Author Topic: The Great Canadian FIRE city search  (Read 6631 times)

Stachey

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The Great Canadian FIRE city search
« on: February 15, 2017, 05:52:48 PM »
Looking for recommendations for a Canadian city that is a great place to retire to:

I'm looking for somewhere that has:

-LCOL  (always a Mustachian first)  ;)
-mild winters
-if there is snow then are there XC trails nearby?
-hot summers (but not ridiculously hot...+40C! Kelowna are you kidding me?)
-sunny
-low humidity
-recreational activities
-walkable city

Does such a place exist?
Thanks for your recommendations.
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human

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Re: The Great Canadian FIRE city search
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2017, 06:31:44 PM »
Sooke BC (basically Victoria) mild but not necessarily LCOL. I think housing was ok a decade ago but not sure now. The discovery islands are pretty mild but remote.

For cheapest places in Canada for housing nothing beats New Brunswick and Gaspe, not sure what health care is like out there. Mild weather in Canada is a little hard to find.

edit, just noticed walkable and recreational activities, you really are looking for a unicorn! What do you mean by recreational activities? That's pretty ambiguous.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2017, 06:33:35 PM by human »

FIRE_at_45

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Re: The Great Canadian FIRE city search
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2017, 09:09:49 PM »
Hope this pans out with a gem. 
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gerardc

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Re: The Great Canadian FIRE city search
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2017, 09:18:55 PM »
I recommend Montreal if you're interested in learning French. Very cheap and a lot to do. "Mild" winters is relative :)

Al1961

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Re: The Great Canadian FIRE city search
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2017, 09:25:57 PM »
Courtenay/Comox/Cumberland

Housing is reasonable (compared to Victoria and Saanich), mild winters not too hot in summer but can get in the 30s. Not far from the only real ski hill on the island, so there may be some x-country around Mt. Washington. Lots of hiking, biking and water sports.
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Canadian Ben

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Re: The Great Canadian FIRE city search
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2017, 02:25:52 AM »
My 2c would be Hawkesbury and Kingston (Hawkesbury is a small town with everything near Ottawa)
Kingston is a university town, so you have lots of activities, and it's easy to live on the outskirts and still be 5-10min from the downtown area.

FIRE_at_45

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Re: The Great Canadian FIRE city search
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2017, 07:29:43 AM »
My 2c would be Hawkesbury and Kingston (Hawkesbury is a small town with everything near Ottawa)
Kingston is a university town, so you have lots of activities, and it's easy to live on the outskirts and still be 5-10min from the downtown area.

This part of Ontario starts to get very pretty.  In Kingston you could live in the student ghetto and party it up...or maybe not! 

Gananoque is a nice very small town. 

BUT, Vancouver Island is calling I think. 
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Canadian Ben

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Re: The Great Canadian FIRE city search
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2017, 07:45:43 AM »
I raise you the same house in Vancouver Island, or 5 in Kingston :D

Instant FI!

oneyearfromnow

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Re: The Great Canadian FIRE city search
« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2017, 08:47:57 AM »
The husband and I frequently chat about this very topic.   We have "imaginary lived" in many different places over the past few years.

Our general criteria is as yours, walk able, good transit, reasonable housing prices etc. (yada yada yada)   It would be nice to have better winter weather, but we could compromise by heading down south instead :)

I have to also entertain a place that has access to the water for the husband's sailing adventures - which could / would include a reasonably priced yacht club & racing.

As much as I love the Maritimes for their reasonable house prices (I am from there), travel by car is inevitable, food can be more expensive, access to health care is predominately in the Metro Halifax area.   Also Income taxes for lower incomes are considerably higher than in Ontario & BC.  Oh, and don't forget the ridiculous HST there.

So - It is either Ontario or BC for us, for low taxation on low incomes, and they also have favourable taxation on dividends with low incomes.

The current city on the list is Brockville, Ontario.  (just east from Kingston & Gananoque).  Right on the main highway, near the 416 to go to Ottawa.

It has a hospital, very good transit, a community college, Wal-Mart, and other Big Boxes within 5-6KM of the downtown core.  Very reasonable houses (bungalows around $150K, some places cheaper, newer homes higher).
Although it is about an hour away from the Ottawa Airport, it is very close to Ogdensburg, NY which is selling itself as a airpoint access point for us Eastern Ontario people.
What I find most interesting is that it is on the spur / split line for Via Rail on the corridor.   One train to either Toronto, Ottawa, or Montreal.  I see faster, and more commuter rail coming for the future - so this could be very good.
It has a long standing farmers market too.

There is a funny side to it as well, because it is a smaller city town, the local paper is filled with anything that is "news". Some of it quite unusual.  Certainly things that would never make to the front page in a larger city.  Personally I find this amusing.

I'm very interested in other locations too! 
The husband and I are FIRE'd as of April 28, 2017.

