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Diary of our move to Canada

Diary of our move to Canada

Old May 7th 2018, 9:37 am
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Day 4 Chill out time, checking the neighbourhood

Well, on Sunday we decided to take sometime out and travel on the local transportation to view different neighbourhoods. We headed to the local bus stop, when my other half informed me that the bus does not sell a day pass and does not give change. Turned around and headed to the nearest ttc stop, Main St, where we paid for a 1 Day pass $12.50. At the weekend the one day pass is good for a family or 2 adults like us.

Other half wanted to show me Thorncliffe Park apartments, so we headed west on Line 2 of the subway Kennedy/Kipling and got off at Pape station. The bus station is connected to the subway, so we jumped on the first bus which quickly tools us to our destination. Travelling through Greek town neighbourhood, we did like the vibe on a Sunday morning. Wish we could find a house rental in this area.

After lunch, other half decided to go for a pedicure for the first time in her life with her sister. I decided to head down to Kensington market. Very easy to get there from Main St. Took subway line 2 to Spadina (13 Stops), then the streetcar 510 (5 stops) to Nassau. Kensington market reminds me of Notting Hill in London, UK. Lots of cool independent stores and drinking establishments. After an hour strolling around the stores, I headed for the Kensington brewing company for a rack of beer. That's 4 different samples of their locally brewed beer held together on a wooden rack. Very tasty and good value at $9. After that, headed across the road to our favourite vegan restaurant Urban Herbivore to pick up a Moroccan stew and a sweet potato curry to go. Would recommend both dishes as they were delicious.

More house hunting on Day 5 and a potential job opportunity through an old work connection on LinkedIn. Details to follow tomorrow.......

Last edited by glendem4; May 7th 2018 at 9:45 am.
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Old May 8th 2018, 11:07 pm
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Day 5 House hunting and dealing with 1980s Banking system

We thought we had secured a 3 bedroom apartment in Don Mills - 110 Parkway Forest Drive for $2120 per month. We were showed a sample 1 bedroom display unit, but they refused to show us the actual apartment as it was being "renovated". Didn't think it was much of an issue at first. We were requested to get a pre authorised cheque for first and. Last months rent and filled out an application form. After sleeping on our decision we decided to withdraw our application. Buyer beware, if you don't see what you are purchasing, you have no recourse and we felt uncomfortable with the whole process.

Thats when we had to get the preauthorised cheque back from the rental company, go back to the bank and wait 20 minutes for the teller to process the cheque and clear the funds back into our account. The U.K. Banking system is way ahead of the system here in Canada. Everyone still trusts paper! Crazy

We have decided to focus our search on East York area where we are staying in an Airbnb. The Taylor creek park trail is on our doorsteps, the beaches are a stroll away and all the shops you can need are on Danforth Ave. It only takes 19 minutes on the subway to get down town as well.

we set up our phones with ttag.ca to make calls back to the UK for only 5c per minute. Ttag give you an initial free 40 minutes which we think is great. PM us if you want more details and Free airtime. It is a simple system to use if you have unlimited call minutes on your Canadian sim.

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Old May 9th 2018, 5:37 pm
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Day 6 House hunting in East York and local shopping

We decided to just focus on a 2 mile radius of where we are staying. It takes too long on public transport to head up to North York Don Mills area, especially from East York. We have also decided to use one property search engine realtor.ca which is a bit like rightmove back in the UK. Once you find properties you like use ONE agent only, it makes life a lot easier. The MLS multi list system here in Toronto means any agent can get to view any property and it's the Landlord that pays for the service.
So it is a great way for new immigrants to find property quickly.

We have found a lovely agent called Julie Hughes at KellerWilliams who is helping us on our search. Julie will come to your location and pick you up and drive you around to see the properties. She will also set you up on an internal property search system that shows you properties 24 hours before they appear on realtor.ca

we have found food shopping in Metro the best. The quality of food and quantity are far and away better than other supermarkets. Think Waitrose in the UK. We have also food shopped at Sobeys which is a bit like Sainsburys. Still struggling with the concept of going to a liquor store to buy alcohol. The U.K. And Europe make it so easy to buy beer and wine
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Old May 9th 2018, 5:39 pm
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Default Re: Diary of our move to Canada

Originally Posted by glendem4 View Post
Day 6 House hunting in East York and local shopping

We decided to just focus on a 2 mile radius of where we are staying. It takes too long on public transport to head up to North York Do Mills area, especially from East York. We have also decided to use one property search engine realtor.ca which is a bit like rightmove back in the UK. Once you find properties you like use ONE agent only, it makes life a lot easier. The MLS multi list system here in Toronto means any agent can get to view any property and it's the Landlord that pays for the service.
So it is a great way for new immigrants to find property quickly.

