Move to Live

Carmen Bonilla

“Everything has happened for the best, and since we moved here amazing things have happened.” - Carmen Bonilla.

Carmen Bonilla was born and raised in Edmonton, while her husband Marvin was born in El Salvador and raised in Medicine Hat. It was when Marvin studied post-secondary in Edmonton, that he and Carmen met. They eventually welcomed four children into the world, and now live in Medicine Hat in 2013 to be closer to Marvin’s family.

Here are the top five reasons why the Bonilla family loves living in Medicine Hat:

1. The large number of parks and playgrounds

“We love checking out a new playground every day. Whether we walk or drive, we take the dog and explore a new trail or park. The kids’ favourite place is Strathcona Island Park. We saw frogs last time we went, so now we always go to the pond to scope them out. We just love being outdoors. Echo Dale Regional Park is another one of our favourite spots, and we always make sure to stop at Redcliff Bakery or McBride’s Bakery to get cookies and donuts to snack on once we get there.”

2. The French community

“I speak French fluently and that was something that was really important to me for my kids to have. One of the things I love about Medicine Hat is the French community here is amazing. When my kids went to Ecole Connaught School, before I started homeschooling, there was so much support, and I am extremely grateful because I didn’t think I was going to find that here.”

3. The circle of moms and homeschooling community

“There is a group here for all moms called, Circle of Moms, and I find everyone in the group is really good at encouraging one another. When we have questions or ideas, there is huge support behind it. I’ve met so many amazing moms from there, and we really have each other's backs. There is also a group called Medicine Hat Homeschoolers, and we’re constantly passing around ideas on where to find free activities, discounts and other informative information about programs and interesting places in the city. It’s another really great way to meet other homeschooling families.”

4. The size of the city

“The city is big enough to have all the necessities, but small enough where the commute time is short and traffic is light. When I take the kids on field trips, the drive is a maximum of twenty minutes, so we barely waste any of their learning time to drive to where we’re going. For the size that it is, we really do have everything for everybody here. It’s a very safe community, and I feel like I can breathe here. The kids can enjoy the outdoors and I don’t need to feel overly worried about their safety.”

5. The beauty of Medicine Hat and the learning opportunities that come with it

“We love walking downtown and we like to look at the old, historical buildings. I’ll tell the kids facts and they just think everything is super cool. It works, because we start to talk about the history of Medicine Hat, and then Alberta which leads to Canada. Medalta Potteries is another building I love because of the history behind it. Our downtown is so diverse and the art murals are absolutely beautiful.”

The future is bright for Carmen and her family. Medicine Hat College allows for her family to plan future education goals, and the option to stay at home is palpable. Carmen says the cost of living has allowed the family to purchase a home in a developed neighbourhood with a beautiful backyard. She got her license when she moved to Medicine Hat because of the light traffic and low parking costs. 

"I always loved Medicine Hat when we would come to visit family. We decided to move, because we thought it’d be the perfect place for the kids,” says Carmen. "Everything has happened for the best, and since we moved here amazing things have happened.”

Carmen Bonilla and her family walking in Strathcona Island Park, one of their favourite parks to adventure in.

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Move to Medicine Hat is actively supported by these lead community minded organizations, and made possible in part through funding / sponsorship.

The Province of Alberta is working in partnership with the Government of Canada to provide employment support programs and services. Les gouvernements de l’Alberta et du Canada travaillent en partenariat et financent conjointement des programmes et des services d’aide à l’emploi.