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Ask me questions about Canadian life and culture.

Discussion forum for expats moving to or living in Canada.

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Re: Ask me questions about Canadian life and culture.

Post Posted: Fri Jan 13, 2006 6:19 pm

I got a look at the photos.
They are great. The restaurant district looks really nice.


Re: Ask me questions about Canadian life and culture.

Post Posted: Sat Jan 14, 2006 12:09 am


Glad you were able to access my photos.

That part of Tronto is called the Entertainment district due to it's large number of theatres ( toronto has 35 live stage theatres ) and cinemas ( one has 24 screens ) and bars and dance clubs. In a 10 square block area there are no less than 140 bars and 198 restaurants.

Toronto has over 8,000 restaurants ( we don't count McDonald's and Burger King as a resturant ) and if you start with the letter A for Algerian, B for Bolivian, and C for Columbian, you can eat your way thru the alphabet. Of course, after a year, you would have to start over as there are 300 "new ones " to check out.

With 78 different languages being spoken in Toronto, we have the most culturally diverse city in the world. One example would be our city Police service, which has Constables who speak a total of 113 different languages, in a force of 5,200 officers.

Just so you get a better idea of the geography of the Collingwood area, I will tell you some of the other towns in the district. Each of them will have a web site of their own, if you look for them on Google.

Meaford, Parry Sound, Barrie, and Orillia are all with-in a radius of 50 milers from Collingwood. You should also look for these ski clubs.

Blue Mountain, St Louis Moonstone, and Georgian Peaks are all close to Collingwood.

Other recreational information can be found on the Ontario Provincial Parks web site at

Ontario has over 300 public parks that feature camping, and they are all featured on that web site. They range in size from 100 acres to 3,000 acres, and some are only accessible by canoe, no vehicles allowed and no gasoline outboard motors, either. Others are modern, with drive in access, and with showers, flush toilets, laundry buildings with washers and dryers and electric outlets for each campsite. Tenters are kept seperate from those with motorhomes, or recreational trailers, and 50 percent of the individual campsites are " NO RADIO " zones to make it quieter.

The district surrounding Collingwood is called Huronia, after the First Nations people who used to live there.

For general information about tourisim and travel in Ontario go to the Ministry of Tourisim web site at

They will send you lots of printed information and a FREE map of Ontario by mail to your home address, if you ask them for it. What a great way to get factual and informative information delivered to your door.

BTW I'm the guy in the photos with the bush hat with the CANADA logo on the front holding the Large Mouth Bass and grinning.

Keep me informed, and ask more questionsm please.

Cheers Jim Bunting. Toronto.


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Re: Ask me questions about Canadian life and culture.

Post Posted: Mon Jan 16, 2006 11:02 am

Hi Jim,
I like the sound of all those restaurants in Toronto.
My husbands parents did a 12month (or was it 6 month?) stint as diplomats on Toronto about 18years ago. I think they really liked it but I haven't talked to them about their experience yet.
Because we have 3 kids and they are their only grandchildren...I am hopin that they may move over too...but this hasn't been discussed in any length with them so far...although his Mum did say she'd love to go if we moved...but I have a feeling she may not have realized our actual intent on this.

I am really impressed with fact I LOVE Blue Mountain and have been emailing an estate agent over there re prices of properties to get some sort of idea for the future.

I think that the idea of a predominantly English speaking town appeals to my husband...and my son has already said he wants to be on an icehockey team...after seeing some phots on one www I was browsing! He's only just 7years old...dreams are big!

Intrawest seems to have a predominance of property in the area of Blue Mountain and it seems that anything they develop does well.

A fellow Canadian - now permanent Australian resident - wo is a friend of mine - is wrapt at the idea of me going over there...I think she'd go back in a heartbeat if her husband could transfer his great job!

She has suggested that I do a midwifery course as they are needed in Canada and Ontario has a fantastic midwifery college. Maybe I could come over as a student midwife!?! I have contacted the Ontario College of Midwifery. Seen as I am a qualified Naturopath it may be a short course for me.

I really appreciate all your hints as to what to check out.

What would be the best avenue to check out how to invest in Canadian property? As I think we have to come as "investors".

I figured you might be the guy in the photo!

Thanks again.


Re: Ask me questions about Canadian life and culture.

Post Posted: Tue Jan 17, 2006 12:01 am


I'm really glad that you are finding my suggestions to be helpfull to you.

