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Moving out of Surrey,BC (considering Victoria, suburbs of Toronto, Montreal etc)

Moving out of Surrey,BC (considering Victoria, suburbs of Toronto, Montreal etc)

Old Oct 24th 2021, 4:13 am
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Default Moving out of Surrey,BC (considering Victoria, suburbs of Toronto, Montreal etc)

Our original plan moving from UK was to live near downtown Vancouver and really experience all the wonderful things about the beautiful city living in a small flat... and then consider the suburbs a year or two down the line to get a larger house for the kids to have a garden and all. But as we had to move at the height of the pandemic, with all the social restrictions it was pointless... so we moved to Surrey itself to be near some friends.

After about a year of lived experience, I am wondering if this is the best place for our family to settle or are we better off at a different setting. I've read through the many positive and negative experiences in the forum with lot of interest and as all the experienced people always suggest, it's a personal choice. But I am looking for some pointers.

My parameters are:
  • I am on a work permit with a global firm, work from home and location is not a problem. I can be anywhere in Canada. Note: Eastern time zone would make my life a lot easier for meetings and put myself in a better place for future work opportunities, but this is a relatively small priority compared to the below 2 items. My job and industry are safe for me to carry on doing the same.
  • We want to put ourselves near good primary schools ("Outstanding" in UK terms) - this would be the top priority!!!
  • Vancouver house prices are crazy, but we didn't expect the same in Surrey. Why spend so much to buy in Surrey if I can buy a lovely big house in another city/suburb? although I don't want to mention too many things, a proper office space to isolate myself away from the kids, a basement unit or two to rent out... all would be good things long term as a single earner family.
Our lived experience in Surrey, BC has been great compared to UK. Canadians are very friendly, the views, parks, lakes, hikes all been wonderful in summer. Rain.. is what it is... I am not gonna moan about it... but think I may prefer the colder but sunny winters other people talk about (say in Calgary). Overall, I just want to be sure before settling for average schools and an expensive house in Surrey, when I could get better value for those 2 in other places... So I am looking for some suggestions about Victoria, suburbs of Toronto, Calgary, Montreal etc. So I could narrow down a list, go visit them before trying to move again.

Thank you!
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Old Oct 24th 2021, 11:12 am
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Default Re: Moving out of Surrey,BC (considering Victoria, suburbs of Toronto, Montreal

if you want EST, bang for your housing buck and access to good schools, look at Ottawa. I'd caution that I find Ottawa dull but you were happy in Vancouver so that may not be a problem.
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Old Oct 24th 2021, 1:01 pm
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Default Re: Moving out of Surrey,BC (considering Victoria, suburbs of Toronto, Montreal

  • We want to put ourselves near good primary schools ("Outstanding" in UK terms) - this would be the top priority!!!
This seems to be a big deal with UK immigrants but for the most part schools in Canada are very similar across middle class areas. The fact that in some areas there are 4 school boards (in Ontario we have english public, english catholic, french public and french catholic) which tends to dilute the pool of teachers, students and facilities and a lot of inefficiencies. When I'm premier of Ontario, there will be one school board only and if you don't like it, go the private (fee paying) route.

Primary schools taking the children up to about age 11 are very similar in my experience unless you are in a very rough area which unfortunately tend to result in schools that don't have a lot of attention and kids who fall between the cracks. If you are looking at neighbourhoods look at the catchment areas for schools and I'm sure a few questions about the schools themselves will help. Keep in mind that if your kids are smart and the school isn't that great, they will rise to the top etc and be able to get on to secondary school etc. I think many parents over think this. To me, the bar to get into university is quite low in Canada and grade inflation is rampant.
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Old Oct 24th 2021, 1:20 pm
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Default Re: Moving out of Surrey,BC (considering Victoria, suburbs of Toronto, Montreal

Originally Posted by Partially discharged View Post
  • We want to put ourselves near good primary schools ("Outstanding" in UK terms) - this would be the top priority!!!
This seems to be a big deal with UK immigrants but for the most part schools in Canada are very similar across middle class areas. The fact that in some areas there are 4 school boards (in Ontario we have english public, english catholic, french public and french catholic) which tends to dilute the pool of teachers, students and facilities and a lot of inefficiencies. When I'm premier of Ontario, there will be one school board only and if you don't like it, go the private (fee paying) route.

