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Rece Trip (with kids) - Calgary - March

Rece Trip (with kids) - Calgary - March

Old Jan 31st 2014, 1:14 am
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Default Rece Trip (with kids) - Calgary - March

Hi there,

My husband and I are coming over for a Rece trip to Calgary in early March with our 3 children (aged 4 months, 5 and 7). My husband is moving with his work so does not need to worry about looking for employment (I am taking a career break to be a full time mum so won't be looking for employment either). We will be moving over at the end of June/early July this year. As we are only going to be there for 5 days we just really want to have a wee look around and get a feel for the place as we are going to be spending the next three years there! My husbands company will be booking us somewhere to stay for the rece trip (and they are also arranging car hire for us too), however we plan on living in a serviced apartment for the first 6 weeks of the actual move to ensure that we have sufficient time to look about at the different areas of Calgary before renting a more long term property. The type of advice I am looking for is:

- Can anyone recommend a good relator that might be able to arm us with information re what we should bring over with us to house hunt properly?
- Can anyone recommend any good serviced apartments that we might be able to view ahead of the bigger move (probably up to a budget of $3000 a month)
- What sights are best to see to give us and the kids an overview of the city
- What should we pack (clothes wise) for ourselves and the kids, we are from Scotland and are used to cold weather, but how "cold" is cold in Calgary in March e.g. would the kids regular winter jackets be enough or should we invest in something a little more heavy weight?
- Are there any official paperwork things that we should kick off on our 1st visit or does everything need to wait until we actually arrive for our 3 years

All help/suggestions very welcome, feeling a little bit overwhelmed at the enormity of the task of moving...

Thanks!
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Old Jan 31st 2014, 1:53 am
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Default Re: Rece Trip (with kids) - Calgary - March

1. Don't be put off by how bland the city/landscape might look in March. Likely dirty/gritty/and hopefully not much snow around. By the time you come back in June/July, you won't recognise it - there will be green grass and colour everywhere.

2. If you have a free afternoon, take the kids to the zoo. They won't be too enamoured with your recce/driving around stuff, but they will like the zoo for a few hours - its a year-round attraction so there will be plenty to interest them. For future reference, the annual passes are very popular for those with young kids - you can pop in and out all year without the need to have to stay all day and make the most of a ticket price.

3. I think your regular winter coats will be fine in March. We should be well out of the -20's by then (she says hopefully) and there may or may not be snow around. It might be "a bit chilly", anywhere between -10 and +10. Bring fleeces, jumpers, layers, gloves and hats.

4. Will you be renting for the whole three year assignment, or do you anticipate buying a home? Most UK mindsets obsess about a "good area with good schools". Most regular public schools are fine. There is some apparent correlation with better neighbourhoods having better schools, but I wouldn't worry too much. You'll know just by looking at a neighbourhood if it is your thing. However, be prepared for swathes of new boxy suburbs - a bit of shock to the system. Once you get into each area and find the parks and local stores, they are mostly all fine. Nearer the downtown area are older neighbourhoods. Lots of trees and hedges and a little more style. I like Rosedale/Hillhurst/Sunnyside, and Varsity in the NW. I don't know areas very well to the south of downtown.

5. I'll fly the flag for Cochrane and say pop out here for another afternoon if you have time. It's about 25km NW of the city and a great small family-type town. But be aware that if you consider living here, you should allow an hour or so to commute to the downtown core if that is where hubby is based.

6. Look at where hubby's offices are going to be and work outwards from there. Traffic here is nothing like London for example, but it certainly has it's pockets of awfulness at rush hour.

7. If you have another free day, and the kids can sit in the car a bit more, head out to Banff on a good clear day. The views will satisfy your soul, even if you are used to a beautiful Scottish landscape.

I keep being interrupted by my family so train of thought has completely gone - that's a few things to think of though!
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Old Jan 31st 2014, 2:41 am
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Default Re: Rece Trip (with kids) - Calgary - March

The weather isn't something you can prepare for here

it was +13 last week...my phone says it's -16 right now...super
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Old Jan 31st 2014, 1:56 pm
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Default Re: Rece Trip (with kids) - Calgary - March

Originally Posted by haggis88 View Post
The weather isn't something you can prepare for here

it was +13 last week...my phone says it's -16 right now...super
very rare you will get days of -16c in March..i would say March can be hit or miss but its rarely brutally cold..i wouldn't invest in big coats until you are living in the city...in fact i have lived in Canada for nearly 6 years in Edmonton and Calgary and have never bought a coat in Canada..the ones i had in the UK have done the job just fine.
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Old Jan 31st 2014, 6:16 pm
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Default Re: Rece Trip (with kids) - Calgary - March

A visit to the Calgary tower is another good way to get an overview of the city. You can see most of it from up there.

This might sound silly but a couple of years ago someone suggested this (and I agree even though some thought it was dumb) - if you'll be here on a Saturday or Sunday you could check out some open houses. For some reason our kids love looking at houses and it will give you an idea of what to expect in a new home.
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Old Jan 31st 2014, 6:42 pm
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Default Re: Rece Trip (with kids) - Calgary - March

Originally Posted by rwin View Post
A visit to the Calgary tower is another good way to get an overview of the city. You can see most of it from up there.