Midwife? GREAT IDEA. Much in demand and in a smaller town you might be the ONLY one. Follow up with the Ontario Association, for more details.

Perhaps you could combine a wellness centre with a midwifery practice, opetrating from a large older home in town, with your private area upstairs to live in. This would allow you to hire one or two local people to work part time to cover you if you have to go out for a delivery of a birth.

Glad that you like the Blue Mountain resort web site. Did you happen to see any of the new housing that is being built in the area of Collingwood? Many beautifull and innovative designs.

About your in-laws .........After you are both set up here, and are citizens ( takes about 3 years to do that ) then you could "sponsor them " under the Family Re-unification class" of immigrant. I assume that they wouldn't want to work here, and would be retired by then? If so that makes it a lot easier to bring them here to Canada ,as they would not have to meet the education or the work skills criteria that others have to pass.

When you say Diplomats, what type of position? Consular officer, or administrator? If they were in Toronto that would have been a Australian Consolate, not an Embassy, that is in Ottawa, our capital city. In any case, it can be done.

By all means, you should discuss it with them now.

I suggest that you should examine the different types of Immigrant classes, and in my opinon you should put your Naturopath certification up front as your major skill, and try to come under the "skilled worker " class. " Investor " is much more complicated and requires a lot of money to be accepted here , while a "skilled worker" does NOT have to have hundreds of thousands of dollars, and the 'Investor " does. Besides, once you are acceoted and in Canada, you can take any course you like, like the Midwife course, nobody will say anything about that.

The main concern of the Canadian Government is that you don't wind up broke and on welfare here. We would much rather you be a success!!!

Please understand that the "investor " class is required to CREATE jobs for Canadians, such as buying a existing business, or starting a new one. The number of jobs that are created are tracked and accounted for. If you buy land it doesn't qualify for the Investor class of Immigration.

If you intend to buy land or a house. know this.................

For the first few years here in Canada you WON"T be able to get a loan, or a mortgage from any lenders. WHY? No credit history in Canada.

I'm sorry but this is a direct result of other Immigrants who , in the past , took out loans and then skipped the country, without paying it back. Lenders will want to see at least 3 to 5 years of employment stability and a record of paying your monthly bills on time, before they will loan any significant amount of money to you. You will be able to get a phone, gas service and electric in a rented apartment or house, with a deposit amount equal to a month's billing, but you need to establish your selves to get a house or business loan.

Buying a house is a big event, and here it is a good idea to have a trusted real estate agent on your side. They can help with things like buying in the right area for your needs, and advise on the sales prices in the area you are interested in.

In a small town many of the RE agents could become YOUR customers ,too, as they are mostly women. They can also tell you about the associated costs, over and above the actual cost of the house, such as land transfer fees, sales tax and lawyers fees, and of course their fee for doing all the leg work to find the right house for your family. Current 2006 mortgage rates for a house are about 5 percent per annum. Most people go to a lender first, to become "pre approved" for a certain amount of money so they know what they have to work with , when looking at homes for sale.

You are going to love it here and your skills are needed in Canada, both of you.

Cheers. Jim Bunting. and yes that was me in the hat. LOL.


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Re: Ask me questions about Canadian life and culture.

Post Posted: Wed Jan 18, 2006 7:09 pm

Hi Jim,
So, in thinking of the Collingwood area and Ontario - how would you describe the culture of these areas?
How does it compare to what you know of Australia?


Re: Ask me questions about Canadian life and culture.

Post Posted: Wed Jan 18, 2006 8:53 pm


Collingwood is typical of a smaller Canadian town with a balance of industry and commerce. In this case much of the industry is recreation oriented, such as sailing, sport fishing, skiing, and snowboarding, and many of the local business people are involved with sports and selling sports equipment , such as skis and boards, bikes and roller blades, and boats and fishing gear.

The commerce is what you would expect, with banks, food stores, and service business operators. With so many visitors both winter and summer, accomodation and meals are a big part of the town's economy.

What do people do for fun? Outdoors activities of all kinds, in every season. Think of a sport and it is here. Living in a place like Collingwood, where it is a 10 minute drive to the bush, or the beach, or the ski hill, people are active and so are the kids. Local kids sports teams are sponsored by business owners, and the coaches are local Parents.

