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Canada Bob

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    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
  1. Well we made it, took 24 hours door to door, thankfully I managed to catch a few zzz's on the uneventful flight across the pond. I picked up a car from Hertz @ Heathrow, plugged in my GPS and away we went. The roads were OK seeing as how it was Sunday, not much traffic but what they lacked in numbers they made up for in speed. I had to keep checking my speed thinking that I'd dropped below the posted limit, where it said 40 I did 40 {that doesn't win you any friends}, same in the 60 and 70 mph zones only to see folks rattle past at 90 mph or more, even where there were warning of speed camera's, I saw 3 get flashed in the 5 hours I took to get to Mawgan Porth ! Now I know why they call them "wing" mirrors, some folks are trying to fly. I'd forgotten that some folks over here consider driving to be a competitive and aggressive event, how they got round some of the bends at 20 mph over the speed limit I don't know, they must have tires laced with treacle... Managed to get settle in, done a big shop and had time to check out Newquay, {I recall that one of you warned me of that}. Not sure if we are still jet lagged or whatever, but first impressions weren't the best, lots of houses looked neglected, some borderline derelict, hopefully as the days go on we might see things differently. Oddly enough there is a bit of a culture shock coming from Canada to the UK. Bob.
  2. Er - wow. Thanks for the info. Can't say enough about Canada to be honest, it's been good to us and to Millions of other, as mentioned Canada takes in at least 250,000 immigrants each and every year, all of whom have to qualify though, you have to have skills or education that Canada needs, but on the other side of the coin those who get here move through the ranks faster than they would have done "back home". There's no old school tie or anchor on your career if you have {say} a Lancashire {or other regional} accent, in fact if you have an accent it make you a bit of a celebrity over here, it can work for you rather than against you. Don't sell your house in Canada, let it. I really believe you'll be back there as fast as you can! Understood and appreciated... it really is down to an emotional {swimming back up stream} motivation, it makes little sense, but we'll spend a couple of months there and see how it looks... Cornwall is beautiful, but it has a lot less than Canada going on that writeup. Here's the thing about Canada, it's not the rivers or the lakes, or the mountains or the beauty of the coast line that makes it a great place to live, it's the people. I've been to a good few place around the world, spent a fair bit of time in the US, but nowhere have I lived or worked amongst people who are so easy to get along with, as mentioned no social stratification. If you move into a new area your neighbours may ask you where you work, in the UK that's often to figure out if they are earning more or less than you. In Canada they don't give a damn about that, their enquiry is more likely to see if they can give you a lift to work. If I had a quid for the number of times that {when I didn't used to drive} that my neighbours would drive past me in the pouring rain as I stood at the bus stop going to work at the same place as them, well, I wouldn't be playing 6/49 again. I'm not saying that all Canadians are "really nice people" or that everyone in the UK is a miserable begger, that's not how it is, but there seems to be a different social climate here, one that isn't abrasive or belligerent, so everyone benefits. I've always been put off by the accents(their French is an offence to the ears, English is a bit better) Gawd knows what the Quebecois made of my Lancashire accent, but after working with them {and enjoying it} there's a few of them now who say "Hey up", I told them that was the polite way to get by someone who's in yer way and the -30C winters bit. It's not a problem really, until you turn 60 maybe, the roads are clear and the skiing is great, it's clearing the 150ft driveway when the snow is 4ft deep that starts to get at you... I have family in Ontario but have never visited them, slightly to my shame. You should get in touch with them, see what they think, maybe go stay with them for a while, see the place first hand... Juvenal is right by the way, as you're presumably past surfing age, At 63 the only surfing I do is on the www, mind you 20 years ago I did try it out at Laurencetown Beach, our local Mawgan Porth. Dorset is well worth a look. Less rain and just as warm. I'd start with Swanage and Wareham, Swanage goes a bit rough for 6 weeks of the year, otherwise it's very nice and is next to some lovely coast. I'll add them to the short list, thanks... As he said, you can also get to London if your wife needs a bit more culture. Yep, oft as not though it's a Mall she's looking for but when we nip back to the UK we always take in a Show or two in London. Signing off now getting ready for AC860 on Saturday, YHZ to LHR, with the winds we have here at the moment {spinning off from the hurricane down south} we might just set a record time crossing the pond. All the Best, and THANKS to all of you that have given us pointers, valued and appreciated. Bob.
