Author Topic: Mustache Friendly Locations in Canada - East Coast?  (Read 6351 times)

BigBangWeary

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Mustache Friendly Locations in Canada - East Coast?
« on: December 13, 2014, 11:08:11 AM »
Ok Mustachians .... and particularly, Canadian Mustachians ...

 My wife and I (long time lurkers, first time posters) have been researching low COLA locations for the next phase of our lives for some time now. One of the spots at the top of our list is the East Coast of Canada (New Brunswick, PEI or Nova Scotia).

We are Canadians but we have lived outside of Canada for over a decade. We have followed a Mustachian-like lifestyle for some time, and are looking to downshift in a year and a half. Our current employment situation would not be possible in Canada, and after some very stressful years, we want to take time to spend with our young son while exploring some interests and hobbies. While future employment/business is certainly possible, we want to create a situation where we do not have to work if we don’t want to, at least for a while.

 There are a number of reasons we are considering the Eastern Provinces, but the price of housing is probably the most compelling. We are ready to set down roots, establish a home and a community, and have grass and forest for our son to play (not purely financial, but important to us).

 We have spent three summers out East, so while not completely versed in all of the financial/cultural issues we may face, we have a pretty good grasp. The slower pace vibe, rural setting, and closeness to family all play there part (Yes ... we know about the weather).

Still, we really need a sounding board from like-minded people, and this community feels like a long-lost cousin.

So ... our plan. The plan would be to purchase an economical family home close to a medium-sized centre in the $150,000 CDN range (yes actually possible in Canada still) and invest a further $500,000 to create a stream of income to live on while doing odd jobs and projects to supplement. Crazy?

Does anyone on here live in these locations? What kind of income stream would be necessary with a fully paid off house to cover living if you follow a fairly Mustachian life style? Are there any Mustachian-like communities that you can think of on the East Coast?

Some other locations we are currently researching include the Four Corners region of the US, Panama and Ecuador. But our first choice would be back home.

There are so many variables, and being an expat Mustachian can often be confusing. Choice can paralyse if you have too much of it. Anyways, we would love to hear your thoughts, good or bad.

Oh, we are in our early-mid 30s now. And we are looking to downshift and develop, not ‘retire’.

Thanks everyone!

Gerard

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Re: Mustache Friendly Locations in Canada - East Coast?
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2014, 01:22:59 PM »
I live in Newfoundland, so maybe too far east for everything to be completely helpful. But I've also got family in NS, so between those two, let me give it a shot:

*Public transportation (both local and inter-city) is not great, so you might be more car-dependent than elsewhere in Canada.

*Some places (lookin' at you, Nova Scotia) deal with budget troubles by under-funding universities (thus tuition is higher than elsewhere).

*Chronically high unemployment means there are lots of local people competing with you for odd jobs or small-scale work. Locals are far more likely to hire people whose families they've known for 200 years.

*Related to that, there are many of the same social and cultural things you find anywhere with long-standing (and aging) populations (friendly people, resistance to change, some distrust of strangers and newcomers and people of different ethnicities). There was a thread about the US South on here recently that covered some of the same ground. The way that this plays out seems to vary from province to province.

*You can grow a lot of your own food, or buy locally-grown stuff cheap, in most places. You can also sometimes go into the bush and harvest your own firewood. And meat.

*Side effect of bad weather that you don't realize until you move here: stores sometimes run out of fresh produce in winter.

*Another side effect: lots of seasonally-influenced depression. That city clerk you need to fill out forms might not show up at work for a week or two. Your neighbours may self-medicate with liquor, weed, or oxy.

I realize I'm focussing mostly on the negative, but the positives (clean air, cheap housing, trees 'n' stuff) are more immediately obvious to visitors. You can minimize some of the downsides by living in or near a town with a university, I think.

Edge of Reason

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Re: Mustache Friendly Locations in Canada - East Coast?
« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2014, 01:38:05 PM »
I live just outside of Fredericton.  The city itself is quite nice...pretty good shopping, quaint downtown (weekly market on Saturday), paved walking trails, relatively safe and easy to navigate.  Very slow pace of living with lots of things for kids to do and to join as well.  It is a government town in a bilingual province (extra expenses to support both languages) and our province is struggling to keep its "employables" who have to leave to find work....Many "commute" to Alberta and end up not coming back.  We just had a change of government so its a wait and see to see if things change.  With the price of oil going down so much the lucrative jobs out west may not be there anymore. 

