Canada Trip

Old Jan 12th 2016, 1:38 am
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Default Canada Trip

Me and my girlfriend are planning a 2 week trip to Canada in July, we wanted 3 but she can only get 2.

We both like the idea of living in Canada but have never been and so are taking a trip to make sure we like the feel of the place before we make any plans.

We both like the idea of Calgary but are leaving our options open at this time.

The trip plan so far is vague; land in Vancouver, see some friends and the city.

Drive through rockies and stay over somewhere, thinking Banf and 1 other. Do some out doors activities; we like rafting/walking/kayaking.

Drive to Calgary and look around the city.

I really wanted to see Vancouver, Calgary and a place further east, then I'd seen a few places across the country but I think with 2 weeks I'd be pushed for time.

She's 26, a degree qualified mental health nurse working with elderly with dementia.
I'm 30, a chartered mechanical engineer with degree and masters. I currently work in nuclear but generally I design heavy machinery, containment systems, heavy duty containment doors, anything mechanical and so I think my skills are portable to another industry.

We like the outdoors and in the future would like a rural property. We are looking away from the UK as we'd like a family and the lack of space, congestion, property prices, crime and the growing disrespectful attitude towards surroundings puts us off raising a family in the UK.

Calgary appeals due to its proximity to the mountains but also seemed to have a lot of engineering (pre oil crash) and nurse positions. Hopefully oil will pick up and those engineering jobs will come back.

Anyway, any advice for places to see or advice on what to look for when we're doing a trip which is more about seeing if we like the country than holidaying? I've been on plenty of holidays but never really looked for a home somewhere, if people have done similar trips then I'd love to hear your experiences.

Do people think we should try and get 3 places in to get more of a feel across the country or spend more time in the two areas I mentioned?

Any advice or opinions on any of what I've wrote would be appreciated.

Thanks
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Old Jan 12th 2016, 2:52 am
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Default Re: Canada Trip

Hi, and welcome to BE.

This is of no help at all with your trip planning, but if you think you might like to move to Canada, then personally I'd recommend you look at the IEC visa and apply for one now. It's just that as soon as you turn 31 you're no longer eligible for one, and it will be your quickest and easiest route over there. It's a 2 year open work permit.

I know that you're not sure you do want to move there until you visit, but it's a fairly low cost visa, so might be worth investing in now (you don't have to use it for a year after getting it, so would have until 2017 to go).

If you miss out on this years IEC, then it will be much, much tougher for you to move, so it could be worth looking at. If you do decide to go for it, then get an application in asap as this year's quota is already being filled up.

And just FWIW, I don't personally think the UK is a worse place to raise kids - property prices will generally be higher in Vancouver than most of the UK (where I personally found it much more congested and with less space than where I live in the UK), re: crime there are more murders per capita in Canada than the UK, etc, etc. Just pointing out that all first world countries will offer the same kind of upbringing for kids IMO, and you're unlikely to find it magically better in Canada for any future children, and the same problems are everywhere unfortunately.

Best of luck with it all and enjoy the trip.

Last edited by christmasoompa; Jan 12th 2016 at 2:57 am.
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Old Jan 12th 2016, 3:26 am
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Default Re: Canada Trip

If you are looking to make a trip in July, you may wish to consider ensuring that your time in Calgary coincides with the time that the Calgary Stampede is on. If you like Calgary during the Stampede (crowds are huge) you will likely like it at all other times too.

14 days in Vancouver, Calgary and other location, with all the travelling that that will involve will not really permit you to get a real feel for what living in a place will be like and, I suspect, a fair amount of what you will be doing will be touristy type stuff.

However, if you plan your trip between the locations appropriately, you should see some fantastic scenery.

What do you mean by a "rural property"? A small acreage on the outskirts of a city or a larger place some distance from the city? Both are available in and around Calgary but, even with the current economic climate, they will be expensive.

I suggest that you have a look at Bearspaw/Cochrane, and acreages to the west of there, Strathmore to the east of the city, and acreages around there. Okotoks/High River and acreages around there and areas to the north of the city too. That will give you a feel for what is available and the price difference between the various locations. In essence, west and south of the city are more expensive than north and east of the city.
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Old Jan 12th 2016, 1:02 pm
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Default Re: Canada Trip

Originally Posted by Shakyuk
Me and my girlfriend are planning a 2 week trip to Canada in July, we wanted 3 but she can only get 2.

We both like the idea of living in Canada but have never been and so are taking a trip to make sure we like the feel of the place before we make any plans.

We both like the idea of Calgary but are leaving our options open at this time.

The trip plan so far is vague; land in Vancouver, see some friends and the city.

