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We've been talking about moving to Canada for the last eight years and have always been stymied because we have no idea where in Canada we'd like to settle! It's just the three of us right now, but my folks will probably follow us (or lead the way, they've been talking about Canada for years themselves).<br><br>
Our ideal town is smaller with a definite town center and a strong sense of community. We can't live without a local source of continuing/higher education, although the equivalent of a county college is just fine by us. I'm big on healthy public libraries with lots of activities and programs, local parks, and a watering hole whether that's a relaxed diner, a pub, or a cafe. We are very involved with our natural foods co-op and would like to move somewhere with one of its own, but we're willing to start a buying club if needed.<br><br>
I think I most concerned about climate. I need trees, water, and hills to be happy (I'm a hiker). I don't think I could cope with eight months of winter, which is my impression of the further northern reaches.<br><br>
Is there a town in Canada that would be a good fit for us?
 

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I recommend my hometown, Dundas Ontario! <a href="http://www.downtowndundas.ca/" target="_blank">http://www.downtowndundas.ca/</a><br>
We are right next to McMaster University in Hamilton.<br>
We have nice hiking trails, waterfalls, we share the Royal Botanical Gardens with Hamilton and Burlington.<br>
We have great seasons in this region, winter does not last 8 months, more like 5.
 

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The West Coast is also lovely, and BC is a very "crunchy" province. There are many lovely communities here. You might want to check out Vancouver Island or the surrounding Gulf Islands as well. Winters here on the Lower Mainland and the Island are very mild compared to the rest of the country and the West Coast Rainforest is amazingly beautiful!
 

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We currently live in Victoria which is on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. It is a beautiful city, not too big, very friendly with lots of stuff to do, 3 colleges/universities and great libraries. We are moving 2 hours up the island to Nanaimo for the lower cost of living though.
 

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Look into Courtney BC. It's on Vancouver Island and very beautiful (and crunchy)
 

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Nelson! Nelson! Nelson! In the interior of BC, a day's drive from Vancouver.<br><br>
We don't live there, but from what you're saying, I'd say it might be a great fit. Uber crunchy, reasonable real estate, tonnes of like minded mamas ... and Selkirk College has a satellite campus there, I think. Maybe.<br><br>
If my partner could get paid decently in Nelson, we'd move there.<br><br>
I've also lived on the Sunshine Coast, in the Independent Nation of Roberts Creek (the flag is a crow in a pair of gumboots). About as crunchy as it gets. Real estate is .... kind of insane, but still attainable. Jobs on the other hand ... I did okay, working in social services (transition house) but a lot of people commute to Vancouver.<br><br>
I LOOOOOVE our small town, but I think it's too small for you. Our population is about 2500.<br>
We are a super crunchy town ... we have a slow food festival every year, a valley rich with great produce and natural beef, tonnes of small town activities like impromptu skating parties on the lake and movie nights at the community centre, and we are considered to be the "front door to BC's backcountry" with nothing but endless trails at hand (watch out for bears!). We have a health food store, and a market that emphasizes local goods. Heck, people still hitch their horses outside the coffee shop.<br>
We even have sushi!<br>
All that, AND a 360 degree view of what has got to be the world's most incredible mountain. Sigh. It takes my breath away every time. I heart that mountain. Every day it awes me.<br><br>
BUT we have winter ... and are under about four feet of snow right now (YAY, snowshoeing, snowangels, snowmobiling, hot chocolate and sledding, skating!). We also don't have a pool or rink (Umm, but we have the whole outdoors!). Our spanky new library opens any time though.<br>
No campus of any kind. But the city is only three hours away! No hospital either. We have a g-r-e-a-t clinic though. (As a paramedic here, I'm biased.)<br><br>
The bad news. We flood. Sometimes badly. And the real estate market here is a big, hairy stupid Beast Of Doom.<br><br>
OH AND, AND we're only half an hour from one of the world's top ski resorts, so we're never short of work. Hence why we can't move to Nelson where the houses are cheaper ... my partner is a chef.
 