FIRE_at_45

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Re: The Great Canadian FIRE city search
« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2017, 09:03:49 AM »
I raise you the same house in Vancouver Island, or 5 in Kingston :D

Instant FI!

The thing is she doesn't need to own a house and if pursuing outside stuff is a goal I would argue to maximize fun time.  Also, renting allows for an easy move elsewhere.

I've fantasized about have a condo in a place where I could throw it on VRBO when I head south but what kind of place would be good in the winter when I want to leave for warm weather?  Hmm, maybe a ski town in BC.

Love the Brockville run down.  I've been there many times.  It is pretty with old red brick buildings and waterfront.  And cheap as pointed out.  And central.  I have cousins who live in Prince Edward county which is also in that vicinity.  Close to Lake Ontario and the farmland is just peaceful to me. 

I also like the Comox reco.  That's one I've been looking at a bit and the move is eminent in like 15 years. ;)
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Stachey

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Re: The Great Canadian FIRE city search
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2017, 11:12:04 AM »
The husband and I frequently chat about this very topic.   We have "imaginary lived" in many different places over the past few years.

Our general criteria is as yours, walk able, good transit, reasonable housing prices etc. (yada yada yada)   It would be nice to have better winter weather, but we could compromise by heading down south instead :)

I have to also entertain a place that has access to the water for the husband's sailing adventures - which could / would include a reasonably priced yacht club & racing.

As much as I love the Maritimes for their reasonable house prices (I am from there), travel by car is inevitable, food can be more expensive, access to health care is predominately in the Metro Halifax area.   Also Income taxes for lower incomes are considerably higher than in Ontario & BC.  Oh, and don't forget the ridiculous HST there.

So - It is either Ontario or BC for us, for low taxation on low incomes, and they also have favourable taxation on dividends with low incomes.

The current city on the list is Brockville, Ontario.  (just east from Kingston & Gananoque).  Right on the main highway, near the 416 to go to Ottawa.

It has a hospital, very good transit, a community college, Wal-Mart, and other Big Boxes within 5-6KM of the downtown core.  Very reasonable houses (bungalows around $150K, some places cheaper, newer homes higher).
Although it is about an hour away from the Ottawa Airport, it is very close to Ogdensburg, NY which is selling itself as a airpoint access point for us Eastern Ontario people.
What I find most interesting is that it is on the spur / split line for Via Rail on the corridor.   One train to either Toronto, Ottawa, or Montreal.  I see faster, and more commuter rail coming for the future - so this could be very good.
It has a long standing farmers market too.

There is a funny side to it as well, because it is a smaller city town, the local paper is filled with anything that is "news". Some of it quite unusual.  Certainly things that would never make to the front page in a larger city.  Personally I find this amusing.

I'm very interested in other locations too! 


Thanks so much for the recommendation oneyearfromnow!

Being on that VIA line would be great!  Weekend getaways to TO or Montreal would be so easy.

Someone suggested Cobourg and the pictures from there look lovely but the rents are expensive!

Friends in Ontario say that electricity rates have changed a lot lately.  Have they gone through the roof or something?
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Stachey

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Re: The Great Canadian FIRE city search
« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2017, 11:21:14 AM »
I raise you the same house in Vancouver Island, or 5 in Kingston :D

Instant FI!

The thing is she doesn't need to own a house and if pursuing outside stuff is a goal I would argue to maximize fun time.  Also, renting allows for an easy move elsewhere.

I've fantasized about have a condo in a place where I could throw it on VRBO when I head south but what kind of place would be good in the winter when I want to leave for warm weather?  Hmm, maybe a ski town in BC.

Love the Brockville run down.  I've been there many times.  It is pretty with old red brick buildings and waterfront.  And cheap as pointed out.  And central.  I have cousins who live in Prince Edward county which is also in that vicinity.  Close to Lake Ontario and the farmland is just peaceful to me. 

I also like the Comox reco.  That's one I've been looking at a bit and the move is eminent in like 15 years. ;)

Yeah I've been to Picton and that is a very lovely area.  Friends have lived in Kingston and Ottawa and loved both places.

Renting definitely makes moving a lot easier and also for travelling in the winter...just lock and leave.  You don't have to arrange for anyone to shovel.   
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ahoy

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Re: The Great Canadian FIRE city search
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2017, 07:49:22 PM »
Well, I'm not Canadian but have lived in Alberta for several years.  No longer live there.

My top spot would be Kelowna for the summertime heat and warm watered gorgeous lake /vineyards. But this is not what you want.  Also, not exactly a LCOL area.  A couple of  years ago I spent a few winter months in Osoyoos, BC.  Very little snow, no accumulations.  Spring comes quite a bit sooner to the Okanaghan area than other parts of Canada (except maybe Vancouver/ Vancouver Island which ain't cheap! and wet). 

But I do like Ontario and Quebec.  These parts have a lot more history and so different than the West. 

