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Syzygy
09-06-2011, 07:57 AM
What are the best places to live in Canada? :confused3

Revewing the rankings published by MoneySense’s “Canada’s Best Places to Live” in 2010 & 2011, they list the following as the best options:

Ottawa-Gatineau
Victoria
Burlington
Kingston
Brandon

The Economist's ranks the World's Most Liveable Cities in 2011 as:

No. 3 Vancouver
No. 4 Toronto
No. 5 Calgary

The Mercer 2010 Quality of Living Survey ranks Vancouver as No. 4

Taking into consideration standard topics such as: family friendly, housing affordability, incomes, job prospects, crime rates, access to health care, and weather; any recommendations as the best places to live in Canada? :confused: [Also, any specific neighborhood recommendations are welcome]. Thanks in advance! :thanks:

Ken_Breadbox
09-06-2011, 08:20 AM
Any ranking is likely not to jibe with your own personal assessment. The Economist's subscriber base tends to skew rich, so 'affordability' is not in their criteria. Vancouver is a gorgeous city outside about a six square block radius, but it's almost San Diegan in terms of living expense. Toronto has cheaper ancillaries but its housing is very pricey. Calgary, likewise, has seen a massive boom that has hit the infastructure hard and skyrocketed the prices.
So...first, where are you coming from, and what do you like/dislike about where you are now? What kind of environment suits you? Do you like a big cosmopolitan metropolis or is a smaller city more to your liking? When you say 'weather', what kind of weather are you looking to avoid? Is rain okay, so long as it isn't snow very often? Or do you prefer it sunny as much as possible?
Job market--what kind of job do you do/are you looking to do?
Nobody can just flat out say "this is the best place to live in the country". There are waaaay too many variables.

Syzygy
09-06-2011, 08:40 AM
Thanks for all the background information! Regarding the clarifying questions:

- Coming from the Midwest U.S.
- Generally pleased with current, but looking for a change (scenery/people/culture/environment).
- Would like to be in proximity to a larger cosmopolitan metropolis, while actually living in a smaller city (suburb) with access to nature (perhaps mountains or water).
- Variety in weather is good; would like to avoid year-round snow.
- As long as there is access to internet, job market neutral. Would prefer low unemployment and thriving technology (entrepreneur) market.

Thanks again!

Davey-D-99
09-06-2011, 09:06 AM
Sounds to me like you are exactly describing the Waterloo, Ontario region...Home of RIM BlackBerry and many, many other tech companies. It's one to two hours away from everything else you have described as well....from Blue Mountain to beautiful Muskoka and Georgian Bay to all that the Greater Toronto Area has to offer as well.

It's especially good if you a really looking for variety in your weather:eek:

Autumn is amazing in Southern Ontario....However we get some cold, snowy winters and hot, hot summers.

pad406
09-06-2011, 09:14 AM
Subbing onto this as we are also thinking of potentially moving to Canada.

Gigi22
09-06-2011, 10:08 AM
OP, ducking flames here possibly--I guess I will be the first to mention the elephant in the room--are you willing to learn French? I ask because moving to Ottawa-Gatineau more or less requires a knowledge of French, unless you are in a very technical/specialized field--and never intend to work for any level of government. You can work for companies like Alcatel, for example, and not know any French. (FYI, the language laws in Quebec can be challenging to negotiate as well).

Ken_Breadbox
09-06-2011, 10:19 AM
I live in Waterloo myself and would heartily second it. The city is actually three cities, Kitchener, Waterloo, and Cambridge, and each city's denizens are fiercely proud of their own part of town and resist every urge to amalgamate. But truth be told, if you're not from here, it's hard to tell where one city ends and another begins.
The total population of the three cities is close to half a million, but they retain a small town feel. (I kid you not--the local paper once featured the headline POTBELLY PIGS MAKE PERFECT PETS on page A1 above the fold.) Toronto beckons a little over an hour away. It's a good place. Crime is minimal, there's lots of greenspace, and if you have kids it's a great place to raise a family.

Ken_Breadbox
09-06-2011, 10:21 AM
OP, ducking flames here possibly--I guess I will be the first to mention the elephant in the room--are you willing to learn French? I ask because moving to Ottawa-Gatineau more or less requires a knowledge of French, unless you are in a very technical/specialized field--and never intend to work for any level of government. You can work for companies like Alcatel, for example, and not know any French. (FYI, the language laws in Quebec can be challenging to negotiate as well).

"The room" that contains that elephant, it should be noted, is primarily along the Ontario-Quebec border, in New Brunswick, or in a choice few other areas outside Quebec itself. Nobody will care a fart in a glove if you know French in Vancouver (though Mandarin's a definite advantage in that city.)

TagsMissy
09-06-2011, 10:37 AM
"The room" that contains that elephant, it should be noted, is primarily along the Ontario-Quebec border, in New Brunswick, or in a choice few other areas outside Quebec itself. Nobody will care a fart in a glove if you know French in Vancouver (though Mandarin's a definite advantage in that city.)

Being from Vancouver, Cantonese is more widespread here.

ccudmore
09-06-2011, 11:15 AM
Keep in mind you can't simply show up at the border and say you want to move to Canada and look for a job. You'll probably have to have a job already lined up before you move and your employer will have to show that they were unable to find a qualified Canadian for the job. Now having said that there are exemptions in NAFTA for people who are in high-demand job areas including the technology field. I'm not sure what the Canadian equivalant is but the US has the TN status visas (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TN_status) for this type of thing. Probably good idea to talk to an immigration lawyer or consultant before going too far down the path.

Now as to where to live, some thoughts:
- If you're looking for a thriving technology market, Waterloo is the place to be for sure. Tons of tech companies thriving there plus you're only an hour to Toronto if you want more of the big city. Very livable place to live (I spent 5 years there for University) and the entire Southern Ontario area has a lot of diversity.
- Ottawa is also a great place to live (I live there now). I don't speak French and it's never been an impediment to me for work. I work in the tech field and there's also a pretty good tech job market as well, although not as good as it once was. Ottawa is very much an ourdoors city - tons of hiking, biking, skiing, etc. Vibrant cultural scene, although not as much as Toronto or Montreal.
- Another "out there" choice is Saskatoon. It's the fastest growing city in Canada with a big influx of tech jobs in the past couple years. Closer to your mid-west roots but not close to much outside the city.
- Kelowna. All the beauty of the mountains and lakes in BC but without the huge crowds and expenses of Vancouver. Plus Disney Interactive Studios has a large development shop there if you're looking for a job.
- Calgary. Not as nice as it once was. The population boom has overwhelemed the city's infrastruture but it still has a lot of western charm.

About 14 years ago my wife and I spent over a year looking at cities across North America to decide where to relocate. Based on all of the factors that were important to us (good job market, lots to see and do, great place to raise a family, not too far away from relatives) we chose Ottawa. The only things we miss from Southern Ontario are the great lakes beaches and going to Stratford. Other than that, we don't regret the move at all.

I've lived in or spent a fair bit of time in most Canadian cities so feel free to ask about other options here as well.

dgkjh
09-06-2011, 12:24 PM
I live in Waterloo myself and would heartily second it. The city is actually three cities, Kitchener, Waterloo, and Cambridge, and each city's denizens are fiercely proud of their own part of town and resist every urge to amalgamate. But truth be told, if you're not from here, it's hard to tell where one city ends and another begins.
The total population of the three cities is close to half a million, but they retain a small town feel. (I kid you not--the local paper once featured the headline POTBELLY PIGS MAKE PERFECT PETS on page A1 above the fold.) Toronto beckons a little over an hour away. It's a good place. Crime is minimal, there's lots of greenspace, and if you have kids it's a great place to raise a family.

I will chime in from Guelph, which is not far away and not considered part of the "tri-cities" area, but has a lot of similarities.

I live in Guelph and work in Waterloo, at a high tech firm and have done the short commute (30 minutes door to door) for 15+ years. Guelph is a more distinct city with respect to city limits in that it doesn't blend the way that Kitchener/Waterloo/Cambridge do and it is slightly closer to Toronto.

Waterloo has two universities and so that is a significant factor in the city. Guelph also has a university that is known for it's agriculture and veterinary programs.