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I live in Fort Saint James in north central BC. No 8 months of winter here. Last year we had snow for 5 months and that was a freakishly long winter. Usually it's more like 3 1/2-4 months of snow. We have population of about 4000 in town with another 2000 or so in the surounding area. It's a very walkable comunity, the library, coffe shop, banks, post office, grocery store and drug store and several other shops are all within a 3 block area as is the farmers market that runs from june to october. Land is relitivly cheep here compaired to the rest of the province. our 4 bedroom 3 bathroom house on a large lot backing onto a wildlife sanctuary was about $130 000.<br><br>
Fort Saint James is one of the oldest non native comunities in BC. We just celibrated our 200th birthday. The original HBC fort has been turned into a historic park with intrupritve guides in period dress. It's a great place to visit and they often have comunity events there. Of corse the Carrier people hae been here for 8000 years or so. I was surprised and pleased that Carrier language and culture is taught as a course in my sons elimentary school. David Hoy School was also the recipiant of a huge grant from Indigo books last year which has made possible a wide variety of cultural events many of them open to the comunity and will continue over the next several years. We recently had the Vancover oprea visit. Not to mention that the school has one of the most well stocked liberaries I've ever seen.<br><br>
The town library is growing. They moved into a new bigger building last year. A beautiful post and beam structure. They are currently working to expand the collection to fill out the building. There is a good selection there already though particularly of childrens books and they are more than happy to order in requests. There is also story time every thursday and mom and tots rhyme time every wendesday as well as other random events thrughout the year such as the summer book club for kids 5-12 my ds participated in last summer.<br><br>
Fort Saint James is surounded by specatcular wilderness threaded with hiking/mountin biking trails. Murry Ridge ski hill is 15 min north of town and although it's a smaller operation with only a T-bar and no chair lift I have not experianced better ski runs at any of the bigger ski hills down south. Beautiful hill and very reasonably priced.<br><br>
We are on the shores of Stewert lake and there is some great fishing here as well as any other water sport you can think of ecept maybe surfing. In the winter the lake freezes and we can skate on it. There are also dog sled races on the lake every February. The local highschool turns it's outdoor track into a oval ice track for speed skating. Speed skating is a big deal in our comunity and we even had an olimpian a few years ago. (this was before I moved here and I can't think of the name right now)<br><br>
There are also a wide variety of clubs and orginisations and a comunity college.<br><br>
The biggest drawback to me has been the avaliablitiy of good local food. I've found local pastured beef, bison, chicken, mutton and eggs but local produce is harder to come by although there is more and more organic food avaliable at the local grocery store.<br><br>
We are about 45min drive from Vanderhoof which has a slightly better selection and not quite 2 hours from Prince George which has several natural food stores some of them quite good. I tend to make a trip in once a month to stock up and drop off our recycleing. There is no recycleing depo in the Fort.<br><br>
The major industry is forestry with some minning and tourism. There seems to be a lack of trades people here. It can be hard to find a plumber or and electrician. And we've been trying for 6 months to find a contractor to renovate our bathroom. They are all booked solid.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>starling&diesel</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10262645"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Nelson! Nelson! Nelson! In the interior of BC, a day's drive from Vancouver.<br></div>
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Yep that's the problem with Nelson, lots of highly educated like-minded middle class people...I call it idealistic white folks....not a lot of work.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><br><br>
And real estate is only 'reasonable' if you compare it to a big city...not compared to equally sized small towns.<br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked">:
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>misseks</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10263170"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Yep that's the problem with Nelson, lots of highly educated like-minded middle class people...I call it idealistic white folks....not a lot of work.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><br><br>
And real estate is only 'reasonable' if you compare it to a big city...not compared to equally sized small towns.<br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked">:</div>
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Yup, I was born and raised in the Nelson area and would live there again in a heartbeat <i>if</i> we could do it without living hand to mouth in a rented too small apartment. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked">:<br><br><br>
Fort Saint James might not be as crunchy but I can be a SAHM, we have a nice house and dh works decent hours and has plenty of free time.
 

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Sadly, we're not tradespeople in particular. MrBear is a web designer, I handle the rest of the web design business we run. We specialize in affordable websites for small businesses, artisans, and civic organizations, particularly those that are uncomputerized to begin with. Consequently, we can move where we like since we carry our business with us. We'd like to live in a place that needs the work, though. Our plan is to scout for talent in high schools by offering internships and apprentice graduating seniors in the "trade" with a college savings plan as one of the benefits. Meaning we'd be bringing work for others where ever we go. Not many jobs, it's somewhat cyclical work. On the other hand, we do happen to be jacks of all trades, I'm sure we could offer handyman services.<br><br>
We are concerned with real estate prices, but I really don't mind a lot of snow, just a very long winter!
 

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Halifax, Nova Scotia. The only thing we don't have is mountains, although we do have lots of hiking. It might be a city, but in reality it's the world's largest small town (we don't play six degrees of separation here, more like one or two!).
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>MrsBear</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10263596"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">MrBear is a web designer, I handle the rest of the web design business we run. We specialize in affordable websites for small businesses, artisans, and civic organizations, .........<br><br>
Meaning we'd be bringing work for others where ever we go. Not many jobs, it's somewhat cyclical work. On the other hand, we do happen to be jacks of all trades, I'm sure we could offer handyman services.<br><br>
We are concerned with real estate prices, but I really don't mind a lot of snow, just a very long winter!</div>
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OOoooo, come to our town! Yay, Pemberton!<br>
The resort town half an hour away is brlmming with potential for your business! And we need more cottage industries here. Our winter is stunning and beats the dreariness of the rain on the coast. We have about four months of deep winter. And the summer is glorious, with this amazing warm wind that funnels down the valley every evening. Tonnes of mozzies though.<br><br>
There's also Squamish ... on the other side of Whistler and nearer the city (only a 45 minute drive). Uglier, but more services, hospital, rec centre, etc. Great outdoor opportunities and the real estate is much more reasonable. Shorter, milder winter. Too much rain though. Bleh.
 

