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Thursday, November 10, 2016

Welcome, eh!

So, you've just settled down with a nice cup a tea for a night of googling, "moving to Canada" while you hear reports over the radio of "President" Trump bombing yet another country because their leader criticized his policy on foreign trade. You nervously try Canada's immigration page again but it is still down so you click through the articles and celebrity tweets on your homepage while watching a viral video on your Facebook feed of Mexican immigrants building a giant wall. You notice armed guards pointing their large weapons at a group of women who are working on a section of "throne" for your benevolent leader. You feel a bead of sweat making its way down your temple as you look at Google images of women being led away in handcuffs from a Planned Parenthood building with a mob of protesters in the background their faces frozen in a gnarled and ugly tableau. You pick up the local newspaper from your coffee table and read the headline, "Mass deportation of Muslim immigrants under way in Michigan" and shudder at the image attached to the article. It is a little boy being shoved by a police officer with tears in mid stream down his face. The look of sorrow in his eyes makes you feel a little nauseous so you turn on the television and CNN is running another piece on "phony sexual assault stories" from former Trump aides and White House staff. The new host is laughing at a woman who is telling her story on air and he asks the victim, "yea, but what were you wearing?" between giggles. You turn the television off, put your head in your hands and start to cry. Just as all hope seems to drain from your body the immigration page refreshes and you're in.

Sounds scary, doesn't it? It is a bleak scenario granted but one that could very well be a reality for many of you living South of the Canadian border. A lot of celebrities and regular Joe's have joked about moving to our beautiful country before and since Trump got elected but, what happens when those jokes become reality? Well, it isn't as easy as some may think, it takes years and thousands of dollars to immigrate to Canada (for more information visit but equally important to the "how" is where? Similar to the different States in the US Canada is made up of ten Provinces and three Territories and within each of these are cities and towns just bursting with diversity and unique traditions and values. The following is a list of the different provinces and Territories to consider when making your short list of choices. Remember, we may not have California's weather but we do have arguably the best looking leader in the world!

Just look at that majestic hair!!!


Sometimes referred to as Canada's answer to Texas Alberta is one of Canada's Prairie provinces bursting with frontier pride. Calgary and Edmonton are the main city centers however, Red Deer and St. Albert boast some beautiful scenery. A major oil powerhouse, Alberta has provided jobs and financial prosperity to much of the rest of our great Country. If you are looking for cowboy hats and a challenge, head on out to Alberta and don't forget to take in the Calgary Stampede July 7-16th, 2017. The downside? The winters can be harsh and it is a tad conservative so if you are looking for a more Liberal attitude check out the next Province on this list! 

British Columbia

Ah BC, Canada's answer to California or as close as we are ever going to get to a temperate climate! British Columbia is a beautiful and massive province full of natural beauty such as Grouse Mountain affectionately referred to as "The Peak of Vancouver" and The Columbia Ice field found in the Continental Divide along the border of British Columbia and Alberta. Vancouver also has a booming film industry as do other big cities in Canada. Vancouver and Victoria are the main cities in BC however Surrey and Kelowna are well worth a look as well. Two points to note, it rains a lot at certain times of the year in BC so bring your Gore-Tex. However, Kelowna is a semi-arid climate, as it is located in the interior. Also, if you don't like recycling and bicycles, Vancouver is definitely not for you.


Another prairie province, Manitoba boarders our best known province, Ontario to the east and Saskatchewan to the west. It is another beautiful province full of lakes, rivers, mountains, forests and prairies some of  which stretch from the northern Arctic tundra to Hudson's Bay. According to Wikipedia, "Much of (the) wilderness is protected in more than 80 provincial parks, where hiking, biking, canoeing, camping and fishing are all popular." One can believe it given that Manitoba is one of the more underpopulated Provinces on this list. The main city in Manitoba is Winnipeg a lovely city with loads of charm and culture. At the center of Winnipeg is The Forks, a historic site with lots of shops, restaurants and festivals, concerts and exhibits. There is a large population of indigenous or Native people as well. Two downsides? Like Alberta, the winters can be on the harsher side and unlike Alberta goods cost a bit more here because of the isolation factor.

