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Anyone just made the move to Canada?
I was wondering of theres anyone out there who has just made the move to Canada? I have been preparing for this move for over 2 years now, done a lot of research, visited Canada yearly for the last 6 years and got myself qualified in my profession. Now we have an approximation of next June its beginning to draw a little closer.
I thought that I was prepared, but recently I am asking myself some different questions. I have always traveled and worked regardless of my family, with Canada having been my ultimate goal since my first visit. Now however I have a husband and a 6 month old baby. I am considering the implications of being so far away from family. What are other people's experiences with keeping in touch, do you manage to get in visits, considering flight costs and Canadian holiday allowance?
Although I want to make friends in the local community does anyone know of an expat group in the Toronto to London area? It would be nice to hear how other people are doing.
The other thing I have heard recently is that cost of living is beginning to rise to meet the rest of the world, especially in the areas surrounding Toronto, how is this in reality? You get a poor impression of this whilst on holiday, taxes and house expenses etc. not being something you see as a tourist. Is it still a better financial deal compared to Europe?
And if you don't have advice but just a story I would really like to hear it, anything about the move or life in Canada as an expat.
Very gratefully looking forward to replys,
Hello, Jim Bunting here in Toronto.
First of all, let me congratualte you on being very cautious and carefull about the big move to come to ANY new country. I see many well educated people, who come to Canada, with out any planning at all, and they become very depressed because they were not well informed about the life here. They are also the ones who don't try to get qualified BEFORE they arrive in Canada. I see that you are smarter than that (grin).
The cost of living in the city of Toronto is higher than in a small town such as Tillsonberg, or St Thomas, or Chatham, mainly due to the cost of housing. Obviously, there is also the kind of housing that you choose to live in. Many new comers make the mistake of "living beyond their means" by getting into a big house , before they have the income to really afford it.
Seeing as there are only the 3 of you, perhaps a apartment for the first two years would be a way to conserve your money, and save for a down-payment on a house. I suggest that new comers try not to spend much of their savings when they get here, and try to save at least 25 percent of their net income each month, as a way to not dip into the nest egg that they came with. Renting is no shame here, and is a way to save to buy a home later.
Canada has one of the highest percentages of households with a computer that is linked to the internet, in the world, over 60 percent. Use the internet, with a web camera and sound, to talk to the family in the UK, for very little cost, any time that you want to.
Telephone calling discount cards here allow you to call back to the UK for as little as 5 p a minute. Yes that is not a typo, 5 p a minute. You can call from Canada to India, for 10 p a minute, for example. We have very low cost telephone rates here in Canada, and any local call is free, and for as LONG as you want to talk, for no extra cost, it is simply included in the monthly flat rate charge. Long distance calls are billed based on what place you call to, and how long you talk. Using a discount card is easy, and they are for sale at "corner stores" for face value amounts from 5 to 20 dollars. With so many people living in Canada who have familiy living somewhere else, these cards are very popular in Canada. So as you can see the cost to "keep in touch" is low here.
In the period after WW2, a large number of UK types immigrated to Canada. The ones who did well here were the ones who had the idea that "this is now my home". The ones who did not do well were those who kept on saying" this isn't like the old country" . They were the ones who had to take "the ten thousand dollar cure" which was to go back to England for a year, to find out that it wasn't any better there, it was worse. As you can imagine that was an expensive way to find out that this was the better place to be.
I try to point out to new people that the move to Canada is not FOR them it is FOR their kids. No matter what education you have or don't have when you come here, the next generation will be the ones who benefit the most from the choice to come to Canada. We are still expanding, still building this huge country, still making new towns and industrial parks and housing subdivisions, and still exploring the far north. All of that requires new people and lots of new jobs will be created as well. Can you say that about the UK?
The cost of living............A lot of that can be controlled by making good choices, such as how you choose to eat, what you wear, and where you buy it, and how you save your money. In every case, there are choices to make, and you can choose to live frugally, or be a spendthrift. It is up to you to make good choices, starting with where you choose to live in a town or city. You can get a good plain 2 bedroom apartment in a older building, in a smaller town for about 300 pounds a month, or you can go for a splashy place that costs twice that much per month. In Toronto, my wife and I have a nice one bedroom that is in the center of the city, for about 400 pounds a month, with everything included, the only extras are the phone, cable tv, and the internet connection. My wife is at the U of T and I am retired, so we are quite happy here in a vibrant and very diverse neighbourhood.
The real estate market in Toronto is very volatile, meaning the prices of homes are very high. Example, the average sale price of a used house in Novermber of 2005 was $ 365,000 CDN which is about about 185,000 pounds. Add to that the costs of land taxes, sales tax, and the agent's and lawyer's fees amd the cost of the mortgage over the life of the loan, and it will cost half a million dollars before you have it paid for, in 20 to 30 years.
On the other hand, the same kind of house in London, Ontario, will be half that price and the land taxes wil be less too. Choices to make, right?
On the cost of food.............Canada grows most of it's own food, but during the winter we also have lots of fresh fruits annd vegetables brought from the southern USA by truck and rail. We also fly in items from south america. Beef here is cheaper than in Europe, and so are the other meats. Again it comes down to choices, do you eat prime rib roast, or a cheaper cut of beef? Do you eat rice, and pasta and beans a few times a week or do you bring in "take out " that costs 3 times as much per meal? Choces, right?
Clothing..........You can find the most wonderfull kids clothing, as nice as any adult designer lines of fashion, or you can buy on a budget at a local store. You can buy a fancy type of baby stroller for more than 200 pounds, or you can get one for 25 pounds, instead. I think that you will find that clothing here can be found for reasonable prices, all you have do is be picky about what you spend.
Expat clubs in Ontario? I don't have any direct info but you could try looking for the St George Society, which is for English heritage and social affairs like dances and parties in Toronto. Un-like the other "new comers social clubs" like the Portugese, the Italians and the Jamaicans, the Brits don't seem to have any "support groups" per se. Perhaps look for football supporters groups, like those that support Man U or Arsenal, or Liverpool. Every week end there are pubs here that have live footy on big screen tvs from the UK.
OK lots to absorb right? Ask me more questions here.
Jim Bunting. Toronto.
PS take a look at my other post on this forum, about myths about Canada.
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