Considering Canada

Discussion in 'Canada' started by HappyGoLucky, Nov 8, 2006.

  1. HappyGoLucky

    HappyGoLucky Goeie Grys Giftige Gert!

    Feb 10, 2005
    Hi All,

    So I have been lurking in your forum for a while, and read quite a few of the posts here to get a feel for those who write. I have read about the Crazy Winter ride from coast to coast (:clap) and such like things.

    Folks, I am a South African born and bred lad, and looking to emigrate. Only a handful of countries fit my criteria, and yours is right up there with the best of them.

    I met with Rene The Canadian doing his world tour, and he is a great fella to talk to, and most amiable. He filled us (my lady and I), on life in Vancouver and some of the places, but it wasnt enough for me and I am hankering for more.

    I am still 33 and my missus is 26, so we have a lot of work left in our bones. Shes got two BSc's (one Human Sciences, and one Physiotherapy), and I am just a general jack of all trades. Done everything from trading futures to being a retail store manager.

    Please note that this is not a political thread, and I am not sure of the policies of your country, but I guess I should say we are caucasian as that would make a big difference for us back here in SAfrica when it comes to jobs etc. Its all A.A. here now and Employment Equity.

    I am scared of the cold in your country and I heard the mosquitoes will eat you alive. I have travelled Africa, so I aint afraid of big wildlife :wink:, even the grizzly doesnt make me scared, just cautious. Confronted numerous elephants before on my feet, taking them away from raping the fruit trees.

    So, I would like to hear all sorts of opinions if you dont mind, about where its best to live, we arent city folk deep down inside, but we want to be comfortable, work happily, ride happily (read fast and off road and adventurous), and live happily with complete safety. Had enough violent crime to last a lifetime.

    All comments and opinions welcome! Hope this is acceptable by the way.

    Thanks, Lito (George and Hilde)

    Heres us (my lady is 6ft 4, and I am shorty ass 6ft

  2. KL5A

    KL5A Bugs are the new black

    Jun 15, 2003
    Hey there LITO, I saw your thread on this subject over on the Wilddog site (I'm Gnomad over there) , And while I don't know much about Canada, except that it's always nice when I go there, let me say welcome to North America if you do move to Cnada.

    You should try somewhere on the left coast, probably fit better with what you are used to. Besides, it would make it easier to see us in Dawson.

    BTW, I can't imagine that you'd have had fun fun in the Caribbean-a guy used to wide open spaces is going to get island fever pretty quick! :huh
  3. usgser

    usgser Long timer

    Nov 6, 2005
    Westside WA
    Hi George,
    Mind you this opinion is coming from a yank in WA, USA but I love BC. If you stick to the coast the winter weather(rain) will be doable. I particularly like Vancouver Island but the folks in BC in general are great. The only draw back for me is the costs of living there especially Vancouver. Beautiful clean city but ya gotta have money to be there. Same for Vancouver Island(did I say it's my favorite). I have no idea what your field of work translates into wage wise compared to living costs but BC in general and Van Is in particular are just down right great places to be if you can afford to live there.
    I know this wasn't even a bit of help but consider this reply as an "atta boy" you're on the right track for a major relocation. :wink: You obviously have lotsa homework to do but you've targeted on a great area.
    Good luck to you and your lady!

    SPEEDSMITH Sh!t Disturber

    Aug 19, 2006
    Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Eh!
    Hey LITO,
    Welcome to the GWN forum. I'm sure that you can find all the answers that you need here.

    I actually grew up in Southern Africa. Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), Mozambique, and mostly, South Africa.
    My family moved there from the U.K. in 1968 (I was 3), and we left in about '79.
    We spent a few years in Durban, but lived mostly around Cape Town.
    I learned to speak and write Afrikaans fluently, as it was mandatory in school.
    Man, what a waste, I can't remember any of it!:lol3

    We moved to Canada in 1981, after visiting in 1979.
    We lived back in England for a couple of years, while waiting to emigrate.
    I had seen and played in snow before because, believe it or not, I was on Table Mountain when it snowed.
    They told us that it was the second time ever! I have film of it somewhere.

