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TOPIC: Canada!

Canada! 13 Apr 2018 08:05 #267461



Been searching for houses in our hometown, because my parents are aging, but man, Canada sounds nice right about now. Even just to visit, maybe this summer? Seems like a good time to go. Got any spirit guides here? I know some of you live up there.

Cities I've lived in or visited that I like, in no particular order:

Elgin, IL (my hometown, ~110k people ethnically "diverse" but soon to be about 50/50 hispanic and white, much like my family. laos, cambodians, and vietnamese but no chinese/japanese- great tacos!)
Chicago, IL (went to college there for 4 years. okay)
Iowa City (ok college town. had some friends who used to live there. not sure if I'd like it as much now)
Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota (my aunt lived in st. louis park)
Northfield, MN (sister went to school here. nice place, but pretty small)
Madison, WI (quintessential college town)
Cuernavaca, Mexico (stayed for a month as a child. beautiful place in the mountains)
Hamburg, Germany (like boston, but in germany. Supposedly northern germany is less friendly, but the wife and I really dug the brand of politeness and next to no smalltalk)
Boston, MA (visited when I was about 9th grade. liked the small footprint and colonial architecture)
Ithaca, NY (same trip as Boston. Cousin had a wedding there and it was nice)
New Orleans, LA (this is a place the wife likes, I haven't been but sounds cool)

I've never been to the west coast, but I've always been curious about Seattle and Portland.

So... those with knowledge, please tell me about some of the cities up there. Vancouver sounds interesting- gotta be super chill because it's west coast meets Canada, right? Family is in IL, so someplace near the great lakes could be really good too. Montreal, Toronto, etc.

I don't mind driving far distances. I'm willing to learn about hockey and how to speak French. Board game scene not necessary, but a definite plus.
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I dislike Christian Ska most of the time, but Canada 13 Apr 2018 08:27 #267468

What are we talking about here, a HOME for you, or for your parents? Or is it a 2nd home where you would visit sometimes? Cuz that affects everything.

Vancouver is absolutely a great place to live but totally unaffordable place to buy a home. It's very expensive.

You would never want to live in Toronto i think unless you worked there.

Montreal is great. Amazing food city. Great culture and social life. But 85% of the people here speak French so if you have ZERO French, that's going to be a handicap. Although it's still doable.

I am very partial to Halifax and that's where I'd maybe retire? Life in the martimes is slower and more chill.

Ottawa is a nice place to live I guess, I just would go nuts with the lack of stuff to do. If this was for your parents, this is totally where I would put them. They have great retirement communities and it's a very safe and relaxing place to live.
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I dislike Christian Ska most of the time, but Canada 13 Apr 2018 08:34 #267471

Black Barney wrote:
What are we talking about here, a HOME for you, or for your parents? Or is it a 2nd home where you would visit sometimes? Cuz that affects everything.

My dad won't leave Illinois under any circumstances. My mom would probably be happy in Arizona or something. He's older than my mom, but more physically independent. She has way more mental and social energy. He's kind of like a really nice hermit and luddite. What they do will largely depend on who passes first, but for now if they buy a new house it'll be max 5 miles away from where they live. I'll be pleasantly surprised if they both survive another 10 years. So potentially this move would occur after one or both of them are gone.

Home for the wife, me, and 7 year old is what we're looking at. Although I don't mind the idea of Indian/Hispanic style intergenerational living if my parents are down. We definitely like 1880-1910s style victorians and turn of the century stuff. I'm sure they're expensive as heck in Canada, unless they're out of the way? I literally have no idea. We'd kind of like to visit just to get a gut feel for it. Is it gonna be super inviting and comfortable to us or like Get Out? Can't really know without visiting. Wife took French in high school and we're both competent to fluent in spanish, so I think we could learn faster than the average person. If we had a year to figure it out I think we'd get it. She's a skilled nurse and I'm just a guy with a good sounding degree that has been under-utilized.

Part of the appeal of Canada to me is that I could leave the U.S. (and the mess of Illinois politics) without being a continent away in case of emergency.
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I dislike Christian Ska most of the time, but Canada 13 Apr 2018 08:42 #267473

k, i hear ya. in Quebec you, your wife and kid would all be able to get free French language classes. I think they even pay you a bit to go. In order to help you acclimatize (sp?) to life up here.

It'll be super inviting and comfortable for sure, not like Get Out at all. It's funny you liked your experience in germany so many cuz I found that to be very Get Out for me. I felt like a total alien, it was scary.