Primary schools taking the children up to about age 11 are very similar in my experience unless you are in a very rough area which unfortunately tend to result in schools that don't have a lot of attention and kids who fall between the cracks. If you are looking at neighbourhoods look at the catchment areas for schools and I'm sure a few questions about the schools themselves will help. Keep in mind that if your kids are smart and the school isn't that great, they will rise to the top etc and be able to get on to secondary school etc. I think many parents over think this. To me, the bar to get into university is quite low in Canada and grade inflation is rampant.
I think the choice of school matters and they are far from being equivalent (high schools anyway), The problem though is that there's no ranking system so parents have to go by rumour and gossip.
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Old Oct 24th 2021, 2:41 pm
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Default Re: Moving out of Surrey,BC (considering Victoria, suburbs of Toronto, Montreal

We moved to Whitby, east of Toronto, 11 years ago, with a 12 and 16yo, who had just completed GCSEs with high results. All the advice here and elsewhere was that schools generally reflect the areas within which they are situated.
Our experience was good - the education here is far wider, certainly in the latter years, so instead of doing three subjects at ALevels, you do 6-8 in the last two years - and 8 subjects each year in the previous two years. It’s a less stressful environment as they gain credits each year, rather than building up to important exams which are sink or swim. Less totally dependent on exams, more spread across course work and tests along the way. Universities look at results in the last year, or two, in particular and applying to university is less stressful as offers are often made during the last term, based on performance to date. No mad rush in August for most people anyway.
A more relaxed environment though can make for less discipline which doesn’t work for everyone. More importance is given to out of classroom activities, so lessons are missed, with approval, for hockey, music etc. Our experience was that teachers treat as they find - if kids are interested and apply themselves, they do well and feedback is regular from teachers.
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Old Oct 24th 2021, 4:01 pm
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Default Re: Moving out of Surrey,BC (considering Victoria, suburbs of Toronto, Montreal

Originally Posted by Twitcher1958 View Post
A more relaxed environment though can make for less discipline which doesn’t work for everyone. More importance is given to out of classroom activities, so lessons are missed, with approval, for hockey, music etc.
Is that in an IB program? Our experience was very much not that.
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Old Oct 24th 2021, 4:18 pm
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Default Re: Moving out of Surrey,BC (considering Victoria, suburbs of Toronto, Montreal

Originally Posted by pac_les_man View Post
Our original plan moving from UK was to live near downtown Vancouver and really experience all the wonderful things about the beautiful city living in a small flat... and then consider the suburbs a year or two down the line to get a larger house for the kids to have a garden and all. But as we had to move at the height of the pandemic, with all the social restrictions it was pointless... so we moved to Surrey itself to be near some friends.

After about a year of lived experience, I am wondering if this is the best place for our family to settle or are we better off at a different setting. I've read through the many positive and negative experiences in the forum with lot of interest and as all the experienced people always suggest, it's a personal choice. But I am looking for some pointers.

My parameters are:
  • I am on a work permit with a global firm, work from home and location is not a problem. I can be anywhere in Canada. Note: Eastern time zone would make my life a lot easier for meetings and put myself in a better place for future work opportunities, but this is a relatively small priority compared to the below 2 items. My job and industry are safe for me to carry on doing the same.
  • We want to put ourselves near good primary schools ("Outstanding" in UK terms) - this would be the top priority!!!
  • Vancouver house prices are crazy, but we didn't expect the same in Surrey. Why spend so much to buy in Surrey if I can buy a lovely big house in another city/suburb? although I don't want to mention too many things, a proper office space to isolate myself away from the kids, a basement unit or two to rent out... all would be good things long term as a single earner family.
Our lived experience in Surrey, BC has been great compared to UK. Canadians are very friendly, the views, parks, lakes, hikes all been wonderful in summer. Rain.. is what it is... I am not gonna moan about it... but think I may prefer the colder but sunny winters other people talk about (say in Calgary). Overall, I just want to be sure before settling for average schools and an expensive house in Surrey, when I could get better value for those 2 in other places... So I am looking for some suggestions about Victoria, suburbs of Toronto, Calgary, Montreal etc. So I could narrow down a list, go visit them before trying to move again.

