Cathy LeBlanc refers to them, politely, as “tire kickers.” People from “away,” often in possession of a home in Toronto or Vancouver, who are craving a simpler, more soul-nourishing life than whatever rat race they are caught up in. It is a desire that can often lead to the Canada-wide real estate listings and, if the tire kickers dig around a little, to Amherst, a town in Nova Scotia, a stone’s throw (or two) from the Bay of Fundy.
“The tire kickers are all looking for the same thing — peace and quiet,” LeBlanc says. “It is old fashioned here, people don’t lock their doors, and if you moved to Amherst tomorrow every neighbour in the area would show up at your door with something to eat.”
The small-town idyll is further enhanced by the math. Should one, say, cash out of an $800,000 semi-detached anchor-around-the-neck in Toronto, one could purchase any number of reddish-brown sandstone Victorian-era mansions in Amherst with, of course, Cathy LeBlanc’s help. The veteran realtor has an office on Victoria Street, the town’s main drag, not far from 188 Victoria St., one of the mansions she is selling. Originally built as a wedding gift in 1905, it features a turret, stained-glass windows, wainscoting, a grand main staircase and a name — Beau Séjour — although locals simply refer to it as the “Beautiful House.”