Good idea to visit. You could visit Montreal/Ottawa in the summer, you could visit Vancouver in winter... these are some ideas. It's great that you have so much time to explore your options and not rush this.
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I dislike Christian Ska most of the time, but Canada 13 Apr 2018 08:50 #267474

Black Barney wrote:
It'll be super inviting and comfortable for sure, not like Get Out at all. It's funny you liked your experience in germany so many cuz I found that to be very Get Out for me. I felt like a total alien, it was scary.

A couple things made it easier:

1. We stayed with one of her best friends, a german woman who lived in the U.S. for a couple years in her mid-20s and then went back home. We stayed in her apartment and went and got drinks with her co-workers and stuff. Did some touristy things, but also a lot of just hanging out like I would in Chicago. I think if it had just been us, yeah, it'd have been weird.
2. Race is a social construct, but my background is 50+% german, and I was raised culturally midwestern and Lutheran. Wife is puerto rican / bolivian and could pass for any nation south of Germany and north of the Sahara. I bet people assumed she was Turkish or Spanish or Greek a lot of the time. Someone on the street called her a gypsy one time and she got incensed. I took about 4 weeks of german as a kid. One of the games we'd play at restaurants and elsewhere was "find out how long it is before the servers realize I'm American." One time it wasn't until I got ketchup for my fries. :)
3. We're both kind of introverts, so people not talking to us sets off zero alarm bells. We liked how well trained the dogs were and that the public transit basically ran on the honor system!

Quebec sounds cool.
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I dislike Christian Ska most of the time, but Canada 13 Apr 2018 08:59 #267475

Yeah, if one of the things you dig is "next to no smalltalk" then you would like Quebec and Vancouver over other places in Canada. Canada can be SUPER friendly in many areas where people talk to you all the time. I personally like that but it's not for everyone. In Quebec and Vancouver I think people keep to themselves a bit more and respect each other's space. People are still very very friendly but they're not going to say hello to you in the street like they do in small town Canada. "Hi! Good morning!" still kinda freaks me out when I'm walking through Ontario or Halifax. Which sucks cuz that's a nice thing for people to do. I can't imagine a New Yorker trying to get used to that here. "Hi Good morning!" "go fak yourself!"

..oh, Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario (my company's headquarters) is UBER-German. They have a massive German population if ever that's important to you. I personally don't think it's a great place to live though (not cuz of the Germans tho, lol)

btw, I have a 7-yr old too, so if ever you live close, we gotta hang out sometimes :) My 7-year old will HOPEFULLY move back up here when it's time for college/university. It's REALLY cheaper up here and the type of registered college fund I have for her only works for Canadian universities. So you should time your move for when (or if) your 7-year old hits university :) then they can acclimitize (god that's hard to spell) together to Canada :)
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I dislike Christian Ska most of the time, but Canada 13 Apr 2018 09:06 #267478

I'm gonna have to look at a map. Maybe we can do a Canadian road trip. I imagine it's not too hard to rent a car? Montreal, Ontario, and Vancouver all sound like places we need to check out.
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I dislike Christian Ska most of the time, but Canada 13 Apr 2018 09:12 #267479

not hard at all. Easy and cheap. Your idea of a road trip is brilliant because you would get a real feel for the country. The people, the food, all that. Would be a nice way to experience the country, instead of as a tourist flying from city to city or taking buses.

Montreal, Ottawa are only 2 hours away from each other so that's easy. Vancouver is a week's drive at the other end of the country tho.
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I dislike Christian Ska most of the time, but Canada 13 Apr 2018 09:30 #267480

Black Barney wrote:
not hard at all. Easy and cheap. Your idea of a road trip is brilliant because you would get a real feel for the country. The people, the food, all that. Would be a nice way to experience the country, instead of as a tourist flying from city to city or taking buses.

Montreal, Ottawa are only 2 hours away from each other so that's easy. Vancouver is a week's drive at the other end of the country tho.

Maybe do two separate trips or fly between.

Maybe I don't even need to do a rental. Could roll through northern Indiana and OH upstate NY, (or check out Toronto) and then go to Quebec. I've heard that Toronto is kind of just Detroit II, which doesn't sound very appealing.

I blame listening to Q on my drives home.