    The coast of British Columbia definitely has the mildest weather, but is grey and overcast a lot. Plus, they do get a lot of rain.
    Calgary is pretty nice, but, it does get cold here. The nice thing is that we get warm winds, called Chinooks, during the winter.
    It can go from -20C to +20C overnight! We manage to get out riding quite a bit in the winter.
    Plus, you can stud the tires and ride on the frozen lakes.

    It's funny though, I would like to go back to South Africa, at least for a visit. I guess the grass is always greener, eh!:D
  5. canuck

    canuck Been here awhile

    Jun 11, 2002
    Vancouver B.C. Canada
    If you are afraid of the cold you should think about the West Coast (British Columbia) Summer temps around 20 to 30 degrees. Lots of rain in the winter but it rarely goes below freezing. Even warmer on South Vancouver Island and less rain.

    From a crime perspective Vancouver is a big city and it has all the drugs and property crime type stuff. Violent crime is relatively rare compared to most US cities of similar size.

    Riding in BC is some of the best in Canada on and offroad. We cut down trees (see Monty Python) and so require a ton of logging roads to access the remote areas. This gives a ton of places to ride.

    I would think that the Canadian Govt is looking for folks like you to come to Canada. I would try and have the missus confirm that her degrees would be valid over here as it is not a done deal that they would be.

    There are a ton of smaller towns that would be closer to the great riding than Vancouver if living in a big city is not your thing. Look at cities like Victoria on Vancouver Island, Kelowna, Vernon, Kamloops, Prince George and maybe some others in the Interior of the province if smaller/medium cities would be better.

    If you have any questions you can email me at

    pharkness at odlumbrown dot com

    I live in Vancouver and would gladly show you around if you were to show up on a scouting mission.

  6. fyr

    fyr iRoast Coffee

    Oct 30, 2005
    Bytowne, Canuckistan
    Come on over... I live in the nations capital (Ottawa) now but grew up in Montreal, 2hrs away. Spent some time in Calgary and been across this country numerous times.
    I guess you'll have to find employment and jump through some hoops to get live here, as my cousin from the UK found out. But I hear its pretty easy to get the ball rolling.
    Mosquitoes arn't that bad unless your in the back country. They only last for a bit (blackflies come first) Winters can be harsh but lately it seems that the extremes have been blurred (at least in my neck of the woods. The last couple of winters have been pretty mild) If it gets bad, head down to Cuba for a couple of weeks or grin and bear it and ski..
    I suppose a vacation and extensive cross country jaunt would be in order..
    Keep us informed.
  7. Northern Rob

    Northern Rob Con Brio!

    Jan 24, 2006
    Hey George,

    I hear South Africa is beautiful. Always wanted to ride there.

    There are a lot of South Africans in Western Canada, more so in the interior of BC and in the praries, but you'll find them everywhere. The caucasian thing doesn't matter here - not an advantage or impediment, so you can stop worrying about that. Vancouver is very mixed in terms of culture, lots of asian and east asian mixed with caucasian and a bit of native cultures. It generally works well.

    If you like to ride, and are afraid of the cold, I would stick to the west coast. Its warmer in the winter - you'll get lots of rain but little snow unless you drive up into the mountains. Your problem (speaking to South African buddies) will be missing the sunshine in the winter rainy season. That's your trade off. Lots of great biking roads. If you want more sunshine, less city, and can handle a bit more cold, go for the interior of BC, or the western edge of Alberta. This part of our country is booming due to oil, gas, and mining demand in the world right now. Finding a job shouldn't be too hard. And if you're willing to live in the more remote oil/gas/mining towns up north, they're begging for people to take jobs... but a lot of these towns are kind of rough (work hard, drink hard, not a lot else to do but ride your bike and snowmobile, and fish....hmmmmmn,.. actually that doesn't sound so bad). So it depends on what you're into.

