Canada, A Destination for All Seasons

Cheryl Markosky
The Independent Newspaper
June 29, 2005
Edited and Reprinted by kind permission of the Independent

Once, British explorers crossed the Atlantic and ventured up the St Lawrence Seaway to barter whisky and guns for beaver pelts. Today, Brits are turning up on Canada's shores eager to invest in holiday homes.

As well as clear blue skies, wide-open spaces and a peaceful environment, Canada also offers favourable prices. Assignments Canada's Nicola Way, who lived in Vancouver for many years before relocating to the UK, says, "You can get a good four-bedroom house in Toronto for 250,000, while prices are a bit higher in seaside Vancouver at 350,000.

"As well as people wanting to spend a holiday there, we are being contacted by Brits who want to emigrate. The Canadian government used to take 150,000 people a year, but they have doubled the figure this year."

David Blythe, a retired accountant from Wimbledon, south London, and his wife Maureen have always longed for a log cabin by a lake, so they've bought two - a 250,000 house from a selection starting at 148,300 at Cote Nord near Lac Superieur, and the second at Blueberry Lake.

"We've bought a four-bedroom log cabin for about 300,000 at Blueberry Lake that we will use for holidays with the family and rent the rest of the time," says Blythe. "I'm looking forward to playing golf on the nearby course, which is used for the Canadian Open, and there will be plenty for the grandchildren to do."

Montreal, the 350-year-old capital of Quebec, is also enjoying a facelift. The local government is pouring 22m over the next five years into the streets in the city centre around St Laurent Boulevard.

Dean Rhodes is certainly confident at the prospect of buying in Canada. The 42-year-old social work student has bought a one-bedroom apartment sight unseen in Sleb in downtown Montreal for 110,000 with his partner Marlena.

"I read about the scheme and liked the sound of the cultural aspects of Montreal and Canada," says Rhodes. "In the long term, it looks like a lovely place to live."

"A lot of people go to Canada on holiday then decide they want to buy there," observes Way. "Generally, the climate is milder out west in British Columbia in the fruit-growing region of the Okanagan, and Alberta is well regarded as a province." The downside is longer flight times to the west - typically eight to nine hours, compared with five or six out east.