Does the kid need a passport to ride a car into Canada?
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Canada! 13 Apr 2018 11:33 #267486

Living my whole life near Toronto I actually liken the city itself to more of a Chicago Junior. I've been to Chicago a dozen times and always love to visit there. Real estate here in the Greater Toronto Area is stupid expensive and the lifestyle is "city hectic". Everyone walks around downtown and stares at their cell phones and one could just blend into the background going about their day. Traffic sucks moving into and out of the city at most times of the day, unless you happen to live on commuter lines for the train, subway or street car. Per capita I'm told our traffic is worse than L.A. not sure where that comes from. The area has its charms, it's a salad bowl culturally, with Italian, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese, Greek, and Polish neighborhoods, to name a few. Food is widely varied and mostly good. There are many things to do and lots of ways to blow entertainment money in the city. We have a generous offering of board game cafes and gaming events throughout the year.

If you come up to scout out a new refuge you can totally spend time in the GTA and in about 6 hours up the 401 Highway by car you can hit Ottawa. From there its 2 hours to Montreal as stated previously. Ottawa and Montreal are bloody cold in the winter. Ottawa is quite sedate so if raising a family in a calm place is your thing Ottawa might work. Montreal is like a little of France and Toronto mixed up. I've been there a lot and as far as learning French goes you can get by no problem as an English speaker in the city itself. My French sucks and I go there all the time and have not been affected once. Its in the outer areas and small towns where they speak no English at all. Montreal seems to have its own vibe and as previously stated good food and a great party spot.

And living up here you better love hockey or curling or poutine... or they string you up!

Going down to the US with my 2 young sons a few years back, we needed passports to get into the country. i imagine its like that both ways.
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Canada! 13 Apr 2018 11:34 #267487

My vote is for Boston, MA. I know at least one cool guy there you could play games with.
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I dislike Christian Ska most of the time, but Canada 13 Apr 2018 11:41 #267488

Black Barney wrote:
What are we talking about here, a HOME for you, or for your parents? Or is it a 2nd home where you would visit sometimes? Cuz that affects everything.

Vancouver is absolutely a great place to live but totally unaffordable place to buy a home. It's very expensive.

You would never want to live in Toronto i think unless you worked there.

Montreal is great. Amazing food city. Great culture and social life. But 85% of the people here speak French so if you have ZERO French, that's going to be a handicap. Although it's still doable.

I am very partial to Halifax and that's where I'd maybe retire? Life in the martimes is slower and more chill.

Ottawa is a nice place to live I guess, I just would go nuts with the lack of stuff to do. If this was for your parents, this is totally where I would put them. They have great retirement communities and it's a very safe and relaxing place to live.

I go up to Montreal for a long weekend every year, have never had an issue with English and not knowing French. Montreal seems to have a vibrant gaming scene; La Valet de Couer is one of the most impressive game shops I've ever seen. I could easily see living there . Cool town. Some very quiet neighborhoods not far from the city center.
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Canada! 13 Apr 2018 11:42 #267489

Mad Dog wrote:
My vote is for Boston, MA. I know at least one cool guy there you could play games with.

Great town, but its FUCKING EXPENSIVE these days - depending on the list you use, #3 or #4 in the entire US.
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I dislike Christian Ska most of the time, but Canada 13 Apr 2018 11:53 #267490

Le Valet d'coeur is where i bought my first Magic starter box 25 years ago! Rares were Stasis and Nightmare. Yeah, good gaming scene here. You don't need to know French to visit here or anything. But knowing French will enhance your experience greatly if you LIVE here.

I went to a new bar last night I had never been to before. Arcade bar. you pay 7$ to get in, they got lots of drinks and you can play a whole bunch of really old school arcade games for free. Punch Out, Centipede, Galaga, Donkey Kong, Ms Pac Man... i ended up playing Super Sprint with my two buddies most of the night after getting humiliated in Mortal Kombat II and SFII

Jexik, you don't need a passport to travel by car to Canada. Check on the customs website to see what kind of document you need. Passports are only required for air travel. Also, i haven't seen you mention it yet but how are you planning on moving here? It's not like moving to another State. You need lots of stuff to be allowed to move here.

I wouldn't say Toronto is like Detroit, it's not that bad at all. It's more like NYC except without almost all of the upside. Like a baby NYC. I'm not crazy about it. Jinx's post is perfect the way he talks about it.
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Canada! 13 Apr 2018 12:21 #267491

Boy, it's been a minute since I've heard a Christian ska reference, and while I'd generally prefer to keep it that way, this kicked up some dust on the old memory farm. Saw these guys at Warped Tour approximately one million years ago. Pretty sure 80% of the audience was wearing checkered Vans slip-ons. What a time to be alive.
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