I grew up here and am first generation Canadian of parents who emigrated from Europe in the 60s.  Saw Europe myself, as well as the USA and came home to raise my family as "nothing" happens here.  I will encourage them to leave when they can to see the alternatives but they may end up back here as it is an easy way of life, and super safe.

The new immigrants to the province love the free healthcare but struggle to get a family Dr. and that is a legitimate concern.    There are walk in clinics for those without and everyone has the usual wait time (family dr or not) to see specialists.  The government is trying to increase the number of physicians but keep that on your radar if you come East.  I think its the same in NS and PEI. "Free" healthcare in Canada is great when you need it though.  Our daughter was 8 weeks early and lived in the NICU in Saint John (an hour away).  Ambulanced up to Fredericton when she was stable and stayed there until she came home.  We never saw a dime.  I also recently had minor surgery (wait list for 4 years) and again, no fees charged.

NB is relatively inexpensive for housing and good in the sense that you can get anywhere pretty quick (Maritime standards).  Cross border shopping in the States, Quebec City/Montreal are only a days drive away on divided highways.   Major concerts come to Moncton or Halifax and these are only 2 or 4 hours away.  There is an airport in town but people usually drive to Moncton for better service or to the states to take advantage of their lower airfares.

We are a 1 car family and use the transit system for the other working parent to get home.  We live about 5 minutes from the "end of the bus route" in a subdivision with 1 acre lots.  The bus runs every hour until 6:45 to 9:45 but not on Sundays.  Houses range from $150K to $550K out here.  We are on our own well and septic.  We could be more mustachian and live in town but my husband likes "the woods and his space".   We can cross country ski, snowshoe and bike right from our front door and the kids have a fair bit of walking/biking to do to get into town (and trouble).   We may move closer when the kids go to University (UNB which is in town).

From what I hear from my sister (who lives there) Nova Scotia does seems to have a better vibe (not bilingual and more touristic with tourists flocking along with their $$) but it has its issues as well.  Rural communities (like in NB) are struggling and housing is very $$ near their big centers: Halifax and Sydney who both have issues with crime.    PEI is quaint but super small and you are locked onto an island and have to pay to get off it (ferry, bridge or fly).

In terms of weather, it can be good.  Sunny and hot in the summer and Snowy and cold in the winter.  There is no snow on the ground today but you're always watching the weather ...  ever heard of a Nor'Easter? 

Good luck with your move and if this area sounds good to you, let me know if you have any more questions and I'll do my best to answer!

daverobev

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Re: Mustache Friendly Locations in Canada - East Coast?
« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2014, 01:44:45 PM »
We live less than an hour from Ottawa, and cost of living is IMHO low. All depends what you want in life, but half a mil invested plus a paid for $150k home in, say, Renfrew or similar and you'd be fine.

Not sure if that helps or not, but just a thought. Head to Kingston if you want less snow!

ScienceSexSavings

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Re: Mustache Friendly Locations in Canada - East Coast?
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2014, 03:11:50 PM »
I'm originally from Nov Scotia and had family in New Brunswick, and I agree with everything that's been brought up so far. I think that the East Coast would be a wonderful place to retire, as long as you know what to expect. The lack of transportation and the attitude towrds "outsiders" are probably the most annoying parts. I do think that the Wolfville/New Minas end of Annapolis Valley would be a good area for you guys, though, there's a small univerity there, so they're used to getting "outsiders," there's basic public transit (a bus on the main road once every hour), the schools are excellent, and there's a huge amount of community activites, many of which are quite high-caliber. It's an agricultural region, so the farmer's markets are amazing, and people really tend to support local. Housing is expensive-ish in a few select areas, but overall not to bad (check Realtor.ca to get an idea). I lived there as a student renting an apartment and my total expenses were $600-800/month, so maybe $1500-2000 for a family depending on vehicles, the choice of house, amount of driving for activities, etc. Downsides are that it isn't the greatest region for beaches, and not much comes to town.

