Living and working in Canada

Living and working in Canada

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W12GT

Original Poster:

2,647 posts

180 months

Tuesday 17th September 2019
quotequote all
I have been approached by a previous client about the opportunity to work in Toronto or Calgary. It would be a full move for me and I’d be taking my wife and children. We don’t speak French.

I’m looking for feedback on the lifestyle that we could expect. We love outdoor pursuits, enjoy skiing, cycling etc. Our children are 7yrs/nearly 5yrs.

We life in the rural countryside and enjoy all it has to offer, my wife works locally in the veterinary field and I consult in Canary Wharf - I like the mix up of clean stylish city in the day and relaxed countryside at home, I don’t enjoy the commuting! I’d quite like to have a real community lifestyle similar to village life in the UK.

It’s come at a time when we are fed up of the politics and the rapidly growing levels of violence being witnessed especially in London and the surrounding areas.

Anyone made the move? What are the pros and cons ie quality of life; are English people welcome (especially those will to integrate and adopt the local way of life), is there an active social life including activity clubs etc? Healthcare, education are important.

Thanks in advance.

Edited by W12GT on Tuesday 17th September 13:40

downthepub

1,250 posts

165 months

Tuesday 17th September 2019
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Can't speak to Toronto, but I spent a year working in Calgary through an inter-company transfer and it was a similar move in that we shut up shop here and my wife moved over too. Outside of Quebec I don't think you'll have any problems not speaking French, certainly not in Alberta. It was very easy to acclimatise as Canadians are extremely welcoming and accommodating. Fantastic lifestyle, very close to the Rockies and brilliant skiing. More of a compact city (in North American terms) than Toronto.

Work visas can be difficult, as I mentioned I got one through the company and my wife got a spousal visa. She works as a teacher and had to go through the process again as the visa that enables to work with children is different to the standard one. Canadian bureaucracy can be a little mind numbing...

We loved our year in Calgary, despite both being offered extensions, we elected to return back to Aberdeen and it was with a very heavy heart we came home.

happygoron

403 posts

148 months

Wednesday 18th September 2019
quotequote all
W12GT said:
I have been approached by a previous client about the opportunity to work in Toronto or Calgary. It would be a full move for me and I’d be taking my wife and children. We don’t speak French.

I’m looking for feedback on the lifestyle that we could expect. We love outdoor pursuits, enjoy skiing, cycling etc. Our children are 7yrs/nearly 5yrs.

We life in the rural countryside and enjoy all it has to offer, my wife works locally in the veterinary field and I consult in Canary Wharf - I like the mix up of clean stylish city in the day and relaxed countryside at home, I don’t enjoy the commuting! I’d quite like to have a real community lifestyle similar to village life in the UK.

It’s come at a time when we are fed up of the politics and the rapidly growing levels of violence being witnessed especially in London and the surrounding areas.

Anyone made the move? What are the pros and cons ie quality of life; are English people welcome (especially those will to integrate and adopt the local way of life), is there an active social life including activity clubs etc? Healthcare, education are important.

Thanks in advance.

Edited by W12GT on Tuesday 17th September 13:40
I cant speak for either of those cities from experience living there (I've been in Ottawa for 6 years). But from the lifestyle preferences you described then Calgary may be preferable.

Toronto is a sprawling North American city. If you like city things then it is excellent, huge variety of neighbourhoods and cultures and activities. But it's expensive, and any serious outdoor activities are significant drives away.

Calgary from my limited experience is a fairly uninspiring city, but in less than 2 hours drive you have access to arguably some of the best outdoor playgrounds in the world. I've done it a couple of times now, and the transition from the city to suburbia to plains to mountains as you drive from calgary to banff is astonishing.

Regarding your other comments - french wont be an issue in either city, unless you are looking for jobs with the federal government. Regarding settling in, everyone's experience is different but as a Brit its simpler than most, there's always plenty of us about! The stereotype of the friendly canadian is largely true. Healthcare is not a million miles away from the NHS experience. Education levels seem good, but I've not got kids so cant comment more than that.

The transition will be strange, it's similar enough to the UK in some ways, and very different in others. I consider it a good mix of the UK and US. Everything is bigger for a start!

Hope that rambling is of some help. Happy to answer any more questions as best I can.

jimmyjimjim

5,764 posts

197 months

Thursday 19th September 2019
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happygoron said:
I cant speak for either of those cities from experience living there (I've been in Ottawa for 6 years). But from the lifestyle preferences you described then Calgary may be preferable.

Toronto is a sprawling North American city. If you like city things then it is excellent, huge variety of neighbourhoods and cultures and activities. But it's expensive, and any serious outdoor activities are significant drives away.