Sorry, I don't think I can answer your question....


swick

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Re: The Great Canadian FIRE city search
« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2017, 07:59:55 PM »
Oh, I just had a thought! Grand Forks would meet all your requirements. Most sunny days out of anywhere in BC, very LCOL, 10 Min Drive to one of the warmest lakes in Canada. 

Small town and not great for job prospects, and can be a bit of a treck for medical stuff though, but charming little community

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Re: The Great Canadian FIRE city search
« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2017, 08:03:38 PM »
Oh, I just had a thought! Grand Forks would meet all your requirements. Most sunny days out of anywhere in BC, very LCOL, 10 Min Drive to one of the warmest lakes in Canada. 

Small town and not great for job prospects, and can be a bit of a treck for medical stuff though, but charming little community

Plus Doukhobors, who make the world's best borscht.
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Stachey

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Re: The Great Canadian FIRE city search
« Reply #15 on: February 16, 2017, 09:23:19 PM »
Well, I'm not Canadian but have lived in Alberta for several years.  No longer live there.

My top spot would be Kelowna for the summertime heat and warm watered gorgeous lake /vineyards. But this is not what you want.  Also, not exactly a LCOL area.  A couple of  years ago I spent a few winter months in Osoyoos, BC.  Very little snow, no accumulations.  Spring comes quite a bit sooner to the Okanaghan area than other parts of Canada (except maybe Vancouver/ Vancouver Island which ain't cheap! and wet). 

But I do like Ontario and Quebec.  These parts have a lot more history and so different than the West. 

Sorry, I don't think I can answer your question....




You see my dilemma.  ;)
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Stachey

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Re: The Great Canadian FIRE city search
« Reply #16 on: February 16, 2017, 09:25:48 PM »
Oh, I just had a thought! Grand Forks would meet all your requirements. Most sunny days out of anywhere in BC, very LCOL, 10 Min Drive to one of the warmest lakes in Canada. 

Small town and not great for job prospects, and can be a bit of a treck for medical stuff though, but charming little community

Thank you so much Swick!!  My list of places to research keeps expanding.  This is good.

Mmmm borscht snacky!
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Dominator

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Re: The Great Canadian FIRE city search
« Reply #17 on: February 17, 2017, 08:30:40 AM »
Welland, ON might be a good option.

Housing prices are fairly low, winters aren't too cold/snowy in southern Ontario compared to most of Canada.

Not sure what your definition of low humidity is but I don't think it gets too bad around the Toronto area and Welland is probably the same.

Welland is close to Niagara Falls and US border, and you can get cheap flights out of Niagara Falls, NY.

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Re: The Great Canadian FIRE city search
« Reply #18 on: February 18, 2017, 05:53:05 PM »
Looking for recommendations for a Canadian city that is a great place to retire to:

I'm looking for somewhere that has:

-LCOL  (always a Mustachian first)  ;)
-mild winters
-if there is snow then are there XC trails nearby?
-hot summers (but not ridiculously hot...+40C! Kelowna are you kidding me?)
-sunny
-low humidity
-recreational activities
-walkable city

Does such a place exist?
Thanks for your recommendations.

Adding to this thread partially to follow... :)

My personal faves in BC are Nelson, Creston, and Osoyoos.

Osoyoos has a fantastic lake but is a little hot and busy in July/August. April-June and September-November are amazing. Housing certainly isn't cheap, but it's not outrageous either. Also you're right at the border so a quick 10 minute drive can save you money on groceries, gas, and other stuff.

Nelson is amazing for its size. Fantastic XC destination, great liberal/self sustaining mindset, low crime, beautiful outdoors all around. Housing is about the same as Osoyoos I believe, but the amenities in town are better. Summers are great, winters are certainly moderate for Canada, snow is enough to be nice but not so much that you wake up in the morning and cry.

Creston is a smaller, more conservative, agriculture feeling version of Nelson. Housing is cheap here for BC standards. The border is nearby for cheaper goods as well. Still great for outdoors and I believe its a bit warmer and gets less snow than Nelson, but not as warm as Osoyoos.

Humidity is bearable in all these places and they're smaller, so quite walkable.

I love the coast, particularly Salt Spring, but I'm not sure if I could deal with the prices of everything there. "Island tax" is very real here. Its also a little too transient for my personal liking. But the outdoor options are positively unbeatable for Canada.

I don't know where we'll end up, but it will most likely be close to the border in the Interior.
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ElleFiji

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Re: The Great Canadian FIRE city search
« Reply #19 on: February 18, 2017, 06:51:53 PM »
St Catherine's/ somewhere Niagara-ish looks pretty. Fergus and Elora if prices haven't exploded. Sudbury has science north, but also northern snow levels. Val Morin and all the nearby communities are adorable. Prices vary.

okits

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Re: The Great Canadian FIRE city search
« Reply #20 on: February 19, 2017, 01:58:36 AM »
The husband and I frequently chat about this very topic.   We have "imaginary lived" in many different places over the past few years.