    For my money, the prettiest parts of BC is in the interior - in about a 200km circle around the town of Nelson. Mountain village stuff. And I really like anything on the coast. Someone's pulling your leg about mosquitoes. I live in the burbs of Vancouver, and I can't remember the last time I wore mosquito repellant. If you're hiking around a swamp, thats a different matter of course, and there's a lot more bugs up north.

    Not a lot of violent crime, but there is too much drug related crime, you know, kids stealing stuff to buy crack. That really burns me up. And it costs more to live here than in the US - but otherwise, culturally, I'd say its the lite beer version of the US.

    Good luck, PM me if you need specifics
  8. CROM

    CROM Canuck del sur

    Sep 1, 2006
    Terrace BC
    I would also agree that your best bet would probably be to look at the West coast ( BC ) as the weather will be the closest to what you are used to in temp. There is quite a bit more to coast than just Vancouver , IE Victoria, sunshine coast, gullf islands etc.
    The winter can be a little dreary, but if you pick your days, you can ride all year round.
    Good luck!
  9. vegasphotog

    vegasphotog Las Vegas Cheechako

    Jun 1, 2005
    Covered in Desert Dirt since 2007
    Yo Rob, that is the best definition of Canada I have ever heard....I think quite apropos.:deal :lol3
  10. TintinStrom

    TintinStrom Adventurer

    Oct 23, 2006
    What do you and the missus do for a living? - That might steer you into one location over another...
  11. HappyGoLucky

    HappyGoLucky Goeie Grys Giftige Gert!

    Feb 10, 2005
    Thanks for the replies so far!:freaky I have a lot to work through and I have google earth open and trying to check out the places as you suggest them.

    Afrikaans going to waste - you mean you fine folk dont speak it down there? :huh :lol3

    Gnomad, nice to see you too mate, your posts always make me salivate.

    I have the lady here now and I will show her what you have indicated. Perhaps if we can paint a bit of a nirvana picture, can you advise us on suitable places?

    A smaller town/city where we can still get pretty much what we need and want provision wise.

    A place where we can still get broadband for the net

    A place where it leads very quickly to trails etc. We are a bit of nature nuts.

    A place that is either close to the ocean or mountains.

    Nice summers, and dryer winters (we dont mind snow we think, but to have it rain rain rain rain isnt that cool :rofl I know this is asking for a lot)

    To give some sort of background - our country is equipped for heat - the lifestyle lends itself to being outdoors, and the dress is appropriate. We arent equipped for winters really and or cold weather. Most folks down here in the Cape get all insular in winter, dont go out and just eat indoors with friends.

    Love to correspond more if its okay!

    edit: i was replying for the 3 replies and now theres a load more! thanks everyone, awesome stuff, the more the merrier.

    My lady is a physiotherapist, and is keen to get involved for a number of years in being a physio for sports people/ sports teams. Alternatively, she is keen to perhaps specialise in motorcycle injury rehabilitation! :wink::wink:

    I am happy to do anything to be honest. Except hauling out old restaurant food for the pigs, thats not too much fun (speshally when its been cooking in the hot sun in a black drum for a few days :puke1)
  12. vegasphotog

    vegasphotog Las Vegas Cheechako

    Jun 1, 2005
    Covered in Desert Dirt since 2007
    Based on those description, it sounds EXACTLY why I moved to where I live. But, I suspect the US is getting too hard to emigrate....maybe I am wrong. We are building momentum as a health and medicine basin and will require many people associated with the medical field.
  13. Drif10

    Drif10 Accredited Jackass

    Jun 12, 2003
    Gates of Moscow
    I've lived all over Canada, did my secondary school in BC, live in Ontario now.

    Employability is a critical thing. As someone has already mentioned, your field of endeavour will be key. Some areas are hiring, others not, in a given field. Let us know what that is.

