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Edmonton, Vancouver or Calgary - we need a decision. Thoughts?

Edmonton, Vancouver or Calgary - we need a decision. Thoughts?

Old Mar 13th 2011, 10:58 am
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Default Edmonton, Vancouver or Calgary - we need a decision. Thoughts?

Having spent the last however-many years reading the forum and being envious of friends who have made the move, we took the plunge and my husband is interviewing for some jobs. But his employer have now mentioned a transfer might be a possibility, which would be great.

So, here's the question. We're supposed to go back with a preference for Vancouver, Edmonton or Calgary.

Short of flying over for a three week multi-city recce (not going to happen) to concentrate our thoughts we need the input of the wise minds of the forum.

We have four children. They're 11, 8, 6 and 4. We'd ski most weekends in winter. We currently live in a village (photos in the blog in my sig, for an idea) have chickens, grow our own veg, etc. We both ice skate. Husband and the boys mountain bike. We're like the poster family for the Canadian lifestyle!

So - and I know this is a contentious one - thoughts, anyone?

Ideally we don't want to end up tied to a hideous commute (he currently takes 2 hours each way into London) but at the same time we don't want to end up living in a subdivision with a tiny garden because that would defeat the purpose.

My thoughts - Vancouver looks beautiful, but houses are stupendously expensive for what they are. Maple Ridge seems to offer houses we could afford, but is it cookie-cutter identikit houses and tiny gardens?

Calgary - well, friends from our village moved to Okotoks and love it.

Edmonton - looks beautiful, houses cheapest of all, but brrrr. We're from the Highlands originally, so we're used to the cold, but how cold is cold?!

If you're still reading (I do go on a bit) thanks. All thoughts gratefully accepted!
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Old Mar 13th 2011, 1:30 pm
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Default Re: Edmonton, Vancouver or Calgary - we need a decision. Thoughts?

I'm sure replying to yourself is a sign of madness, but never mind.

To clarify (it was early and I hadn't had enough coffee) - with the employer basically telling us to pick a city out of the three, we need to nail where we're ending up because obviously we can't arrive there, get the children settled in school then decide we don't want to be in x, we want to be in y.
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Old Mar 13th 2011, 4:51 pm
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Default Re: Edmonton, Vancouver or Calgary - we need a decision. Thoughts?

All 3 are likely to be able to provide you with what you are after. Which one would be best for you is a question that requires too subjective an answer for anyone on here to provide.
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Old Mar 13th 2011, 5:04 pm
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Default Re: Edmonton, Vancouver or Calgary - we need a decision. Thoughts?

I do appreciate that! You're in Calgary - would you recommend it? Do you love it?
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Old Mar 13th 2011, 5:06 pm
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Default Re: Edmonton, Vancouver or Calgary - we need a decision. Thoughts?

Looked at your blog and saw that you're into gardening.

In Calgary and Edmonton, gardening is a bit like Christmas decorations in the UK... looks great for a few weeks, but for the rest of the year it's completely irrelevant. On the plus side, I really appreciated only having to cut the grass from June-September.
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Old Mar 13th 2011, 5:12 pm
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Default Re: Edmonton, Vancouver or Calgary - we need a decision. Thoughts?

Husband is cheering at the thought of that.

I think I could sacrifice my love of gardening for skiing every weekend!
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Old Mar 13th 2011, 5:31 pm
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Default Re: Edmonton, Vancouver or Calgary - we need a decision. Thoughts?

Just to help you narrow things down a bit.....

- Not sure that Edmonton would be ideal if you want to ski every weekend, as Jasper is around a 2 to 3 hour-ish drive. Calgary is only 1 to 2 hours from Banff/Lake Louise. Vancouver has Grouse, Cypress, etc pretty close by and then its Sun Peaks/Big White about 4 to 5 hours away. Four kids in ski school could be quite pricey too!

- If you want to keep chickens, make sure you check the local bylaws. I recall a case in the Calgary area where a residents wasn't allowed to keep chickens in his garden and was fighting the authorities on the issue: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgar...w-charges.html. You could keep chickens on a acreage though.

- I'm not sure if the UK village-type lifestyle exists here in Canada as you would expect it to. Certainly a 'village' in Alberta would pretty much be a few streets with houses and maybe a gas station if you are lucky. Living on an acreage might not be great for kids in terms of them going outside to play as it will be a fair distance to the next house - just something I heard from an acquaintance who moved back to the city from an acreage because his smaller daughter was quite isolated from her play friends there. The 'smaller' towns in Alberta such as Okotoks, Cochrane, Airdrie, etc are basically full of the same style subdivisions with identikit houses as you would get in Calgary, just not as sprawling. Older subdivisions tend to have larger plots with more mature gardens and landscaping and trees.

- We like being in Calgary in an older subdivision (1970's): Slightly larger plot, mature trees and landscaping, schools nearby, public transit easily available to downtown, close to shops and services. Not a bad trek to the mountains at 1 to 1 1/2. Our location was dictated by the commute to work for us - would have liked to have lived out in Cochrane but our offices initially being in the NE would have made it a bit of a nightmare commute. Personally I wouldn't live in Okotoks if I was working downtown because of the commute but that's my choice - some people do!

- I would have liked to have lived in Vancouver too, but it was the price of houses that put us off as well! I'm not sure how far out you would have to live if you wanted wide open spaces to keep chickens, and what sort of commute that would involve.