Our general criteria is as yours, walk able, good transit, reasonable housing prices etc. (yada yada yada)   It would be nice to have better winter weather, but we could compromise by heading down south instead :)

I have to also entertain a place that has access to the water for the husband's sailing adventures - which could / would include a reasonably priced yacht club & racing.

As much as I love the Maritimes for their reasonable house prices (I am from there), travel by car is inevitable, food can be more expensive, access to health care is predominately in the Metro Halifax area.   Also Income taxes for lower incomes are considerably higher than in Ontario & BC.  Oh, and don't forget the ridiculous HST there.

So - It is either Ontario or BC for us, for low taxation on low incomes, and they also have favourable taxation on dividends with low incomes.

The current city on the list is Brockville, Ontario.  (just east from Kingston & Gananoque).  Right on the main highway, near the 416 to go to Ottawa.

It has a hospital, very good transit, a community college, Wal-Mart, and other Big Boxes within 5-6KM of the downtown core.  Very reasonable houses (bungalows around $150K, some places cheaper, newer homes higher).
Although it is about an hour away from the Ottawa Airport, it is very close to Ogdensburg, NY which is selling itself as a airpoint access point for us Eastern Ontario people.
What I find most interesting is that it is on the spur / split line for Via Rail on the corridor.   One train to either Toronto, Ottawa, or Montreal.  I see faster, and more commuter rail coming for the future - so this could be very good.
It has a long standing farmers market too.

There is a funny side to it as well, because it is a smaller city town, the local paper is filled with anything that is "news". Some of it quite unusual.  Certainly things that would never make to the front page in a larger city.  Personally I find this amusing.

I'm very interested in other locations too! 


Thanks so much for the recommendation oneyearfromnow!

Being on that VIA line would be great!  Weekend getaways to TO or Montreal would be so easy.

Someone suggested Cobourg and the pictures from there look lovely but the rents are expensive!

Friends in Ontario say that electricity rates have changed a lot lately.  Have they gone through the roof or something?

They've risen enough to draw voter scrutiny and make it an election issue.

Compare your current rates to these.

Retire-Canada

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Re: The Great Canadian FIRE city search
« Reply #21 on: February 19, 2017, 08:28:59 AM »
Courtenay/Comox/Cumberland

Housing is reasonable (compared to Victoria and Saanich), mild winters not too hot in summer but can get in the 30s. Not far from the only real ski hill on the island, so there may be some x-country around Mt. Washington. Lots of hiking, biking and water sports.

I like the CCC area. I'm thinking about selling my house in Victoria and moving up there if the GF agrees.  We'd give up the uber mild winters of the south island, but part of my FIRE plan is to travel 6 months of the year down in the SW US and Baja so I'd miss it anyways most years. There is great biking, fishing, sea kayaking and kitesurfing in the area. Housing prices are low enough we'd get a good premium for the money we have in the Victoria market. And there is enough going on in the economy we would be able to get PT side-gigs if needed.

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Re: The Great Canadian FIRE city search
« Reply #22 on: February 27, 2017, 06:22:32 PM »
My 2c would be Hawkesbury and Kingston (Hawkesbury is a small town with everything near Ottawa)
Kingston is a university town, so you have lots of activities, and it's easy to live on the outskirts and still be 5-10min from the downtown area.

Sorry but I live near Hawkesbury and it is LCOL because it is a depressed area.  It is getting better, the hospital has been much improved.  It has the Ottawa/Montreal climate - as in cold snowy winters, except when they are warm with lots of ice storms.  I'm already here and retired and am looking at Ottawa/Vancouver Island.  I have friends looking at Cornwall.

Kingston/Belleville/Brockville are all nice.  Picton County is gorgeous, not sure about cost, it is tourists and farms and small crafts.
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scottish

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Re: The Great Canadian FIRE city search
« Reply #23 on: February 27, 2017, 08:04:30 PM »
Personally I like the foothills in Alberta - Canmore, maybe Bragg Creek.    Mostly temperate climate.   Excellent skiing in the winter.   Excellent hiking and mountaineering in the summer.   Relaxing scenery year round.

Neither of these are exactly LCOL though.   

In Ontario, Kingston is a nice city.

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Re: The Great Canadian FIRE city search
« Reply #24 on: March 04, 2017, 12:28:37 PM »
In 2013 I put this very question to the MMM forums here and with some good feedback executed on it. ( I have still saved that personal message I sent to @Backyardfest )
I didn't want to wait until I was FIRE, I wanted to move while still employed and could deal with any unexpected challenges while I was still earning money.