I grew up in southern Manitoba and spent several summers in my university days working in Calgary. Have had family in Ottawa and so made a lot of visits there as well. I have often said that if we were to move, I would seriously consider Ottawa, largely due to the great outdoor opportunities and one could likely get by with one vehicle, utilizing public transportation for work. Great cycling and running paths. Calgary is the same, but as has been noted, it has grown a lot and the cost of living has risen.

To me cost of living is a huge factor and so Vancouver and that region is pretty much out of the running, though the area is gorgeous and the outdoor opportunities are excellent.

In terms of weather I find that SW Ontario is a bit iffy in the winter in that it often can't make up it's mind if there is going to be rain, freezing rain, or snow, with the temps often closer to 0 (32F). A place like Ottawa is a bit more consistent in that it will be colder and thus snow will usually stay on the ground, as opposed to a lot of snow/melt/snow again cycles. For those who like winter, and winter activities, that can be a factor. Winter is good, but thankfully in all of the big centers it does end and we have good to great summers.

Those listings from MoneySense (to me) carry a bit more weight and are easier to believe.

As I have often heard before (and subscribe to), Toronto is a great place to visit, but not necessarily live. We love living in Guelph and having fairly easy access to world class events in Toronto - theatre, concerts and stuff like that. Pearson International Airport is huge and modern and gives you access to the world, but (as with most Canadian airports) is fairly expensive. As has been noted in the Canadian side of things with respect to Disney and flights to Orlando, living near Buffalo has advantages as well.

Ok, back to the tri-cities (and Guelph) area. Another great thing is that you could live in one city and work in another and so really one has the option of 4 locations, and the ensuing combinations, for living and work. The commuting is not bad at all so one doesn't have to find work in the city that they live in, though of course that is always a nice situation to have.

Looking forward to what others have to say.

roxysmum123
09-06-2011, 12:58 PM
Personal top Canadian areas to live in are Vancouver, Toronto, Guelph, Hamilton, Barrie, Charlottetown. If money wasn't a factor I'd be in Vancouver in a heartbeat, but since it is Guelph, Hamilton or Barrie are prob where I'll end up.

Tower
09-06-2011, 01:53 PM
Being from the Greater Toronto Area, I do second the Waterloo Region. Not as rush-rush as Toronto, but close enough to the 'big smoke' when you need to be. Waterloo does have an international airport, though not many commercial flights come through. While no mountains (then I'd recommend Calgary), it's a great place.
The only reason we don't move there is because we have our roots close by and we like to be close.

gifchick
09-06-2011, 01:54 PM
OP, ducking flames here possibly--I guess I will be the first to mention the elephant in the room--are you willing to learn French? I ask because moving to Ottawa-Gatineau more or less requires a knowledge of French, unless you are in a very technical/specialized field--and never intend to work for any level of government. You can work for companies like Alcatel, for example, and not know any French. (FYI, the language laws in Quebec can be challenging to negotiate as well).

I am currently in the Ottawa-Gatineau area, and it is true that 85% of the jobs need you to be billingual. You can get by fine in Ottawa without knowing French however sometimes in Quebec you will get some people who don't know English.

That being said, I love the area and wouldn't change anything about it.

If you have any other questions about the area send me a PM and I can answer your questions.

two*little*birds
09-06-2011, 02:12 PM
Keep in mind you can't simply show up at the border and say you want to move to Canada and look for a job. You'll probably have to have a job already lined up before you move and your employer will have to show that they were unable to find a qualified Canadian for the job. Now having said that there are exemptions in NAFTA for people who are in high-demand job areas including the technology field. I'm not sure what the Canadian equivalant is but the US has the TN status visas (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TN_status) for this type of thing. Probably good idea to talk to an immigration lawywer or consultant before going too far down the path.

Was going to chime in with the same details but you already covered it... :thumbsup2

ferris198
09-06-2011, 03:19 PM
Was going to chime in with the same details but you already covered it... :thumbsup2

Given Dalton McGuintys election platform it may not be a problem if he is reelected.

SmilingGrump
09-06-2011, 04:22 PM
You'll get a lot of Ontario responses because most of the Canadian members on this board are from Ontario so I'm bucking the trend and would recommend Alberta.

Unlike the other provinces, there is a massive worker shortage here in Alberta. Workers are being imported not from just around Canada, but from around the world. There's quite a growing high tech sector, if that's what you're looking for, but there's also lots of other jobs, particularly anything connected to the oil and natural gas and Alberta is on the cutting edge of technology when it comes to those. Other posters mentioned that there's been a recent housing boom here ... well, it has slowed down a bit, but it is still growing and that's because there's tons of jobs here.

Living near Edmonton, I'm no fan of Calgary (it's a sports rivalry thing), but Calgary does have a lot going for it. It's much closer to the US border and to the mountains. Winters are milder then Edmonton with chinooks blowing in frequently. It has fantastic flight connections, and it has a large number of corporate headquarters. Yes, its traffic sucks (for Canada) but it does have a few outlying communities that aren't so bad (Cochrane and Airdrie are great places).

Housing prices are more affordable in Cochrane and Airdrie, but even in Calgary you're looking at considerably less then Toronto or Vancouver (expect $1mil+ for Vancouver, and you won't get much). Kelowna is also quite expensive for home prices.

Alberta is also cheaper to live in. There's no provincial sales tax and there's much more of an entreprenurial spirit. The closest similarities to Albertans would be Texans and those from Colorado.

While I'd love to recommend Edmonton, we're farther from the mountains here (3-4 hours instead of Calgary's 45min), our winters are harsher, and our flight connections are poor (though that should improve with the newest terminal expansion). Edmonton is more blue collar while Calgary is white collar ... though Edmonton is the HQ for Bioware :)

As for Toronto or anywhere along the Great Lakes, the winters there can be much worse then here. Personally, I'd much rather face -30 out here then -15 in Toronto, the humidity there cuts right through you.

Vancouver, though much warmer, is very much like Seattle. It rains. A LOT.

Someone recommended Saskatoon, and it is a great city. However, it's even more remote then Edmonton in terms of flights to the US. It's even farther from mountains, though some of the lakes in the area are quite nice. There's a joke here on the prairies that it's so flat if you live in Saskatoon you can wave to your friend in Winnipeg.

Speaking of Winnipeg ... avoid it if you have a choice. The people are great, but picture a city with the wind of Chicago and the bitter coldness of the high arctic :scared1:


In the end, you need to really decide what kind of job you'd like and what kind of lifestyle you'd like to live. If you're looking for something close to midwest US, then you'd likely have more in common with those in Alberta or Saskatchewan. If you want to do lots of skiing and boating, then British Columbia, Calgary or some parts of Ontario might be better suited.

If you're able to get a bit more specific in the type of job you're looking for, I'm sure we'll all be able to point you a little closer to a possible destination (or, more likely, several destinations lol)

ccudmore
09-06-2011, 05:27 PM
Given Dalton McGuintys election platform it may not be a problem if he is reelected.

Not that I'm defending him, but that's not at all what the election platform says.

ferris198
09-06-2011, 08:44 PM
[QUOTE=ccudmore;42535628]Not that I'm defending him, but that's not at all what the election platform says.[/QU
Oh sorry you are correct $10,000.00 for businesses who hire new immigrants

GrtWtNorth
09-07-2011, 01:28 PM
The best advice I received was from a corporate VP who was working on a project with me when I was employed with a not-for-profit corporation in Ottawa:
"There are only three decent cities for doing business in Canada. They are the only metros not corrupted by being national or provincial capitals: Vancouver, Calgary and Montreal." For the most part, his advice rings true.

* Ottawa-Gatineau : I lived there for 8 years. It's a beautiful city, with great bike paths, waterways (canals and rivers), as well as hiking and skiing in the Gatineau hills. Night-life is a bit dim -- we would drive to Montreal or Mont Tremblant (2 hours) for a night on the town or a weekend getaway. The economy is based on the federal government, plus a cluster of high-tech firms based in the suburb of Kanata. Federal government jobs, as well as many local retail and service jobs require fluent bilingual staff. The climate is challenging with humid heat in the summer and abundant snow in the winter. Spring and fall are ideal.