Drive through rockies and stay over somewhere, thinking Banf and 1 other. Do some out doors activities; we like rafting/walking/kayaking.

Drive to Calgary and look around the city.

I really wanted to see Vancouver, Calgary and a place further east, then I'd seen a few places across the country but I think with 2 weeks I'd be pushed for time.

She's 26, a degree qualified mental health nurse working with elderly with dementia.
I'm 30, a chartered mechanical engineer with degree and masters. I currently work in nuclear but generally I design heavy machinery, containment systems, heavy duty containment doors, anything mechanical and so I think my skills are portable to another industry.

We like the outdoors and in the future would like a rural property. We are looking away from the UK as we'd like a family and the lack of space, congestion, property prices, crime and the growing disrespectful attitude towards surroundings puts us off raising a family in the UK.

Calgary appeals due to its proximity to the mountains but also seemed to have a lot of engineering (pre oil crash) and nurse positions. Hopefully oil will pick up and those engineering jobs will come back.

Anyway, any advice for places to see or advice on what to look for when we're doing a trip which is more about seeing if we like the country than holidaying? I've been on plenty of holidays but never really looked for a home somewhere, if people have done similar trips then I'd love to hear your experiences.

Do people think we should try and get 3 places in to get more of a feel across the country or spend more time in the two areas I mentioned?

Any advice or opinions on any of what I've wrote would be appreciated.

Thanks
Every province is very different geographically, economically, etc.
Thinking ahead, if you're wanting to come here in the longer term to live and work, you may wish to check out Ontario, as that's where the majority of the nuclear power stations are sited. Your missus will want to look into what steps and exams she would need to take to become licensed to practice nursing in whichever province you end up in.
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Old Jan 12th 2016, 1:03 pm
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Default Re: Canada Trip

Make sure you're here for Canada Day!
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Old Jan 12th 2016, 3:21 pm
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Default Re: Canada Trip

I agree that to "do" Vancouver, Banff and Calgary all in two weeks will be a lot to cover, particularly if you're looking to get a feel for living here as opposed to just holidaying and, believe me, you'll also want to do a bunch of touristy stuff if you're spending time around Banff.

I guess when we came out for our first trip we were fortunate in the sense that we knew my husband's job would be based in Calgary so that limited us to looking at Calgary and the surrounding towns, which was certainly "doable" in the two weeks we were here. We based ourselves in one location in accommodation that enabled us to fend for ourselves.

I'm not very knowledgeable about the Vancouver area but if you're looking for rural then there are certainly plenty of acreages around the Calgary area. My husband works in Calgary but we live in Cochrane so we are kind of in between Calgary and Banff.

Drop me a message if there's anything you'd perhaps like to know about this area and all the best.
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Old Jan 12th 2016, 6:35 pm
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Default Re: Canada Trip

BC alone is enormous and you could easily spend 2 weeks just there, and there is also a huge amount of variation in landscape. Although Vancouver is very expensive, as soon as you start to move away from there property prices come down a lot the further out you get and it soon becomes possible to find properties for less than what you'd pay for something similar in the UK.
Enjoy the trip and I hope it gives you a feel for where you'd like to be.
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Old Jan 12th 2016, 7:09 pm
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Default Re: Canada Trip

Originally Posted by christmasoompa
Hi, and welcome to BE.

..I'd recommend you look at the IEC visa and apply for one now...

And just FWIW, I don't personally think the UK is a worse place to raise kids...
Thank you for the advice on the IEC, I had looked at that a couple of years ago but it had fallen out of memory, I'll check that out. Like you say it is probably our best route.

With respect to kids and bringing up in the UK. Between me and my girlfriend we actually have a good house hold income but I think space is so tight here it's inevitably more expensive. We live in Wigan, between Manchester and Liverpool. My main problem is Manchester, Liverpool and Preston and their respective urban sprawls have expanded such that you can easily drive between them all without encountering any green space. To own a house with more than a small front and back garden is going to cost £750,000+ unless you live very far from any jobs and even then its very expensive. I don't want to buy a ridiculously overpriced lego brick house with no interior or exterior space on some new housing estate then have to sit in an hours traffic just to get down the road. Seriously there are traffic jams in Wigan at 10pm at night! I'm hoping somewhere in the world I can get a job, a house with some space for kids to play and not spend my life in congestion.

I'm under no illusion that Canada will be perfect, I'm sure there will be things I'll dislike, but I'm hoping the overall feel will be that its a more positive environment to have a family and live a happy life.