Whatever the sport you like there are groups in the area. If you want to be involved in arts and culture, it is there too. The local College of Applied Arts and Technology offers night school courses and so do the local high schools, just for interest, or to get a diploma.

Entertaining is done on a casual basis, with outdoor cooking in the summer, and in the winter, house parties, with everyone bringing a special dish, to have a "pot luck supper". A group of friends may go out together to eat at a restuarant, and talk over drinks afterwards in the bar. Ontario produces some great wines, and our " Ice Wine " is world famous.

With so many different cultures having come to Canada, we have a wide range of foods to choose from in our restaurants, and many feature our own locally caught fresh fish and game, such as trout, salmon, and pheasant, deer, or bison.

The pace of life in Collingwood is not as hectic as in a big city, with more time to chat even in a store or business office. People have made the choice to live there, for that reason.

Let me know if this is what you were wanting to know about?

Jim B.


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Re: Ask me questions about Canadian life and culture.

Post Posted: Thu Jan 19, 2006 5:16 am

That is great stuff Jim, just what I was looking for.

It is funny because when I think of Australian culture I hit a bit of a stumbling block. I guess every area is affected by its locals and its industry.
In Australia however, we seem to be famous for the "she'll be right mate" attitude - being "laid back". And at the other end of the scale for our "tall poppy syndrome" - our way of cutting down the success of others (a national phonomenon that I do not subscribe to in the least).
Even though Australian are noted for sports...unfortunately, it is predominatly limited to "watching" - footy or cricket with a beer in hand at the local pub or couch at home.
In saying this high schools all seem to be into football and cricket as sports for kids but this seems to go by the wayside as we get older or at least the emphasis is on the beer drinking rather than the sport!
Hence when I think of Australian culture we are multicultural, yet our "way of life" revolves around the watching of footy or cricket, with a beer..oh and of course the great Australian Barbie!
Much of our activites are beer centred as opposed to sport centred - does that make sense?

When I think of Canada I see a picture where the focus is on outdoors - being in it, appreciating it, playing in it, caring for it - and the love of food is for good food and great wines - as opposed to drinking because it is "cultural" to do so for sport.
Of course all of this is a generalization as I have chosen to create a different sort of culture around me and my family...however, always present around me is the "Australian way" and even the witnessing of this and the energy from it I find does not flow well with me.
We have an exploding rate of obesity here in seems that children are adopting the art of watching rather than participating. Shame as we have such a great land to play in.
Australia is not really rich in tradition...we don't really celebrate our heritage...we don't appreciate our aboriginals (although this is changing as we appreciate their art more and we are seeing their dance be included in major events) and we sure have no connection to history!
Australia, I feel, due to its wide open landscape and small population, has an element of "isolation". The majority of our population lives in major cities and our smaller towns are quite separate from each other.
I lived in a small country town for a few months and found that unless you were into hanging out at one of the two local pubs (bottom of the road or top of the road) then really you just didn't fit in.
It also seems that due to this we don't have a strong sense of "community". And a symptom of this is the breakdown of the family unit - which may be a sign of the times - however, it is prevalent in Australia.

I am attracted to Canada and its smaller towns because of the "village" feel. My perception is that there is a strong sense of community, tradition, celebration, "coming together" and a value on relationships. I sense a pride in the land and its people - and this is something we definitely don't have in Australia.

In thinking of moving both absolute excitment as well as some fear come up for me - excitement because I feel a strong pull to Canada for the above reasons, fear mainly because of leaving family, friends and networks I have created over the last 31/2 years. (I moved form Sydney to Melbourne 71/2 years ago, but the last 31/2 years I have really created a great network, plus we got my husbands parents back from overseas 21/2 years ago).

We are planning to discuss the "idea" of Canada with Chris' parents soon.

I had a chat with my mum and she was sounding heartbroken on the other end of the phone - an 18hour flight is different to a 1hour flight (and more expensive)!

I would dearly love Chris' parents to move with us. They are the ones who lived in Toronto - his dad was a trade commissioner.

So, I am thinking of talking to someone about the real details of immigrating both for us and for Chris' parents - just so I know it is possible!
Who do you think is best to talk to re this? Canadian consulate in Australia?

Again, thanks for all your time. I'm sure I won't be such a frequent poster and asker of questions once I get some of the basics sorted...but I'm sure I'll continue to use this forum to some degree as Jim you are a real gem.


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