Calgary from my limited experience is a fairly uninspiring city, but in less than 2 hours drive you have access to arguably some of the best outdoor playgrounds in the world.
I'm no Canuck, but I'd say you nailed it there wrt Toronto. I've not visited Calgary, but it would be my choice. The only other point worth mentioning would be flight times. If you intend returning frequently, or have visitors, Toronto would likely be a cheaper/easier bet (I've not checked flights).

drillfield47

35 posts

130 months

Tuesday 22nd October 2019
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I moved to Calgary in 2012 with my wife and 1 year old daughter and here we are still here. Our oldest daughter is now 8 and our youngest daughter is 5 years old. The life here can be very good providing you get the appropriate salary as certain things are considerably more expensive than the UK. We live in a new community where things are very family friendly but are quite removed from the downtown core; which is not a bad thing if you have a family. We are 90 minutes to the closest ski hill (door to door) and 2 hours from Banff so during the winter months that is where you will find us most weekends.

The weather has its challenges (minus 40C in the winter and plus 30C in the summer) but it really is something you get used to and isn't a big deal after a while.

The move here has been great overall and right now we couldn't think of living anywhere else, although i will say the wife had a bit of a wobble 2 years ago but a quick trip back to the UK to look at houses and the quality of life soon changed that!

If you have any specific questions let me know and i will do what i can to help..................oh, and i don't speak french other than some very basis phrases when i escape to Le Mans every now and then and it hasn't been an issue at all.

TimLam7

625 posts

84 months

Wednesday 23rd October 2019
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I live in Philadelphia but my girlfriend is from Montreal, so I spend a lot of time north of the border. We are seriously talking about moving up there in 2020 so I've done some research.

The first thing I should mention is weather. It is, to my south of England mind, impossibly, incomprehensibly cold. You will need serious winter gear. That said, with the right gear and some experience it's perfectly doable (millions of people survive each year!). But that could take some adjusting for the kids as there are a a few weeks each year when going outside for any length of time is not really viable. The locals can handle it, but me as a soft Brit, I struggle.

Stereotypes of friendly Canadians are true. They're great.

Living costs between Calgary and Toronto vary hugely. Toronto housing market is totally screwed up and it's very expensive. Calgary, apparently, has a much better balance of salary and living cost. That said, I have heard Calgary and Alberta generally are a bit down on their luck at the moment, the Oil and Gas sector is huge there and is really on the back foot. Toronto on the other hand is a booming city.

Just my thoughts for you!

voiceofrevolt

98 posts

47 months

Tuesday 29th October 2019
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As a Canadian, I think I can assure you that you would prefer Calgary for the activities you noted.

Remember, Canada is part of the Commonwealth and we have the same Queen. The culture is nearly identical.

French is rarely spoken anywhere. Even in Quebec you need to be in a rural area and they all speak English.

It's (French) a political thing, not a cultural thing. (Yes, some may try to argue that point but it's true - all you need is English).

Calgary has a far more outdoors sports orientation than Toronto. All Western Canada does.

If you have questions just ask and I'll be more than happy to do what I can.

There is more Americanization recently so while fish and chips is a second nature phrase, chips are also the term for "crisps". Other than that, you'll be fine! Seriously.

Bob_Defly

2,182 posts

190 months

Wednesday 22nd January
quotequote all
W12GT said:
I have been approached by a previous client about the opportunity to work in Toronto or Calgary. It would be a full move for me and I’d be taking my wife and children. We don’t speak French.

I’m looking for feedback on the lifestyle that we could expect. We love outdoor pursuits, enjoy skiing, cycling etc. Our children are 7yrs/nearly 5yrs.

We life in the rural countryside and enjoy all it has to offer, my wife works locally in the veterinary field and I consult in Canary Wharf - I like the mix up of clean stylish city in the day and relaxed countryside at home, I don’t enjoy the commuting! I’d quite like to have a real community lifestyle similar to village life in the UK.

It’s come at a time when we are fed up of the politics and the rapidly growing levels of violence being witnessed especially in London and the surrounding areas.

Anyone made the move? What are the pros and cons ie quality of life; are English people welcome (especially those will to integrate and adopt the local way of life), is there an active social life including activity clubs etc? Healthcare, education are important.

Thanks in advance.

Edited by W12GT on Tuesday 17th September 13:40
Do it. I've lived in Canada for 11 years now, absolutely love it, and wouldn't dream of moving back to the UK what with the politics and state of the country. Yes there is lots to do outdoors, the quality of life is amazing, and crime is low. Yes it's snowy, just get a warm coat.

I commute about 45 mins, live in a small village, go dirt biking on the weekends, earn a decent wage etc. Love it.