My trip was originally going to be Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto area. Vancouver because we have friends there we are going to visit and they love the area but it's never actually appealed to me. I figured I'd visit and see why a lot of people seem to like it but there are other areas which appeal more to me.

Originally Posted by Almost Canadian
If you are looking to make a trip in July, you may wish to consider ensuring that your time in Calgary coincides with the time that the Calgary Stampede is on. If you like Calgary during the Stampede (crowds are huge) you will likely like it at all other times too.

14 days in Vancouver, Calgary and other location, with all the travelling that that will involve will not really permit you to get a real feel for what living in a place will be like and, I suspect, a fair amount of what you will be doing will be touristy type stuff.

However, if you plan your trip between the locations appropriately, you should see some fantastic scenery.

What do you mean by a "rural property"? A small acreage on the outskirts of a city or a larger place some distance from the city? Both are available in and around Calgary but, even with the current economic climate, they will be expensive.

I suggest that you have a look at Bearspaw/Cochrane, and acreages to the west of there, Strathmore to the east of the city, and acreages around there. Okotoks/High River and acreages around there and areas to the north of the city too. That will give you a feel for what is available and the price difference between the various locations. In essence, west and south of the city are more expensive than north and east of the city.
A small acreage would be what we're looking for really within commuting distance of the city, that's and the engineering jobs is what attracted me to Calgary really. It seemed achievable.

Bearspaw/Cochrane are actually two areas I've been looking at, good to know I wasn't all wrong! I really appreciate you giving me more areas to look at so cheers for that, its a big help

Unfortunately the jobs market in engineering doesn't seem to be great at the moment. But before the oil and mining markets went down Calgary seemed to tick all of the boxes.

Originally Posted by TrishP
Every province is very different geographically, economically, etc.
Thinking ahead, if you're wanting to come here in the longer term to live and work, you may wish to check out Ontario, as that's where the majority of the nuclear power stations are sited.
I'd prefer to get out of nuclear and try something else to be honest. But my original plan was to include Ontario as changing country and sector may be a lot to ask! I think even though it may be exhausting I may have to look around Ontario, I have looked at a few of the sites and nuclear employers there and apparently there is a reasonably large number of expats working in the industry. We did just over 2 weeks in India and traveled over 2500 km by train seeing a new place almost every day so I image Canada is less chaotic. I could probably fit 3 places in but getting a feel may be difficult but then at least I'll get some kind of feel.. as you can probably tell I'm arguing with myself...

Originally Posted by TheThornes
I'm not very knowledgeable about the Vancouver area but if you're looking for rural then there are certainly plenty of acreages around the Calgary area. My husband works in Calgary but we live in Cochrane so we are kind of in between Calgary and Banff.
Thanks Thornes, what does your husband do if you don't mind me asking? How is Calgary since the oil price crash? Do you feel your quality of life has improved since moving to Canada?
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Old Jan 12th 2016, 7:21 pm
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Default Re: Canada Trip

Originally Posted by Shakyuk
Thank you for the advice on the IEC, I had looked at that a couple of years ago but it had fallen out of memory, I'll check that out. Like you say it is probably our best route.
It's certainly your quickest and easiest route, so might well be worth applying for now anyway.

Originally Posted by Shakyuk
We live in Wigan, between Manchester and Liverpool. My main problem is Manchester, Liverpool and Preston and their respective urban sprawls have expanded such that you can easily drive between them all without encountering any green space. To own a house with more than a small front and back garden is going to cost £750,000+ unless you live very far from any jobs and even then its very expensive.
Blimey. I know nothing about the Wigan housing market but it's obviously a lot more expensive than where I live (Berkshire), we bought a large 6 bed farmhouse with a 1.5 acre garden here for a lot less than that 4 years ago. I hadn't realise how expensive it was there.

Originally Posted by Shakyuk
I'm hoping somewhere in the world I can get a job, a house with some space for kids to play and not spend my life in congestion.
You could do that in the UK and save yourself the stress and cost of an international move as well though. Just playing devils advocate! Move if you love Canada when you visit, but I don't think that your space and price issues will be solved if you move to Vancouver - IMO, they'll worsen. No idea on Calgary though.

Good luck with the trip.

Last edited by christmasoompa; Jan 12th 2016 at 7:37 pm.
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Old Jan 12th 2016, 7:56 pm
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In Wigan itself you can't really get anything rural, the area between the three cities is so built up (and building fast) that there are precious few green spaces and these are diminishing fast. This has meant areas between Wigan and Liverpool and Cheshire are the only local areas with houses that have some small amount of land and these are ridiculously expensive.

