We live in the real Narnia

Richard Webber, Sunday Express
March 8, 2009

Although economic growth has slowed, the credit crunch hasn't bitten so deep in Canada, where Richard Webber discovers a spacious country to which Brits are very keen to emigrate.

In Canada, there aren't huge numbers of jobs being lost. In fact, many companies are recruiting," says Rebekah Saunders, 37, who swapped Morecambe, Lancashire for Upper Tantallon in Canada's Nova Scotia, two years ago.

New houses are still being built and prices remain robust. "The price of our house increased by eight per cent last year," says Rebekah, who lives in a spacious four-bedroom detached property with husband Brad, 45, and children Oliver, 17, India, nine, and Jude, four. Their eldest, Elliott, 18, is in the UK finishing his degree.

Sitting on a two-acre plot, their house is surrounded by trees and cost 165,000. "There is so much land you normally end up with plenty of space, wherever you buy," says Brad, a banker. "It's so picturesque," adds Rebekah. "Oliver described it as being like Narnia."

Last year, Paul, 47, and Tracy Saunders, 44, bought a 220-acre farm for about 158,000 on the edge of Kejimkujik National Park, about a hundred miles from Nova Scotia's capital, Halifax.

"We have so many features on our land including trout streams, woods and lakes," says Paul, who also works for a bank. "We want to turn it into a farm and offer B&B."

According to British-born Nicola Way, owner of Vancouver-based AssignmentsCanada.ca, the Saunders aren't the only Brits smitten with Canada. "More people are wanting to emigrate here because of the state of the British economy,: she says.

While most provinces have no restrictions on foreign ownership of real estate some limit the amount of land and property a non-resident can buy, such as Prince Edward Island, Manitoba and Alberta.

House prices vary enormously. "In Vancouver, the average is 298,000 but districts differ vastly," adds Nicola. "The affluent west side of Vancouver shows an average price of 684,000 while in the east it's 341,000. This compares with 208,000 in Calgary and 188,000 in Toronto."

An area largely undiscovered by Brits is Mont-Tremblant in Quebec. "It's a four-seasons resort with excellent skiing, championship golf courses and affordable properties," says Nicola. "Condos in the Oasis and Rabaska developments are prices from just 106,465 and they are only a 90-minute drive from Montreal."

Another up-and-coming area is Okanagan in British Columbia, one of Canada's least known areas. It is, in fact, one of the sunniest and warmest regions. "There are fruit orchards and award-winning wine is produced there," adds Nicola.

More information:

Oasis Development, Mont-Tremblant, Quebec Price: From 112,000 for one-bedroom apartments;

Eaglewind Development, Squamish, British Columbia; three-bedroom homes from 287,000;

Paris Annex, Vancouver: 16 apartments from 224,000;

www.AssignmentsCanada.ca 001 604 781 9279