  3. Although Cornwall & Devon are the focus of our search nowhere is off the map, so Dorset won't be a non runner. I'll do a Google on the towns mentioned above, thanks for the nod in that direction. As for history, I like stuff like that, puts us in touch {almost} with our heritage. There's a lot of good things you can say about Canada, but history is thin on the ground, and the culture is still developing. The fact of it is, there's pubs in England older than {what you might call} the recorded history of humans in Canada. Bob.
  4. Hello Swissy... As mentioned in earlier posts it's an emotional decision rather than a logical/rational decision, one that we will have to be careful we don't live to regret. As for what Canada is like, well {where to start}, we have lived in 4 of the 10 Provinces, Ontario, Quebec, Prince Edward Island and for the last 20 years or so in Nova Scotia. Hard to describe what Canada is like as there's so much of it, not just the 5 and a half time zones but although many folks think of Canada being "up North" most Canadians live on a Latitude that is approximately the same as the South of France, and from that we get the Summers that go with that latitude, hence the grape growing / wine industry that thrives here, coast to coast almost... Much of Canada is also closer to the Equator than it is to the North Pole {thankfully}, but Winter don't close anyone down, the snow is so cold at say -20C that it's as dry as dandruff and falls off you just as easily, the roads {once ploughed} are almost as easy to drive as in Summertime. Sports and pastimes change, ice fishing takes over from taking the boat out, cross country and downhill skiing take over from softball etc, and again it's a blue collar sport, it doesn't have an effete {San Moritzy} connection or connotation at all. One thing you can count on though is, Winter is Winter and Summer is Summer, although not every Province gets snow {worth mentioning} in Winter, for the most part you can count on -30C in Winter but +30C in Summer. Summers tend to be very dry too, you can go 6-10 weeks and not see much rain if any at all, so you know where you are with the weather, no surprises on that score. As for friends here, sure, we would be leaving them behind, but we did live in the UK for 30+ years, and although all of my clan is dead and gorn, the wife still has cousins etc living in the {North of} the UK. One thing I've learned is that although friends can be an important part of your life don't let that hold you back from seeing a bit of the world, for the most part {depending on your ability to be outgoing} you'll soon find friends no matter where you go. Back to "life in Canada" I can't say enough about it, there really is "something for everyone", and if there is a noticeable difference between the UK and Canada I'd say that {say} in Sports more folks tend to participate rather than spectate. You'd be amazed at how many soccer leagues there are over here, not just for kiddies or teenagers but right through to "Seniors Leagues", same thing with Baseball/Softball etc, it's not just parents going watching the kids play, it's parents or folks 20-40 going out after supper {tea time} and playing softball or baseball. It's not just what we would perceive as "American" sports either, there's a fair bit of cricket, football, rugby played even Lawn Bowls, and although not {yet} at the top International level these sports are well supported. Add to the above fishing {as ever} has many participants, there's no "Private Stretches" so for about $20 a Fishing License gives you the right to fish "anywhere" in Canada, including on or from Private Property, {no one fights over ownership of Land here}. Sailing is also a blue collar sport, not one of the lads I left back home owns a boat, lots of the lads I know over here own boats, might just be a canoe or a kayak for some of them, but many own sailboats or motor boats, the working man lives well over here. I'm sure that I'm forgetting many other sports that Canadians take part in {rather than just simply watch}, but the above are the ones that I took part in. I should maybe mention tennis and golf which are again "available to all" without having to pay extortionate prices to join a club. As an example, we live on Glen Arbour {see the link below} an estate built around a really nice Golf Club where every person who lives on the estate {around 400 of us} gets a free life time membership, you just pay the green fees. I guess this just shows that the developers recognize that folks