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Calling all East Coast Canada Experts

Calling all East Coast Canada Experts

Old Dec 6th 2015, 8:15 am
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Default Calling all East Coast Canada Experts

TL;DR We are an expat Canadian family hoping to move 'home' after 12 years to be closer to family while downshifting from our careers and spending time on an online business and with our kids. We believe this forum could provide a valuable and unique perspective about our plans to head to the East Coast.

Firstly, I just want to say that I have been reading this forum for years. I am impressed with the breadth of knowledge and support that has been shown here, and I believe you might provide some unique perspective on our situation.

Situation: Family of 5, Parents 33 and 36. All 3 children under 3. Currently living 24 hour flight from our families who we are very close with (they live near Ottawa). We cannot duplicate our current careers in Canada, nor do we want to. We don't want to live in Ontario.

Citizenship: Canadian actually, but we have lived overseas for 12 years and I find forums like this to be more helpful since we have such an expat mindset

Goal: To find a low COLA area where we can downshift a bit to focus on raising our children closer to family (currently 24 hr flight away now). We are rural-at-heart and grew up in the country (Eastern Ontario). We are Christian and tend to be homebodies to an extent. We don't mind winters or driving an hour/two to the closest big town. We want to be less than a 3 hour flight home in an emergency, or a 12 hour drive (Family in Eastern Ontario) and own a home in the country.

Resources: We will be paying cash for a house, and will have approximately $600,000 CDN invested in addition to that. We will be operating an online business for a modest income.

Question: Can anyone with direct knowledge of moving to Annapolis Valley or PEI give us any feedback on our plan? We have run all sorts of numbers, but it is often the 'hidden' aspect of moving somewhere that expats miss (Internet speed/reliability, quality of medical care or other services, ability to enter as an 'outsider').

If you can recommend other areas where housing is affordable, and where a family who is used to living a minimalist lifestyle could find a happy corner of that part of Canada to do what we plan, we would really appreciate the feedback (any MrMoneyMustache readers here ...)

Yes, I know there are East Coast and Canadian forums, but we really, really value the perspective of people used to being an expat, and over the years I have read some posts from expat-Eastcoasters on here that touched on some of this.

By the way, not sure if there is a blood test necessary to post on here, but I drink a lot of tea and watch Red Dwarf
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Old Dec 6th 2015, 9:29 am
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Default Re: Calling all East Coast Canada Experts

Welcome

Not sure what the work situation is like on PEI but winters can be a bit harsh. I live not too far from PEI and when I get bad weather PEI is getting similar weather. Many times the confederation bridge is closed and every time you leave PEI there is just over $40 fee on the bridge and I think ferries charge a similar fee. I live rural between Amherst and Pugwash and it works for me although after a harsh winter storm it can take a day or two to get moving around depending on how quick the roads are cleared. We have just had our first inter storm and approx 25 cm snow fell in 12 hours and like last winter Cumberland county got the worst and many of us lost power for nearly 24 hours.
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Old Dec 6th 2015, 12:43 pm
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Default Re: Calling all East Coast Canada Experts

Originally Posted by Fortune500 View Post
the 'hidden' aspect of moving somewhere that expats miss (Internet speed/reliability, quality of medical care
So if you're going to be running an internet business, internet speed and power is going to be important and, as Silverdragon says, power outages can be fairly common and sometimes lasting days at a time if you are "too" rural.

I've been in Moncton (fibreop internet really good) for 10 years now and our longest outage was about 4 hours from the time reported plus whatever time it went in the night and that was a line to our house that was down. Other than that we've had maybe half a dozen of an hour or two and most of those we only knew about on waking up and seeing the clock radio flashing.

But you do hear of some areas in 'greater' Moncton being hit a bit more.

Property is cheap here. On the edge of town you can get a 3 bed detached house for well under $100k if you don't mind not having all mod cons.

Plenty of places on double lots, so not too close to immediate neighbours.

We're well served for hospitals and we have an airport.

You might consider owning a rental - duplex or triplex? - as part of your investments.
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Old Dec 6th 2015, 12:47 pm
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Default Re: Calling all East Coast Canada Experts

Welcome to expats..

Out of interest why not Ontario? Just curious as to why if you want to be within easy reach of family. Ontario would give you more access to flights for future holidays, trips abroad with the same rural feel. Regarding Internet ... we live two hours north of Toronto and we have just reached the dizzy heights of 5/6mbps although 1gb is being rolled out in certain parts of the twin centre.
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Old Dec 6th 2015, 5:03 pm
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Default Re: Calling all East Coast Canada Experts

Hi, We live in the Fall River area of Nova Scotia, feels rural even though its a suburb, we have easy reach of down town Halifax only 30 mins drive via HWY 102/118 and that's on a bad day, Halifax international airport 20 mins, many sandy beaches within 30 mins drive, surrounded by many lakes and walking trails. Between $400,000 & $600,000 would buy a new 3 to 5 bedroom place sitting on 2 acres in the area but there's many good cheaper property's. Internet speed is good, we have Bell's standard fibreOP 200 down and 30 up at the moment. There's great Schools, Doctors and Dental within Fall River it self.