We have found a lovely agent called Julie Hughes at KellerWilliams who is helping us on our search. Julie will come to your location and pick you up and drive you around to see the properties. She will also set you up on an internal property search system that shows you properties 24 hours before they appear on realtor.ca

we have found food shopping in Metro the best. The quality of food and quantity are far and away better than othe supermarkets. Think Waitrose in the UK. We have also food shopped at Sobeys which is a bit like Sainsburys. Still struggling with the concept of going to a liquor store to buy alcohol. The U.K. And Europe make it so easy to buy beer and wine
The TTC goes to the St. Lawrence Market. If quality is of concern in food shopping that's the place to go.
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Old May 9th 2018, 6:16 pm
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Default Re: Diary of our move to Canada

Originally Posted by glendem4 View Post
Day 6 House hunting in East York and local shopping

We decided to just focus on a 2 mile radius of where we are staying. It takes too long on public transport to head up to North York Don Mills area, especially from East York. We have also decided to use one property search engine realtor.ca which is a bit like rightmove back in the UK. Once you find properties you like use ONE agent only, it makes life a lot easier. The MLS multi list system here in Toronto means any agent can get to view any property and it's the Landlord that pays for the service.
So it is a great way for new immigrants to find property quickly.

We have found a lovely agent called Julie Hughes at KellerWilliams who is helping us on our search. Julie will come to your location and pick you up and drive you around to see the properties. She will also set you up on an internal property search system that shows you properties 24 hours before they appear on realtor.ca

we have found food shopping in Metro the best. The quality of food and quantity are far and away better than other supermarkets. Think Waitrose in the UK. We have also food shopped at Sobeys which is a bit like Sainsburys. Still struggling with the concept of going to a liquor store to buy alcohol. The U.K. And Europe make it so easy to buy beer and wine
Hi we are currently using an agent to find us a property in the Milton, Oakville or Burlington area. Ready for us landing in June. It's frustrating finding a house that is perfect then getting beaten to it or the landlord doesn't want pets or in one case suddenly they are renting the basement out separately. Good luck in your search.

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Old May 9th 2018, 9:37 pm
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Originally Posted by glendem4 View Post
Still struggling with the concept of going to a liquor store to buy alcohol. The U.K. And Europe make it so easy to buy beer and wine
In the last year or two there has been some limited beer and wine available at some supermarkets, but it is limited in terms of the fact you can't buy it in any units bigger than a 6 pack. Craft beer is disproportionately displayed versus its market share and the Liberal government have gushed endlessly about this innovation in Ontario, hoping that residents have never left the province at any point in their adult lives to buy alcohol.

Have you looked into the townhouses on Valleywoods Drive in Don Mills. When we moved to Toronto in the early 80's when I was a late teen we lived in a townhouse for a few months there. For all I know the townhouses could be gone and a meat rendering plant could have been built there.
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Old May 9th 2018, 10:00 pm
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Default Re: Diary of our move to Canada

Originally Posted by glendem4 View Post

Still struggling with the concept of going to a liquor store to buy alcohol. The U.K. And Europe make it so easy to buy beer and wine
Get used to it. PD is right in that there has been a very minor move toward sanity in ON since I left 3 years ago, but buying provincially controlled booze at ridiculously inflated prices from sparsely available outlets is still the reality there.

Enjoy.
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Old May 9th 2018, 10:23 pm
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Default Re: Diary of our move to Canada

Originally Posted by Novocastrian View Post
Get used to it. PD is right in that there has been a very minor move toward sanity in ON since I left 3 years ago, but buying provincially controlled booze at ridiculously inflated prices from sparsely available outlets is still the reality there.

Enjoy.
If you live near Quebec you can get a whole choice of beers otherwise not available in Ontario at pretty reasonable prices....cans of swill in 60 packs at Costco if that kind of non-taste floats your boat.

Similarly, many people in Ontario load up at duty free or on short trips to the USA.

I would say that the # of outlets in a town is a bigger factor than the prices which I don't find as big of a deal as the places to actually buy the beer (most of my purchases..occasionally wine, basically never for spirits).

In Nice a year or so ago we were at a supermarket called Casino with our daughter and they had some crazy 1/2 hour sale on beer and wine where it was basically 50% off and even 50% off already 'on sale' prices as they needed to get rid of stock before the next days' delivery. Our daughter ended up getting a large selection of 'quality' 3 euro wines for 1.50 euros. Free enterprise at its best.
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Old May 9th 2018, 11:43 pm
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Default Re: Diary of our move to Canada

Originally Posted by Partially discharged View Post

Similarly, many people in Ontario load up at duty free or on short trips to the USA..
I don't bother with the duty free but do go to Premiere Wines. I always say what I have and am ready to pay the taxes on it at the border but have always been sent on my way (with a case, I haven't tried with a pallet or a tanker full.) Even if the tax and duty is paid it's still way cheaper than the LCBO when both stock the same product.
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Old May 10th 2018, 12:05 am
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Default Re: Diary of our move to Canada

Originally Posted by Partially discharged View Post
In Nice a year or so ago we were at a supermarket called Casino
I remember Casino supermarket but I can't remember where from. Calais maybe?
Our daughter ended up getting a large selection of 'quality' 3 euro wines for 1.50 euros. Free enterprise at its best
In my 20s I was on holiday at Cap d'agde (not the naturist part) and a shop there had ridiculously cheap wine, you just had to bring your own container.

