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Vancouver suburbs for family move

Vancouver suburbs for family move

Old Jul 10th 2017, 12:10 pm
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Default Vancouver suburbs for family move

Hi there,

We're a family of 3, in our late thirties with a toddler, living in South London. We'd like to explore what life is like in Canada with a view to move, have an opportunity to travel to Vancouver and Toronto in October.

Could anyone suggest areas in Greater Vancouver that are good for families please? Our criteria: no more than an hour's drive to the airport (husband will travel for work), good state schools and kids activities, easy access to outdoors for recreation, reasonably priced 3 bed houses - we're not afraid of DIY, an hour's or less commute into Vancouver. Any ideas welcome.

We have some ideas of Toronto suburbs.

Generally, would you say Toronto or Vancouver for a move from London suburbs? We don't want to be in a rat race but would like a good community with a life of its own, rather than a dormitory suburb, if that makes sense.

If anyone here has done a similar exploratory trip before, what else would you suggest looking at?

Any help is much appreciated, we don't know anyone there.
Thanks
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Old Jul 10th 2017, 4:35 pm
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Default Re: Vancouver suburbs for family move

Really, you are trying to ask a question for which there is no real answer. A place that one person suggests as 'nice' is just as likely to be a place that someone else suggests is the last place they would want to live. I read a lot of comments here by people talking about moving to Burlington for example. As someone coming from Toronto, I can't understand why anyone would choose to live in Burlington. To me, it is a nowhere place between Toronto and Hamilton. It has no redeeming qualities that I at least can think of.

I grew up in Toronto and I would never want to live in any suburb if I could avoid it. I hate cookie cutter houses where every 4th or 6th one is identical to another. It's either live in the city because of the attractions you value being there or live in a small town to avoid the city altogether.

Regarding an hour to the airport, in reality that won't get you outside of the Toronto dormitory suburbs in any direction. If you lived to the east end of the city, an hour might not even get you to the airport.

Vancouver's airport is located on an island. In fact, all of the Vancouver area if you look at a map is made up of islands with rivers dividing things up. This means that commuting to downtown Vancouver or to the airport usually means bridge crossings. Vancouver is notorious for long commute times because of the bottlenecks that the bridges must by definition cause. So again, where you can get to the airport from in an hour may not be as far out as you want to be to avoid dormitory suburbs.

Re schools, don't worry about that at all. Canada is not like the UK, we do not have good schools and poor schools. Generally speaking, all schools provide the same quality of education and no one thinks about is there a good school near this house we are thinking of buying. The only concern in that regard they would have is can the kids walk to school or will I have to drive them or is there a school bus route.
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Old Jul 10th 2017, 4:37 pm
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Default Re: Vancouver suburbs for family move

Originally Posted by Kutega21 View Post
...

Could anyone suggest areas in Greater Vancouver that are good for families please? Our criteria: no more than an hour's drive to the airport (husband will travel for work), good state schools and kids activities, easy access to outdoors for recreation, reasonably priced 3 bed houses - we're not afraid of DIY, an hour's or less commute into Vancouver. Any ideas welcome.
...

We don't want to be in a rat race but would like a good community with a life of its own, rather than a dormitory suburb, if that makes sense.
Let's start with a bit of pedantry, it is Metro Vancouver - they dropped the title Greater Vancouver several years ago.

When will your husband need to travel to the airport? A one hour drive in rush hour gives a much smaller radius than off peak. At 8.00am on a Sunday morning nowhere in Metro Vancouver is more than an hour's drive to the airport. The golden rule when planning on a commute is to try and minimize the number of water crossings (either bridges or the tunnel) as this is where the congestion is worse.

Suburban Vancouver is a series of interconnected smaller cities. There are good, and less good, areas in each. You ask for somewhere within an hour of Vancouver, in the suburbs, but not a dormitory suburb, and with a sense of local community. I guess that rules out the tracts new housing in Surrey, Langley and Coquitlam.

My suggestion for a look-see if you are exploring is Ladner and Tsawwassen in the City of Delta and South Surrey in the City of Surrey (duh!). These are one crossing from the airport. They are expensive by Canadian standards but if you are coming from South London they may not seem so bad.

