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Kamloops, BC or Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo for relocation

Kamloops, BC or Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo for relocation

Old Sep 9th 2017, 6:20 am
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Default Kamloops, BC or Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo for relocation

Hi everyone,

I currently live and work in Vancouver, BC.
I am looking to move out of Vancouver due to the insane real estate prices and the weather/climate here (I have hard time dealing with the rain for about 7-8+ months of the year. I prefer the snow to the rain in the winter.)

I would have the option to transfer within my company to one of these two locations: Kamloops, BC or Kitchener, Ontario.

I would appreciate some advice from people who had the chance to live in either or both of these cities.

Here are my pros and cons so far:

Kamloops, Pro:
-It has a great climate. Hot in the summer and cold in the winter and generally very dry (very little rain)
-It has an amazing setting: Opportunities for various outdoor activities throughout the year: swimming, hiking, fishing, skiing, snowboarding etc.
-Affordable real estate.

Kamloops, Con:
-Pretty far away from a big city (about 3,5 hours away from Vancouver). Kind of isolated.
-Its size is rather small (Population 90k)
-The city itself is rather unremarkable. It has a small town feel to it.

Kitchener, Pro:
-The Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo area is fairly large. Population is about 500k.
-It is fairly close to a big city (Toronto).
-Affordable real estate
-I have never visited the place, but based on my research, climate wise it would be a better fit for me than Vancouver.
From the pictures (Google street view), the place looks pretty developed and urbanized.

Kitchener, Con:
No (real) mountains nearby. Not that great for skiing and snowboarding.



Thank you everyone for your input.
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Old Sep 9th 2017, 7:13 am
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Default Re: Kamloops, BC or Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo for relocation

For me? Kitchener hands down for all of the pros you've listed. As for the con, how often do you ski/snowboard now? Would it really be that much of an inconvenience to have to travel a couple of hours to do this activity?
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Old Sep 9th 2017, 1:23 pm
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Default Re: Kamloops, BC or Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo for relocation

Having spent some time in both, no contest for me. Kamloops a poor second! Go with Kitchener.
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Old Sep 9th 2017, 2:15 pm
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Default Re: Kamloops, BC or Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo for relocation

K-W is also close to the border allowing the use of the Buffalo airport for trips within the US and the Detroit one for international flights. One can also easily shop in the US.
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Old Sep 9th 2017, 2:59 pm
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Default Re: Kamloops, BC or Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo for relocation

I have never been to Kitchener but I have lived in Kamloops for the past 10 years. Here is what I can tell you.

It is the 8th largest city in BC. Driving to downtown Vancouver can be done in 3.5hrs if you travel off peak.
It has perfect 4 season weather.

Having a small town feel is a pro in my opinion, you can get anywhere in the city in under 25 mins, traffic is non existent and people still smile at each other.

I like it, but it is not for everyone. My Son moved to Vancouver as he said Kamloops was too damn small.
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Old Sep 9th 2017, 4:57 pm
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Default Re: Kamloops, BC or Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo for relocation

I'll edit this; I was going to say the Dean River (a great trout stream) was near Kamloops, but that's an exaggeration. There are a lot of good rivers near Kamloops though.

Last edited by caretaker; Sep 9th 2017 at 5:02 pm.
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Old Sep 9th 2017, 5:04 pm
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Default Re: Kamloops, BC or Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo for relocation

Originally Posted by Danny B View Post
I have never been to Kitchener but I have lived in Kamloops for the past 10 years. Here is what I can tell you.

It is the 8th largest city in BC. Driving to downtown Vancouver can be done in 3.5hrs if you travel off peak.
It has perfect 4 season weather.

Having a small town feel is a pro in my opinion, you can get anywhere in the city in under 25 mins, traffic is non existent and people still smile at each other.

I like it, but it is not for everyone. My Son moved to Vancouver as he said Kamloops was too damn small.
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Old Sep 10th 2017, 3:39 pm
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Default Re: Kamloops, BC or Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo for relocation

Kitchener hands down.