As a general warning: electricity and telecom are fucking expensive out there. I don't know what you mean about the weather though, I mean yeah, there are hurricanes, but a "cold" winter's day is like -15C.

Is there anything specific that you'd like to know more about? If you give us an idea of what you spend on (not how much, but WHAT, as in electricity consumption, favorite foods, etc) we can probably give you an idea of the East Coast costs.

BigBangWeary

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Re: Mustache Friendly Locations in Canada - East Coast?
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2014, 11:16:51 PM »
Gerard – Thanks we are concerned about finding part time work, but we want to concentrate on e-business ideas so that we do not need to be location specific for our work once we downshift. The issue with SAD does worry us a bit. We have family members who are quite affected by this, but we have other stress related issues coming from where we are now, so it is a bit of a trade off.

We are from a small town in Ontario originally (not far from Kingston daverobev), so we are used to rural life. We are also both ... demographically similar to people in this area in regards to race and religion (for lack of a more politically correct term), so this might help.

Edge of Reason, we have a similar mindset. We have been working hard to accumulate assets, and we certainly do not want our child to stay in one place forever. We want him to get out there and eventually see the big wide world. At the moment though, we are just looking for a safe, small-town environment to downshift to for a while and raise him. We want to keep as much invested as we can and create some income while we try to redirect into something we are more passionate about.

ScienceSexSavings we have looked at the Annapolis Valley quite a bit. We are drawn to the Fredricton area though because it is a closer drive to in-laws in Ontario. Sticking point for us. 

Daverobev, the problem is finding a good house in the $150,000 range in the Ottawa/Kingston/Belleville area. Yes you can find something, but not many options with any acreage, and often in poor condition. Unless interest rates rise, the property bubble will keep that from working with our plan.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2014, 11:39:52 PM by BigBangWeary »

Gerard

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Re: Mustache Friendly Locations in Canada - East Coast?
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2014, 08:12:27 AM »
Outside the box of your original question, have you considered Quebec, maybe in the Ottawa Valley or the Eastern Townships? You get many of the advantages of the maritimes without the long driving distances, and generally better social infrastructure (transit, bike paths, medical clinics). And cheaper properties. People grumble about the taxes, but if you're deliberately downsizing your income that wouldn't be a huge problem.

going2ER

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Re: Mustache Friendly Locations in Canada - East Coast?
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2014, 12:49:42 PM »
I live on Cape Breton Island. Yes, housing is cheap. However, most homes are heated with oil, expensive, even with the downturn in crude oil prices. Electricity, food and insurance is also much higher in NS than most places. Public transit is poor, other than in Halifax area, also if you are flying anywhere you will likely need to drive to Halifax. There are other airports, but it is incredibly costly to fly out of them to a connector in Halifax.

There is lots of beaches and forests here which remain relatively undisturbed. A slower pace of life is a definite, especially outside of urban areas. We don't get a lot of snow compared to Ontario or other provinces and the temperature doesn't vary a lot due to being surrounded by the Atlantic. -15C to 30C. If you don't need to work it is a great place to live.

yyc-phil

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Re: Mustache Friendly Locations in Canada - East Coast?
« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2014, 02:35:17 PM »
My wife and I had the same debate last year when we were looking for a place to live after retirement. We looked at places with a low COL such as Spain, Thailand, and Okinawa where my wife is from, but because most of my adult children will likely stick around in Canada, we decided to keep our pied-à-terre here, and spend as much time overseas as legally possible.

Two of our most important factors guiding our search were mild weather (with little or no snow, tough to find in Canada), and the proximity of the ocean, in that order. A third important factor was the relative proximity of a larger city, because we enjoy city life to a certain extent and do not want to drive an hour just to go out for coffee and pastries. The last factor was price and general cost-of-living, considering we are pretty frugal and enjoy simplicity, and would not need to work and buy any more stuff than what is necessary and would fit in our future tiny house.