New Brunswick

Canada's best kept secret, New Brunswick is one of our most beautiful Atlantic provinces chalk full of natural wonders and unspoiled land. I should know since my partner and I are moving to Saint John soon. Aside from the beautiful landscape NB has probably the most affordable housing market in all of Canada with houses selling for as little as fifty thousand dollars. The main cities are Saint John, Fredericton and Moncton. Saint John is the biggest city and it feels a little like a mix between San Francisco and Hamilton. Moncton is a bit smaller and has more of a suburb feel to it where as Fredericton is a government town and looks very picturesque. One major downside of living in NB is a lack of jobs. If you are self employed and looking for a more relaxing pace this would be a terrific place for you to live! As with most of the provinces/territories on this list the winters can be harsh but, winter sports such as snow shoeing and tubing are a lot of fun!

Newfoundland and Labrador

Newfoundland and Labrador is located at Canada's most Easterly tip and another of our Atlantic provinces. According to Wikipedia, the province is split into the island of Newfoundland and "mainland Labrador to the northwest. About ninety two percent of the province's population lives on the island of Newfoundland (and its neighboring smaller islands), of whom more than half live on the Avalon Peninsula. The province is Canada's most linguistically homogeneous, with ninety seven point six percent of residents reporting English (Newfoundland English) as their mother tongue in the 2006 census. Historically, Newfoundland was also home to unique varieties of French and Irish, as well as the extinct Beothuk language. In Labrador, local dialects of Innu-aimun and Inuktitut are also spoken." St. John's is the major city in Newfoundland with a somewhat booming fishing industry although the area has been hit hard since the nineties due to over fishing. One big downside is the isolation and distance from the rest of the country. It takes up to 14 hours via Ferry from Halifax to Newfoundland. The beautiful row houses and rugged hills surrounding the bay do make up for it though! Even if you don't dig the idea of living there you really must pay Newfoundland and Labrador a visit!

Northwest Territories

Up next is the Northwest Territories which is obviously one of Canada's most northwestern Territories wedged between the Yukon and Greenland. The largest city in the NWT is Yellowknife  According to Yellow, "Yellowknife is the best place in the world to view the aurora borealis, also known as the Northern Lights." As per Wikipedia, "The Northwest Territories of Canada include the regions of Dehcho, North Slave, Sahtu, South Slave and Inuvik. Their remote landscape encompasses forest, mountains, Arctic tundra and islands in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Dehcho's Nahanni National Park Reserve centers around the canyons of the South Nahanni River and 90m-high Virginia Falls. The regional capital, Yellowknife, is on the north shore of Great Slave Lake." Mining is a major business there with outfits digging up gold, lead, zinc, copper and iron ore. According to the main tourism website, "Yellowknife is a city of contrasts and vibrancy. With a population just under 20,000 and one of the youngest populations in the country, it maintains the friendliness of a small town and the opportunity and energy of a metropolis." You are going to start seeing a theme here, the weather can be brutal with temperatures plunging to minus 40 degrees Celsius in the winter. So, if you hate the cold, give the NWT a miss.

Nova Scotia

One of the most populated Atlantic provinces, Nova Scotia is a popular tourist area with natural beauty and hospitality galore! A Maritime province, Nova Scotia consists of a peninsula and offshore islands and is home to loads of wildlife including whales and seals. There is white water rafting in Truro and Kayaking in Halifax. According to Google, "Halifax is dominated by the star-shaped Citadel, is known for its lively waterfront and Victorian-era Public Gardens. Cape Breton Island is at the eastern end of the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. Its Cabot Trail is a roadway encircling the island, passing forests and rugged coastline. The drive skirts Cape Breton Highlands National Park, whose Skyline Trail footpath overlooks the Gulf of St. Lawrence, known for migratory whales. The town of Sydney honours local music with the Big Fiddle, a giant violin statue on the waterfront." Besides Fishing there are several other career options including mining, farming and shipping as well as the usual professional pursuits. If you are in search of some fresh salty air, give Nova Scotia a go!