We moved to the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island. We have what is regarded one of the best regions in Canada. It has also been the warmest place on average in Canada for the last two years. The cost of living from experience constantly impresses me as extremely affordable and far cheaper than when I was living in Saskatchewan or Alberta. There is also something that I can't describe about the sense of community here, you just need to experience it.
(The Comox Valley is awesome like @RetireCanada mentioned but those north island peeps get snow more than us yuck)

I write the blogs (one of my FIRE freelance gigs) for the new Tourism Website (you can find me in the hiking video fyi) This page will give you a nice overview of the region. https://www.tourismcowichan.com

I have gone into pretty good detail moving across the country to pursue my MMM awakening and FIRE pursuit on my blog.
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Stachey

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Re: The Great Canadian FIRE city search
« Reply #25 on: March 04, 2017, 03:00:15 PM »
In 2013 I put this very question to the MMM forums here and with some good feedback executed on it. ( I have still saved that personal message I sent to @Backyardfest )
I didn't want to wait until I was FIRE, I wanted to move while still employed and could deal with any unexpected challenges while I was still earning money.

We moved to the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island. We have what is regarded one of the best regions in Canada. It has also been the warmest place on average in Canada for the last two years. The cost of living from experience constantly impresses me as extremely affordable and far cheaper than when I was living in Saskatchewan or Alberta. There is also something that I can't describe about the sense of community here, you just need to experience it.
(The Comox Valley is awesome like @RetireCanada mentioned but those north island peeps get snow more than us yuck)

I write the blogs (one of my FIRE freelance gigs) for the new Tourism Website (you can find me in the hiking video fyi) This page will give you a nice overview of the region. https://www.tourismcowichan.com

I have gone into pretty good detail moving across the country to pursue my MMM awakening and FIRE pursuit on my blog.
http://www.chrisistace.com

Cheers Stasher!  Quick question: Did you find that your food costs went down when you moved to BC?  Food costs are so high on the frozen prairies (everything has to be transported in).  Just wondering if food is grown more easily locally in BC and it lowers the prices.
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Retire-Canada

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Re: The Great Canadian FIRE city search
« Reply #26 on: March 04, 2017, 05:15:20 PM »
Moving from Calgary to Victoria I did not notice a difference in food cost shopping at the same grocery store chain.

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Re: The Great Canadian FIRE city search
« Reply #27 on: March 04, 2017, 05:49:57 PM »
Going from southern Saskatchewan to the Cowichan Valley the wife and I feel that our grocery prices dropped by a lot. We noticed especially in the price of fruit and vegetables. Then the year round Farmers Markets int he Cowichan Valley and the small sustainable agriculture in the region has amazing offerings. You can even raise chickens right in town here if you feel so inclined.
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debbie does duncan

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Re: The Great Canadian FIRE city search
« Reply #28 on: March 05, 2017, 12:06:28 PM »
https://www.realcanadiansuperstore.ca/print-flyer?storeId=1563
https://www.thriftyfoods.com/
http://www.countrygrocer.com/flyer/
http://oldfarmmarket.ca/index.php?option=com_easyblog&view=latest&Itemid=53

Here are 4 places I shop in Duncan/Cobble Hill.
Check out the weekly flyers and compare.
Thriftys is the most $$$$ but A1 produce.
Old Farm Market is an outdoor market yr around.....can be cold! Like today in the SNOW!

I think no one can tell you for sure where to retire to as it is subjective.
If and when you come for a visit....don't be a tourist all the time.
Go in grocery stores, walk residential  neighbourhoods, check out libraries and recreational areas.
We have a great pool!

And don t forget to visit in off times, ie spring and fall.
 Summer is crowded with tourists and winter is cold and damp. Well it is to me.
 Maybe it helps to walk around your town and see what you love/hate and what matters the most to you.

Good luck with the search.

BreakBad

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Re: The Great Canadian FIRE city search
« Reply #29 on: March 17, 2017, 02:57:29 PM »
Hello! My first post on MMM after lurking for a while. Will write a Case Study when I get around to it.

I'm a Canadian in the US right now but am looking at FI in Canada. My list is currently:

- Guelph or Waterloo region - family is there and has working options if I burn through my money quicker than expected. Guelph has a lot of good things going for it... with the exception of the weather.
- Huntsville area - only because wife is thinking she might want to be in Ontario for her family, and Huntsville might be a good balance of rural + interesting + accessible... but the black flies + winter = ?

Or the other end of the spectrum:
- Southern Gulf Islands - Salt Spring is my current obsession/dream - medium COL compared to other places... but only lower because there are very few jobs for a corporate finance guy like me
- Victoria area - love Victoria but expensive - would only go there if working was a real probability.

-BB.

Blissful Biker

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Re: The Great Canadian FIRE city search
« Reply #30 on: March 18, 2017, 05:13:47 PM »
I would recommend the Kootenays in interior BC.  It is a gorgeous, laid back place to live with endless opportunities for outdoor fun.  Real estate is very affordable.  Mustachians fit right it - the only "keeping up with the jones" to be done is growing a decent garden or beard.