We looked at the East Coast, particularly around the Cavendish (PEI) and Digby (NS) areas where we saw some picture-perfect ocean front properties on small acreages for very attractive prices. At the same time, we were looking at the West Coast (Sunshine Coast and Vancouver Island) where house and acreage prices were at least twice as much, if not more. Definitely, properties on the East Coast met all our requirements, and most importantly price, and we almost took the plunge for a really wonderful Ann-of-Green-Gable-esque house near Cavendish.

However, we realized that our most important factor was weather, and winter weather on the East Coast is not exactly tropical, so in the end, we opted for a small acreage on one of the Gulf Islands off the coast of Nanaimo, which met all our requirements, including walkability. Our little acreage is 2 km from the "town" centre, 800 m from the ocean, and 1.2 km to the ferry which takes us and our bikes right in front of a mall in downtown Nanaimo. The location is obviously a bit more expensive, but it scores very high on our must-have list, and we will rarely if ever have to deal with snow dumps like they get regularly in the Maritimes.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2014, 02:37:19 PM by ykphil »

Jouer

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Re: Mustache Friendly Locations in Canada - East Coast?
« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2014, 03:33:02 PM »
I also grew up in Newfoundland before making my way to central Canada after university. The weather really keeps me from moving back there. Rain, drizzle, and fog are not my friends....though I know them all too well.

In larger areas like St. John's, housing prices are almost as high as some larger cities in Ontario. $150k would not get you much. But if you were thinking something more rural, you'd be fine. I can't speak to the other Atlantic provinces but would expect a similar situation, at least for Halifax vs. rest of NS. 


ScienceSexSavings

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Re: Mustache Friendly Locations in Canada - East Coast?
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2014, 08:03:13 PM »
If you don't need to work it is a great place to live.

This is a disturbingly good summary of NS.

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Re: Mustache Friendly Locations in Canada - East Coast?
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2014, 08:47:02 PM »
I lived in NS for a year, and looked seriously at moving to PEI some years back. I would totally live anywhere in that region. I know several people very happy in Newfoundland, too.

The question in general re: Mustache-friendly areas... I think it depends on the individual/family. For example, in BC my son can receive $6000/yr in funding for autism therapies. On the other hand, consensus is that Alberta's public system serves kids with autism far better. Or, when we lived in Vancouver, we had access to Chinese markets and also stores that sold recovered food at serious discounts, and also got a free recreation pass in tough years. However, cycling many of its areas with a kid sucked, and I was regularly seeking compensations to balance my sense of isolation, and for those two reasons I drove way more. I was more tempted by nicer clothing there, too, because I liked the look of people in their cute clothes. Zikoris, on the other hand, prefers a hipster/thrift shop look in general, so is presumably not triggered by the Granville Street esthetic.

Where I am now (BC, but not Vancouver area), no rec pass, no discounted grocery store, no cultural markets...and the public school asks us for way more money than I could have imagined...but I am so delighted and satisfied that I suddenly spend very little on anything and rarely need to drive anywhere, and everyone dresses very casual/outdoorsy so I'm no longer triggered in that area.

When I own, I feel compelled to spend on home improvements; when I rent, I'm perfectly satisfied despite some gimpiness.

Interestingly, my housing cost $650, $550, and $500 in both Vancouver and not-Vancouver. Privately owned, not publicly subsidized, no federal government co-op help, etc. So, Mustachianism does not always hinge on living in a place that is known for lower cost of housing/living. Different hacks can be applied in different areas.

So, I'd say it depends on what one's needs and personal triggers are. What are the most important elements to each person in your family, and what variables trigger each to spend more? (I find the latter harder to determine except in a natural "aha" moment.)

BigBangWeary

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Re: Mustache Friendly Locations in Canada - East Coast?
« Reply #12 on: December 21, 2014, 11:39:55 PM »
Thanks for the responses everyone. There is a lot to mull over on here. We are looking to semi-retire and work on side projects, so some of the situations and points have less bearing, and some more. We appreciate the help!

Goldielocks

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Re: Mustache Friendly Locations in Canada - East Coast?
« Reply #13 on: December 22, 2014, 12:20:45 AM »
Ok Mustachians .... and particularly, Canadian Mustachians ...