I would not worry too much about schools at the moment. They all teach the same syllabus so the quality of the experience your child will have will depend on the other kids and their parents. The vast majority of people send their kids to the local state (called public here) school. Find a neighborhood you like the look of and there is a very good chance that the local school will suit you down to the ground.
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Old Jul 10th 2017, 5:08 pm
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Default Re: Vancouver suburbs for family move

Originally Posted by Kutega21 View Post
Hi there,

We're a family of 3, in our late thirties with a toddler, living in South London. We'd like to explore what life is like in Canada with a view to move, have an opportunity to travel to Vancouver and Toronto in October.

Could anyone suggest areas in Greater Vancouver that are good for families please? Our criteria: no more than an hour's drive to the airport (husband will travel for work), good state schools and kids activities, easy access to outdoors for recreation, reasonably priced 3 bed houses - we're not afraid of DIY, an hour's or less commute into Vancouver. Any ideas welcome.

We have some ideas of Toronto suburbs.

Generally, would you say Toronto or Vancouver for a move from London suburbs? We don't want to be in a rat race but would like a good community with a life of its own, rather than a dormitory suburb, if that makes sense.

If anyone here has done a similar exploratory trip before, what else would you suggest looking at?

Any help is much appreciated, we don't know anyone there.
Thanks
I dont know of any country where where there is no "rat race".
Generally North Americans get less holiday than Europeans.
If you are coming to Canada (Toronto) to escape the rat race you will be disappointed.
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Old Jul 10th 2017, 5:35 pm
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Default Re: Vancouver suburbs for family move

Originally Posted by Reeders View Post
Really, you are trying to ask a question for which there is no real answer. A place that one person suggests as 'nice' is just as likely to be a place that someone else suggests is the last place they would want to live.
This much is true.

I grew up in Toronto and I would never want to live in any suburb if I could avoid it. I hate cookie cutter houses where every 4th or 6th one is identical to another. It's either live in the city because of the attractions you value being there or live in a small town to avoid the city altogether.
Not true. I lived for 22 years in the old part of Richmond Hill, the houses there are rather idiosyncratic and pleasant inside and out. It's a bit pricey these days but surely you, as The National Sales Manager Man, could easily afford it. And the attractions of Toronto are very easily accessible.


Regarding an hour to the airport, in reality that won't get you outside of the Toronto dormitory suburbs in any direction. If you lived to the east end of the city, an hour might not even get you to the airport.
See above, 30-40 minutes drive/cab ride to the airport or a $10 bus ride from Yonge and Hwy7.

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Old Jul 10th 2017, 6:25 pm
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Default Re: Vancouver suburbs for family move

I work at Vancouver Airport and live within Vancouver proper.

In evening rush hour it can take 45 mins for me to travel the 16km's home from the airport, but on the flip side in the morning when nobody is on the road (I leave at 3:30am) it's only a 20 min drive. Record time was 90 mins but it was due to every bridge leading into Vancouver from the airport area having an accident or other closure.

So as said above an hour away is totally different depending on time of day and day of the week, and if there is an accident.
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Old Jul 10th 2017, 7:18 pm
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Default Re: Vancouver suburbs for family move

Thanks for all your replies. I will do a search on your suggestions, JonboyE, thank you. At the moment we just need a few starting places to determine whether either Vancouver or Toronto are a good fit for us as a family, hence the very broad questions. I appreciate that opinions on places differ but we have to start somewhere.

Good to know that schools aren't an issue.

In terms of commuting to the airport thanks for the advice regarding bridge crossings. The commute times are a bit difficult to gauge as would depend on destinations, would distance be a better indicator? No more than 80 miles perhaps.

Last edited by Kutega21; Jul 10th 2017 at 7:54 pm.
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Old Jul 10th 2017, 7:35 pm
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Default Re: Vancouver suburbs for family move

Originally Posted by Kutega21 View Post
Thanks for all your replies. I will do a search on your suggestions, JonboyE, thank you. At the moment we just need a few starting places to determine whether either Vancouver or Toronto are a good fit for us as a family, hence the very broad questions. I appreciate that opinions on places differ but we have to start somewhere.