My favorites:
- Kaslo
- Nelson
- Rossland

The west Kootenays, such as Fernie, are more expensive as their proximity to Calgary makes them popular places for vacation homes.

Stasher

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Re: The Great Canadian FIRE city search
« Reply #31 on: March 19, 2017, 12:13:20 AM »

Or the other end of the spectrum:
- Southern Gulf Islands - Salt Spring is my current obsession/dream - medium COL compared to other places... but only lower because there are very few jobs for a corporate finance guy like me
- Victoria area - love Victoria but expensive - would only go there if working was a real probability.

Come actually visit Vancouver Island as you will be shocked as to what you will discover
 - SaltSpring is nice to visit but you will want to be on the main island, we have everything they have and more
 - There is more to Van Isle than Victoria (including affordable housing)

@BlissfulBiker - I heard that Nelson no longer has room due to the "cool factor" putting it on the map has outpaced available housing?
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JAYSLOL

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Re: The Great Canadian FIRE city search
« Reply #32 on: March 19, 2017, 07:12:05 AM »
Courtenay/Comox/Cumberland

Housing is reasonable (compared to Victoria and Saanich), mild winters not too hot in summer but can get in the 30s. Not far from the only real ski hill on the island, so there may be some x-country around Mt. Washington. Lots of hiking, biking and water sports.

Yep, and basically loads of other smaller towns up and down Vancouver Island, Parksville, Qualicum, Port Alberni, Campbell River, Port MacNeil etc.  I saw a half decent looking 1600sf detached house listed in Port Alice for $90k.  Basically as cheap as its going to get in BC, but it's very small and miles away from everything.  Best overall value probably goes to Port Alberni, Comox or Campbell River, fairly affordable, not too big or too small and the towns have everything you need (hospitals, big stores etc). 
For interior, but not quite as hot (or expensive) as Kelowna, try Armstrong, Salmon Arm, Sicamous, Sorrento/Blind Bay, Lumby or Chase.  Avoid Osoyoos and Oliver if you can't take the heat, although they are well suited to your requirements, they are in a legit desert down there.  I'd go for Armstrong, cute town, affordable places and 10 min to Vernon which has everything.  Vernons/Coldstream are nice, but too damn expensive. 

recklesslysober

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Re: The Great Canadian FIRE city search
« Reply #33 on: March 21, 2017, 01:48:13 PM »
Following for future reference. I've been all over Canada for almost 3 decades.. BC/AB/MN/ON/NS/NB.. and I haven't found such a place yet. ;) Although that depends on what your definitions of walkability/recreation/mild winter would be.

Stasher

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Re: The Great Canadian FIRE city search
« Reply #34 on: March 21, 2017, 10:46:18 PM »
As a member of this forum and MMM follower I searched out my current home through and made the move based on discussions here. I moved to the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island into a small oceanside town following all the facets of a MMM lifestyle. I lived in both SK and AB.

From my house in a 5 block radius is every health professional including fire ambulance police and hospital. There are both levels of local schooling, massive grocery store (locally owned), vibrant business community, thriving tourist destination, amazing artisan community and the most diverse ecological place I have ever seen.

My cost of living plummeted, cheapest power bills I have ever had, property taxes at a fraction of what I previously paid, personal income tax (BC) dropped, groceries cost decreased and selection expanded. My home cost very little and compared in my previous communities got much more home for the dollar. The region has an amazing sustainable small agricultre sector with award winning vineyards, apple cideries, craft brewers, butchers and heck I just found out there is a 10 acre Kiwi orchard

I love this place so much that I became the President of the local business association, VP of the Chamber of Commerce, opened a retail business and became a director for the local region Trail Stewardship Society. I have only been here for 3.5 years.

This year was the first in 3 that we had any significant snowfall, our coldest day hit -9 (hugely rare) and we mountain biked and hiked all year while at the same time my friends were sailing and surfing followed by a 3hr drive north to 20 feet of fresh powder for downhill skiing. Last year we had 1 day of snow for comparison. My town also for the past two years had the highest annual average temperature in the country. Average December temp is high of 8c and low of 3c.

Yes LOL I couldn't help myself , remember I was a MMM cult follower and moved here because of my readings over the last 5 years and have still saved the private messages chatting with people before deciding to move half way across the country to be here ;)

http://www.cvrd.bc.ca/DocumentCenter/View/65823
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CanuckExpat

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Re: The Great Canadian FIRE city search
« Reply #35 on: March 22, 2017, 11:10:28 PM »
Everything for temperate climate is coming up Vancouver Island.. I'm sensing a theme :)
« Last Edit: March 22, 2017, 11:12:18 PM by CanuckExpat »
Retired, or just homeless and jobless.
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Retire-Canada

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Re: The Great Canadian FIRE city search
« Reply #36 on: March 23, 2017, 06:43:58 AM »
Everything for temperate climate is coming up Vancouver Island.. I'm sensing a theme :)

I've lived all over Canada starting in PQ and moving west over time. Made it to Vancouver Island in 2010 and no plans to leave. :)

MostlyBearded

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Re: The Great Canadian FIRE city search
« Reply #37 on: March 23, 2017, 07:48:14 AM »
Just posting to follow :)

jooniFLORisploo

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Re: The Great Canadian FIRE city search
« Reply #38 on: March 24, 2017, 01:58:25 PM »
PTF.