 My wife and I (long time lurkers, first time posters) have been researching low COLA locations for the next phase of our lives for some time now. One of the spots at the top of our list is the East Coast of Canada (New Brunswick, PEI or Nova Scotia).

We are Canadians but we have lived outside of Canada for over a decade. We have followed a Mustachian-like lifestyle for some time, and are looking to downshift in a year and a half. Our current employment situation would not be possible in Canada, and after some very stressful years, we want to take time to spend with our young son while exploring some interests and hobbies. While future employment/business is certainly possible, we want to create a situation where we do not have to work if we don’t want to, at least for a while.

 There are a number of reasons we are considering the Eastern Provinces, but the price of housing is probably the most compelling. We are ready to set down roots, establish a home and a community, and have grass and forest for our son to play (not purely financial, but important to us).

 We have spent three summers out East, so while not completely versed in all of the financial/cultural issues we may face, we have a pretty good grasp. The slower pace vibe, rural setting, and closeness to family all play there part (Yes ... we know about the weather).

Still, we really need a sounding board from like-minded people, and this community feels like a long-lost cousin.

So ... our plan. The plan would be to purchase an economical family home close to a medium-sized centre in the $150,000 CDN range (yes actually possible in Canada still) and invest a further $500,000 to create a stream of income to live on while doing odd jobs and projects to supplement. Crazy?

Does anyone on here live in these locations? What kind of income stream would be necessary with a fully paid off house to cover living if you follow a fairly Mustachian life style? Are there any Mustachian-like communities that you can think of on the East Coast?

Some other locations we are currently researching include the Four Corners region of the US, Panama and Ecuador. But our first choice would be back home.

There are so many variables, and being an expat Mustachian can often be confusing. Choice can paralyse if you have too much of it. Anyways, we would love to hear your thoughts, good or bad.

Oh, we are in our early-mid 30s now. And we are looking to downshift and develop, not ‘retire’.

Thanks everyone!

Grand Falls, NFLD and even Gander seemed very MMM communities to me (with Grand Falls quite pretty).   Very high food costs, however, to factor in, -- plus 20% higher -- and all travel out of province is by air or a full day to get on / off the ferry.   The weather through December was quite mild, I thought.  Perhaps winter is only a few months of "nasty" in this region, starting at the end of December..  Anyway, if I had work, or independently FIRE, I could see myself running the finance numbers for Gander.   NB and NS must be even better, if you can find somewhere near a 30,000 person center, away from the main cities.


Joan-eh?

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Re: Mustache Friendly Locations in Canada - East Coast?
« Reply #14 on: December 26, 2014, 12:51:00 PM »
In Ontario, if you are interested: Parts of Niagara  and areas north of Lake Erie can still be affordable. Hamilton, Peterborough,  and Kitchener are Mmm, IMHO. As well as most parts of Bruce and Grey Counties. ThunderBay. outside Ottawa. Depends how urban you want to be or not. To me it's trying to find the right spot in the region. There seem to be MMM and non-mmm in close proximity.

PEIslander

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Re: Mustache Friendly Locations in Canada - East Coast?
« Reply #15 on: December 27, 2014, 08:31:45 AM »
Hi - I suppose this is a good topic for my first posting. I live on Prince Edward Island where I work as an architect and think it could be a great place for the OP to find what they are looking for.

I'd suggest the lobster-fishing village of North Rustico, originally settled in 1790, it today has about 250 homes and about 600 residents. There are no McMansions. A few houses are likely available in the desired price point -- however generally without acres of land. (IMHO the problem with seeking acres of land is that it translates to being outside of a community and therefore losing the benefits of living in a small rural community. With acres of land comes a much more car-based tv-watching suburban lifestyle -- and a likelihood you would feel isolated. Small town life could I think be a better option for raising a child). In a seaside town like North Rustico you'd find you could still grow a garden. You wouldn't have much privacy from your neighbours but I think that could be a good thing if you want to "fit in" and become a proper villagers yourself. North Rustico is the kind of place where a neighbour will help you string your Christmas lights if they see you need a hand. (Christmas displays are a BIG thing in the village!). North Rustico was the first place I thought to recommend because it seems to have a vibrant community life - of the kind that seems to be disappearing in North America.