I drink lots of tea so you'll be fine with that, but...Red Dwarf!.. not sure about that
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Old Dec 6th 2015, 11:42 pm
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Default Re: Calling all East Coast Canada Experts

Originally Posted by Fortune500 View Post
TL;DR We are an expat Canadian family hoping to move 'home' after 12 years to be closer to family while downshifting from our careers and spending time on an online business and with our kids. We believe this forum could provide a valuable and unique perspective about our plans to head to the East Coast.

Firstly, I just want to say that I have been reading this forum for years. I am impressed with the breadth of knowledge and support that has been shown here, and I believe you might provide some unique perspective on our situation.

Situation: Family of 5, Parents 33 and 36. All 3 children under 3. Currently living 24 hour flight from our families who we are very close with (they live near Ottawa). We cannot duplicate our current careers in Canada, nor do we want to. We don't want to live in Ontario.

Citizenship: Canadian actually, but we have lived overseas for 12 years and I find forums like this to be more helpful since we have such an expat mindset

Goal: To find a low COLA area where we can downshift a bit to focus on raising our children closer to family (currently 24 hr flight away now). We are rural-at-heart and grew up in the country (Eastern Ontario). We are Christian and tend to be homebodies to an extent. We don't mind winters or driving an hour/two to the closest big town. We want to be less than a 3 hour flight home in an emergency, or a 12 hour drive (Family in Eastern Ontario) and own a home in the country.

Resources: We will be paying cash for a house, and will have approximately $600,000 CDN invested in addition to that. We will be operating an online business for a modest income.

Question: Can anyone with direct knowledge of moving to Annapolis Valley or PEI give us any feedback on our plan? We have run all sorts of numbers, but it is often the 'hidden' aspect of moving somewhere that expats miss (Internet speed/reliability, quality of medical care or other services, ability to enter as an 'outsider').

If you can recommend other areas where housing is affordable, and where a family who is used to living a minimalist lifestyle could find a happy corner of that part of Canada to do what we plan, we would really appreciate the feedback (any MrMoneyMustache readers here ...)

Yes, I know there are East Coast and Canadian forums, but we really, really value the perspective of people used to being an expat, and over the years I have read some posts from expat-Eastcoasters on here that touched on some of this.

By the way, not sure if there is a blood test necessary to post on here, but I drink a lot of tea and watch Red Dwarf
Brain dump so highly likely unorganized. Feel free to ask more specific questions.

Context UK expat moved to PEI 8 years ago.

With 600K to put on a house you'll be able to find a nice property. I'd definitely check out mls.ca - and I can put you in touch with Realtors I've used and would recommend. Charlottetown/Stratford/Cornwall/Summerside all offer FibreOp. East link have decent services too - not FibreOp speeds but reasonable. Their coverage is better than FibreOp - but still not great. Once you get off the main routes it'll suffer. If you look for a place in the country it'll likely be just ADSL and will be sub 1.5MBPS

Winters *can* be harsh the last couple especially. However I find them manageable. Main routes are cleared quickly.

Can't comment on medical care that much. Some people have found it hard to get a family Dr - but I didn't have any problem. 2 main hospitals on the island. Charlottetown and Summerside. It's been adequate for our family needs.

Bridge fee $45.50, Ferry $75 (I think) - it's not a barrier to leaving the island. We tend to leave a couple of times a year - for general shopping etc everything you need is here.

Approx 3.5 hrs to Halifax. 1.5 hrs to Moncton from central PEI.

Cost of living wise I can't compare to other parts of Canada having not lived in them. I'll probably have more to add later once I've thought of it. Feel free to message with any specific questions.

B
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Old Dec 7th 2015, 5:52 am
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Default Re: Calling all East Coast Canada Experts

Thank you everyone for your input. We used to live in Bahrain so being somewhat isolated on an Island for part of the year should feel familiar ...

To clarify, we would be paying cash for a house in the sub $200,000 range like one of these:

https://www.realtor.ca/Residential/S...-Island-C0A1P0

https://www.realtor.ca/Residential/S...0W1H0-Brighton

We would then keep another $600,000 invested producing mainly dividend income. That, plus our home business should keep us ticking over. We have some other pokers in other fires.

We would not be traveling to work every day as we are home-based, and already have a car in Canada. The internet considerations are appreciated, thanks.

The reason we were not considering Ontario is mainly due to property prices at the moment. We wish to have only 25-50% property exposure and want a paid-off home. Until interest rates rise, we are finding most of the current offerings in rural Ontario to lack value.