I'm self employed and operate through my own limited company, doing this has risks but it means my take home pay is pretty good. But I seriously don't understand how anyone of my generation can afford these properties. 3 bedroom new builds are 250,000 plus for a small house with zero character and tiny plots. They're just building on all green areas and getting the maximum number of houses on the plots. Space is at such a premium that these are all extremely expensive. Immigration to this area is quite high too so flooding, cost of living and space are all going to be squeezed further in this area but also throughout he UK. There seems to be a constant pursuit for a higher and higher population to the detriment of the environment and standard of living.
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Old Jan 12th 2016, 8:42 pm
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Default Re: Canada Trip

Originally Posted by Shakyuk
In Wigan itself you can't really get anything rural, the area between the three cities is so built up (and building fast) that there are precious few green spaces and these are diminishing fast. This has meant areas between Wigan and Liverpool and Cheshire are the only local areas with houses that have some small amount of land and these are ridiculously expensive.
Sounds horrid - my idea of hell tbh! But why can't you move to a more rural area with cheaper property? It sounds like you're in a very expensive and crowded part of the UK, so if I were you I'd look at other areas as well as Canada.
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Old Jan 12th 2016, 9:17 pm
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Default Re: Canada Trip

Originally Posted by christmasoompa
Sounds horrid - my idea of hell tbh! But why can't you move to a more rural area with cheaper property? It sounds like you're in a very expensive and crowded part of the UK, so if I were you I'd look at other areas as well as Canada.
I have worked in other areas of the UK but another issue I have is that engineering isn't that great here anymore. I do well as a self employed person (but I work within other organisations) but for the most part I've seen a constant and steady decline. I'm hoping oil picks up and I can be part of an area were engineering is on the increase rather than a country like the UK that is more interested in the service industry than actually producing anything.

As a staff person within the UK engineers earn considerably less than every other developed nation. That coupled with what I perceive as a lowering of peoples respect for their surroundings and each other, the over crowding and rise an inequality have really put me off living here. The potential to get 1000 hours more sunshine per year, more green space, mountains within a drive, less congestion, skiing in winter, rafting and hiking in summer is massively appealing. I'm thinking of Calgary here. Like I say, Vancouver is just to visit friends.
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Old Jan 12th 2016, 9:26 pm
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Default Re: Canada Trip

Originally Posted by Shakyuk
I have worked in other areas of the UK but another issue I have is that engineering isn't that great here anymore. I do well as a self employed person (but I work within other organisations) but for the most part I've seen a constant and steady decline. I'm hoping oil picks up and I can be part of an area were engineering is on the increase rather than a country like the UK that is more interested in the service industry than actually producing anything.
Fair enough. Might be worth starting another thread about your job prospects in Calgary though as well - I've no idea, but with the oil decline I know the economy there has been hit hard, not sure if that would affect your industry or not, but it could be worth asking.

Originally Posted by Shakyuk
That coupled with what I perceive as a lowering of peoples respect for their surroundings and each other, the over crowding and rise an inequality have really put me off living here.
We'll have to agree to disagree on that one - again, it seems that you're referring to your particular part of the UK, as I don't recognise it where I live. Unless you count too many deer in the field next door to me as overcrowding.

Good luck with it all, look forward to hearing how your trip goes.
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Old Jan 12th 2016, 9:54 pm
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Cheers appreciate the information in the thread and by pm
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Old Jan 13th 2016, 1:58 am
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Default Re: Canada Trip

Originally Posted by Shakyuk
A small acreage would be what we're looking for really within commuting distance of the city, that's and the engineering jobs is what attracted me to Calgary really. It seemed achievable.

Bearspaw/Cochrane are actually two areas I've been looking at, good to know I wasn't all wrong! I really appreciate you giving me more areas to look at so cheers for that, its a big help

Unfortunately the jobs market in engineering doesn't seem to be great at the moment. But before the oil and mining markets went down Calgary seemed to tick all of the boxes.
It depends what you mean by "small". We have 20 acres which is small for our area as, within about 500 metres of our property, the properties are quarter sections (160) plus.

The vast majority of the acreages in Bearspaw close to highway 1 are 2-5 acre type lots. As many on here will know, these types of acreages are considered by some to be a pain in the arse size - too small to be able to keep livestock (horses) sensibly, but too large to be able to maintain with the items one would have in a regular household. For example, 5 acres requires a hell of a lot of time to cut with a push behind lawn mower.

Bearspaw tends to be occupied by executive types that live in the city and commute to their large houses.

I have a number of engineers as clients. None of them have been laid off and many of them are on contract and have seen little slowdown in the work they are being offered. I accept that this is a very small sample but it isn't all doom and gloom in Calgary.
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