The town has a world-class beach that is easy walking distance from anywhere in town. (The town is about one square mile in size). In the summer there is a popular 'Seashore Festival', and Canada Day Celebrations bring 10,000 people to the town. The town features a waterfront boardwalk, places to eat, a pub, and some accommodations -- handy when visitors come but there isn't enough room in your small house! There is a community theatre that puts on three major productions a year and has opportunities for your participation. The town is also a gateway to Prince Edward Island National Park.

Some links:
https://www.google.com/maps/place/46%C2%B027'41.4%22N+63%C2%B018'31.4%22W/@46.4627526,-63.2941228,13z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0x0?hl=en
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Rustico
http://northrustico.net/

My wife and I moved to PEI with our two young children about 13 years ago. We thought it would be a good place to raise our children and we have not regretted that decision. We live outside Charlottetown.

Regards, PEIslander

BPA

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Re: Mustache Friendly Locations in Canada - East Coast?
« Reply #16 on: December 27, 2014, 09:25:22 AM »
I love North Rustico!  I spend my summers down the road in Cavendish, but I think North Rustico is my favourite place on the Island.  There is an awesome bike highway along the North Shore between Cavendish and North Rustico that I long for when I'm not there, the national park is fantastic, and you have to love the cheap seafood. I never even liked seafood until I started spending summers there.

A few years after RE I may move to Summerside, PEI.  I don't own a car (and use my bike in Cavendish during the summer, but that wouldn't be sustainable long-term in Cavendish or North Rustico).   I already have friends who live in Summerside and I really like the waterfront there.  There is a hospital, several grocery stores, a library, pubs, and a relatively new rec centre.  Real estate is cheap but heating oil is expensive and groceries are more expensive compared to Ontario. 

My 16 year old son loves the Island during the summer but says he finds it too boring to move there permanently.  My boyfriend loves it but warns me that I've never spent a whole winter there.  The temperatures aren't colder there than here but they get a heck of a lot more snow. 

I love the people there and while my friends sometimes tease me about being CFA (Come From Away), as long as you don't take it personally, it shouldn't bother you.  As one of them says, "There are jerks on PEI too.  Just like every other place."  I can't tell you the number I've times I've cringed to hear some Ontario douchebag trying to tell Islanders how to live their lives, run their businesses etc.

I have heard, and I can see how it might be the case, that it is easier to fit in if you are white and straight.  Certainly, I find it a lot less politically correct than where I am from.  I think it comes from a lack of exposure and not because the people are inherently racist or homophobic and not because they think they are superior. 

Overall, I love it.  I've made good friends who made me feel welcome from the moment we met.  They are some of the kindest people I've ever known. 

MBot

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Re: Mustache Friendly Locations in Canada - East Coast?
« Reply #17 on: December 27, 2014, 10:11:05 AM »
If you are OK with colder weather, Northern Ontario can be nice. Eg in Sault Ste. Marie there's amazing skiing, snow sports, proximity to great lakes and forests. (plus cheap golf just over the border). It's colder than I'd like, but I've grown to really love it here.

Plus we live in a double-brick 2.5 storey in a great neighbourhood for $130k approx. Some great values are possible if you look here.

parkette

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Re: Mustache Friendly Locations in Canada - East Coast?
« Reply #18 on: December 27, 2014, 10:47:53 AM »
We live in Charlottetown, which I think could certainly suit what you're looking for. There are acreages close to the city well within that price point (my parents, for instance, live about 10 minutes outside of Charlottetown on 30 acres). I agree with the enthusiasm for North Rustico as well; my husband and I were there this past week to check out the Christmas lights. A great sense of community and everything you need in a small town.  It's unlikely we'll move there anytime soon, but we've discussed it as an ideal community for us.

We would also love to have more mustachians around us :) We're also in our thirties and while we love the location of our house, we wish there were more young, frugal families around. Our neighbourhood is due to for a turnover from retirees to young families, we live 5 minutes from downtown, have a water view, a beautiful park next door and bought our house for $167K. The house across the street sold for $149K max.