Good to know that schools aren't an issue.

In terms of commuting to the airport it sounds like the distance in miles would be more appropriate, I'd say our maximum distance would be about 70-80 miles.
If you wanted a small town feel with, relatively, easy access to the Toronto airport, you could live in Orangeville.
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Old Jul 10th 2017, 7:46 pm
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Default Re: Vancouver suburbs for family move

Originally Posted by dbd33 View Post
If you wanted a small town feel with, relatively, easy access to the Toronto airport, you could live in Orangeville.
Not a bad idea. Better though, if the OP is property rich after South London, would be Kleinburg.
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Old Jul 10th 2017, 9:02 pm
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Default Re: Vancouver suburbs for family move

Regarding schools ............. no problem with the public schools, but you will find that children start school later here than in the UK.

Primary Kindergarten ........... child is age 4 by the end of December of that year

Secondary Kindergarten ....... child is age 5 by the end of December of that year

Different areas may have different terms for Kindergarten and you may find some areas which do not have Primary Kindergarten


Grade 1 ........... child is age 6 by the end of December of that year.


School leaving age is from Grade 12, when a child is usually age 18.


You will find there is much less pressure on a child in the form of homework ............ but rest assured they will be at the same level as a UK child by the time they are ready for further education.
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Old Jul 10th 2017, 9:38 pm
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Default Re: Vancouver suburbs for family move

Because of where the airport is located, and the poor road infrastructure of metro Vancouver, I would personally not live any further then Surrey if needing to be close to the airport or desiring closeness to the airport.

80 miles for example going east gets you to Chilliwack from YVR, however that is at minimum a 90 minute commute and sometimes close or over 2 hours if traffic is bad.

Surrey, Tsawwassen, Delta, Richmond or Vancouver proper would be my suggestions to make getting to the airport as easy as possible.

(we dont have kids so schools are not of concern to us, so I don't base these suggestions on anything other then proximity to the airport.)
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Old Jul 11th 2017, 12:26 am
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Default Re: Vancouver suburbs for family move

You can do the airport from Maple Ridge in an hour - Golden Ears Bridge then HW17 and back up through the Massey. Obviously there are times when that would take longer.

Abbotsford needs a few more domestic flights...I'm doing Vancouver-Cranbrooke-Kelowna-Vancouver next week and it would be better if I could use Abbotsford!

Vancouver is an hour-ish from Maple Ridge via Coquitlam and the Skytrain, or similar via WCE.
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Old Jul 11th 2017, 12:46 am
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Default Re: Vancouver suburbs for family move

Originally Posted by withabix View Post
You can do the airport from Maple Ridge in an hour - Golden Ears Bridge then HW17 and back up through the Massey. Obviously there are times when that would take longer.

Abbotsford needs a few more domestic flights...I'm doing Vancouver-Cranbrooke-Kelowna-Vancouver next week and it would be better if I could use Abbotsford!

Vancouver is an hour-ish from Maple Ridge via Coquitlam and the Skytrain, or similar via WCE.
You can get to Kelowna from Abby, of course you have to make a quick stop in Alberta first...
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Old Jul 11th 2017, 12:53 am
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Default Re: Vancouver suburbs for family move

Originally Posted by Jsmth321 View Post
You can get to Kelowna from Abby, of course you have to make a quick stop in Alberta first...
Yes, a bit like my colleagues can fly to Comox from Kelowna.

Via Calgary...


When I fly from Vancouver to Comox, I wave to it as I go past Comox, sit on the tarmac at Campbell River for 10 minutes and then fly back to Comox.

Actually Pacific Coastal has quite a good selection of domestic routes and the South Terminal parking is convenient...
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Old Jul 11th 2017, 1:17 am
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Default Re: Vancouver suburbs for family move

Firist of all - welcome to BE!

I suspect that what you can afford may factor in quite heavily. Vancouver and Toronto are both expensive places to buy property.

Do you have an upper limit in mind?

Lastly, you may have to go where you can earn a living, regardless.. do you have a route to Permanent Residency (or a temporary work permit) sorted out?

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