The best newcomer tip I received as a new resident of Golden BC was to check out the facebook group Golden Free Classifieds (GFC), (now called Golden Classifieds) a Golden-style version of kijiji, but with far more flair and immensely more interesting content.
The beauty of Golden Classifieds is that it’s not just a buy and sell site. Yes, you can use it to buy and sell any number of goods and services in Golden and the surrounding area. In the last year alone, we used GFC to sell a set of winter tires and an exercise bike, to find a chimney sweep to clean our fireplace and a handyperson to build us a garden shed, and to rustle up some used tin roofing for our woodshed. Our 12 year old son has used the site with equal success, selling equipment and clothing he’s outgrown or no longer wants.
It’s where many local businesses and organizations post news about upcoming events or sales– Golden Free Classifieds is where I learned about local fitness classes for me, dance classes for my daughter, soccer for my son, obedience classes for our dog, firearms safety courses for my husband, and an amazing big mountain freestyle program for our kids. It’s where I hooked into a women’s only beginner-friendly mountain biking clinic (much-needed for an outdoorsy-lite type like myself), and how I learned where to go for computer repairs, tailoring and mending, and purchasing firewood.
In other words, learning who to call for a clogged chimney or a broken dishwasher in Golden BC isn’t as straightforward as a Google search. It’s as straightforward as GFC. Because as any new Goldenite quickly realizes, many local businesses and organizations don’t have active or up-to-date websites. What they do typically have is a facebook page -- which is terrific once you’re plugged in but doesn’t do you much good before you know what you’re actually looking for.
While Golden Free Classifieds might not be as slick as kijiji – it is only a facebook group after all – it does feel like a much more personal way of doing things. And more personal is definitely more pleasing, at least from my perspective.
But the real specialness of GFC is how it allows Goldenites to communicate with one another beyond the boundaries of just buying and selling, and sharing information about local services. GFC is where you post if you lose your dog or cat, for example, or if you find someone else’s wandering pet. It’s where you can give folks the heads-up about a bear wandering through the neighborhood or a cougar sighting.
It’s even been used as a spot (albeit controversially) for engaging political or local community issues – I’ve seen anti-Monsanto railing and debate, sparks over BC’s recent teacher’s strike, ongoing concerns about bears getting into garbage, and passionate conversations about Golden’s double jeopardy as a town with much underemployment yet which also has severe labour shortages, especially in high seasons.
It’s this whole package that makes GFC unique. And uniquely Golden. Because at the end of the day Golden Free Classifieds is about so much more than just buying and selling. It's part of Golden’s community fabric and communication hub, part of its cultural heartbeat.
Here's a small sampling of other small businesses, clubs or sites in Golden BC that operate mainly (or only) through facebook. If you are doing a general google search, you could miss them completely.
Shape Up Fitness -- Nicki runs group exercise classes at various locations around town and also offers personal training. She does it all -- bootcamp, aerobics, mama fit -- and she offers both drop-in and membership rates. To be in the loop about what's happening each day and where you need to join the Shape Up Fitness group on facebook.
Many people already know about GKHAT, Golden's alpine racing club. But we also have a big mountain freestyle team for youth -- Golden Alpine Rippers or GNAR. GNAR is a non-profit freestyle ski club for youth ages 12 to 18, dedicated to training big mountain skills and preparing athletes to compete in big mountain competitions. GNAR is often seen as the next step for skiers who have learned all they can learn from KHMR’s Freeride Connections program. Again, the GNAR facebook page is where you need to go to find the most up-to-date information about the club and its incredible team of coaches.
Golden Community is a facebook group dedicated to "anything that is happening in Golden BC." It's similar to GFC in the sense that it is a community-based forum for Goldenites, but it's not for buying and selling. It's another great group to join to stay in the loop about things happening in and around town, to ask questions or discuss community issues.