I've been in an [undisclosed] BC paradise for almost three years, but am forced by AirBnBers to move ;)      Opening myself wide to the next place.

I've lived in heaps of places (in and out of Canada) and would report basically the same findings as everyone above. Lots of great places. I know my favourites to date, but life propels me onward!

My key tips for me are:
*recognize that there are often niche gems tucked within a wider non-gem area (i.e., look for "the tree in the forest", don't throw out the baby with the bathwater, look for a town vs a region, etc)
*friendly, inclusive ppl bump other priorities lower on the list, i.e., If I had to choose, I'd rather be with delicious people in an imperfect area than non-delicious ones in a perfect area.
*I can often find an extremely Mustachian dwelling inside a HCOL area; look for one cheap accommodation option vs necessarily a cheap region

avrex

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Re: The Great Canadian FIRE city search
« Reply #39 on: March 24, 2017, 06:42:52 PM »
... but am forced by AirBnBers to move ;)     
sorry, I don't understand this statement.
Why would you have to move?
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jooniFLORisploo

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Re: The Great Canadian FIRE city search
« Reply #40 on: March 24, 2017, 07:10:08 PM »
^

Phase 1: AirBnB customers found it and moved in like bees! Noise!

Phase 2: Landlord was all, "Hmmmm...highly lucrative!" and kicked us longtermers out.

yyc-phil

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Re: The Great Canadian FIRE city search
« Reply #41 on: March 25, 2017, 05:57:03 PM »
After visiting my daughter who lived aboard a sailboat near Gabriola Island off the coast of Nanaimo, I fell in love with this wonderful little island. We eventually bought a small acreage there and plan to build a small house in a couple of years, with the intent of spending half of the year on Gabriola, and the rest traveling throughout the Americas which we started to do last year. Like other Gulf Islands, Gabriola has a mild winter weather, half as rainy as Vancouver, and a long, dry summer. Under the Köppen climate classification, the island has a Mediterranean climate. Our neighbours grow practically everything, including figs and some citrus.  The island is, despite a resident population of 4,000, a very vibrant community. Very artsy, known as the island of the arts, extremely community-oriented, good restaurants and coffee shops, small organic producers, surrounded by the ocean -a must for me as I am into kayaking and sailing, fantastic beaches for swimming, clamming and crabbing, great salmon fishing, an extensive network of walking trails in the beautiful rain forest environment, and only a 20-minute ferry ride to downtown Nanaimo. We are a 15-minute walk or 10-minute bike ride from the village core where we can find practically everything we need, including a clinic, dentist, law office, architect, accountant, an array of grocery stores, a weekly farmers market, etc. We also have two 15-minute daily flights to Vancouver International Airport via floatplane from one of the two marinas. The only inconvenient is the relative isolation of island-living and having to take the ferry to town. To me, these are actually pros.
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jooniFLORisploo

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Re: The Great Canadian FIRE city search
« Reply #42 on: March 25, 2017, 06:10:47 PM »
Yyc-phil, is there no minimum build-size or build-time on Gabriola?

Anyone: What are some pretty, vibrant areas in BC with no such requirements? I'm running into municipal laws and developer covenants re: minimum acreage, minimum house-size, no small homes, etc. Looking for land I can put 1-6 tiny homes on.

yyc-phil

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Re: The Great Canadian FIRE city search
« Reply #43 on: March 25, 2017, 06:50:57 PM »
Yyc-phil, is there no minimum build-size or build-time on Gabriola?

Anyone: What are some pretty, vibrant areas in BC with no such requirements? I'm running into municipal laws and developer covenants re: minimum acreage, minimum house-size, no small homes, etc. Looking for land I can put 1-6 tiny homes on.

The rules are a bit more stringent than I expected, and I admit in my enthusiasm, I neglected to verify a couple of important things like the number of residential units permitted per parcel, and the minimum building size. Turns out like almost everywhere else in BC, that only one single-family dwelling is permitted on parcels under 5 acres. On parcels larger than 5 acres, a second dwelling under 700 sq.ft. is allowed but we have 4 acres so my project to build a couple of tiny houses for myself and visiting children and friends is now out of the question, at least for full-time living. On the other hand, RVs or tiny houses on wheels are allowed but there are restrictions on the number of days they can be used in a year. As for minimum size of the main dwelling, I couldn't find anything in the zoning by-laws. As for the building permit, once approved, it is valid for up to two years although it can be extended for a fee.
No matter where you go, there you are...