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Based on what you're looking for I'd suggest either Kingston, ON or Sudbury, ON. Kingston has more amenities and stuff to do, but housing prices are cheaper in Sudbury.
 

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Squamish:<br><a href="http://www.district.squamish.bc.ca/" target="_blank">http://www.district.squamish.bc.ca/</a><br><br>
Whistler:<br><a href="http://www.whistlerblackcomb.com/index.htm" target="_blank">http://www.whistlerblackcomb.com/index.htm</a><br><br>
Pemberton:<br><a href="http://www.pembertonchamber.com/" target="_blank">http://www.pembertonchamber.com/</a><br><br><br><br><br>
Oh, and I supposed I should mention that the 2010 Olympics are going to be partly held in Whistler. But don't get me started on that. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/hopmad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hopping mad">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>starling&diesel</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10262645"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Nelson! Nelson! Nelson!..... reasonable real estate,</div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">.... not really!!! I think I heard that it's had the biggest growth in realestate in the past few years (the prices have gone up about 30%) a regular house in nelson is generally about $400,000...
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I'm curious, I've seen the lack of tradespeople in Canada mentioned on a few sites. Is it really that bad? I've developed quite a <i>Make:</i> magazine addiction and have been thinking of picking up some carpentry/woodworking skills to help with our dream of owning our own home (and to further my weird interest in custom vending machines). If I went ahead and did that, would there be many oddjobs I could pick up with it?<br><br>
Thank you, ladies, for the town recs by the way! I'm taking my time sorting through all of them and fantasizing about what it would be like to live in each one. I'm so enthused about this now! In fact, MrBear and I are planning on taking a road trip to check out BC this summer. (My mother has always wanted to go, so there's that, too.)
 

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Ok I HAVE to recommend Castlegar. It's VERY close to Nelson. I looooove where I live. I've grown up in this area and will stay here probably till my life is over. It really depends what kind of work your looking for. I have a TON of work available to me if I want it, but I only work when my DH is off because daycare is SO hard to find. Nelson is awesome for the Kootenay Coop and they also have a organic food home delivery service which is reasonably priced <a href="http://www.endlessharvest.com" target="_blank">www.endlessharvest.com</a> . I can only think of ONE murder that has taken place here since I was born and it was some guy who owed the Hells Angels money for drugs. Very much a sense of community here, but it can be hard to meet people because some people have a set group of friends. Hmm...what else.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>majazama</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10264160"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">.... not really!!! I think I heard that it's had the biggest growth in realestate in the past few years (the prices have gone up about 30%) a regular house in nelson is generally about $400,000...</div>
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IF you can find a descent house for sale there!!!! The housing market has slowed down, but it's defenitely not going on the decline.
 

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I'd like to throw in a bid for my hometown of <a href="http://www.town.lunenburg.ns.ca/" target="_blank">Lunenburg</a>, Nova Scotia. There's a wonderful sense of community here. The older part of town in a UNESCO world heritage site. There are a number of nice coffeehouses; my fave, <a href="http://www.biscuiteater.ca/" target="_blank">The Biscuit Eater</a>, is ten minutes away in Mahone Bay but there are at least 3 walking distance from my house. There is a local buying coop as well as a small but excellent farmer's market.<br><br>
Lots of trees, lots of hills, lots of water! I live in an 1800 sq ft Arts and Crafts with wood floors throughout, hand molded archways, fireplace... it's a wonderful house. We have peek-a-boo views of two different harbours. We paid $170 for it 5 years ago and the market is softer (ie, cheaper) now, thanks to the low US dollar. There are dozens of beaches within short driving distance and a couple in walking distance.<br><br>
We own our own business and work from home. We moved here from the States, in part because it is such a darn affordable place to live and in part because there are so many great outdoor activites year round. The climate is very mild. Yesterday it was in the high 40s. We went hiking. Some of our favorite trails around here go along the coast and explore sea caves. It's cooler in the summer here than in Ontario and warmer in the winter. It's not unusual to go to a beautiful beach on a nice day and have absolutely no company, especially during the shoulder seasons. I'm afraid we've gotten pretty spoiled.<br><br>
There is a good community college 20 minutes away. This area is rife with artisans, tradepeople and specialty carpenters. I would love to introduce you to a few dozen!<br><br>
Keep in mind that a move to BC would be much, much more expensive than staying East. Plus it's only a 2 hr flight from Halifax to Newark, should you ever want to go back to visit...<br><br>
Click on the link in my siggie if you want to read my amorous ravings about the local library, too!<br><br>
ETA: I like <a href="http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?sec=travel&res=9C07E6D61130F935A25752C1A9659C8B63" target="_blank">this article</a> by Margaret Atwood about Lunenburg.
 
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