* Toronto (never lived here) is the cultural center of Canada, whether we like to admit it or not. Most TV networks are headquartered here, and Toronto is the city in Canada to enjoy Broadway-style theater. It's also the only city in Canada to have US professional MLB and NBA. (Toronto desperately wants a NFL team too.) You may not notice much of a difference coming from the Midwest. The climate of the city is not that different than other cities on the Great Lakes like Cleveland, Chicago and Buffalo. The economy is diverse, and includes the provincial government. The weather is similar to Ottawa, with slightly warmer summers and less snowy winters.

* Montreal (never lived here) has a very vibrant street culture, with festivals every weekend throughout the summer. Locals are fluently bilingual and new residents are encouraged to speak both English and French. Rent is cheap, but buying a new house is typical for a city of 6 million people. It's also a reasonable 5-hour drive to NYC or Boston. The provincial bureaucracy is a bit of a burden, as all services are offered in French, with a bare minimum also offered in English. Weather is similar to Ottawa, with muggy hot summers. However Montreal tends to get more snow than Ottawa.

* Vancouver - An amazing city, with a very mild climate, mountain views in every direction, and very diverse cultures. I lived here 4 years and loved it. Rent is reasonable, but buying a home is very, very expensive. (Rule of thumb for buying a single family home: start at $1 million, subtract $200k for every 20 minutes of commuting you are willing to tolerate.) The economy is based more on services, shipping and tourism, with resources (forestry and mining) playing a diminishing role. Since Vancouver is such an attractive destination, employers are able to pay less than would be normal for a city with such a high cost of living. There is also a culture of hiring through personal networks -- you're more likely to find work because of who you know rather than what you know. Surrounded by world class beaches, parks, mountains and skiing, it's an ideal place to call home. My biggest shock at living in Vancouver was a neighbour telling to me on February 15, "Wow. Wasn't that a long winter?" I grew up in rural Alberta, expecting winter snow storms until the end of April. The concept that winter was over by mid-February was a very pleasant surprise. Every year I lived in Vancouver, there were least a couple +20C(+70F) days in February -- perfect for firing up the BBQ and drinking a Corona in the sun.

* Calgary -- (Lived here +3 years.) The engine of the Canadian economy, Calgary hosts more corporate headquarters than any city in Canada, except perhaps Toronto. There is also a very strong independent and outdoorsy culture. While Calgary has an infrastructure of city parks and river pathways that are expected for a city of 1 million people, it's real value is it's close proximity to the Canadian Rockies, with world class hiking, kayaking, canoeing and skiing. Alberta winters are cold (-30 for one or two weeks each winter), but snowfall is just a fraction of what falls in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, and cities in the US Midwest. Calgary is also blessed with a weather phenomenon called "Chinook", which is a warm winter wind that melts most snow and heats the city up to 15C (60F) for about one week per month throughout winter. The economy is resource based, a bit volatile, with significant focus on Canadian and US energy markets. Housing is reasonable, with most single family homes selling between $200k and $800k depending on age and neighbourhood. Rental prices are reasonable now, but prices spike and opportunities are scarce whenever the price of oil nudges over $120 per barrel. Hiring is done partly by "who you know", but credentials are very important. In fact, skilled workers with credentials are highly valued. Head-hunters and recruiters are very active, and companies frequently poach skilled staff from their competitors.

* Edmonton -- (lived here 5 years) Years ago, Edmonton and Calgary were virtual twins. However, Edmonton has followed a different development path than Calgary. Only a few companies are headquartered in the shell of Edmonton's downtown. However, its proximity to the burgeoning oil sands development makes it a hub for manufacturing, engineering, and energy research. As the provincial capital, Edmonton's economy is also somewhat cushioned from the ups and downs of the oil industry. Summers in Edmonton are wonderful, with a festival schedule that rivals Montreal. However, winters are bleak, with the ground blanketed in snow continuously from November to March. (No Chinook here.) It's also a much longer drive to the Rocky Mountains (5 hours) compared to Calgary (less than 2 hours).

Note: Shopping day trips to the US are common for residents of Quebec, Ontario, and British Columbia. (When we lived in Ottawa, we would make weekend trips to New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio. When we lived in Vancouver, we made day-trips to outlet malls near Seattle.) It's important to realize that this is not possible living in Alberta. Edmonton and Calgary are several hundred miles from the border. And even if it were closer, there are no major cities in Montana. It would be cheaper and more productive to fly to Las Vegas and go shopping there.

GrtWtNorth
09-07-2011, 04:21 PM
I forgot to mention one other important factor -- many Canadian cities lack regular flights to Orlando.

Ottawa-Gatineau: There appears to be one daily non-stop flight. Most flights to Orlando connect through other cities (Toronto and Montreal are adjacent hubs for Canadian airlines). Despite being the capital, Ottawa isn't an airport hub.

Toronto: There are many flights between Canada's busiest airport and Orlando, as well as LA. Stiff competition means that flights are cheap relative to other Canadian airports. For cheapest flights, drive to Buffalo or Syracuse and then fly.

Montreal: While not as busy as Toronto, Montreal is the headquarters of Air Canada. There are several daily flights to Orlando. Cheaper flights are available from Plattsburg, Albany, or Montpellier.

Vancouver: Vancouver is a major airline hub for flights to asia. But flights to Orlando almost always have to connect somewhere else. There are countless flights to LA every day. However, flying out of Vancouver is expensive. (We would drive to Seattle to catch direct flights to Orlando or Anaheim.)

Calgary: Direct flights to Orlando are rare (once per week), but there are few more choices going to LA. To get to Orlando, you almost always have to connect. The good news is that there are lots of flights out of Calgary that connect with flights to Orlando (Seattle, Denver, Houston, Minneapolis, Chicago, Toronto...). There is no major US airport within reasonable driving distance.

Edmonton: Like Ottawa, Edmonton is not a major airline hub. Canadian airlines route most Edmonton passengers through Calgary, Vancouver or Toronto en route to Orlando. Direct Orlando flights are rare. Direct flights to LA are more common. There is no major US airport within reasonable driving distance.

GreatGranny
09-07-2011, 07:48 PM
If you like the idea of being near Toronto, but want to live in the suburbs, you might consider Oakville or Burlington, both to the west of Toronto along Lake Ontario. Both have a small town feel, very easy access to Toronto by highway or GO Train, 30-45 minutes from the US border (depending upon where you cross), easy access to Niagara Falls and Buffalo airport, each has a hospital and a Performing Arts Centre (new in Burlington). You may have to commute to Toronto for work.

HeatherLassell
09-07-2011, 09:47 PM
Speaking of Winnipeg ... avoid it if you have a choice. The people are great, but picture a city with the wind of Chicago and the bitter coldness of the high arctic :scared1:


HAHA I laugh cause it's true. We get highs of 30C in summer and our provincial bird is the MOSQUITO! j/k. Winnipeg can be rather windy. We also get LOWS of -30 all the way to -45C with the windchill in winter. *ps I don't think unless you are WAAAAAY up north you could experience year round snow*

You're also very likely to have your car stolen here since I think we hold some record for that. I don't know one person (including myself) who hasn't had their car either stolen or vandalised. How sad is that?

Winnipeg is also the murder capital of Canada. (PER CAPITA....it's not as big of a city as Toronto or Vancouver....so I'm sure based on murder #'s alone we wouldn't be #1)

I live 45 minutes out of Winnipeg and it's a nice little city of 15'000.

I would recommend Calgary. Alberta has nice weather. Lot's of fun things to do and it would DEFINATELY be less expensive than Vancouver (which is beautiful but more rain than sun) or Toronto (very BIG!).

Of course this is all just my opinion.

drag n' fly
09-07-2011, 10:40 PM
You'll get a lot of Ontario responses because most of the Canadian members on this board are from Ontario so I'm bucking the trend and would recommend Alberta.

Unlike the other provinces, there is a massive worker shortage here in Alberta. Workers are being imported not from just around Canada, but from around the world. There's quite a growing high tech sector, if that's what you're looking for, but there's also lots of other jobs, particularly anything connected to the oil and natural gas and Alberta is on the cutting edge of technology when it comes to those. Other posters mentioned that there's been a recent housing boom here ... well, it has slowed down a bit, but it is still growing and that's because there's tons of jobs here.