Does anyone have school-age children in these areas? How do you find the education and extracurricular options?

Sorry for not being more specific, but really we are looking for a knowledgeable sounding board really. Some helpful insights. Cheers!
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Old Dec 7th 2015, 2:12 pm
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Default Re: Calling all East Coast Canada Experts

Nice looking houses. Not good 'walk scores' for me though

I'm not sure I've seen anything like this before though.
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Old Dec 7th 2015, 4:49 pm
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Default Re: Calling all East Coast Canada Experts

The second place is VERY remote. At least the PEI one is close to a major city with good services, whilst Halifax would be a miserable drive during the Winter from the Annapolis Valley. We've done the drive out that way a couple of times, and whilst the roads do get cleared it's not something I'd want to be reliant on.
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Old Dec 7th 2015, 4:55 pm
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Default Re: Calling all East Coast Canada Experts

Originally Posted by BristolUK View Post
Nice looking houses. Not good 'walk scores' for me though

I'm not sure I've seen anything like this before though.
You've never seen a large bathroom with a fire place in it?
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Old Dec 7th 2015, 5:43 pm
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Default Re: Calling all East Coast Canada Experts

Originally Posted by Almost Canadian View Post
You've never seen a large bathroom with a fire place in it?
I've seen one or two bathrooms with a small fireplace - or, rather, photos - but not a bathroom with a huge fireplace, complete with mantelpiece.

It looks more like a living room or bedroom that someone decided to add a shower and lav to.

I was imagining a couple of people sitting there watching TV or reading and then one says, "I'm just going to the toilet, dear" and then taking their seat a few feet away.


There's an additional photo with a bath there too, but they are obviously new additions.

None of the houses in England I knew had a fireplace in the bathroom including a huge mansion over four floors complete with belfry and bats, one that was so old the toilet was outside and another where a gas geyser was the source of hot water.

I probably looked at 25-30 properties when looking to buy house and duplex in Canada. Visited a ginormous old house in Ottawa, original 'formal' dining room, original bathroom, not a sign of a fireplace in any bathroom let alone a big one.

My 77 year old Canadian mother in law has "been around" a bit and she was as shocked as me.

So, no, never seen one. Maybe I don't move in the right circles.
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Old Dec 7th 2015, 6:27 pm
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Default Re: Calling all East Coast Canada Experts

Think long and hard about moving here.

The houses are cheap yes. Mostly made of matchsticks and plastic.

Cost of everything else is not cheap. Choice and availability of a lot of things is limited to say the least.

Weather is crap.

You mention that you have children. The school system here is dire. Over 60% of adults in NB are functionally illiterate. NS and PEI are not far behind.

People are mostly backward and uneducated. Famous East Coast friendly people? They are lying to themselves. Rude, racist, redneck, clicky and ignorant.

Last edited by Alex2201; Dec 7th 2015 at 6:35 pm.
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Old Dec 8th 2015, 7:21 am
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Default Re: Calling all East Coast Canada Experts

I admit, that fireplace was a bit of a shock for me too ...

Cxx, yes, that was my impression, but it is hard to know until you are there just how remote. We have spent many summers in PEI/Newbrunswick and I actually spent two summers doing research at the Fortress of Louisbourg. Our driving would be limited, but I get your point.

Alex2201 this is what I keep hearing. Housing quality and services are obviously important, as are opportunities for our children. We are both educators though, and I honestly want my kids to be entrepreneurs more than degree holders to be honest, but those foundation years are important.

Ignorance in remote locations is somewhat universal I find, but I think braindrain has really hit this region hard.

Our other options are currently Panama, Portugal, or rural Ontario ... Might need to look harder at these.

Thanks everyone!
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Old Dec 8th 2015, 8:12 am
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Default Re: Calling all East Coast Canada Experts

Originally Posted by Fortune500 View Post
Our other options are currently Panama, Portugal, or rural Ontario ... Might need to look harder at these. Thanks everyone!
Huge differences there and if you are prepared to move out as far as Panama or Portugal, why not consider other places? I moved to the Republic of Ireland a couple years ago and would certainly be an option if you are looking for cheaper housing and don't mind rural living. We speak English, family is very important to people here, you have direct flights to Canada and these days it's certainly cheaper than Canada. Winters are relatively mild and it's so easy to get to locations like Portugal, or Spain for some winter sun without breaking the bank.
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Old Dec 8th 2015, 10:24 am
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Default Re: Calling all East Coast Canada Experts

We have toyed with it Moses2013. All of our Irish expat friends are moving back (things seem to be picking up) and we find most of you to be great craic ... sorry. True about the direct flights.

Cost of living still seems much lower in Panama and Portugal though. Panama wins over most due to the tax-free option. We are non-residents for tax purposes at the moment, so obviously staying offshore in a place like Panama that offers the Friendly Nations visa is very tempting longer term as Canadian passport holders.
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