Canada - where to move to - outside Vancouver and Toronto

(22 Posts)
themouldneverbotheredmeanyway Wed 31-Jul-19 07:53:15

We are interested to move to Canada but want to explore places other than Vancouver and Toronto, because we want to be in great countryside and avoid the high house prices of the cities. As Canada is huge I'm finding it hard to research places.

I'm a GP so can work in lots of places, DH can work remotely as long as fast internet. We currently live in London so are used to city life, I think a lively town would be better than somewhere very small.

What we are looking for
- can walk into countryside. We would be happy to drive to get further into countryside, but would like to be able to run/ walk into some countryside from our house
- can walk around town to schools, park, friend's houses rather than driving everywhere
- great schools primary and secondary
- safe area
- fast reliable internet

Bonuses but not essential
- railway station
- schools with good foreign language programme, in particular mandarin
- being able to get to Vancouver or Toronto within a day so DH could go in for a meeting
- not having a crazy cold winter

If you have any suggestions of towns or areas please let me know. We are very open to suggestions.

OP’s posts: |
sleepismysuperpower1 Wed 31-Jul-19 15:10:55

Niagara-on-the-Lake might be worth a look. lots of green spaces, a primary (with a french club) and a secondary (located a 15 minute bus ride away, and it again has a french club so your dc could learn french consistently as they move from primary to secondary).

all the best x

drsausage Wed 31-Jul-19 18:48:36

I'd suggest that unless you are fluent in French you rule out Quebec and Montreal.

I'd you don't like harsh winters then maybe Vancouver Island?

mathanxiety Sun 04-Aug-19 02:34:19

I suspect that 'not having a crazy cold winter' excludes a lot of Canada, certainly any place within a day of Toronto.

Coastal BC might be best, even with that as a condition.

MashedSpud Sun 04-Aug-19 02:38:37

Dundas is a nice little town with Webster’s Falls not too far away.

MooseBeTimeForSummer Sun 04-Aug-19 02:40:06

The rail system in Canada isn’t great. Cities such as Calgary and Van have light rail/ underground. Calgary and Edmonton can get really cold.
Big Chinese population in Vancouver. I’m not sure about it getting really cold there.

Winterlife Sun 04-Aug-19 02:51:20

If you don’t want cold, BC’s Lower mainland and Vancouver Island are your only options.

The best public schools are in Alberta. If you’re in Ontario, private schools are a better option.


eightytwenty Sun 04-Aug-19 03:35:52

I’m on holiday in Vancouver Island and totally having fantasies about emigrating. @Onesailwait is in VI & might be able to help but from what I’ve seen Victoria or Sooke might fit the bill. VI is stunning and seemingly lots going on and people are super friendly.

Zodlebud Mon 05-Aug-19 17:34:09

We seriously looked at emigrating to Kelowna. Lakeside living in the summer, skiing after work in the winter. Close enough to Vancouver but still a decent sized city in its own right.

Now too old to get the visa........

Screamanger Mon 05-Aug-19 17:38:45

Yellowknife or Chalk River would both fit the bill.

OopsUpsideYourBed Mon 05-Aug-19 18:25:14

Maybe areas like Squamish/Whistler for outdoorsy activities.
Penticton and elsewhere in the Okanagan is semi arid and deserty. It's hot in the summer with lots of lakes. 4 hour drive I think to Vancouver.

OopsUpsideYourBed Mon 05-Aug-19 18:25:54

Maybe areas like Squamish/Whistler for outdoorsy activities.
Penticton and elsewhere in the Okanagan is semi arid and deserty. It's hot in the summer with lots of lakes. 4 hour drive I think to Vancouver.

OopsUpsideYourBed Mon 05-Aug-19 18:25:57

Maybe areas like Squamish/Whistler for outdoorsy activities.
Penticton and elsewhere in the Okanagan is semi arid and deserty. It's hot in the summer with lots of lakes. 4 hour drive I think to Vancouver.