Thank you!
Does your work permit specify a location under the conditions? If so you can't work 'anywhere', you would have to stay local or apply for a new work permit - something to keep in mind, if it applies.
https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration...cation_of_work

Have you applied for permanent residence? If not then the penalties for being a non resident buyer, could impact you if your move was to specific areas of Ontario.
https://www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/bulletins/nrst/

The Non‑Resident Speculation Tax (NRST) is a 15 per cent tax on the purchase or acquisition of an interest in residential property located in the Greater Golden Horseshoe Region (GGH) by individuals who are not citizens or permanent residents of Canada or by foreign corporations (foreign entities) and taxable trustees.



Last edited by Siouxie; Oct 24th 2021 at 4:23 pm.
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Old Oct 24th 2021, 6:46 pm
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Default Re: Moving out of Surrey,BC (considering Victoria, suburbs of Toronto, Montreal

Originally Posted by Partially discharged View Post
  • We want to put ourselves near good primary schools ("Outstanding" in UK terms) - this would be the top priority!!!
This seems to be a big deal with UK immigrants but for the most part schools in Canada are very similar across middle class areas. The fact that in some areas there are 4 school boards (in Ontario we have english public, english catholic, french public and french catholic) which tends to dilute the pool of teachers, students and facilities and a lot of inefficiencies. When I'm premier of Ontario, there will be one school board only and if you don't like it, go the private (fee paying) route.

Primary schools taking the children up to about age 11 are very similar in my experience unless you are in a very rough area which unfortunately tend to result in schools that don't have a lot of attention and kids who fall between the cracks. If you are looking at neighborhoods look at the catchment areas for schools and I'm sure a few questions about the schools themselves will help. Keep in mind that if your kids are smart and the school isn't that great, they will rise to the top etc and be able to get on to secondary school etc. I think many parents over think this. To me, the bar to get into university is quite low in Canada and grade inflation is rampant.
I totally get what you mean. But given my work allows me to be anywhere, I am putting more value of choosing better schools (and then a bigger house for the money).
p.s. been looking at Fraser institute school rankings if this is something to go by, and looking at some of the top ranked private schools are actually C$7-10 --- this is a lot less than UK.
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Old Oct 24th 2021, 6:56 pm
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Default Re: Moving out of Surrey,BC (considering Victoria, suburbs of Toronto, Montreal

Originally Posted by Twitcher1958 View Post
We moved to Whitby, east of Toronto, 11 years ago, with a 12 and 16yo, who had just completed GCSEs with high results. All the advice here and elsewhere was that schools generally reflect the areas within which they are situated.
Our experience was good - the education here is far wider, certainly in the latter years, so instead of doing three subjects at ALevels, you do 6-8 in the last two years - and 8 subjects each year in the previous two years. It’s a less stressful environment as they gain credits each year, rather than building up to important exams which are sink or swim. Less totally dependent on exams, more spread across course work and tests along the way. Universities look at results in the last year, or two, in particular and applying to university is less stressful as offers are often made during the last term, based on performance to date. No mad rush in August for most people anyway.
A more relaxed environment though can make for less discipline which doesn’t work for everyone. More importance is given to out of classroom activities, so lessons are missed, with approval, for hockey, music etc. Our experience was that teachers treat as they find - if kids are interested and apply themselves, they do well and feedback is regular from teachers.
Thanks for sharing your experience. This is great to know about the education system in later years. I assume this is true generally across Canada? (ON or BC) and more of a comparison to UK
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Old Oct 24th 2021, 7:08 pm
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Default Re: Moving out of Surrey,BC (considering Victoria, suburbs of Toronto, Montreal

Originally Posted by Siouxie View Post
Does your work permit specify a location under the conditions? If so you can't work 'anywhere', you would have to stay local or apply for a new work permit - something to keep in mind, if it applies.


Have you applied for permanent residence? If not then the penalties for being a non resident buyer, could impact you if your move was to specific areas of Ontario.
Thanks for these. You're right, I just checked and it does specify a location - but I hope it won't be a big issue in getting the WP renewed if we decide to move.
I am waiting to complete a year (or two) before getting enough points to apply for PR. I was told about a big tax for foreign buyers here in BC, so I think either in BC or the parts of ON you pointed out... we will hold off buying until we get the PR sorted.


