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London versus Picton...or?

London versus Picton...or?

Old Jun 11th 2005, 11:25 pm
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Smile London versus Picton...or?

Hello everyone,
I'm new to this forum, having only just found it online. It looks pretty informative and lively so I'm looking forward to participating. A little bit about me first before my question.

My husband and I emigrated to Calgary, Alberta in 1991 with our teenage children, and in common with most Brits going out without jobs, we had a very hard time indeed for the first 5 years. My husband was a top executive in his engineering field and had to accept a job as a shift engineer being paid $8.25 an hour (I remember it well!!) and work his way back up inch by painful inch. I was a teacher, and despite doing my upgrading at the University of Calgary, never got a teaching job as the school boards were downsizing at that particular time and jobs were very hard to get. The best I could do initiallly was working at Office Depot where I was a department manager on $7.50 an hour (later rose to $10!!!)

That said, both our kids did very well in high school and university and eventually my husband made more money than he ever could have in the UK. He now works in the Bahamas - and I am back home in the UK helping my daughter set up her own little business. My son is in Saudi Arabia working.

We are both 51 and starting to think about planning for retirement. It is unbelievably difficult to decide between Canada and the UK. There are huge differences between the two countries, and huge advantages to both, depending on so many variables. In particular I found the harsh climate very difficult to live with and I missed the greenness of England. We were in Alberta of course, which is a desert, albeit a very rich one where the standard of living is very high.

However as we get older I am tending to think toward retiring in Canada rather than the UK. The main reason is the infrastructure. You can survive over there without a car, for example. Hard to do in the UK. And the health care is much better (I know, there is a downside to that too, but in general it's good. I had breast cancer in Calgary and think I survived because of the quality of the care.)

Soooo, after all that preamble, my question. We are looking for a retirement spot. We know enough about Alberta and lots about BC, but nothing at all about Ontario. We are thinking of London or Picton, in the Quinte area. Does anyone out there have opinions on the wisdom of either choice? Obviously we will visit soon to take a look for ourselves before making any decisions, but I would be very interested in hearing anyone's opinions. Or any other suggestions...

Thanks for listening! Take care all,
Deeana
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Old Jun 12th 2005, 2:40 am
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Default Re: London versus Picton...or?

Quinte is a lovely area. We live near there and really enjoy the small-town atmosphere that still thrives in the little places. Belleville is a bit seedy in my opinion but the island is beautiful. Take a look in Northumberland County, it is very pretty here.

London - I can't imagine a worse place to retire to......sorry just my opinion.
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Old Jun 12th 2005, 3:19 am
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Default Re: London versus Picton...or?

I think you might be mistaken about getting by without a car in Canada. IMO its much easier to get by in the UK on public transport, and even if Picton had a bus service, who wants to be waiting for a bus in February when the snow is whistling by horizontally and its -20C without the windchill. AFAIK Belleville is the only place in the Quinte area with a bus service anyway, and its not exactly the most frequent service. My wife used to walk for hours around there when she didnt have a car. We couldnt imagine living here without one..but its probably cheaper and certainly less stressfull to run a car here anyway. Its really a necessity as outside the major cities publioc transport is non existant, and places are a lot more spread out here.

Picton is a lovely place..rather like Stirling but bigger and with more tourists, however the winter there is one of the snowiest in Ontario as it sticks out into the lake, and I certainly wouldnt want to overwinter there, even with a car.

Did you get citizenship while you were based here, which would give you a lot more options, most canadian that can afford it do the snowbird thing. While we are baking in the 30+C temps of the moment it seems a good idea to me to plan for that for at least part of the winter. I love the winter here, but it was a month or two too long this year, and I can imagine by the time I reach retirement age it will take its toll!

London probably has more infrastructure, but its never made much of an impression on me when I've visited, but then I dont really know it well. If you are serious about living without a car then you are much better looking at the major cities..which of course are a lot more expensive to set up in.

Wouldnt want to comment on health care...maybe six of one, half as dozen of the other. My impression is that Canada is pretty good, but without insurance (which is hard to come by after a certain age I suspect) drug costs are a major consideration. Finding a GP in this neck of the woods is also a major problem too right now (we were lucky), although the urgent care clinics do an OK job. Having said all that all our interactions with the medical community have been reasonably quick to arrange and the standard of care good.

Last edited by iaink; Jun 12th 2005 at 3:29 am.
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Old Jun 12th 2005, 8:51 am
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Default Re: London versus Picton...or?

London - I can't imagine a worse place to retire to......sorry just my opinion.[/QUOTE]

Thanks for the comments about Quinte

What is so bad about London? Come on, fess up!!

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Old Jun 12th 2005, 8:53 am
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Default Re: London versus Picton...or?

[QUOTE=iaink]I think you might be mistaken about getting by without a car in Canada.

I wouldn't want to be without a car, I was just thinking in the worst case scenario if I could no longer drive.

We do have Canadian citizenship, and we have a small house in France which we could use for the winter... or sell and buy something in Florida when the time comes.

Thanks for your comments, all grist to the mental mill!

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Old Jun 12th 2005, 9:30 am
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Default Re: London versus Picton...or?