like to get involved in one sport or another when they come home from work. Glen Arbour Although like in any sport runners tend to socialize with other runners in my little group over here {age 40-70 ish} there's all sorts of boaters/sailers, including sea kayaker's and canoeists, bow hunters, fishermen, lawn bowlers, a wreck diver and cricketers etc. Bottom line I'd say is that it's not all about work over here, folks take their sports, pastimes and entertainment seriously, and there's lots of it to go around. I've noticed how in the UK want to tell you "where they work and what {important} job they do" in Canada you're more likely to hear what sport they are into, makes for a refreshing change... There's little if any social stratification too, the guy who owned the first place that I worked at {Mario Fabris} used to play golf and go fishing with the bloke who swept the floor of his factory, things like this opened my eyes to how good/decent a place Canada is. There are some things you won't find in Canada though, there's not a single Betting Shop in the whole of the country, betting {other than 6/49} simply isn't in their psyche, you won't find a "pie" here either, so being originally from Lancashire that was a bit of shock to the system Other than the above, there's a good deal of "The Old Country" still alive and well, not just the cricket/rugby etc, there's actually more Pipe Bands in Canada than in Scotland ! Not to mention that every year we have a Gathering of the Clans and Highland Games here in Nova Scotia [see the links below}, including the Halifax Tattoo. Pipe Bands Highland Games Halifax Tattoo As for Nova Scotia itself, well, the coastline {4,600+ miles of it} is much like the coast of Cornwall, hence the preference to head for Cornwall, the link below should give you a fair idea of what Nova Scotia {New Scotland} is all about... Nova Scotia If there was a downside to Canada or any part of it, {excepting for Nunavat}, I'd tell you about it, I'm not one of those blokes who sings the praises of a place just because I live there. To be honest if you're young enough and you have a transportable skill then I don't know a country where you would have a better life. We arrived here 30 years ago with just 2,000 quid, 5 suitcases and our then 9 year old son, if that's not going in at the deep end I don't know what is, there was no Plan B for us, it was sink or swim. As an ex DeHavilland time served QA Engineer I could {in those days} take my pick of job offers, my wife was an SRN/SCN {Registered Nurse/Midwife} so we both earned decent money practically from the day we got off the boat {the Stefan Batory}. To be honest although we missed some things, and some folks, family and friends, emigrating to Canada was the best move we ever made, I just hope that swimming back upstream isn't the worst decision we ever make. Bob.
  5. Thanks for the links, some good/interesting stuff there including the flood plain thing, you tend to forget about that problem when you've been away from home as long as we have. Bob.
  6. Took early retirement this year {age 62 then}, not as fit as I used to be, but I still run 5k most days, used to run cross country years ago but quit that when I turned 50, I can still run but it don't look as "graceful" these days Other than that although fishing and sailing is my main event these days we do a fair bit of hiking, I might be out of warranty , and maybe you can't get the parts anymore, but I'm hoping there's a bit left in the engine yet. I'd like the small village thing, but the wife wants a place with a bus route {to the shops, sigh}, so a bigger place like Truro or maybe Exeter might be the best place to be. As for renting before we go in at the deep end, well a buddy of mine has a place in Mawgan Porth that we'll be renting off him, so that will be our base for the next couple of months, should be central enough for us to have a look around. One thing I'm finding right now though is, some of the houses that we have seen on Rightmove look quite nice, but then when you take a closer look on Google Earth {street level} some of the immediate surroundings look hellish, or as they say over here, they lack kerb appeal, no wonder some of them are still on the market, some show the "For Sale" sign on Google Earth back in 2008/2009 and are still on the market. It's a good feature the GE thing, saves you driving miles to find that the house is fine but the "approached experience" leaves something to be desired... Thanks for your feedback, appreciated... Bob.