I have friends who picked up and left Vancouver Island to settle just outside of Montague. They remind me of you as they had a flexible e-business, bought a (very) cheap house to fix up and have been here for about 5 years now although they have been planning their next move to a low-cost international location. I can certainly put you in touch with them if you'd like to to discuss making a similar move.

As has been said above, finding a family physician can be difficult though not impossible. Jobs are often seasonal, but your e-business would solve that problem. Although it's not a community I'm involved in, I think there's a relatively thriving tech scene in Charlottetown. There can be the 'CFA' factor but there is also a very welcoming community, especially among 30-something's.

Let me know if I can be of any help, we'd love to have you here!

Shooter_D

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Re: Mustache Friendly Locations in Canada - East Coast?
« Reply #19 on: December 27, 2014, 03:30:34 PM »
I vote for Fredericton! It's a lovely city with nice people and lots to do. You're also close to events in Moncton and Halifax, and even Quebec City or Montreal. I am from Northern Ontario, which is also nice, but there are more issues with public transportation and generally not as many cultural and community-based things to do (this is changing, but I find we're a bit behind the curve). I do agree with MBot though, the Soo is very nice!

I went to UNB for my masters degree and fell in love with the place. Very walkable city, lovely market on Saturdays, nice city parks and areas equipped for outdoor mustachian activities (snowshoeing, BBQs, kayaking, fishing-fly-fishing or from a canoe of course...ha ha!). House prices are pretty decent too, and I think it would be a nice place to retire.

I also have family in rural Nova Scotia (eg. Southampton and Economy) They have had to deal with a bit of "come from away" discrimination (not the right word, but BPA said it well), but after a few year of being there and finding their place in the communities they moved to, everyone has settled right in. It's lovely in those areas, but there would be a bit of commuting for shopping and such, and having a small business might be tough. Some place like Truro may give a good mix of city and country.

Best of luck finding the right place for you. Sounds like you may have to take a nice road trip through the area!

PEIslander

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Re: Mustache Friendly Locations in Canada - East Coast?
« Reply #20 on: December 27, 2014, 05:37:18 PM »
Great to see some more support for North Rustico! And great to see support for Charlottetown too. I live in Mermaid which is a 'suburb' of the metropolis of Charlottetown. For those not familiar with Charlottetown (http://www.city.charlottetown.pe.ca/)it is a small historic city of 60,000 people that is the capital of Prince Edward Island. The city has much going for it.

The OP mentioned they have considered Nova Scotia's Annapolis Valley. My mother lives in beautiful historic Annapolis Royal. (http://annapolisroyal.com/). It is another great town for retirees. The town has an unusually active cultural life. Residents of the town are engaged in their community. The two square kilometre town of about 500 people has many resources not found in communities of that size. For instance it has a community band, an active arts council, two heritage organizations, a community choir, four museums, two national historic sites, a vibrant farmers market, and a great collection of historic architecture.  The town is known for its historic mansions. The OP's modest housing budget won't get them one of those! There may still be options however. I grew up in the area and can attest that it is a very special place -- well worthy of consideration.

parkette

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Re: Mustache Friendly Locations in Canada - East Coast?
« Reply #21 on: December 28, 2014, 08:08:16 AM »
You seriously live in Mermaid, PEIslander?? That's where I grew up! My parents (see above 30 acres 10 mins outside of city) and brother's family are still there. Too funny.

PEIslander

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Re: Mustache Friendly Locations in Canada - East Coast?
« Reply #22 on: December 28, 2014, 10:43:26 AM »
You seriously live in Mermaid, PEIslander?? That's where I grew up! My parents (see above 30 acres 10 mins outside of city) and brother's family are still there. Too funny.

Sure. Seriously. Small world! -- Mermaid, for those that don't know (ie practically everyone), is a place on the maps with maybe two or three hundred houses not far from the city of Charlottetown, here in Prince Edward Island. Mermaid wouldn't really qualify as a town or village. It is good to know there are other MMM fans in our area! (Parkette - I live about 1km into the Mini-Farms. I know you'll know where that is!)

