Nosy Neighbours

Nosy Neighbours

On the subject of typical Canadian pastimes, I thought I’d talk about our last few weekends in Winnipeg. Over the past few weeks we have been actively searching for a base, a new (or new to us) house in Manitoba’s capital, the city of Winnipeg. In Canada, one of the major techniques for selling houses is to hold an Open House.

This means potential buyers just show up at the advertised time, without having to call ahead to arrange viewings via estate agents. What this actually means is that every man and his dog is more than welcome to come snooping around the property. Canadians love Home Improvement; the TV is full of DIY destruction and construction programmes but there is nothing like checking out in person what ‘upgrades’ have been made to a neighbour’s kitchen, sunroom or basement. It gives Neighbourhood Watch a whole new meaning!

It seems to me that some people view Open Houses as a weekend hobby. They spend their weekends driving all around town just to take a sneak peak at someone else’s property while they have no intention of buying. Only last weekend we went to an Open House that was swarming with people. It was like a family reunion with people kissing and hugging in the corridors and ‘Oh Uncle John will be arriving shortly’ and ‘Wow, I didn’t think you could make it! How lovely to see you,’ exclaimed in the lounge.

Canadian curiosity does not stop at the house itself but rests with its contents too! Yard or garage sales are a big hit, especially in the summer months. People selling off objects from the depths of their attic, basement or garage attract scores of people who enjoy spending an afternoon rummaging through their neighbours’ affairs, drinking homemade lemonade with cookies and going home with someone else’s junk. Well, as they say, ‘One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.’

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