Living near Edmonton, I'm no fan of Calgary (it's a sports rivalry thing), but Calgary does have a lot going for it. It's much closer to the US border and to the mountains. Winters are milder then Edmonton with chinooks blowing in frequently. It has fantastic flight connections, and it has a large number of corporate headquarters. Yes, its traffic sucks (for Canada) but it does have a few outlying communities that aren't so bad (Cochrane and Airdrie are great places).

Housing prices are more affordable in Cochrane and Airdrie, but even in Calgary you're looking at considerably less then Toronto or Vancouver (expect $1mil+ for Vancouver, and you won't get much). Kelowna is also quite expensive for home prices.

Alberta is also cheaper to live in. There's no provincial sales tax and there's much more of an entreprenurial spirit. The closest similarities to Albertans would be Texans and those from Colorado.

While I'd love to recommend Edmonton, we're farther from the mountains here (3-4 hours instead of Calgary's 45min), our winters are harsher, and our flight connections are poor (though that should improve with the newest terminal expansion). Edmonton is more blue collar while Calgary is white collar ... though Edmonton is the HQ for Bioware :)

As for Toronto or anywhere along the Great Lakes, the winters there can be much worse then here. Personally, I'd much rather face -30 out here then -15 in Toronto, the humidity there cuts right through you.

Vancouver, though much warmer, is very much like Seattle. It rains. A LOT.

Someone recommended Saskatoon, and it is a great city. However, it's even more remote then Edmonton in terms of flights to the US. It's even farther from mountains, though some of the lakes in the area are quite nice. There's a joke here on the prairies that it's so flat if you live in Saskatoon you can wave to your friend in Winnipeg.

Speaking of Winnipeg ... avoid it if you have a choice. The people are great, but picture a city with the wind of Chicago and the bitter coldness of the high arctic :scared1:


In the end, you need to really decide what kind of job you'd like and what kind of lifestyle you'd like to live. If you're looking for something close to midwest US, then you'd likely have more in common with those in Alberta or Saskatchewan. If you want to do lots of skiing and boating, then British Columbia, Calgary or some parts of Ontario might be better suited.

If you're able to get a bit more specific in the type of job you're looking for, I'm sure we'll all be able to point you a little closer to a possible destination (or, more likely, several destinations lol)

Calgary:thumbsup2. Never mind the fact I was born here and moved back here 11 years ago. Truly the land of milk and honey for those who work hard and network!
Hangs head in shame for the Labour Day classic stats lol:blush:

SmilingGrump
09-07-2011, 11:33 PM
Hangs head in shame for the Labour Day classic stats lol:blush:

I'd rub in the Stampeder loss ... but that's the surest way to have a humiliating loss in 2 days :lmao:


(sorry ... didn't mean to hijack the thread, just can't resist the Eskimo-Stampeder rivalry)

Syzygy
09-08-2011, 12:13 PM
Everyone: Thank you for all of the detailed responses/details/opinions. I greatly appreciate each of the recommendations!

Davey-D-99, Ken_Breadbox, & Tower: Waterloo sounds quite nice.
ccudmore: Thank you for the visa & paper-work call-out & link.
GrtWtNorth: Thank you for the quote/recommendation and the detailed breakdowns.

Regardless of my motivations/preferences, should we take a final vote for favorites? To summarize, here are all the locations mentioned throughout the thread:

Airdrie
Alberta
Barrie
Brandon
Burlington
Calgary
Charlottetown
Cochrane
Edmonton
Guelph
Hamilton
Kelowna
Kingston
Montreal
Oakville
Ottawa-Gatineau
Saskatoon
Toronto
Vancouver
Victoria
Waterloo (Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge)
Winnipeg

tigger2on
09-08-2011, 12:35 PM
I am from Toronto born & bred and therefore, we live in the suburbs (Etobicoke) however, if we had a chance to move we'd go to Burlington. Great smaller city with awesome recreation choices. It is 40 minutes to Toronto by car but they also have access to the GO train system which makes things easy for nights out for theatre etc. Plus it is right on the lake so lots of beach areas, parks, paths.

GrtWtNorth
09-08-2011, 03:16 PM
Regardless of my motivations/preferences, should we take a final vote for favorites? To summarize, here are all the locations mentioned throughout the thread:

Here's my 2 cents.

Airdrie - nice booming city of ~40,000. Closer to Calgary International Airport than most of Calgary. Housing is $100k to $200k less than Calgary, but there are less services (limited public transit, hospital emergency room closes at 9 pm). School shortages are an issue. 8/10

Alberta - The province is too diverse to make any generalizations other than that the lowest sales taxes in Canada are a nice perk, and winters are relatively long compared to Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. Alberta winter = dry and cold. Ontario and Quebec winter = wet and cool. In Alberta, a typical winter storm will drop 10-15 cm/4-6 inches of dry, fluffy snow. In Ontario and Quebec, winter storms typically drop 15-30 cm/6-12 inches of wet, heavy snow, often mixed with freezing rain and/or sleet. Shoveling in Alberta is much easier.

Barrie

Brandon

Burlington

Calgary - Great city with a booming economy. Lots of job opportunities. 9/10

Charlottetown

Cochrane - Another Calgary bedroom community, about half the size of Airdrie. It's also closer to the mountains than either Calgary or Airdrie. With the mountain views, the housing prices are very similar to Calgary. Like Airdrie, there are limited services (no public transit or hospital). School shortages are an issue. 8/10

Edmonton - A fine city with great community spirit and festivals. Not as affluent as Calgary, Vancouver, Toronto or Ottawa. Economic acitivity is relatively dispersed, with only governments, crown corporations and a couple token head offices in the downtown core. There's a lot of research and engineering work in the suburbs of the city. 7/10

Guelph

Hamilton - connected to Toronto by commuter rail systems and highways. Also closer to the Niagara wine region and US border than Toronto. Flying out of Buffalo is often faster and cheaper than flying out of Toronto. 7/10

Kelowna - A small city with big city traffic. Rich people live here, but they tend to be retired or work elsewhere. (Economy is heavily based in services and tourism.) Housing is less expensive than Vancouver, but more expensive than Calgary. Great skiing, wineries, and power-boating on Lake Okonogan. Most flights connect through Vancouver, Seattle or Calgary. Airport has only one runway, which can close for 2-3 days in severe winter storms. 8/10

Kingston - A small city, nestled at the east end of the Thousand Islands region. Great boating in the Thousand Islands, plus nice beaches on Lake Ontario. Kingston is a college town (Queens University plus Royal Canadian Military College), which means that there is a good selection of bars and pubs and all the trouble that goes with them. The local economy is primarily universities and prisons. No meaningful airport - locals use Syracuse, Ottawa, Montreal or Toronto (each 2-3 hours away). 6/10

Montreal - A diverse city with the craziest driving of any city in North America. (Yes, the drivers are crazier than anything experienced in New York, Washington, Boston, Toronto, Chicago, Minneapolis, Vancouver, Seattle, Los Angeles...) A nice place to live, if you can embrace the fact that most public services are offered only in French (drivers license, taxes, hospital care, etc.) 7/10

Oakville

Ottawa-Gatineau - A great place to live. Relatively affluent. Limited job opportunities for people who are not fluently bilingual. 8/10

Saskatoon - compared to most other cities, housing is relatively cheap. It is a booming oil city, but with a population of ~230,000, you won't find the same services as Calgary. 7/10

Toronto - cultural center of Canada. Only place to watch live NBA and MLB in Canada. Like Vancouver, housing costs decrease as you move further from the downtown core. 9/10

Vancouver - Awesome city with very mild climate. Housing costs are very high, but renting is reasonable. Salaries do not reflect the high cost of living. 9/10

Victoria - a government town with an economy also supporting a naval base, university and a large retiree population. Better weather than Vancouver. Housing is a bit cheaper than Vancouver, but still high compared to the rest of Canada. A bit isolated. Flying anywhere requires connecting in Seattle or Vancouver. 7/10

Waterloo (Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge)

Winnipeg

Ted in Halifax
09-08-2011, 04:26 PM
The 5 Best Cities for Families ... might not apply to you. In fact they may be the opposite to what you want.

http://www.todaysparent.com/lifeasparent/article.jsp?content=3304


Top Cities

Quebec City
Ottawa-Hull
Halifax
Winnipeg
Calgary

The Runners-Up

St.John's
Saskatoon
Edmonton
Victoria

The Also-Rans

Toronto
Vancouver
Montreal

cpbjgc
09-08-2011, 04:39 PM
Winnipeg has gotten short shrift so I figure I should plug my home town.