    There's lots of great choices here, it can be tough to decide, I'm sure. For the town criteria, if in BC look at Kamloops or Vernon. Especially Kamloops, as the summer weather there is very similar to SA, dry and warm. The Lower Mainland (which is the area from the ocean thru Vancouver up to Hope) tends to be much wetter (classified a rainforest), but the temps are milder in the winter. Figure there's about 12 days of the year you can't ride cause it gets icy. The eastern part of the Lower Mainland (Chilliwack, Hope) will be less expensive housing wise, but the Vancouver area has what we consider to be high housing prices. Kamloops and Vernon do a bit of winter, but it's pretty low humidity, and housing prices are much better.

    Looking eastward, Alberta (mostly), Saskatchewan, Manitoba, are the Prairies. Read: Flatter than your girlfriend when you were 10 years old. Seriously. Ontario is one big damn province, and has the bulk of industry/population. Southern (London, Kitchener), Central (Toronto), are pretty developed, which means there really isn't all that much to ride unless it's paved. Northern Ontario is pretty remote, not a lot up there. East and north east of Toronto towards Ottawa is a lot more interesting riding, and all thru lower Ontario there are many diverse employment opportunities. Job wise, probably the easiest to get one. The climate if you're in Toronto eastward to Kingston is pretty mild as winters go. But go a little farther to Ottawa, then they do winter. Cold, lots of snow. More so as you move into Quebec, though Montreal is an awesome city. French is useful there, but in Montreal you can get away without it no problem.

    Continuing east thru New Brunswick, PEI, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland, I don't know enough about those areas to give you a fair opinion, hopefully someone will chime in about those.
  14. GP640

    GP640 Long timer

    Sep 30, 2006
    NW AB

    My brother in law has been here 17 yrs and loves it . Even the winters aren't that bad. This is a country of immigrants where a person can be who they want to be and retain pride in their ethnic background whatever that may be. In Alberta and Saskatchewan you find most expat Afrikaaners are Doctors. Pick a region and go. Don't sweat the weather, thats what makes you enjoy summer even more.
  15. Gale B.T.

    Gale B.T. Long timer

    Jun 14, 2005
    Pagosa Springs, CO.
    Hello there George, I like your thoughts on your move. First will make this short, I was coach/teacher in Valemount ,BC for 22 years, just 90 kicks west from Jasper , Alberta, super nice country. From what you have said about milder parts of BC , great riding, etc. I can only suggest the interior, Kamloops, Merritt, Vernon, Armstrong, etc. YEp, the bugs can be bad, but they will not pack you off to eat you, suck a little blood and let you go!!!!LOL

    This area has great riding, on and off road, skiing both alpine and XC, very close to continental divide and Ice Field highway, Vancouver and the coast, great location.

    Feel free to email me if I can be of futher help. [email protected], make sure the title has something on this subject so I don't delete, so much crap coming down the pipe around here. keep smiling, gale
  16. Stand Up

    Stand Up Ride non-painted roads

    Feb 23, 2005
    Calgary, Alberta
  17. Eppo

    Eppo Adventurer

    Jan 14, 2006
    Hallo there, we are also in the proces of emigrating and just like you I've always done different jobs. This gave me a problem applying for a residence-permit as apparently you need to have a qualification and then 5 years work-experience in that field. Maybe rules for south-africans are different though (part of the Commonwealth or something)??
    Good luck with it anyway, we just can't wait.
  18. kootenay kid

    kootenay kid Lets Ride

    Oct 1, 2005
    kootenays canada
    Make sure you check out the Kootenays. Lots of work available, beautiful Country and great riding. Close to major centres and reasonable Real Estate compared to the Coast.
  19. Beezer

    Beezer Long timer Supporter

    Oct 26, 2004
    Anchorage, formerly Spenard (hub of the universe)
    Hey, how cold can it get - it's not like the heat, you can always put on another shirt.

    SPEEDSMITH Sh!t Disturber

    Aug 19, 2006
    Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Eh!
    I actually went for a ride for a few hours today.
    It wasn't too bad, slightly above freezing, but no snow to speak of.
    Now, a few hours later, it looks like this.
    Oh well, the weather network says it should be about +12 degC on Saturday.:clap
    That's part of the fun in Calgary, the weather really changes a lot.

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