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In the beginning

Klondike Pete’s Canada for Brits

Pete and his family decided to up sticks and move to Canada for the family adventure of a lifetime – this eleven-part series chronicles the move. Invaluable for the prospective immigrant to Canada!

A lifetime’s family adventure was what we needed. The kids were getting older and before they were up and left home, we’d decided to go for it. We’d sat there in our living room procrastinating long enough, the time had come to turn dreams into reality.

Deciding to leave the UK for a long period of time (a couple of years) wasn’t a problem for me. A little more difficult though for my wife, as she has a close family and ageing parents, but for the kids, a son almost 17 and daughter of 12, it was all systems go.

Canada had always allured us. The thought of all that space, the huge land mass, the natural resources, the healthy living, lumberjacks, bear wrestling, canoes, maple syrup and pancakes …. all the things we had seen on TV and the movies. One could get lost there – what a wonderful thought.

Having a vacation home that could act as a base camp for exploring North America (or even south), would be fantastic. And now, with the Internet, and modern communications systems, we could also operate our business ventures from anywhere on the globe, funding ourselves as we go.

Next step was to raise the necessary capital and so we placed the house up for sale. Timing is everything and we carefully monitored the property prices as they made the long recovery from the crash of the early nineties. The estate agent set his valuation, and we fixed ours! Our bullish attitude earned us an extra 10% on the sale price which in real terms, after we had settled the mortgage, yielded a further, welcome, 20% in equity.

For our return to Britain and as a home base, we rented a fully furnished flat from a friend, who had no objection to us sub-letting it out during the extended holidays. In fact he actually did this for us, reducing our outlay considerably.

Whilst waiting for a buyer, we surfed the Net, gathering as much information about Canada and its provinces as possible. In the end we decided on the east coast and Nova Scotia, a place not dissimilar to the area where we live in England and the shortest possible flight time (6 hrs), just in case we had to head back to the UK for some family crisis.

Using this marvellous new medium, the Web, we were not only able to arrange a place to rent but also organised phone, electric supply and cable supply, book flights, holiday insurance, overnight hotels and bank accounts. The only problem was a hire car. On the North American continent you have to have a credit card to do this, and I didn’t have one. I had a debit card with the Visa symbol on it, but no, none of the international rental companies would accommodate.

Once we had a purchaser for the house, it was time to announce our intention to all and sundry. Anyone who has stood up and done this, knows exactly what it’s like. The family, neighbours and most of your friends will cry dissent, tell you you are mad or at least unwise. The very thought of you stepping outside the circle of normality fills them with fear, woe and sometimes jealousy. Make note, you will have a hard time and few allies, but go for it, for it will be the best thing you have ever done. Be brave, be bold!

© 2002 Klondike Pete

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