I wanted to start by saying I have never had any car vandalized or stolen, nor have most of the people I know.

We have a 5.7% unemployment rate unlike many of the areas mentioned.

There are several universities in Winnipeg.

We have fantastic beaches and cottage areas 1 hour from the city to the north and east.

We have an international airport with good connections into the US and direct flights to Iceland.

We have cross border shopping.

We are getting an Ikea (if that matters)

It takes me 20 minutes to cycle to work - 8 minutes by car door to door.

I can cycle to work without getting killed or injured.

We have lots of great green spaces in the city and our zoo is undergoing redevelopment.

We have some of the most affordable housing in Canada and our cost of living is very reasonable.

We have actual seasons with hot summers and cold winters (but its a dry heat/cold, and very bearable).

There is no smog and we do not have air quality warnings.

We have a bison herd within city limits (not at the zoo).

We have lots of cultural opportunities (long standing Symphony, Ballet Company, Opera) and professional sports teams.

Winnie the Pooh was named after the city.

It is a great place to live.

And pictures to prove it!

From our city park:

http://unboundedlight.zenfolio.com/img/v34/p667708244-5.jpg

http://unboundedlight.zenfolio.com/img/v33/p466007658-5.jpg

http://unboundedlight.zenfolio.com/img/v22/p315669740-5.jpg

From our zoo

http://unboundedlight.zenfolio.com/img/v18/p172419629-5.jpg

http://unboundedlight.zenfolio.com/img/v7/p63524021-5.jpg

http://unboundedlight.zenfolio.com/img/v16/p1003469329-5.jpg

From a lake in Riding Mountain National Park (2 1/2 hours from Winnipeg)

http://unboundedlight.zenfolio.com/img/v34/p441297597-5.jpg

http://unboundedlight.zenfolio.com/img/v29/p1053834824-5.jpg

That's why we live in beautiful Manitoba.

Good luck, whatever you choose.

tgropp
09-08-2011, 06:52 PM
I may as well get my 2 cents worth in this thread. Waterloo Region describes to a "T" what you are looking for. 25 miles away is a geougous city called Stratford, (32,000 people) famous for its live Theater. Its park system is the largest in Canada/per population and it is rapidly becoming the retirement capital of Ontario due to its theaters, restaurants etc. It is a tourist city year round with a spin off university (Waterloo) coming soon. I would suggest that you Google Stratford and read what it is all about. I worked in Waterloo for 36 years before retiring but I lived in Stratford and commuted back and forth. I just loved the city.

dsneygirl
09-08-2011, 09:30 PM
I agree with Granny above -- you'd be crazy ;) not to choose either Burlington or Oakville ON. You're American so you'll want to be close to the border but still in a progressive, livable city. If you're on these boards you probably are a Disney World fan -- it's only a 2.5 hour flight from Buffalo. The winters are pretty moderate compared to much of Canada. You saw that Burlington is at the top of the list for places to live in Canada. You're close to Toronto too. Burlington and Oakville have it all.

CdnCarrie
09-09-2011, 09:38 AM
Winnipeg has gotten short shrift so I figure I should plug my home town.

I wanted to start by saying I have never had any car vandalized or stolen, nor have most of the people I know.

We have a 5.7% unemployment rate unlike many of the areas mentioned.

There are several universities in Winnipeg.

We have fantastic beaches and cottage areas 1 hour from the city to the north and east.

We have an international airport with good connections into the US and direct flights to Iceland.

We have cross border shopping.

We are getting an Ikea (if that matters)

It takes me 20 minutes to cycle to work - 8 minutes by car door to door.

I can cycle to work without getting killed or injured.

We have lots of great green spaces in the city and our zoo is undergoing redevelopment.

We have some of the most affordable housing in Canada and our cost of living is very reasonable.

We have actual seasons with hot summers and cold winters (but its a dry heat/cold, and very bearable).

There is no smog and we do not have air quality warnings.

We have a bison herd within city limits (not at the zoo).

We have lots of cultural opportunities (long standing Symphony, Ballet Company, Opera) and professional sports teams.

Winnie the Pooh was named after the city.

It is a great place to live.

And pictures to prove it!

From our city park:

http://unboundedlight.zenfolio.com/img/v34/p667708244-5.jpg

http://unboundedlight.zenfolio.com/img/v33/p466007658-5.jpg

http://unboundedlight.zenfolio.com/img/v22/p315669740-5.jpg

From our zoo

http://unboundedlight.zenfolio.com/img/v18/p172419629-5.jpg

http://unboundedlight.zenfolio.com/img/v7/p63524021-5.jpg

http://unboundedlight.zenfolio.com/img/v16/p1003469329-5.jpg

From a lake in Riding Mountain National Park (2 1/2 hours from Winnipeg)

http://unboundedlight.zenfolio.com/img/v34/p441297597-5.jpg

http://unboundedlight.zenfolio.com/img/v29/p1053834824-5.jpg

That's why we live in beautiful Manitoba.

Good luck, whatever you choose.


Thank you for sticking up for our city. Hard enough when outsiders bash us but to have another Manitoban do it really hurts.

damo
09-09-2011, 09:47 AM
Part of deciding where to relocate depends on what type of employment you will be looking for. Certain cities will have more opportunities in different areas.

MrsDanielle
09-09-2011, 05:41 PM
I think it's fair to say that most people who say negative things about Winnipeg have never even visited, let alone spent any significant amount of time here. The good news is that although in the past Winnipeggers were almost apologetic about about the city, they're beginning to express their love for this forgotten/mocked city in the middle of the prairies. In recent years, and in years to come I really do believe that our (former?) slogan "One Great City" will become a reality. I don't know about the rest of you, but I feel really encouraged by all the new construction/revitalization projects throughout the city. There's so much occurring now, that as a young person, it gives me more hope for the future of this city, and of course province. Of course there's still plenty of work do be done, but at least it's beginning!

I am fortunate enough to have lived in a few different regions of Canada. Four years of my life were living it out in Ontario while completing my undergrad. I grew up (and now have returned to the prairies) and I find our frigid temperatures in the winter to be much more hospitable than those experienced in S.O. I felt like I could never warm up! You could really feel that cold moist air in your bones! The worst though was that awful wet snow (slush?)....So yes it may come to no surprise that I much prefer a cold dry climate to a moist one.

Thanks for allowing me to ramble on and on and on. My point was simply to make it clear that a Manitoba winter (in the south at least, no experience in the north) ain't as bad as others think!

Time to head up to Albert Beach now!

ccudmore
09-09-2011, 07:29 PM
Proposed new slogan for Manitoba license plates "...but it's dry cold"

mbb
09-09-2011, 08:14 PM
Nova Scotia!!!!

And not just Halifax (although that would probably be the metro area/amenities you're looking for), but try Cape Breton on for size!:goodvibes:goodvibes

We're as high techy as the rest of the "Mainland", and can't beat us for the cost of living, either.

And commutes?
Traffic?
What are those??
We get excited enough over traffic jams at Disney to take pictures of them! LOL!

And can't leave out my native New Brunswick:thumbsup2
Saint John, Moncton, Fredericton - our "Golden Triangle" might have some really great options for you as well:)

Have fun deciding, and Welcome Home!!!
:)

HeatherLassell
09-09-2011, 08:52 PM
Proposed new slogan for Manitoba license plates "...but it's dry cold"

lol

MrsDanielle
09-09-2011, 10:02 PM
Proposed new slogan for Manitoba license plates "...but it's dry cold"

Clever.

MrsDanielle
09-09-2011, 10:04 PM
lol

You had an account on WeddingBells didn't you in about 07?




My apologies for hijacking this thread. Now let's continue to discuss which part of Ontario is the best to live in.