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Old Oct 24th 2021, 7:12 pm
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Default Re: Moving out of Surrey,BC (considering Victoria, suburbs of Toronto, Montreal

Originally Posted by pac_les_man View Post
Thanks for sharing your experience. This is great to know about the education system in later years. I assume this is true generally across Canada? (ON or BC) and more of a comparison to UK
I think it’s true across most of Ontario but can’t comment about BC.
Something else to note is that in the upper years, on some subjects, such as maths, English, sciences - there are three different levels of teaching - to get into university, one would need the highest level but a less academic child would study at a lower level but still gain the appropriate credit.
This means a much higher percentage of children get their High school diploma - people here are amazed that a British child can leave school with no qualifications because of lack of application, academic prowess or luck.
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Old Oct 24th 2021, 7:23 pm
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Default Re: Moving out of Surrey,BC (considering Victoria, suburbs of Toronto, Montreal

Originally Posted by Siouxie View Post

Have you applied for permanent residence? If not then the penalties for being a non resident buyer, could impact you if your move was to specific areas of Ontario.
When we look at other places like Victoria or Montreal - it's a bit straight forward --- I think we could afford to be close to downtown in Montreal (but have to think twice about adapting ourselves to french).

However, when it comes to Toronto, it's a bit overwhelming - obviously it's the main hub in Canada and there are many advantages. Is there a way to narrow down the suburbs for us to look into using say our criteria of 1 - good schools and 2 - more value for housing than we would pay in Surrey, BC (a 3 bed townhouse is about 750, and a entry level "house" is 1 mil+)
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Old Oct 24th 2021, 7:28 pm
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Default Re: Moving out of Surrey,BC (considering Victoria, suburbs of Toronto, Montreal

Originally Posted by pac_les_man View Post
Thanks for these. You're right, I just checked and it does specify a location - but I hope it won't be a big issue in getting the WP renewed if we decide to move.
I am waiting to complete a year (or two) before getting enough points to apply for PR. I was told about a big tax for foreign buyers here in BC, so I think either in BC or the parts of ON you pointed out... we will hold off buying until we get the PR sorted.
There could be an issue if the LMIA was for a specific 'branch' - regardless of whether you are working remotely at present.. so you may need to apply for a completely new work permit (and possibly an LMIA). if you want to move.

What are your current points on Express entry? It's always better to apply sooner rather than later (unless you need to wait to qualify for Canadian Experience Class -1 year ).. things change and so do immigration routes; Would your employers be willing to sponsor you for Provincial Nomination, perhaps, if you are a bit short on points? Do take a look at Christmasoompa's post in our wiki (link below), follow the steps as if you have undertaken your IELTS and got top marks, have an ECA done and have sufficient funds. then post the result to our Immigration forum for advice
https://britishexpats.com/wiki/Quick..._by_step_guide
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Old Oct 24th 2021, 7:54 pm
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Default Re: Moving out of Surrey,BC (considering Victoria, suburbs of Toronto, Montreal

Originally Posted by Siouxie View Post
There could be an issue if the LMIA was for a specific 'branch' - regardless of whether you are working remotely at present.. so you may need to apply for a completely new work permit (and possibly an LMIA). if you want to move.
It's C20 Reciprocal Employment Work Permit category and no LMIA. Their only branch in Canada is in ON - so I guess if it's a PNP offer it would have to be in ON? - and I think anything involving them proving LMIA is a hard sell.. it's a bureaucratic nightmare. From the many times of checking express entry scores and fine tuning for expected IELTS scores... i think we are still 400-420 mark - hence i figured suck it up and get Canadian experience for a year or two. I will properly check and seek advice as you suggested... is it harmful though to open up a profile now? and update things as we go a long - was hoping to get IELTS done and dusted during December break.
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Old Oct 24th 2021, 8:12 pm
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Default Re: Moving out of Surrey,BC (considering Victoria, suburbs of Toronto, Montreal

Originally Posted by pac_les_man View Post
It's C20 Reciprocal Employment Work Permit category and no LMIA. Their only branch in Canada is in ON - so I guess if it's a PNP offer it would have to be in ON? - and I think anything involving them proving LMIA is a hard sell.. it's a bureaucratic nightmare. From the many times of checking express entry scores and fine tuning for expected IELTS scores... i think we are still 400-420 mark - hence i figured suck it up and get Canadian experience for a year or two. I will properly check and seek advice as you suggested... is it harmful though to open up a profile now? and update things as we go a long - was hoping to get IELTS done and dusted during December break.
No need to seek advice at this stage - just check the figures etc., and post to the immi forum for advice from our in-house (free) experts
https://britishexpats.com/wiki/Quick..._by_step_guide
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