  7. I have never lived in Cornwall just been there on holidays. Understood... I'm just surprised that anyone living in a resource rich and financially better off country like Canada would move to the debt ridden UK. As above, I hear where you are coming from. Canada is a good country where a working/blue collar bloke can expect to have a standard of living equal to that of a Dr or Lawyer, or the like in the UK. One thing you can say about Canada is "you don't need to be a Millionaire to live like one over here". The cost of living is relatively low yet the standard of living is very high. As for the National Debt, well a mate of mine who went to LSE told me that {almost a year ago} that the debt was 800 Billion quid I believe it's a lot more than that now, anyway it's an amount that folks can't get their heads around, how much is 800 Billion ! He put it this way to me, if bricks cost £1 each then it would be enough to build The Great Wall of China, 200 times over I thought he was just attempting to describe the debt in a graphic way, but the truth of it is, according to wiki et-al they estimate that The Great Wall has approx 4 Billion bricks in it, maybe it was someone else from the LSE that counted them but the beggar of it is, that's the scale of the debt ! a wall of bricks that would circle the equator 40 times over !!! No doubt if we do come back we will have to make some contribution to paying it down, but most of our income now is tax free, the debt will outlive most of us I guess, it's a grim situation though. But as they say every cloud has a sliver lining, the quantitative easing has caused the £ to drop quite a bit, so in effect that's to our Canadian $ benefit. The standard of living here is declining by the day. Diesel is £5.53 a gallon near me Blimey ! that's extortionate !!! gas/petrol/diesel is 13/- {OK 65p} a liter here. I can't figure out why petrol is so expensive in the UK, folks back home are quick to tell me that "it's 80% tax over here" but the % of tax is the same here in Canada, we pay 80% tax on fuel too, but I guess if the starting price is 40p or more {per liter} in the UK and only 20p or less per liter in Canada then you finish up paying twice the price... and that's before VAT rises from 17.5% to 20% on Jan 4th. 20% !!! are you sure about that ? damn that sounds more like Confiscation of your money rather than Taxation The UK is over-populated and run by politicians out to feather their own nest. Can't say that over here, we have just 6 people per square mile, and that seems to affect the way that folks think and behave. It's not worth mentioning if your home is on 2-3 acres of land, there's no shortage of it here, and no bragging rights attached to it. As for politicians are the same everywhere, just varying degrees of skulduggery, mind you, that last episode with the MP's expenses took the cake hey, when you think that young men {and women} are shedding their blood and too many losing their lives serving their country, while people holding Office of public trust are raiding the till it's sickening. Inequality is growing by the day. I think of it as the United Greedom. I guess some areas are worse {maybe much worse} than others, is there anywhere you'd say was the best place to be in the UK ? If you were younger and planning to come here to work I would tell you to run a mile. Certainly agree with you on that... However at your ages with a pension paid in Canadian Dollars you might be better placed than a lot of people. I hope it works out for you. I'm beginning to have second thoughts, and we haven't even arrived yet All the Best, Bob.
  8. Willdo {re what we think of it all}, as for the house here, well, we won't be selling it until we're sure about moving back to the UK. Have to ask [seeing as there's been a few concerns brought up}, I'm guessing that the concerns are about the UK in general rather than the SW ? and that the concerns are down to anti social behavior ? Bob.
  9. Hmmm, I see what you mean, the thing is, after reading in here and elsewhere about what goes on at auctions it's put me off to say the least. Add to that we are really looking for something in walk in condition, too old these days to be up and down ladders all day, building a dream home for the next buyers benefit Getting excited now, we'll be there in just 4 days time... Bob.
  10. Thanks for the above PM, appreciated, I'll run me ruler over the pair of them Bob.
  11. Hello Editha, Edmonton hey, I guess you'd notice a difference between winter where you are and the temps in Cornwall or Devon, come to think of it Inverness would look sub tropical Thanks for the tip re Rightmove, I've just been to check it out, seems to be a good place to check out what's on the market and if the asking is legit. The West Country has a lot to offer, although we have focused on Cornwall & Devon I can't say that Somerset or Dorset are out of the running. I guess you have noticed how the Cnd $ had gone up sharply against the GBP, around 35% in the last couple of years, not sure if that's the $ going up, or the GBP going down, but we are also 10% to 15% up against the greenback, I haven't seen the Cnd $ fly as high as this in the near 30 years since we've been here. My guess is it's the vale of the North Pole and all the Methane Hydrate that the Russians and the Yanks are trying to grab off us, when this stuff comes on line Canada may well become one of the wealthiest countries in the world, I doubt it will be in my time though, so I won't be holding my breath... As for the changes there's been in the UK since we left, fair point, I see there's 700 people a day leaving the country, has to be a reason for that, but, the motives we have aren't exactly rational or logical, more like salmon when they {for some reason} decide to head back from whence they came. Seems there's only two types of decisions that we make in life, the rational/logical decisions, and the emotional decisions, experience has taught me that 80% of the time the logical decisions turn out to be the right ones, yet when we make a decision based on emotion we often live to regret them. If things didn't pan out "back home" then we would always have the option to return to Canada, no problem there as we've been Citizens for around 25 years, so we won't be burning any bridges. Mind you, I'd probably sell the snow blower, and be glad to see the last of it, it's bad enough here in Nova Scotia in winter time, Ontario was worse, we could get 6ft of snow in 6 hours, snowflakes as big as arf crowns, that would be one thing I wouldn't miss... Bob.
