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SDG's Date My County contest selects winning couple – Cornwall Standard-Freeholder

This article has been edited to correct a date. 

In August, the United Counties of SDG launched a unique contest opportunity geared towards attracting newcomers to settle in the area.

This week, a successful match was announced for the Date My County initiative. Emily Tohana and Michael Bricteau of Montreal are now set to relocate to the community in the fall of 2023 and receive $1,500 for 12 consecutive months of housing support.

“We are thrilled. We go between being thrilled and then all of a sudden realizing it (with shock) all over again. It floats between surreal and excitement. Knowing all the preparations we have in front of us as well (is daunting),” said Tohana, chuckling. “It has been so great working with (SDG staff)… in terms of managing our move there and looking for jobs.”

The contest asked applicants to submit a one-minute video and a brief, 50-word blurb explaining why they should be the winners of the ‘date.’ It was also outlined the successful candidate(s) must act as brand-ambassadors for SDG during their 12-months of living locally, through journaling and two blog posts each month.

Tohana is looking forward to the continuation of content creation exploring life in SDG, as well as documenting the less aesthetic parts of their journey, like what’s involved in relocating to a new province, and searching for housing. She said they enjoyed making their winning video submission with the help of her brother, and may continue with the video format. Tohana said they were confident with their submission.

“Picking a winner was no simple matter, but ultimately one application simply stood out,” reads an SDG press release, noting that Tohana and Bricteau’s video was mostly filmed in SDG. “Time and again, the committee of council tasked with the job of picking their brand ambassador came back to (their application). In their submission, Tohana wrote that ‘originally from Whitby, Ont., and Rosemere, Que., we’re now coming to you from Montreal! With family on the borders of Ontario and Quebec, and familial roots in Glen Roy, back through René & Carmel Roy, we would be honoured to have the opportunity to settle-in and showoff SDG.’”

Despite the contest only being open to residents of Canada, applications came in from across the globe, from people of various backgrounds and professions, with most sharing their dreams of having a better life.

“It felt like, suddenly, every part of the world knew where SDG Counties was. We began receiving
applications from Mexico, Iraq, Switzerland, and Hong Kong. We had numerous applications from the
Middle East and as far away as Egypt, and India,” said SDG manager of economic development
Tara Kirkpatrick, who served as project co-ordinator for the contest.

“A total of 177 applied to the contest and they all shared the same sentiment of yearning for this
opportunity to start afresh and launch an adventure. For many of them, this contest represented hope for a better life.”

As to which of the six municipalities in SDG Tohana and Bricteau might settle in, Tohana said they currently have their eye on South Glengarry, given its close proximity to Montreal, should job prospects arise there. Bricteau, who is on track to be a certified arborist, will be looking for new local work opportunities. Tohana said she has some flexibility working remotely, but will keep an open mind.

The couple is looking forward to exploring more locally owned small businesses and recreation opportunities.

“The goal of the Date My County campaign was to showcase the region to young families and working
professionals who might want to relocate to the region. I think we can safely say that we hit that
benchmark,” said newly acclaimed SDG Warden-elect Tony Fraser.


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