  

“We didn’t know anybody. We came here because my husband was relocated for his job and we were just embraced by the community, there were so many things for us to take advantage of as a family. About six years later, his job was going to leave North Bay. We looked at each other and just realized that we didn’t want to leave North Bay. So, he just started applying to other jobs, he found one and we stayed. We just fell in love with the place and this is what we call home,” she says. 

A significant part of North Bay’s population is post-secondary students who come to study at Canadore College and Nipissing University. Much like the Real Estate field, those institutions are recruiting people to the city and Symons says they are finding more students who want to stay here.    

“We work with a lot of the student population from Canadore College and Nipissing University where they are looking to buy homes, or the students' parents are looking to buy homes – and they want to stay here after they finish school. Now with a lot of industries allowing for remote work, staying here after graduating is becoming more of a reality.” 

What’s also becoming more of a reality is the ability to make this website and the imagery more readily available in markets across the country. Symons says their ads are on digital billboards on the Don Valley Parkway or inside terminals in Toronto’s subway stations and bus stops.  

“This is not just a Facebook-sponsored campaign. We are campaigning where people are living. So, for example, there’s a lot of people who live in condos in the Greater Toronto Area, and they have digital display boards in those condos – we are on those display boards,” says Symons.  

“Wherever people are, we are there. We hired a marketing firm to do that for us because I knew that that is what needed to happen in order to get this messaging out, but I had no idea how to make that happen. Whenever you have an idea, you just have to find the right people to surround yourself with to execute it and that’s what we managed to do.”  

Symons says she never thought it would be possible to get these ads in these spaces – and that ties into the message they are selling to the consumer. "We want to show them they can live, work and play in a place they didn’t think that was possible to have it all,” she says.  
“We live in this world of, when we make a choice it either has to be a good or a bad decision. And really, it’s just a different decision and allowing yourself to be open to trying something completely different and not looking at what you’re losing but what you’re gaining.” 

If you have a story idea for the “Rooted” series, send Matt an email at [email protected] 

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Matt Sookram

About the Author: Matt Sookram

Matthew Sookram is a Canadore College graduate. He has lived and worked in North Bay since 2009 covering different beats; everything from City Council to North Bay Battalion.
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