Next on our list is Nunavut, Canada's baby territory. Home to a bustling diamond trade and mining operation, Nunavut also has a large indigenous population. If you search Nunavut in Wikipedia, you will see that it "is a massive, sparsely populated territory of northern Canada, forming most of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Its islands have expanses of tundra, craggy mountains and remote villages accessible only by plane or boat. It's known for its indigenous Inuit people's artwork, carvings and handmade clothing. Inuit art is displayed at the Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum in the capital, Iqaluit, on Baffin Island." Studies have shown that due to it's isolated nature, depression and certain health conditions are more prevalent in our youngest territory.


Ontario or as those of us who live here like to think, the center of the world. Home to Canada's largest city, Toronto otherwise known as, "no, Drake is not from here" a buzzing metropolis that has much in common with NYC although it is only a quarter of New York's size. We have a lot to offer in terms of beautiful landscapes and cute hamlets however one landmark certainly stands out: Niagara Falls or as you Yanks like to say, the Canadian side of Niagara Falls is probably one of the most spectacular sites you will behold in this great country. Come for the natural beauty but stay for the cheesy Clifton Hill shops. Ontario also has an excellent job market with loads of smaller towns and cities including our Nation's Capital, Ottawa though, if you are looking for a government job see my write up on Quebec below. Southern Ontario certainly has better Weather than many of the Maritime provinces but beware, once you pass Milton to the West and Barrie to the North it starts to get a little snowy.


Parlez-vous français? La ville de Québec est située sur le fleuve Saint-Laurent, dans la province du Québec, le plus souvent francophone. Datant de 1608, elle a un noyau colonial fortifié, Vieux-Québec et Place Royale, avec des bâtiments en pierre et des rues étroites. Il s'agit du site du Château Frontenac et de la imposante Citadelle de Québec. Les rues pavées du Petit Champlain sont bordées de bistros et de boutiques. If you can read the above sentence then Quebec may be for you! One big downside? If you don't speak French it can be difficult to find a job there. Au Revoir!


Saskatchewan or as it is affectionately known in Ontario, the only province where you can watch your dog run away for days that has little hills or ridges and mostly flat prairie land. In actuality, "Saskatchewan is a province that borders the United States to the south and Alberta to the West. Grassland covers its southern plains, and to the north are the rugged rock of the Canadian Shield plateau, coniferous forests, rivers and lakes. Regina, the provincial capital, is home to the Royal Saskatchewan Museum, with exhibits on natural history and the people of Canada’s First Nations" according to Wikipedia. Keeping with the theme of the evening, the winters can be brutal but Regina, the largest city in Saskatchewan is a bustling city on the rise well worth a look.

Prince Edward Island

Do you like potatoes? Well, then Prince Edward Island is for you! In all seriousness PEI is a picturesque small Atlantic province that until a few years ago was much harder to get to. "The Confederation Bridge spans the Abegweit Passage of Northumberland Strait. It links Prince Edward Island with mainland New Brunswick. The large island is marked by red-sand beaches, lighthouses, and fertile farmland, and is renowned for seafood like lobster and mussels. Charlottetown, the capital, is home to Victorian government buildings & the modern Confederation Centre of the Arts, with a theatre and art gallery." 


Feeling like a gold rush? Yukon Cornelious was on to something when he shouted "Gold!" in everyone's favorite Christmas cartoon. The Klondike Gold Rush was a migration by an estimated 100,000 prospectors to the Klondike region of the Yukon in north-western Canada between 1896 and 1899. And wouldn't you know it, some of them stayed! The Yukon, another territory is a wild, mountainous and sparsely populated place. Kluane National Park and Reserve includes Mount Logan, Canada’s highest peak, as well as glaciers, trails and the Alsek River. In the far north is Ivvavik National Park, with protected calving grounds for Porcupine caribou. In the south are numerous glacier-fed alpine lakes, including boldly coloured Emerald Lake. Whitehorse is the main city center there with a population of nearly twenty eight thousand. There is a fairly decent infrastructure there and even a college offering bridged university degrees from various Canadian Universities. Downside? The isolation factor and the weather. If you have a rugged heart and spirit then the Yukon is right for you.

Which province/Territory is your favorite and where would you move if you had the chance? Leave a comment below letting us know!

Stamp Geek 

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