Originally Posted by deeana
Or any other suggestions...
Something you may want to consider when thinking of retiring in southern Ontario is the air pollution. For older people, and the not so old, with serious breathing problems that area can be a health hazard. My dad has lung problems and is essentially prohibited from going there if he wants to stay alive.
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Old Jun 12th 2005, 2:16 pm
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Default Re: London versus Picton...or?

We moved to London last year and are now enjoying it after the initial 6 months of no jobs and the 'what have we done?' feeling.

We like London because it has good schools/university, reasonable house prices, some very pretty treed areas, traffic not too bad, hot summers and is close to Lake Huron. It is very family friendly which suits us as we have two young children.

However, there are hardly any family doctors with spaces here so you would most likely have to use a walk in clinic. They are ok, but the last time I went to the doctor, I waited for an hour and 45 mins! As far as transport is concerned, there are quite a few busses around, but realistically you'd be much better off with a car for the reasons that Iain mentioned. I wouldn't be without mine with the extremes of temps we get here (it has been reaching 40 when you include the humidity).

London was a practical option for us as we needed somewhere large enough for us to find employment - my husband is a CA so it had to be a city. I am a teacher also, but London is crawling with teachers and jobs are scarce! I wanted to be near a lake and here was as close as we could manage when all the other factors were taken into consideration. Lake Huron is about an hour away but you would need a car to get there.

If I could chose anywhere in Canada to retire to, I would probably chose somewhere more scenic and rural. I've heard lovely things about places in Muskoka such as Huntsville, although we haven't made it over there yet.

Hopefully that will give you a bit of an idea about London, but if you have any other questions at all, just let me know and I'll be happy to help.

Chris
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Old Jun 12th 2005, 7:44 pm
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Default Re: London versus Picton...or?

Originally Posted by Tom Masters
We moved to London last year and are now enjoying it after the initial 6 months of no jobs and the 'what have we done?' feeling.

We like London because it has good schools/university, reasonable house prices, some very pretty treed areas, traffic not too bad, hot summers and is close to Lake Huron. It is very family friendly which suits us as we have two young children.

However, there are hardly any family doctors with spaces here so you would most likely have to use a walk in clinic. They are ok, but the last time I went to the doctor, I waited for an hour and 45 mins! As far as transport is concerned, there are quite a few busses around, but realistically you'd be much better off with a car for the reasons that Iain mentioned. I wouldn't be without mine with the extremes of temps we get here (it has been reaching 40 when you include the humidity).

London was a practical option for us as we needed somewhere large enough for us to find employment - my husband is a CA so it had to be a city. I am a teacher also, but London is crawling with teachers and jobs are scarce! I wanted to be near a lake and here was as close as we could manage when all the other factors were taken into consideration. Lake Huron is about an hour away but you would need a car to get there.

If I could chose anywhere in Canada to retire to, I would probably chose somewhere more scenic and rural. I've heard lovely things about places in Muskoka such as Huntsville, although we haven't made it over there yet.

Hopefully that will give you a bit of an idea about London, but if you have any other questions at all, just let me know and I'll be happy to help.

Chris
Picton and the Bay of Quinte are picturesque and more on the rural side of things offering a more laid back, relaxed lifestyle. Many farms selling fresh produce - lots of fun if you like to pick your own apples, strawberries and so on. Horseback riding is great but expensive.
Right on Lake Ontario - many cottages and holiday homes on the waterfront.
Sandbanks for swimming and summer fun. Small town core with limited shopping. There is a local hospital (for minor emergencies) Kingston and Belleville are the nearest cities of any size with lots to offer.
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Old Jun 13th 2005, 12:08 am
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Default Re: London versus Picton...or?

Originally Posted by Tom Masters
We moved to London last year and are now enjoying it after the initial 6 months of no jobs and the 'what have we done?' feeling.

We like London because it has good schools/university, reasonable house prices, some very pretty treed areas, traffic not too bad, hot summers and is close to Lake Huron. It is very family friendly which suits us as we have two young children.If I could chose anywhere in Canada to retire to, I would probably chose somewhere more scenic and rural. I've heard lovely things about places in Muskoka such as Huntsville, although we haven't made it over there yet.

Hopefully that will give you a bit of an idea about London, but if you have any other questions at all, just let me know and I'll be happy to help.

Chris
Hi Chris
Thanks for your reply. Thought-provoking. I've read the website on London and it sounds wonderful - of course, that can't be the whole story, but I also have a friend who lives there, and he loves it. The things you mentioned that made you choose it are the main reasons it attracted me - the university, the concerts, the parks, the medical facilities and the nearness to the lakes. And the airport - we need good connections to the States and Europe. But what are these amentities really like? How big are the parks - does the city really merit the name Forest City? Is it a lively city, or just a dull metropolis?
Thanks again
Deeana
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Old Jun 13th 2005, 12:54 am
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Default Re: London versus Picton...or?