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jooniFLORisploo

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Re: The Great Canadian FIRE city search
« Reply #44 on: March 25, 2017, 07:04:14 PM »
Oh okay, yeah, all of that sounds similar to the rules I'm running into (with the addition of minimum house size).

A couple of years ago a friend bought land, planning to put me and some other tiny housers on it. He put the first one on and a neighbour called it in, game over. The major drug operation immediately next to both? No problem! But a small house, god forbid... (Is my frustration, bitterness, and anger showing?)

I did just see a listing for tiny house pad rentals on private land. Intrigued. Wondering if it's permitted (e.g., zoned for RV park) or if the new landowners don't know and are in for a rude surprise.

yyc-phil

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Re: The Great Canadian FIRE city search
« Reply #45 on: March 25, 2017, 07:14:34 PM »
Oh okay, yeah, all of that sounds similar to the rules I'm running into (with the addition of minimum house size).

A couple of years ago a friend bought land, planning to put me and some other tiny housers on it. He put the first one on and a neighbour called it in, game over. The major drug operation immediately next to both? No problem! But a small house, god forbid... (Is my frustration, bitterness, and anger showing?)

I did just see a listing for tiny house pad rentals on private land. Intrigued. Wondering if it's permitted (e.g., zoned for RV park) or if the new landowners don't know and are in for a rude surprise.

I hear ya! Another hurdle that I am facing and which really upsets me is that we can't permit a house with a composting toilet and greywater recycling system UNLESS the house is connected to a ($13,000) septic system as a backup. Which defeats the whole purpose of having a composting toilet in the first place, on top of the price tag. 
No matter where you go, there you are...

Use my orange key when you open any account with Tangerine.ca and we will both get money: 20950261S1

jooniFLORisploo

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Re: The Great Canadian FIRE city search
« Reply #46 on: March 25, 2017, 07:27:35 PM »
Oh, ugh, yeah...  So much for environmental stuff! Argh.

Stasher

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Re: The Great Canadian FIRE city search
« Reply #47 on: March 26, 2017, 09:41:38 AM »
Many tricky rules required for this region for sure and all stuff I will discover when/if we transition from our current home.
I really enjoyed Gabriola and even wrote a blog post on it last year for Tourism Nanaimo on why it's a great day trip spot. Also in recent news a bridge idea has been floating around news articles.

I wonder of the rules are a bit more lax for on the less populated non ferry supported islands like Mudge Island?
https://www.realtor.ca/Residential/Single-Family/17818426/260-SOCKEYE-DRIVE-MUDGE-ISLAND-British-Columbia-10-Mudge-Island-Zone-4
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Al1961

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Re: The Great Canadian FIRE city search
« Reply #48 on: March 26, 2017, 02:25:54 PM »

I wonder of the rules are a bit more lax for on the less populated non ferry supported islands like Mudge Island?
https://www.realtor.ca/Residential/Single-Family/17818426/260-SOCKEYE-DRIVE-MUDGE-ISLAND-British-Columbia-10-Mudge-Island-Zone-4

I don't think so. Most land use by-laws and community plans are managed by the Islands Trust (or the local council thereof?). There seem to be a lot of similarities between the different islands. See http://www.islandstrust.bc.ca/how-do-i/find-island-bylaws/

I was perusing that site recently because I was interested in a nice 9.5 acre oceanfront (well cliff-top) lot on Denman Island. We'll probably end up on the main island, somewhere between Oyster River and Fanny Bay - once we sell our Edmonton and Courtenay houses.
FIREd July 2014

yyc-phil

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Re: The Great Canadian FIRE city search
« Reply #49 on: March 26, 2017, 02:29:58 PM »
Many tricky rules required for this region for sure and all stuff I will discover when/if we transition from our current home.
I really enjoyed Gabriola and even wrote a blog post on it last year for Tourism Nanaimo on why it's a great day trip spot. Also in recent news a bridge idea has been floating around news articles.

I wonder of the rules are a bit more lax for on the less populated non ferry supported islands like Mudge Island?
https://www.realtor.ca/Residential/Single-Family/17818426/260-SOCKEYE-DRIVE-MUDGE-ISLAND-British-Columbia-10-Mudge-Island-Zone-4

This is a nice little cottage. In hindsight, Mudge would have been a great choice for us as well, especially that I will not work when I finally move to the west coast. As for zoning, Mudge falls within the jurisdiction of the Island Trust, like Gabriola, and have more or less the same zoning rules. In any case, I can't wait to move there and meet the MMM gang in the area. A few more years to go.

No matter where you go, there you are...

Use my orange key when you open any account with Tangerine.ca and we will both get money: 20950261S1