So, I probably haven't helped much but you will find that we all like to put in our five buck's worth when it comes to opinions on where to live

P.S. I think we only had to mow the lawn four times last year

Last edited by Flossie and Jim; Mar 13th 2011 at 5:40 pm. Reason: Found the link to the chicken article!
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Old Mar 13th 2011, 5:35 pm
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Default Re: Edmonton, Vancouver or Calgary - we need a decision. Thoughts?

What a wonderful opportunity!

You may not be able to ski and skate every weekend -- summers are short in Edmonton but they happen every year, and garden contests are a big part of summers (check the city of Edmonton web site).

People who know Vancouver can give you details, since I only know Edmonton and, to a lesser extent, Calgary.

You asked about the cold in Edmonton. If I understand your history correctly, you're accustomed to humid cold, which is different than the cold here. When one dresses for the weather, plugs the vehicle in and uses the remote start to warm the vehicle up, the cold is not such an issue. Another important point is winter tires (or tyres, if you prefer) for winter use only.

And, as I said before, we have more than winter weather. This isn't the Arctic circle
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Old Mar 13th 2011, 5:43 pm
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Default Re: Edmonton, Vancouver or Calgary - we need a decision. Thoughts?

Ooh, that is fab, thank you. We've just been chatting all afternoon, reading (yet more) info, and looking at real estate webpages and we've pretty much come to exactly that conclusion - an older subdivision in Calgary would give us everything we need. So next stop is working out which parts of town to focus on, and also work out if we can find something to rent in the area whilst we look for something to buy.

It's all getting a bit real.
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Old Mar 13th 2011, 5:47 pm
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Default Re: Edmonton, Vancouver or Calgary - we need a decision. Thoughts?

Originally Posted by skara View Post
Maple Ridge seems to offer houses we could afford, but is it cookie-cutter identikit houses and tiny gardens?
I live in Maple Ridge. There are cookie cutter subdivisions; but there is much that is not and acreages are readily available (I live on one).

I mainly work from home, but when I head into downtown Vancouver my commute is about 1:15 each way (by car). Not so bad - but if it was daily I'd be royally sick of it. I'm on the east side though; you can knock about 20 minutes off that if you are on the west.

Vancouver also has Whistler (90 mins with the new sea to sky). From Maple Ridge it can be done in under two hours.
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Old Mar 13th 2011, 7:18 pm
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Default Re: Edmonton, Vancouver or Calgary - we need a decision. Thoughts?

Vancouver's weather is much like the uk, housing and general cost of living a bit higher, wages a little lower that alberta, Bc has HST tax, alberta does not. most people agree Vancouver nice place to be, traffic can be a issue at times.

Calgary, has olympic park for in town skiing, Banff/lake Louise 1-2 hrs for big skiing, quite heavy traffic at times, again nice area to live, most people tend to live on the outskirts in the 'commuter towns' depending on their work.housing costs a bit higher.

Edmonton, known as the festival city, events on almost every weekend all year round. Banff-Jasper 3-4 hrs drive, 4 ski hills in edmonton, 2 more within 1 1/2 drive. yes cold in winter than vancouver, but we do not wear anything different than we did back in uk, sunny -10 to -14 day is very pleasant to be outside in. -30 is cold no matter where you are, houses a bit cheaper, traffic not so heavy even at peak times. like Calgary wages tend to pay more than in BC, cost of living lower in Edmonton, than calgary and vancouver.

hope some of this helps
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Old Mar 13th 2011, 7:35 pm
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Default Re: Edmonton, Vancouver or Calgary - we need a decision. Thoughts?

I cut my lawn for the first time two weeks ago. I expect to be cutting it until November. So, despite having three ski resorts within Metro Vancouver and some of the best mountain biking around, Edmonton sounds like a plan.
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Old Mar 13th 2011, 7:42 pm
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Default Re: Edmonton, Vancouver or Calgary - we need a decision. Thoughts?

Can you do a shorter recce i.e. a week?

We can all give you our opinions but obviously they're subjective.

There are some pretty big lifestyle differences between Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver. Allegedly you get paid more in Alberta but the number of ex-Albertans I know who chose to move here seems to indicate that's not always enough to keep people there. I don't know what it's like as I've never lived there, only visited, but I do like living in Vancouver. If you're used to a 2 hours each way commute (YIKES) the commute from Maple Ridge wouldn't be so bad.

And summers here are fab. They really are.

Last edited by ExKiwilass; Mar 13th 2011 at 7:47 pm.
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Old Mar 13th 2011, 7:44 pm
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Default Re: Edmonton, Vancouver or Calgary - we need a decision. Thoughts?

Originally Posted by JonboyE View Post
I cut my lawn for the first time two weeks ago. I expect to be cutting it until November. So, despite having three ski resorts within Metro Vancouver and some of the best mountain biking around, Edmonton sounds like a plan.
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Old Mar 13th 2011, 8:21 pm
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Default Re: Edmonton, Vancouver or Calgary - we need a decision. Thoughts?

Originally Posted by Essay View Post
You asked about the cold in Edmonton. If I understand your history correctly, you're accustomed to humid cold, which is different than the cold here. When one dresses for the weather, plugs the vehicle in and uses the remote start to warm the vehicle up, the cold is not such an issue. Another important point is winter tires (or tyres, if you prefer) for winter use only.

And, as I said before, we have more than winter weather. This isn't the Arctic circle
Hi Essay - yes, one of the appealing things is proper winter and proper summer! And there's a huge difference in the types of cold, I agree. Dry cold just isn't as, well, cold. Being dressed for the weather also helps!
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