Originally Posted by deeana
Hi Chris
Thanks for your reply. Thought-provoking. I've read the website on London and it sounds wonderful - of course, that can't be the whole story, but I also have a friend who lives there, and he loves it. The things you mentioned that made you choose it are the main reasons it attracted me - the university, the concerts, the parks, the medical facilities and the nearness to the lakes. And the airport - we need good connections to the States and Europe. But what are these amentities really like? How big are the parks - does the city really merit the name Forest City? Is it a lively city, or just a dull metropolis?
Thanks again
Deeana
Firstly, I think London deserves the name Forest City - there are trees everywhere! We live on a very pretty tree lined street. The parks vary in size. In my opinion, Springbank park is the best and probably the biggest. It has the Thames river running through it!

As far as whether it is lively or not, I think it probably depends on what you consider lively! There seem to be quite a lot of festivals - especially during the summer. I like the fact that there are lots of students around due to the university. People seem to go out and about as families quite a lot - walking, cycling, roller blading etc.

The John Labbatt centre has quite a few big name acts. There are plenty of places to eat. The downtown area is ok, but very quiet compared to a town/city in the UK. There are quite a few malls around the edge of the city so people tend to shop/socialize around these areas other than just the downtown area.

One thing that puts people off London a bit is the fact that it is surrounded by flat farm land. I quite like it, but it isn't spectacular like some parts of Canada. I'm trying to rack my brain to see what else I can tell you. It is definitely worth coming for a visit to see what you think.

If you can think of any thing else, just ask away.

Chris
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Old Jun 13th 2005, 3:30 pm
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Default Re: London versus Picton...or?

Me...

I go for London...
I also head for Old South a village inside the city and try and get as close to the centre as possible.. its called wortley village

When we lived there we allways walked around the the area we never bothered to drive unless we were we going outside of old south.
It has everything you needed and more trees than the rest of the city..
its very affordable and very nice....
The down side is you need to be able to do a bit of DIY as most housese are old and need a bit of care. but once fixed jump in value...
Then again you could buy one of the very very few fixed up houses if you can get in fast enough to put a very large deposit down...


why did we leave..... Because I had too ... work visa restrictions
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Old Jun 13th 2005, 4:26 pm
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Default Re: London versus Picton...or?

Originally Posted by Tom Masters
Firstly, I think London deserves the name Forest City - there are trees everywhere! We live on a very pretty tree lined street....
If you can think of any thing else, just ask away.

Chris
Any suggestions as to the nicest subdivisions to live in? Thanks for all your useful comments, everyone.
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Old Jun 13th 2005, 5:49 pm
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Default Re: London versus Picton...or?

Originally Posted by deeana
Any suggestions as to the nicest subdivisions to live in? Thanks for all your useful comments, everyone.
Deeana
I personally like Stoneybrook (the older area) in the North and Byron in the South. Byron is closer to Sprinbank Park, has lots of trees and is next to Boler Mountain (actually, it's more like Boler Bump!). Byron is handy for going to Port Stanley etc. on Lake Erie.

Stoneybrook is close to the Masonville Mall area which has a variety of eating places/shops/cinema etc. The old Stoneybrook area is full of trees and little trails which are great for dog walking/cycling etc. It is closer to the University and one of the hospitals. It is handy for going to the beaches along Lake Huron (much cleaner water in my opinion). There are some pretty places like Bayfield and Goderich along the Lake Huron coastline.

There are many types of housing areas throughout London. As Mike said earlier, Whortley village is also very nice and has mainly older 'character' properties.

It all depends on what you prefer, but there is certainly a lot of choice!

Chris
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Old Jun 13th 2005, 6:23 pm
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Thumbs up Re: London versus Picton...or?

Originally Posted by Tom Masters
I personally like Stoneybrook (the older area) in the North and Byron in the South. Byron is closer to Sprinbank Park, has lots of trees and is next to Boler Mountain (actually, it's more like Boler Bump!). Byron is handy for going to Port Stanley etc. on Lake Erie.

Stoneybrook is close to the Masonville Mall area which has a variety of eating places/shops/cinema etc. The old Stoneybrook area is full of trees and little trails which are great for dog walking/cycling etc. It is closer to the University and one of the hospitals. It is handy for going to the beaches along Lake Huron (much cleaner water in my opinion). There are some pretty places like Bayfield and Goderich along the Lake Huron coastline.

There are many types of housing areas throughout London. As Mike said earlier, Whortley village is also very nice and has mainly older 'character' properties.

It all depends on what you prefer, but there is certainly a lot of choice!

Chris
That sounds lovely! Exactly the kind of place I am looking for, including the places to walk dogs etc. I will have to take a look at properties on the MLS and see what kind of prices they run out at.
Thanks again guys!
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Old Jun 14th 2005, 11:18 am
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Default Re: London versus Picton...or?

Originally Posted by deeana
That sounds lovely! Exactly the kind of place I am looking for, including the places to walk dogs etc. I will have to take a look at properties on the MLS and see what kind of prices they run out at.
Thanks again guys!
Deeana
Hi ,
We looked at both stoneybrook in the north and byron in the south west , and ended up buying in Byron. We have bought a new build at a fantastic price. We are surrounded by woodland and farmland and are not too far from Springbank park which is really beautiful. London really is a big city with a small town feel .
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