BigBangWeary

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Re: Mustache Friendly Locations in Canada - East Coast?
« Reply #23 on: December 28, 2014, 10:40:33 PM »
Thank you Parkette and others for the insights. I do not mean to offend, but we had heard from a number of 'relocators' that we should really consider the fact that people who move to PEI are often looked at as outsiders and that it is very hard to make connections on the Island unless you have family or a history there. We have lived and worked overseas and are used to making new friends and working to fit in, but this has been a concern when it comes to PEI. We have also been concerned by the cost of crossing the bridge on any kind of regular basis.

We have family in Ontario that we would want to see a lot, so Fredricton had a certain appeal, but we do love the history and beauty of Nova Scotia and PEI. I am a real history buff so being able to volunteer with a historical society, metal detect, auctioneer, fix up old homes, preserve history, and go picking are all things I would love about the area. 

We have spent three summers in the East Coast and are particularly fond of Shediac, North Rustico, Summerside (well most of PEI) and the Annopolis Valley. We love being close to the water having grown up next the St. Lawrence.

When I look at the numbers, I see being able to spend a much smaller portion of our savings (say $150,000) and buy a family home that we actually like, and leave another $500,000 invested and growing if we move to a place like PEI. In Ontario, if we want a family home that is not a dive, we will realistically need to spend more like $250,000 and have a much smaller pot to leave invested and growing. You see what I mean?

Remember, we plan to continue to earn income, but we do not want to have more than 25% of our net worth in our primary residence. I know the cost of living can be higher in the East Coast, but I have been told that about so many of the places I have lived and it often comes down to how you live (we seem to be able to adjust to meet our surroundings). But one thing we can't really negotiate too much is the high cost of housing in most of Canada and the lack of options if you do not want to spend over $200,000.

PEIslander

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Re: Mustache Friendly Locations in Canada - East Coast?
« Reply #24 on: December 29, 2014, 05:16:07 AM »
Here in PEI there definitely is a tendency for people born & raised here to make a distinction between 'true Islanders' and those 'from away'. I don't think anybody should read too much into that. If you are asked if you are from away and you answer 'no' then the conversation almost invariably turns to figuring out how you two are related. Its like almost everyone born here is a 'third cousin - twice removed' and Islanders like to figure out those connections. No offence is ever intended when someone is identified as being 'from away'. (You can also get asked by strangers if you are protestant or catholic - but that tradition is fading out and, again, no offence is ever intended).

IMHO, if a family 'from away' retired here (or really anywhere in the Maritimes), the best way to make connections is to move into a proper town or village where you will have instant neighbours and opportunities to meet them. I don't think subdivisions cut it. Move right into town if you want to make those connections quickly. In contrast, moving to rural countryside will make it very tough to make connections. If you look like you want to be alone on your acres of land people will leave you alone. Move to a community if you want a more social & connected life. I've found Island communities to be remarkably vibrant in their community life. Their residents tend to be engaged in that life. If you moved to a town like North Rustico you could easily become part of the community by simply participating in the community life. Stroll the boardwalk every evening that the weather permits, volunteer relating to the annual festival or Canada Day celebrations, join the local theatres adult & youth programs, get involved with the Home & School Association, join the Lions Club, and in North Rustico be sure to put up Christmas lights (or help the neighbours with theirs).

One thing I really like about PEI is the people generally treat each other with respect. There also seems to be less keeping-up-with-the-Jones' than other places. While there is some, materialism is not rampant. I think it is fair to say that here you can't always tell a person's economic status by what clothes they wear or what car they drive. The weathered guy with the rubber boots, flannel shirt & dirty ball cap in front of you in the Canadian Tire checkout line might well be a multi-millionaire as a poor person. In my observation most people here don't try to size others up and will treat everyone the same way (with respect). When those 'from away' do the same - they fit in well.

PS - One odd thing I've noticed about Islanders is that they respect a well cared for yard as if it is a status symbol. Rich or poor you can have a nice yard if you work at it and that hard work seems to be respected. I sometimes call PEI the land of lawn tractors as I think we must have more of them per capita than any other place!