In addition to the several good points made above, there's a good number of decent places to eat and drink. There are some very good breweries (including one of my favourites in Ontario, Block 3 - a must iif you like Belgian style beers!). Abe Erb brews on site and has food (although I was a tad disappointed when I got round to visiting), and Arabella Park is supposed to be amazing in terms of food and beer selection.

There are lots more good places to eat out; 3-4 years ago, I ran a week-long 100-person event in the area that required me to sort out a couple of dinners for keynote speakers, Board members, etc and we found some great places without any problem. Attendees were left to themselves for evening meals, nobody complained about lack of options and heard several positive reports overall. I've not eaten out there as much since, but I understand from friends and colleagues that there's still no shortage of good options.

My daughter and I go to Chicopee for ski lessons, and it's great for beginners to learn. I can see more experienced skiers wanting to go further afield pretty quickly, Blue Mountain (north of K-W, and not really a mountain but a decent number of hills) and Ellicottville, NY are both about 2.5 hours away and have lots more to offer.

LRT there is almost built and should be operational soon, I understand that GO train service will be increasing and improving as well (helps that K-W is a tech hub and there's pressure on the Province to do something about improving links to Toronto).

The only thing that mildly does my head in can be the slightly confusing traffic system as you come in off the 401 (curves etc mean that some roads cross over more than once, but nothing a GPS/phone maps app can't help overcome).
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Old Sep 11th 2017, 12:39 am
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Default Re: Kamloops, BC or Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo for relocation

I think it depends on what you want out of life and what your likes and dislikes are. We have lived in / worked in Kamloops for 5yrs now.

Pros:
People are very friendly
Traffic not a problem
Minimal rain
Many, many all-season activities on your doorstep

Cons:
It's generally a bit brown and dry
You won't get a family doctor here for an age (walk-in clinic is your only option)
Good work can be hard to come by (won't be an issue for you)

Personally, we have no regrets and don't look back. Yes Kamloops has a small-town feel but we like this. Send me a PM if you want any more detailed information or specifics. Good luck.
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Old Sep 11th 2017, 1:08 am
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Default Re: Kamloops, BC or Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo for relocation

Originally Posted by bgpz View Post
The only thing that mildly does my head in can be the slightly confusing traffic system as you come in off the 401 (curves etc mean that some roads cross over more than once, but nothing a GPS/phone maps app can't help overcome).
Google's phone navigation cannot cope. I followed the instructions diligently today and it had me do two consecutive U turns. A very confusing thing is that streets have "north" or "south" in the name so an instruction might be "turn south on King Street North, signposted North". Still if you want urban, it has lots of urban.
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Old Sep 11th 2017, 2:39 pm
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Default Re: Kamloops, BC or Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo for relocation

Originally Posted by dbd33 View Post
Google's phone navigation cannot cope. I followed the instructions diligently today and it had me do two consecutive U turns. A very confusing thing is that streets have "north" or "south" in the name so an instruction might be "turn south on King Street North, signposted North". Still if you want urban, it has lots of urban.
I wonder if there's been any changes in one-way streets, etc. what with the implementation of LRT... now that you mention it, I seem to recall a similar oddity last month when in Kitchener for a couple of work meetings.

I was using Google Maps as a backup while the person driving was trying to follow our host (lost them at one set of lights) and noticed one of the "alternate routes" was trying to get us to turn down a one-way street the wrong way.

Seeing that Google have a decent presence in K-W, I'd hope that this gets fixed fairly quickly...

That's another thing the OP may want to consider, depending on their line of work. Assuming it's tech-related (not just IT), there's quite a few employers there and so could be useful for future career progression.
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Old Sep 11th 2017, 3:01 pm
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Default Re: Kamloops, BC or Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo for relocation

Originally Posted by bgpz View Post

That's another thing the OP may want to consider, depending on their line of work. Assuming it's tech-related (not just IT), there's quite a few employers there and so could be useful for future career progression.
Yes, I find K-W to be a bit soulless but there’s no question that there’s a lot of work there.