Huntlybyelection Wed 07-Aug-19 13:32:26

We've been to Kelowna and really rated it. Small town feel with a lake but large retail parks on the edge as well as smaller towns outside. Lots of vineyards and country parks for walks. It was great, is be happy to live there tbh.

We drove Vancouver to Kelowna (and back Again) and it took around 5 hours over the coquhaulla (wrong spelling!) Pass which was great in autumn but can close quickly in winter. There is another route which isn't as scenic but less prone to closure.

Seriously loved the town. And I was prepared to be unimpressed.

JeansNTees Sun 11-Aug-19 23:38:38

Calgary is close to the Rocky Mountains and ticks many of the boxes you've mentioned. It has direct flights to London (including Westjet, the budget carrier) and a population of around 1 million I believe. People complain about the traffic but if you've driven in the southeast, no problem! Outside of Calgary is Okotoks, which is family-friendly.

Ornery Sun 11-Aug-19 23:51:41

It’s also bladdy freezing, hence the plus 15 system grin
Dd1 is at university in Kelowna - it’s only a 7 hour drive from YYC but the weather is completely different. In all honesty, if cold is a deal breaker, stick with BC. I’m also curious about the term ‘countryside’... it’s a bit more rugged generally - are mountains and vast uninhabited tracts of land ‘countryside’? If you’re up for something a little wilder, and can face the fact that yeah, there’s snow, then Calgary would be worth a look. Both Okotoks, Cochrane and Airdrie are essentially Little Britain. smile
Vancouver Island is practically Britain anyway. It’s the closest thing you’ll find to the UK. Victoria is lovely (couldn’t persuade dd1 - it was raining when we visited and too British. She went for the sunshine in Kelowna instead.)
Or come and play in the mountains. 😊

Taytotots Wed 14-Aug-19 10:41:35

Have you looked at licencing requirements for doctors? I know in some provinces you have to do significant extra training - that could narrow things down for you. If you don't want cold the west coast, as said above, would be your best bet. What sort of countryside are you after? Mountains, forests, beach? - Canada is very varied.

VetOnCall Thu 22-Aug-19 07:01:23

I moved to Calgary last year. It's a great city imo, and I love being so close to the mountains, but the winter was brutal. It snowed on 30th September last year and pretty much didn't thaw again until the second week in May. The period from mid-January to mid-March in particular was utterly freezing. Most days were -15 to -20 but it hit -30 on many occasions, and that's not counting the wind chill, the 'feels like' temperature could be more like -38 to -40!

Kam610 Thu 22-Aug-19 07:15:03

We recently did a big road trip on the west side of Canada. Vancouver Island is lovely. We only had time to visit Victoria though so can't comment on any other part. Vancouver is a great city, we are not city people at all but we loved it and would have liked to have spent more time there. If you are looking for more of a country feel then maybe check out Whistler and surrounding areas. May be expensive due to the popularity for skiing etc but it has so many activities on offer all year Round and not too far from Vancouver. Calgary is another great city but as others have said can get very very cold.

Nannyamc Thu 22-Aug-19 07:42:19

Edmonton is a great city. Lots of building going on great schools and hospitals. My niece has been living here for 7 years and loves it. Winter arrives oct 1st and finishes end of April.They get a fantastic summer though. Everything is geared up for bad weather so it does not effect them. Heating oil is cheap so homes always warm. My sister lives on Vancouver island it is very mild and does not get that much snow but it is expensive.

m0therofdragons Thu 22-Aug-19 07:51:16

We've just got back from a Vancouver to Calgary trip and we surprised ourselves that we didn't love Vancouver at all. Glad we went but wouldn't return - definitely not the friendly Canadian city we expected. We lived Calgary (but my brother lives there) and it's very cold with long winters. Summer was beautiful. We particularly like okotoks but still Alberta so cold long winters. BC is apparently milder. Driving in Calgary was easy - my UK hope town is busier!

HulksPurplePanties Thu 22-Aug-19 07:54:19

Nova Scotia. It's stunning, the weather isn't quite as bitterly cold as Calgary and other provinces. It's on the ocean. Amazing seafood. Look at Halifax, the South Shore, Cape Breton. You will fall in love with it.

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