This might sound silly but a couple of years ago someone suggested this (and I agree even though some thought it was dumb) - if you'll be here on a Saturday or Sunday you could check out some open houses. For some reason our kids love looking at houses and it will give you an idea of what to expect in a new home.
Actually that's not a bad idea..i did this when i initially went to Edmonton i spent the weekend looking at open houses in different areas to see what you could get for your money.
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Old Jan 31st 2014, 8:18 pm
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Default Re: Rece Trip (with kids) - Calgary - March

and add in a little bit of 'showhome shopping' too
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Old Jan 31st 2014, 9:18 pm
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Default Re: Rece Trip (with kids) - Calgary - March

Realtor

Manny Aldea at Remax. <snip>

He was great. The Realtor given to us by a friend was away on holiday so he recommended Manny. We preferred Manny. So honest with us about houses we viewed, lovely manner.


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Old Feb 1st 2014, 12:22 pm
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Default Re: Rece Trip (with kids) - Calgary - March

Out of interest what does your husband do?

I am also Scottish and keen to move to Calgary, I would love to find a company that could facilitate a move.

I visited friends there a couple of years ago and loved it. Sure you will have a great time
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Old Feb 4th 2014, 12:08 am
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Default Re: Rece Trip (with kids) - Calgary - March

Hi all,

Sorry for the delay in my response (all three kids and myself have been ill!). Thank you so much for all of the info and ideas, I am building an itinerary based around them now. Love the idea about the kids and open houses, think they will love that!

Ann, we thought that renting would be the way to go as we are only going to be there for 3 year, but could be in a position to buy if the market over there is good. Hopefully a good chat with a Realtor will help us decide what would be best. Will definitely check out Cochrane, the name has come up a few times now.

Out of interest, those of you with kids, can you give me any tips on how to break the news to them. I think my 5 year old will be fine but my 7 year old is potentially going to be a bit emotional about it e.g. leaving family/friends etc?
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Old Feb 4th 2014, 12:18 am
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Default Re: Rece Trip (with kids) - Calgary - March

Originally Posted by ann m View Post
4. Will you be renting for the whole three year assignment, or do you anticipate buying a home? Most UK mindsets obsess about a "good area with good schools". Most regular public schools are fine. There is some apparent correlation with better neighbourhoods having better schools, but I wouldn't worry too much.
Hi Ann,

We are planning on sending the kids to a regular public school and have heard that most are good so are not too worried. Just wondered if you have any experience on the curriculum there? In Scotland my eldest would be going into Primary 4 and my middle would be going into Primary 2. I know that kids start later in Canada, I am just concerned as to where the kids would "slot" in. I wouldn't be as concerned if we were emigrating permanently, however the kids would be coming back to Scotland and the eldest would be just about to start High School. I wouldn't want them to have to repeat any years on either side of the water! Appreciate that this is something I will discuss in detail with the school they eventually go to, I will be taking copies of their current curriculum and examples of their schoolwork too. Just wondered if you have any general guidance?
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Old Feb 4th 2014, 12:33 am
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Default Re: Rece Trip (with kids) - Calgary - March

Originally Posted by Geordie Lass View Post
Realtor

Manny Aldea at Remax. <snip>

He was great. The Realtor given to us by a friend was away on holiday so he recommended Manny. We preferred Manny. So honest with us about houses we viewed, lovely manner.

Thanks Geordie Lass, will look Manny up!
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Old Feb 4th 2014, 12:22 pm
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Default Re: Rece Trip (with kids) - Calgary - March

Hi there

We are moving over to Alberta too in July/August. We are heading further north though, Red Deer area we are currently in Nova Scotia. I don't have little kiddies anymore so I can't really offer anything there, but I just wanted to wish you luck, might see you around
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Old Feb 4th 2014, 7:52 pm
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Default Re: Rece Trip (with kids) - Calgary - March

Originally Posted by Green Toadster View Post
Appreciate that this is something I will discuss in detail with the school they eventually go to, I will be taking copies of their current curriculum and examples of their schoolwork too. Just wondered if you have any general guidance?
I think this is all you can do - discuss it with the school. Each of the School Boards has their "cut off" dates for each Grade, which are different from the UK, where I think birthdays before the end of August determine the grade the child goes into. Here, it is December or January.

The curriculum at the younger ages generally runs about a year later than the UK - and that is a huge generalization - but I arrived with a 7 and 9 year old and they had already done a lot of the school work, so from the school-work point of view they might have coped easily with the higher grade here. However, and it's a big however, being with their peers is very important too.

If you will definintely only be here for three years, then your oldest will still only be 10 or 11 when you return and I don't think that is an age to be worrying about catching up. Arriving mid-GCSE year (or Scottish equivalent if you return there) would be more problematic, but if I've learned anything reading this site over the years, none of this is unsurmountable. A child might be bored for a few months or working hard for a few months, but it all comes out in the wash!
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Old Feb 4th 2014, 8:31 pm
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Default Re: Rece Trip (with kids) - Calgary - March

Within the CBE - Calgary Board of Education, the cut off for 'grade age' is March 1st. So if your child starts Kindergarten in September, he/she has to turn 5 by the following March 1st . My youngest is in Grade 3, but only just as his 8th birthday is Feb 13th. He has a great buddy, born in the same year but whose birthday is March 6th and, as a result is in Grade 2! They don't seem to mind you holding a child back a school year. However, I am yet to meet anyone who was able to 'advance' their child up a grade if the birthday was later than the cut off.

I always tell parents coming from the Uk to be prepared for a more laid back approach to schooling. We have never had a problem taking ours out me during term time for example - everyone I know does it and our Principal will just say that it is good family time and that travel is an education!! If you do want more challenges for your kids you could possibly consider a late French immersion programme? Frankly though, might be nice to let the kids relax and enjoy the adventure without adding stressful schoolwork to the mix!!

Good luck with everything. We are in NW Calgary so if I can help with any info on this part of the city feel free to get in touch!
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