There are lots of Germans in Kitchener so they have an Oktoberfest and a Christmas Market with skating and mulled wine. The surrounding area is very horsey, both horses for recreation and, because there are many Mennonites, horses as tools. There’s also a significant francophone population as K-W is where the insurance companies went after Bill “401”, they brought staff with them.

All in all, bland, prosperous, lacks natural and architectural beauty, easy access to a million shops and services.
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Old Sep 15th 2017, 5:13 am
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Default Re: Kamloops, BC or Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo for relocation

Thank you so much everyone for your replies. A lot of great information.
I still need to stand by for the next 2-3 months until the process of transfer can be started, but I have a feeling that I will go with the Kitchener/Waterloo area. I might also take a recce trip to the area. Thank you again!!
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Old Sep 15th 2017, 10:12 am
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Default Re: Kamloops, BC or Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo for relocation

Let me throw in, a bit of a different perspective for you. Some more information is needed:

1. Have you ever lived in a small, isolated country town?

2. Are you married, or have a partner?

I grew up in a huge city and now live in a small isolated town.

Small, isolated country towns like Kamloops can be GREAT places if your personal life is settled - you are married, both of you have jobs, you are ready to buy a decent house to live in long-term, etc. If you are single and looking to meet someone - small, isolated country towns are going to be a tough go. K-W, while "small," is not that small and the proximity to Toronto makes up for that somewhat. The young adults in small country towns tend to want to see what the rest of the world has to offer, and are drawn like magnets to bigger cities like Vancouver for employment and social reasons. So if you are looking to meet someone - the smaller pool is actually even smaller than it seems.

Similarly, if you are married and only one of you has a job, life may be difficult.

But if you are married and both of you have stable employment, it could be a good bet. The two biggest issues that many people often face in small country towns is finding a partner and employment and with those two things crossed off the list, it's easier (and maybe even just easy) to take advantage of everything else on offer.

As well, with real estate - the prices are great if you are buying a family home to live in long-term. Think twice, however, if you are thinking that, with those low prices, you will be able to scoop up a few as investment properties and flip them a bit down the track like someone would in Toronto or Vancouver. Real estate economics in small towns are very different than in big urban centres and properties - decent, quality properties - can stay on the market for years before a buyer comes (if a buyer ever comes). K-W will be somewhat different as it is considerably bigger, and, again, the proximity to Toronto. If you are thinking to go into local real estate - do not do so for a while, until you know all the local players and real estate history/trends of the area.

People from big cities can also have some very inaccurate stereotypes of country towns as having a "slower pace of life," being "bucolic" and so on. Crime and drugs are huge issues in small country towns. Kamloops is no exception, and in a small place it can be even more confronting.

Being outdoorsy, skiing, snowboarding etc - do you do that regularly now? If so and Vancouver is crimping your style because it's too far away from the mountains - Kamloops again could be a good bet. If your commitment to the outdoors is currently more aspirational than reality, you may find the town setting to not mean all that much.

Kamloops will be great, and perhaps beat K-W hands down, if your personal and economic situation is in certain states; if it's not, K-W is the safe bet.

I would research what living in a small country town is really like - speak to people who have done it (in person, not on this forum, not criticising those here but these posts can only inform so much) to see if it will work for you. Find some people in Vancouver who are from Kamloops and talk to them, and K-W if they are there (if not, do you have contacts in the East who know people from K-W?). By all means - visit both places first.

Good luck.
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Old Sep 15th 2017, 1:45 pm
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Default Re: Kamloops, BC or Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo for relocation

Originally Posted by carcajou View Post
People from big cities can also have some very inaccurate stereotypes of country towns as having a "slower pace of life," being "bucolic" and so on.
True enough. Works the other way too, though. People in small towns can exaggerate too...for example
Crime and drugs are huge issues in small country towns. Kamloops is no exception, and in a small place it can be even more confronting.
There was a discussion recently revolving around PEI, NS and NB where it became clear that smaller town people viewed slightly bigger, but still small, towns as full of no go areas and dens of iniquities.
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