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Dh got a job offer in Winnipeg, Canada. Tell me about Canada please!!

(27 Posts)
lotuseener Thu 15-Sep-11 10:11:48

Official offer came through this morning. I am in a state of panic. The job starts in the new year. We have 2 dc's age 4 and 2. I am totally overwhelmed at the thought of everything that needs to be done to make this move happen. Where to I start?

bran Thu 15-Sep-11 10:27:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

lotuseener Thu 15-Sep-11 10:51:06

Thank you bran. I don't know any of the specifics yet. The job is a 3 year post-doc with the University of Manitoba. I would guess that Universities are not generous with relocation packages for research scientists. As we have very little savings our hope is to get a flat in University accomodations for a few months until we have an idea about where we would like to live in Winnipeg.
I am originally from the US but have been in the UK for the last 6 years and had both of my dc's in England. I think since I am American there may be less culture shock but I am not sure. I am also concerned that once I leave the UK for more then 2 years I will lose my residency status here and that will be bothersome if we have to move back to the UK in the future.

I am looking around the house and thinking that our belongings are not worth the shipping costs as for most of our marriage dh has been a students and we have survived on my meager salaries and have furnished our home with lots of gumtree and car boot sale finds!

Wow, I feel like I am about to hyerventilate! 6 years ago I arrived at Heathrow with nothing more than 3 packed suitcases and my spousal visa in my passport!! In the past 6 years I have not only had 2 beautiful sons, but have aquired a whole life including all the material and emotional things that go with it.
Dh will be in touch with the University human resources today to see what they can offer, if anything. That is a great idea about contacting a church, I wouldn't have thought about that. Thank you again.

FrustratedFrannie Thu 15-Sep-11 12:05:25

I would live anywhere in Canada except Winnipeg! It is the arse of Canada.

We lived there for a year and tried to like it but could'nt. It is FREEZING (think -30-40) in winter, very soggy and muddy in Spring (snow melting), and BOILING hot (think +30+40) in summer with loads of gigantic insects and mosquitos and no cool English breezes. Not much to see either except for farmland/hog farms. People are very friendly though and we never heard teenagers swearing and fighting in the street like over here. We were just outside Winnipeg though in rural country. I would not live in Winnipeg because of the gang violence/shootings. There was at least one a week! Also the native Indians are treated pretty badly and you see lots of them begging on the streets.

Food and clothing very expensive, same with dentist visits (even if you have a dental plan you still have to pay quite a bit), and opticians. Medical care is much the same as UK (think having to wait an hour over your appointment time to see your GP). Mobile phone costs are extortionate as well but you can get very good coffee for a $1 a cup and I highly recommend Tim Horton's, the doughnut shop! You can also get massive boxes of blueberries in the autumn and they celebrate Halloween in great style. Autumn was the best time IMO.

If you think you may want to put your DCs in a nursery and go to work you may be in for a shock. Nursery places were like gold dust when we were there and there is often a long waiting list (pretty cheap though, about $100 a week full time). They do not have free pre-school places like we have. DCs start school at 7 but can attend a pre-school from the age of 5 if you pay for it (about $500 a term). Houses are cheap to buy and larger than here. Renting is very expensive though and the houses are usually complete dives, apartments are nicer and much larger than over here. They do have lower standards of decor over there and much more old fashioned.

FrustratedFrannie Thu 15-Sep-11 12:08:24

Sorry HTH.

FrustratedFrannie Thu 15-Sep-11 12:36:07

I second getting involved with a church out there. They are heavily into that type of thing and it will open up a lot of social opportunities.

lotuseener Thu 15-Sep-11 12:38:17

I have read about the weather and that there are a few bad parts in the city. I don't know if my visa will allow me to work or not? We would be entering Canada on my husband's work permit.
We have to make this move as Dh's contract finishes in January and every job he has applied for in his field he has either not been shortlisted or has interviewed for and not gotten. The career options in the UK are very poor for academics, especially those is science.
We are at a point where we cannot hope that something comes up for him here. We hope that this fellowship will open the doors to permanent employment for him. I am really overwhelmed!

lotuseener Thu 15-Sep-11 12:39:34

If we are going to church it would be a Unitarian one and Winnipeg does have one. Surely there must be a few positives to Winnipeg? ( hopefully?)

EauRouge Thu 15-Sep-11 12:53:45

Hey, Winnipeg is not that bad! DH is from Winnipeg and we go there once a year. The winters are OK if you prepare properly so make sure you invest in some decent parkas and boots and some thermal undies.

My in-laws live in an area called Riverview which has good schools, nice parks etc. We went to a couple of open houses there in May and it's getting more expensive so depends on your budget. I can ask my in-laws about other areas of the city if you like.

There are good things about Winnipeg, there are nice parks (Assinaboine park has a zoo) and The Forks is great for shopping. And they've just recently got an NHL team and there's a CFL team if you like sports.

And Frannie is so right about Tim Horton's grin

lotuseener Thu 15-Sep-11 13:43:28

Thank you eaurouge!! I need to hear good stuff about Winnipeg, as the move is definitely happening!!! As soon as we find out what the University can offer us in terms of housing then I will have a better idea of what sort of questions to ask!! Thank you!

bran Thu 15-Sep-11 14:52:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Highlander Thu 15-Sep-11 16:45:19

I lived in Canada for a while. I got a work permit alongside DH's visa; I think we applied together.

The moment you touch down, get your Social Insurance Number, get registered for the State medical scheme and get a Canadian driving licence.

You'll have to sit the Canadian driving test, but having a driving licence as ID is really worth having.