It was awful. Like vinegar but not good enough for chips. Maybe they used it for pickling.
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Old May 10th 2018, 3:09 am
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Originally Posted by BristolUK View Post
I remember Casino supermarket but I can't remember where from. Calais maybe?

In my 20s I was on holiday at Cap d'agde (not the naturist part) and a shop there had ridiculously cheap wine, you just had to bring your own container.

It was awful. Like vinegar but not good enough for chips. Maybe they used it for pickling.

One of the major supermarket chains in France probably in the lower half customer/demographic wise. The Casino in Nice did have wine for 2 euros/bottle (0.75 litre bottle) and their own brand of beer was very cheap....
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Old May 10th 2018, 1:12 pm
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Default Re: Diary of our move to Canada

Originally Posted by Partially discharged View Post
ICraft beer is disproportionately displayed versus its market share and the Liberal government have gushed endlessly about this innovation in Ontario
Until very recently, microbreweries in Ontario have had a bugger of a time getting in to the LCBO (beer store is a virtual non-starter - there's a very good documentary kicking around on Vimeo that explains the previous situation). With the rapid growth of microbreweries in general, it would have been political suicide to not budge on this.

It's my understanding that LCBO management has also loosened up wrt the minimum quantities they'll take on for a given SKU (another point that has always worked against small breweries); also, since LCBO branch managers have a large amount of discretion wrt what they stock in their store - and, presumably, know what they can shift and maximize their sales - we're finally in a situation that's more amenable to getting decent beers without having to resort to a schlep to the brewery.

Another point: when the LCBO *do* bring in something decent from Europe (pretty frequently in my local), it's typically at a pretty damn good price. That said, I'd love a Quebec-style dep in my neighbourhood ;-) Or even a garage like a couple in Buffalo I know that have small but very well stocked selections of well-priced, hard-to-find stuff.
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Old May 10th 2018, 1:45 pm
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Default Re: Diary of our move to Canada

Originally Posted by bgpz View Post
Until very recently, microbreweries in Ontario have had a bugger of a time getting in to the LCBO (beer store is a virtual non-starter - there's a very good documentary kicking around on Vimeo that explains the previous situation). With the rapid growth of microbreweries in general, it would have been political suicide to not budge on this.

It's my understanding that LCBO management has also loosened up wrt the minimum quantities they'll take on for a given SKU (another point that has always worked against small breweries); also, since LCBO branch managers have a large amount of discretion wrt what they stock in their store - and, presumably, know what they can shift and maximize their sales - we're finally in a situation that's more amenable to getting decent beers without having to resort to a schlep to the brewery.

Another point: when the LCBO *do* bring in something decent from Europe (pretty frequently in my local), it's typically at a pretty damn good price. That said, I'd love a Quebec-style dep in my neighbourhood ;-) Or even a garage like a couple in Buffalo I know that have small but very well stocked selections of well-priced, hard-to-find stuff.
Last summer the LCBO had one of their product reformatting fits and switched from selling Pride in four packs to selling single cans. The way they approach this is that they won't sell any single cans until all the four packs have gone so there were several weeks during which we waited for the two four packs on the shelf in Hearst ON to be purchased. I was sorely tempted to drive up and buy them. Instead, I went to the Beer Store to buy something for the first time in decades (I do go there to return cans and bottles). What a balls up the Beer Store is if you want to buy a specific beer. The place is set up for people who want crates of "beer" and don't much mind what beer it is. I found Pride in bottles. There were no baskets, just trollies with no sides for putting crates on. Two dozen loose bottles do not balance well on such a device. A shop with one purpose, selling beer, made buying beer difficult. I was (relatively) glad to go back to the LCBO!
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Old May 10th 2018, 2:20 pm
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Default Re: Diary of our move to Canada

This is the doc I was talking about (which also does a great job explaining how the Beer Store came about, and why it's such a travesty):


It's a full-length documentary, but well put together and helped me get my head around the whole back story.
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Old May 10th 2018, 5:04 pm
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Default Re: Diary of our move to Canada

Originally Posted by bgpz View Post
This is the doc I was talking about (which also does a great job explaining how the Beer Store came about, and why it's such a travesty):

Straight Up: The Issue of Alcohol in Ontario

It's a full-length documentary, but well put together and helped me get my head around the whole back story.
I'm not wasting time watching that because I already know that Ontario has rushed from the 1920s to the mid-1950s in a mere 82 years.
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