Syzygy
09-10-2011, 08:57 PM
Any advice on comparing/choosing between the following three areas:

- Ontario (Toronto suburbs: Burlington, Guelph, Oakville, Waterloo)
- Alberta (Calgary)
- New Brunswick / Nova Scotia (Fredericton, Moncton, Halifax)

Any favorite neighborhoods, pictures, likes/dislikes, cost of living, pros/cons, etc?

:thanks:

HeatherLassell
09-11-2011, 02:25 PM
You had an account on WeddingBells didn't you in about 07?



lol Yes I did! I got married 7/7/7 and divorced in June this year! :rolleyes1

cpbjgc
09-12-2011, 12:14 PM
Any advice on comparing/choosing between the following three areas:

- Ontario (Toronto suburbs: Burlington, Guelph, Oakville, Waterloo)
- Alberta (Calgary)
- New Brunswick / Nova Scotia (Fredericton, Moncton, Halifax)

Any favorite neighborhoods, pictures, likes/dislikes, cost of living, pros/cons, etc?

:thanks:

If you want to compare housing costs you can look at the multiple listing site (http://www.realtor.ca/index.aspx?cul=1) what covers all of Canada. You can browse using the map function to see different areas.

Having only visited Ontario and Alberta, I can't help with any recommendations. Most of the people I know who lived in those areas ended up moving back to Winnipeg... (a fun fact!).

pad406
09-19-2011, 08:30 AM
Hi

Been following the posts with interest.
I'd like some perspective in two areas in particular.

1. Healthcare...we hear that Canada has a very good healthcare system but I would imagine that this would vary across the country with it being so vast and each province?
However if anyone has any info on availability of services, access to GPs/Physicians and quality of care when needed that would be helpful.
If anyone has particular info as regards Spina Bifida care and multidisciplinary clinics that would be great.
Is public service much different from private?
I only have the Irish experience (which is a low starting point) to compare against.
2. I am also interested in the education sector. Again this is I have gathered likely to be different from province to province.
Is there any support available for very bright kids and for physically challenged kids? What is teacher motivation, professional developement and actual teaching practice like?

ccudmore
09-19-2011, 10:32 AM
Hi

Been following the posts with interest.
I'd like some perspective in two areas in particular.

1. Healthcare...we hear that Canada has a very good healthcare system but I would imagine that this would vary across the country with it being so vast and each province?
However if anyone has any info on availability of services, access to GPs/Physicians and quality of care when needed that would be helpful.
If anyone has particular info as regards Spina Bifida care and multidisciplinary clinics that would be great.
Is public service much different from private?
I only have the Irish experience (which is a low starting point) to compare against.

Yes, health care accessibility varies. Basically, if you're in a larger city you'll have better access to specialized health care. Unfortunately I can't give you details on the any specific types of care. In most parts of Canada private health care services are not permitted to operate except for a very limited number of disciplines.


2. I am also interested in the education sector. Again this is I have gathered likely to be different from province to province.
Is there any support available for very bright kids and for physically challenged kids? What is teacher motivation, professional developement and actual teaching practice like?
Again, yes it varies from province to province with more services available in larger centres. Most schools are mandated to provide services for challenged children. However "enriched" programs are generally only available if population warrants. Again, having no direct experience with teachers (other than as a student many years ago) I can't really comment on the motivation and development.

sandraB
09-20-2011, 01:52 AM
As someone who has lived in 5 states and as many provinces, there is no place like the East Coast of Canada. We live in Fredericton, and it truly is a gem of a city. Not too big, but lots of culture, two universities, low unemployment, affordable housing and great people. You can easily drive to the US, as we are a short distance from Maine, another beautiful place to visit.

I love the quality of life we have here, and could go on about all the wonderful things to do. I am a teacher, and even though our school system is not perfect, we have the latest technology in our classrooms, and dedicated teachers/staff.

Just thought I would put in a plug for the Picture Province :goodvibes

Queenscoroots
09-20-2011, 11:19 AM
As someone who has lived in 5 states and as many provinces, there is no place like the East Coast of Canada. We live in Fredericton, and it truly is a gem of a city. Not too big, but lots of culture, two universities, low unemployment, affordable housing and great people. You can easily drive to the US, as we are a short distance from Maine, another beautiful place to visit.

I love the quality of life we have here, and could go on about all the wonderful things to do. I am a teacher, and even though our school system is not perfect, we have the latest technology in our classrooms, and dedicated teachers/staff.

Just thought I would put in a plug for the Picture Province :goodvibes

I agree with SandraB - there's no life like life in the Maritimes (New Brunswick)! You can work in an urban centre, and be in the country in less than 10 minutes! I literally have a 7 minute commute to work - and I work for a very large national company. Spring, summer, winter fall - the Maritimes have it all! I live in New Brunswick - Halifax is more metropolitan if that is your thing - but it's only a few hours' drive if you want to visit on the weekends! And PEI is so beautiful! Love the Maritimes!:cheer2:

Cooljoe
09-25-2011, 06:04 PM
[QUOTE=GrtWtNorth;42560115]Here's my 2 cents.


Kelowna - A small city with big city traffic. Rich people live here, but they tend to be retired or work elsewhere. (Economy is heavily based in services and tourism.) Housing is less expensive than Vancouver, but more expensive than Calgary. Great skiing, wineries, and power-boating on Lake Okonogan. Most flights connect through Vancouver, Seattle or Calgary. Airport has only one runway, which can close for 2-3 days in severe winter storms. 8/10


Oh no no no. I have to correct this one. Yes there is a population of rich in Kelowna, since it is one of the nicest places in Canada to live, but it is a small percentage on the total population. The economy is now very diverse, and while tourism is very big still, construction is a good portion now as well and Kelowna has no put itself in the position of a shopping destination for the entire southern interior of BC. Having relatives in Calgary, there is no way Kelowna is more expensive in housing. The airport is now larger with continued expansions, resulting in less reliance on connecting flights. Now to the severe storms closing it for 2-3 days....maybe back in 1940. I have been in the area for 30 years and have never seen it close for more than a couple hours, and that is maybe once a year. The Okanagan region as a whole, where Kelowna is, gets less snow in the winter than most of the US does these days. We are lucky to have white Christmas'. The only part that is true is the traffic, which can get hairy throughout the Okanagan in summer when the tourism season is in full swing.
All in all tho, I have been around a good portion of Canada and the only places I would ever consider living would be the Okanagan and Victoria.

Syzygy
09-25-2011, 08:52 PM
Thanks for all the input! I greatly appreciate it. Any advice on how might be the best way to visit the following three areas for comparison:

- Ontario (Burlington, Guelph, Oakville, Waterloo)
- Alberta (Calgary)
- New Brunswick / East Coast (Fredericton, Moncton, Halifax)

Any good/cheap flight options/airlines between the three areas? Any favorite neighborhoods, pictures, likes/dislikes, cost of living, pros/cons, etc?

Thanks again!

ccudmore
09-26-2011, 06:47 PM
I can't offer you specifics abou any of the individual places, but if you want to see them all for comparison it's going to be quite expensive. It's a least 2-3 hours of flying time between each of those three stops so even with seat sales it'll be expensive. Plus Canadian airport taxes are very high so even a $200 advertised one-way fare will probably cost you over $400. Plus you'll have to rent a car in each stop to drive to all of the places you want to see.

drag n' fly
09-27-2011, 10:54 PM
Since your thread was closed on the cb I suggest you skip all the drama and misinformed people and just move to Calgary:yay:. Toronto is a fantastic city:lovestruc....their mayor on the other hand is another story lol.:confused:

Momloveshockey
10-02-2011, 12:50 PM
Go New Brunswick!!! Moncton is a great place to live and you can easily connect with wherever via the airport! If you want save a bit of $$ fly into Bangor Maine and then drive to NB...keep on the highway and you'll end up in NS or you can cross the bridge and see PEI...But being a bit biased...Moncton is awesome and we have English and French univ. Housing is WAY cheaper than out west.

monkeyknuckler
10-04-2011, 11:50 AM
I think that the person who wrote the original list was probably the Mayor of Brandon Manitoba. Nobody else would have included that town. I spent a week there one afternoon.

CdnCarrie
10-04-2011, 12:55 PM
I think that the person who wrote the original list was probably the Mayor of Brandon Manitoba. Nobody else would have included that town. I spent a week there one afternoon.