Highlander Thu 15-Sep-11 16:48:09

The burgers from White Spot are the business.

Tune into Hockey Night in Canada on a Sat evening; it's priceless. Canadians take their hockey very seriously grin

lotuseener Thu 15-Sep-11 18:35:03

Well the University offers no housing. We were really counting on that for financial and practical reasons. It is going to make things harder to have to pick a furnished rental property without seeing it first!

Goodynuff Sat 17-Sep-11 15:46:44

I am in Ontario (we'll be neighboursgrin)
The Peg can be a lot of fun, or it can be hard, a lot comes down to how involved you get, iykwim?
Besides, now the have their own NHL team!!!!<sooooo excited for the season to start next month>
If you are looking for a rental to start with, try,, local papers on line and such. If you go on FB, put in Winnipeg, you will find lots of groups. You could get some current on-the-ground reporting : )
You will need to dress for the weather, but there are lots of outdoor activities to do all year round.

Meow75isknittinglikemad Sat 17-Sep-11 16:00:26

Two words - ICE HOCKEY!!!

Superficial?! Yes, I most certainly am, but I also love hockey!! wink

For those not in the know, Winnipeg has just acquired a team that failed in the States, and a group in 'Peg put a deal together to buy them. I know it might seem unimportant, but having a regular event to go to can do a lot to make a place feel like home, even if it is only temporary. It has certainly worked for me - I feel like I have a stake in my local environment now, and the other good thing is that hockey is marketed as a family sport from the babe-in-arms all the way upto the octogenarian grandparents, so it's not like soccer can be over here where Dads/Husbands/Partners go off to the footy on a Saturday afternoon, leaving the rest of the family behind to cope.

Please, for me, if you DO end up in Canada, go to at least ONE pro-hockey game, and then come and tell me how much fun it was. Teams in the UK do well to get 3000-4000 at a game in the country's highest league. I DREAM of going to an NHL game one day.

Okay, you can go back to the serious stuff about housing, cost of living, schools and safety of neighbourhoods and the like!!!

Meow75isknittinglikemad Sat 17-Sep-11 16:03:53

Ah, I got so excited at your OP, I didn't see others had mentioned hockey. Makes me feel less shallow now!!

Goodynuff Sat 17-Sep-11 17:04:08

there is nothing, I repeat, NOTHING, shallow about our national religion sport grin

Meow75isknittinglikemad Sat 17-Sep-11 19:22:25

Oh, Goodynuff, now that I have seen the light I know that but you know what some people think about sport. E.g. My dad thinks ALL SPORT is a ridiculous waste of time and is horrified at the amount of money that could be made if spectators were at work instead of watching their team.

I REALLY don't get it myself!!!

madwomanintheattic Mon 19-Sep-11 19:24:30

if your dh is on a TWP, then you are probably able to get a spousal work permit on entry. (there are few low skilled jobs where this isn;t the case, but am pretty certain you will be fine)

am lolling at the winnipeg critiques though. grin

i spent a while in a gondola on a ski slope last year with a chap and his wife who was over interviewing for a position with u of w - it wasn't you, was it???? grin

re driving, in AB you just swop your driving license, no test, so it's province specific - better check re MB.

you'll have a blast!

be aware though, um, rather than universities being hotbeds of political activism and the brave new world, dh might find it a bit... conservative with a small c... that was the major concern of gondola-man after his three day interview and visit package, anyway...

StewieGriffinsMom Mon 19-Sep-11 19:34:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

madwomanintheattic Mon 19-Sep-11 19:39:02

<lived on the prairies for 5 years emoticon>
<still getting over it>

<waves boston creme at sgm>

and there are bazillions of mners in canada. it's a very strange thing.

lotuseener Mon 19-Sep-11 22:32:20

No madwoman it wasn't me on the gondola!! Thanks for the responses everyone. We just have to wait for that work permit and I think we may have already found a place to live for a few months. Maybe I'll get super-fit pulling my kids everywhere in a sled as we won't have a car and a buggy probably won't be practical? grin

madwomanintheattic Mon 19-Sep-11 22:35:31

you need a chariot - they do a cross country ski pack as well as your average stroller kit. wink

and an suv, obv.

it would have been really funny if you'd said it was you. i did wonder about looking on the website to see if i could work out if he took the job after all... grin

christie2 Fri 23-Sep-11 10:58:27

I am trying not to laugh about the sled comment. You will use your buggy most of the winter, just get one with big wheels. Winnipeg is cold but the people are wonderful. You will love them. I recommend you look at the city of Winnipeg website. Our cities often offer free or low cost services for children. I suggest you find a playgroup asap in your area, city run ones are free. You will meet lost of moms/friends and it gets you through the cold winter. Check out used stores like Value Village and Salvation Army Thirft Stores. I shop their for clothes, books, furnishings, toys. They operate like a dept. store but it is all used and very cheap on a budget. The stuff is not junk. Get your snow suites and boots etc there for very low cost.

Winnipeg will be fun this year as it just got a new hockey team. It is trying to open a human rights/holocaust musuem and funding raising on that which would be interesting to follow and get involved in. It has a large french population and large aboriginal population. Sadly, the Aboriginal population has proplems with drugs and alcohol that you will see on the streets but it is not all negative for them. Many of the Indian reserves in Canada are doing very well and change is slowly comming.

The landscape is unbelievable, so flat, dessert like in the country areas. The Assiniboine/Red river area is lovely with open markets all summer and festivals, often free. Learn to skate, buy a sled (for sliding not transportation) and teach your kids to build a snowman and next thing you now it will be summer.

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