  12. I hear you, if it didn't work out we could always head back to Canada, we've been Canadian Citizens for over 25 years, so no problem on that front. As for currency deals we have worked with XE.com beats the hell out of the rates the banks offer. How long have you been in the UK ? are you in the SW ? Bob. PS... we will be arriving this Sunday, staying for a couple of months to check the area out, staying initially in Porth Mawgan.
  13. Thanks for the above re the traffic and the chavs, with a bit of luck we'll be able to avoid both of them, for the most part. Odd how the words are the same, but when the local radio stations here are reporting a traffic jam on one of the harbour bridges or Barrington Street, but the fact of it is, I've seen more cars at ASDA ! It helps being retired, we aren't obliged to rush anywhere and when the crowds turn up in summer time chances are we would be somewhere else, adding to some other poor beggars dementia as they try to get to work Right now it's between Truro & Exeter, with a couple of other smaller places still in the running. Bob.
  14. Muskoka hey, you're a long way from home !!! In the near 30 years that we've been in Canada we've lived 6 years in Thorold {think St Catharines}, then 2 years in Sorel/Tracy {20 miles downstream from Montreal}, then 1 year in Charlottetown followed by 20 years in HRM {Halifax Regional Municipality}. Like them all, and although your region and Algonquin Park has a lot going for it, as does the rest of Canada I think it's time for us to swim back upstream, can't make a sensible argument for it, just one of those things. I know what you mean about giving it some thought before burning any bridges, in fact we have a 2 month visit coming up as of next week end, this time next week we'll be based in Mawgan Porth, hence the request in here for some comments and local knowledge. As you say life over here can spoil you, in more ways than one, there's little if any belligerence/friction or stratification of society here, folks don't take pleasure in winding each other up. Regarding the standard of living, well, the divide was even wider 30 years ago when we left the UK, it's less so these days, but still there. On the up side, houses aren't selling like they used to here in Canada, sales this year in Nova Scotia are around 20% down, but prices haven't slipped, so if you can sell then you won't lose any money. There's one big advantage though of moving to the UK at this point in time as the Canadian $ is stronger now than it's ever been against the £. It used to cost around $2.35 to buy £1 less than 2 years ago, now the cost to buy a £ is around $1.50 the £ has lost in the region of 35% !!! add that to the price drops on homes in the UK and then factor in that we both have taken early retirement {63/62} paid in Cnd $'s and you can start to see some of the attractions of heading back to the UK, but it isn't just the financial side of it, it's maybe that we're getting that urge to swim back up the stream that spawned up 60 odd years ago. Have to say that it was a surprise to hear from you, few Canadians emigrate, must tell you something about the country, the Yanks {like many other folks} will insist that "America" is the best place to live, yet they leave by the tens of thousands to live in Canada. According to Stats Can when we arrived near 30 years ago, we were amongst some 82,000 Brits to arrive here that year, yet only 37 Canadians left Canada to live in the UK, my guess is they were all from Penetanguishene Things haven't changed much since then, Canada still invites 250,000 immigrants per year as it has done for almost 40 years, yet we still have only 6 people per square mile, it's 635 per square mile in the UK so I'm told, density of population does seem to affect the attitude of folks, the more intense, the more intense they are... Are you in the SW ? do you intend to stay ? have you lost the "up talk" yet Thanks for the calibration, appreciated... Bob.
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