What's wrong with Brandon? :confused3

hockeymomNS
10-04-2011, 06:28 PM
Living 30 minutes from downtown Halifax, I have to chime in.

No place like the east coast. Within 30 minutes, I can be on the waterfront in Halifax, relaxing on the lake, swimming in the ocean or skiing (not quite mountains, but enough for fun). We have 4 seasons, housing is reasonable and my youngest is 18 and is the last of the babies to take advantage of living within 40 minutes of 4 universities.....everyone has lived at home and graduated debt free because of it. On the "raising kids" note, we have excellent french immersion programs and all of my children are bilingual.
I could go on.......but research for yourself and see what is a good fit for you.

Spritie
10-06-2011, 02:39 PM
I'll throw my hat in for Edmonton as well. Its a beautiful city with a gorgeous river valley running through it. Housing prices are quite low in comparison with other major cities (in fact I just bought my first house! ). Our summers are filled with festivals from Heritage Days, to the Fringe Festival and farmers markets throughout the city. We are further from the mountains but have an abundance of lakes and beautiful prairie scenery. Winters are cold, I won't kid you on that front, but the city averages more hours of sunshine than any other major city, even in the cold seasons. I absolutely love the west coast but I found the winters grey and depressing.

Alberta is a bit more conservative than other areas but Edmonton has always tended to have a more liberal bent. :hippie:

If you're looking for something suburban, St.Albert and Sherwood Park are smaller and about 15, 20 minutes out of the city. There are also newer developments on the outskirts of Edmonton as well that are pretty affordable.

Personally I currently live in the Oliver neighbourhood which is beautiful - tree lined streets, historic houses, excellent transit, close to both universities and the downtown core. Unfortunately unless you are looking for a condo, there isn't much for housing. I just bought in a neighbourhood just outside of the core, near High Street which is a really nice area as well. The only neighbourhood I would strongly advise against is Alberta Avenue although the city is working hard to revitalize the area.

monkey30
10-09-2011, 01:42 PM
Thanks for all the input! I greatly appreciate it. Any advice on how might be the best way to visit the following three areas for comparison:

- Ontario (Burlington, Guelph, Oakville, Waterloo)
- Alberta (Calgary)
- New Brunswick / East Coast (Fredericton, Moncton, Halifax)

Any good/cheap flight options/airlines between the three areas? Any favorite neighborhoods, pictures, likes/dislikes, cost of living, pros/cons, etc?

Thanks again!


Well I will say a few things about Calgary, I have lived there most of my life till we moved to Camrose (which is a great option it you dont mind the 40 min drive to Edmonton!!)


cALGARY zOO
Calaway Park
Calgary Stampede
Great paths and park ways
Science center (they just built a new one!)
There is lots to do or see. Cochrane is a short drive, but nice! We use to go for McKays Ice creame there. Elbow falls is just west of the city great place to have picnic or roast some hot dogs!

There is so much to do and see there. Now for living it all depends on the price you want to spend and what you want to be close to. down town areas you are looking at bigger $$$ out skirts of Calgary they are further away depending on the house you want is about 200k and up for a newer one. Most areas have great bus systems to get to and from downtown.

Your best bet is to go and look around find someone who is willing to tour around with you, and dont be afraid to ask people, I have found a lot of people that are willing to help you and anwser questions!

Lady Elle
07-04-2012, 12:12 AM
Vancouver is so nice!

shenaniganzz
07-04-2012, 03:40 PM
I'm was born in Toronto and live in Ottawa.

I would never even consider Toronto for a place to live. That city stresses me out! It's very busy, smoggy and the driving/traffic makes me want to down a bottle of Xanax. ;) On the plus side, there is so much to do in Toronto and the surrounding cities and towns.

Ottawa is beautiful. I don't find it nearly as hectic as Toronto BUT it is on the boring side... great if you like that, but you won't find the variety and diversity of some other Canadian cities. It's very conservative being the nation's capital.

You will not find employment easily without speaking French. We're enrolling our daughter in immersion this year so she can avoid the struggle others in our family had due to lack of French.

I have family that lives in Barrie and it seems really pretty and clean and is reasonably close to the major hub of Toronto. I don't know about employment though. :confused3

As for health care, there are definite advantages to it being publicly funded BUT the quality has diminished and there are long wait times to see specialists. I rely heavily on RateMDs so I can request doctors that have a good reputation, rapport with patients, etc. and sometimes we have requested our doctor refer us out of city to be seen sooner.

I would disagree that better care is offered in larger cities versus smaller ones. That isn't always the case. In fact, often doctors with many years of experience will move to a smaller town with the goal of slowing down closer to their retirement. You cannot judge a doctor by the size of his/her town ;) and this is why I rely more on what I read about them online.

Incidentally, we just took my niece to Kingston to see an ENT after being told she'd wait at least half a year here to see one. The ENT she saw has impressive education and experience.. as good or better than any doctor here. You'd be lucky to get an MRI in less than a year and that's even agreeing to be seen at odd hours (like 2 am!).

As with anything, there are pros and cons but I'll gladly work around the kinks and stick with our system. :goodvibes

minnie56
07-05-2012, 07:23 AM
I live in Oakville so really can only speak to that.
It's a city of almost 200,000 people yet somehow for the most part still has that small town feel if that's possible? Very close to Lake Ontario, 45 mnutes to the border for shopping/travelling, 25 minutes into Toronto, great restaurants, great schools (many private), pretty main drag in old downtown Oakville. I love living here! That said, it's not the cheapest place to live but location wise, accessible to so many places!

KNovacovschi
07-06-2012, 08:55 AM
I may as well get my 2 cents worth in this thread. Waterloo Region describes to a "T" what you are looking for. 25 miles away is a geougous city called Stratford, (32,000 people) famous for its live Theater. Its park system is the largest in Canada/per population and it is rapidly becoming the retirement capital of Ontario due to
its theaters, restaurants etc. It is a tourist city year round with a spin
off university (Waterloo) coming
soon. I would suggest that you
Google Stratford and read what it
is all about. I worked in Waterloo
for 36 years before retiring but I
lived in Stratford and commuted
back and forth. I just loved the city.


I would agree with Stratford. I grew up in Stratford and loved it. Great schools, restaurants & entertainment. I've lived in Hamilton for about 15 yrs and HATE it, noisy and smelly just to begin with. I visit Stratford on a regular basis and would move back if my DH would let me.

roscoepc1
07-07-2012, 05:47 PM
Hi

Been following the posts with interest.
I'd like some perspective in two areas in particular.

1. Healthcare...we hear that Canada has a very good healthcare system but I would imagine that this would vary across the country with it being so vast and each province?
However if anyone has any info on availability of services, access to GPs/Physicians and quality of care when needed that would be helpful.
If anyone has particular info as regards Spina Bifida care and multidisciplinary clinics that would be great.
Is public service much different from private?
I only have the Irish experience (which is a low starting point) to compare against.
2. I am also interested in the education sector. Again this is I have gathered likely to be different from province to province.
Is there any support available for very bright kids and for physically challenged kids? What is teacher motivation, professional developement and actual teaching practice like?

I would highly recommend London, ON in your situation. Children's Hospital of Western Ontario is there, as well as the Thames Valley Children's Centre, which is the epicenter for therapies, mobility stuff etc.

Minor children with disabilities in Ontario have really great benefits, including the vast majority of any medical equipment etc being paid for...I believe (it's been a few years) the last wheelchair with specialized eating we got for our son had the pricetag coming in at about $6K...of which we paid about $100.

We also have some incredible charities here who pitch in in other areas of needs for kids (not putting down other provinces, I can only speak of Ontario, as that's where my experiences are).

We really did not have to access our private insurance hardly at all for our son....between the different government programs etc, they really did cover 90% of stuff, and my son had severe CP and used a TON of services!

HTH!

rharper1496
07-09-2012, 10:40 PM
I would highly recommend London, ON in your situation. Children's Hospital of Western Ontario is there, as well as the Thames Valley Children's Centre, which is the epicenter for therapies, mobility stuff etc.

:thumbsup2

I've lived here my entire life and thanks to many family members with chronic illnesses, accidents, etc; I'm very familiar with the LHSC. I can't recommend it enough, really. Finding a family doctor can be trickier but that is improving now that we're seeing more family clinic type practices opening up in the area. I've had my GP since I was 19 and my kids are patients there now as well and I will willingly drive across the city to get to his office because I love him that much. The only real negative experience I've had was with the OB who delivered my son but that was a personality thing, not a flaw in the system.

As for the education aspect I only have personal experience with the school my niece and nephew attend but I can say that they are fantastic with all of their special needs students. My nephew is autistic and the improvements in his speech and behaviour in the year he attended (so far) were huge. I know a few people with physically disabled kids at that school and they all rave about the treatment the kids are getting. I'm very excited to be sending my oldest there in the fall and expect it will be a great experience for him.

Ken_Breadbox
07-10-2012, 04:25 AM
:thumbsup2

I've lived here my entire life and thanks to many family members with chronic illnesses, accidents, etc; I'm very familiar with the LHSC. I can't recommend it enough, really. Finding a family doctor can be trickier but that is improving now that we're seeing more family clinic type practices opening up in the area. I've had my GP since I was 19 and my kids are patients there now as well and I will willingly drive across the city to get to his office because I love him that much. The only real negative experience I've had was with the OB who delivered my son but that was a personality thing, not a flaw in the system.

As for the education aspect I only have personal experience with the school my niece and nephew attend but I can say that they are fantastic with all of their special needs students. My nephew is autistic and the improvements in his speech and behaviour in the year he attended (so far) were huge. I know a few people with physically disabled kids at that school and they all rave about the treatment the kids are getting. I'm very excited to be sending my oldest there in the fall and expect it will be a great experience for him.

I grew up in London in the eighties. My, but it has changed. I used to feel comfortable riding my bike just about anywhere, even after dark. Now...the southern and eastern approaches to downtown are pretty scary. Not Vancouver 'corner of Pain and Wastings' scary, but the crime rate, from friends who still live there, has gone through the roof.
If you're well off enough to live in north London or Byron, though, it's a lovely place. Just don't go downtown.

MystikaFaith
07-20-2012, 10:18 AM
Ideal locations in Canada is a VERY subjective topic. What's ideal for some is just an awful place to be for others.

I've moved around a lot and visited many areas of the country and here's my very subjective two cents based on MY experiences.

First off I'm a country mouse, not a city mouse and that plays a big part in my opinions as well.... anyways....

British Columbia - BEAUTIFUL! But expensive as hell. From my personal experiences the people tend to keep to themselves there. It seems to be a very success oriented place. Redneck hillbillies like myself tend not to fit in unless they're hidden away in an isolated cabin in the rockies (my dream retirement home!)

Alberta - Also beautiful (Banff is amazing!) but it too is EXPENSIVE and as you go further out towards Calgary or Edmonton the trees are too small for my liking (I know I know... subjective.... but I tree person....) Calgary is really fun during the stampede (EVERYONE dresses like cowboys) and some people (including my aunt and uncle) believe they're cowboys (despite not only any livestock...) ALL year round. Edmonton has a BIG mall. Overall, Alberta is a nice place to visit but it's not my cuppa tea for permanent residency.

The Prairies - I've driven through them many times. The drive is awful. It's flat.... So so flat.... You can see for miles and miles and miles and miles. You just drive and drive and drive and nothing ever gets closer....... Admittingly I never did spend any time in the cities and know very little about them so perhaps there are decent places to live there but it's not something I would ever pursue.

Ontario - Ontario sucks... I left it... but it drew me back in. It's my home. It always will be where ever I am. My family is here as is my heart. It lacks the beauty of the coasts. While there is 'nice' spots there is nothing breathtaking. I'm a few hours from Ottawa in a very rural area. I love being rural. Housing is cheap. A nice home around here will run you around $150,000 or you could buy a 3 bedroom cabin on a 1 acre island for bout the same. It's cheap! Sadly employment prospects are limited. If you're in the medical field you can pretty much get in anywhere. Not so many teaching jobs around and anything involving technology tends to be limited to the major cities. Some people in my community do actually travel the 2 hour trek to Ottawa just for work and live the best of both worlds.

Ottawa is an Okay city. It has GREAT museums but I find many areas of it to be run down and less than pleasant or clean looking. Bilingualism is a definite asset there. While people can get by only knowing english it does tend to be a real disadvantage. I also don't like driving there. Perhaps it's just my luck but every time I'm there people are always cutting people off, not putting on their signal lights, etc..... In my experience Ottawa people also tend to "keep to themselves".

Kingston is lovely for a city. It's full of culture and has a rich history . It's been well maintained and doesn't have that old city falling apart ghetto look. Despite being a city it's really kept it's small community feel. Unfortunately because it's smaller so are the job opportunities. Whether or not you can find "good" employment here is highly dependent on the field you are interested in.

Toronto and area. I LOVE visiting Toronto. But it's not a place I would like to live. I find the air quality to be very difficult to breathe in. I don't have asthma and have never had any breathing issues in the past, but have done a few work placements down in the GTA over the years and each and every time I go within 48 hours I begin experiencing breathing problems :/ It's a beautiful city though that's been well up kept (most areas) and I have found the people to be incredibly friendly eg random people are happy and eager to start a conversation with you at a grocery store check out line whereas sparking up a conversation with a total stranger in Ottawa tends to get me nothing but really bizarre looks. Despite being big, it seems to have a better "community" atmosphere than most cities where people are living their own lives just beside each other.....

The Muskoka area - Beautiful. Okay I suppose I wrong before... there really is some real beauty if Ontario and it's found in the Muskoka region! Unfortunately, unless you have a service that can benefit a smaller community job prospects here are limited.

Northern Ontario is COLD. Lived in Sudbury and North Bay for a bit and while living there wasn't horrible they weren't my favorite places to be.....

Quebec - Alright if you speak french.

New Brunswick - Another place where french is a definite asset.

Nova Scotia - I LOVE it there. If I could up and move my entire family there I would relocate there in an instant. It's beautiful. It's expensive but not as expensive as the west coast and the people are so so so friendly. They seem to breed a certain type of 'attitude' there that's just not found anywhere else. The only real drawback however is the wind. It may not be the best place for really light people who may be at risk of being BLOWN AWAY!!!! Okay, perhaps it's not that windy but it certainly feels like it at times!

Newfoundland - My home away from home. Lived there for a few years in my late teens early twenties and I LOVED it! Jobs are a problem there. A real problem. But it's amazing there. The people are amazing there. I absolutely loved it there.

As for our medical system. I have no real complaints. A few years back my gp retired leaving us without a family doctor. Took nearly 5 years to get a replacement :/ However, medical outpatient clinics in town ensured we were never without care. People complain about wait times at hospitals but I've never had any real issues. I'm in a rural area and the hospital that caters to us is small. Most times I've had to go there we've been in and out within an hour or two. In the event that there are other life threatening emergencies going on when you're there the wait time is longer (eg 4-5 hours). I also have nothing but good things to say about the CHEO (the kids hospital in Ottawa). My dealings with them have only been with the ophthalmology dept as my daughter has strabismus and the staff there have been beyond wonderful. I was told that their was a relatively long wait list to have her surgery only to discover that that long wait list was less than two months. No complaints at all.

Also of note, there are variations from province to province when it comes to medical care especially when it comes to obstetrical care. Midwifery is only available in certain provinces. It's free for everyone (with provincial coverage or not) in some places like Ontario and available for a fee in other places and not available at all in others......

HockeyGalCanada
07-22-2012, 10:12 PM
MiskitaFaith I don't think that jobs are as big a problem in NL as they once were because we are now a have province and the oil industry is booming.

MystikaFaith
07-22-2012, 10:19 PM
MiskitaFaith I don't think that jobs are as big a problem in NL as they once were because we are now a have province and the oil industry is booming.

I moved back to Ontario to be closer to family but many of my born and raised NL friends I met there ended up moving elsewhere as well just because they couldn't find work in their fields. Glad things have turned up though! NL really is an awesome place and I absolutely loved living there! Wouldn't have ever left if it wasn't for the family thing :/

hockeymomNS
07-23-2012, 08:48 AM
As a Nova Scotian, born and raised, I can't imagine living anywhere else!!!