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Old 04-11-2018, 03:20 PM   #1
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Question semi-retire: Victoria BC or Canmore AB?

Hi all - I bet there are some people here who might have some insight....

Title says it all - in about 10 years - when I semi-retire: Victoria BC or Canmore AB?
I work remotely so luckily i would not need local employment.

Years ago i lived in Canmore and Banff.... loved it. Super beautiful, lots to do.

downsides: fairly cold winters. No family or friends there.

Victoria - I have visited. Pretty, lots to do. Mild climate. Some family and friends there.

downsides: a lot of grey and rain for 4 months.
On an island, and getting to Seattle or Vancouver is 4-5 hours ish.

thanks.

John
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Old 04-11-2018, 03:35 PM   #2
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Checked real estate prices in Canmore lately? Nothing, especially prices, is the same as when you lived there. It has become quite a busy place at times (the term zoo comes to mind), and the prices of housing are really high. As for Victoria, I lived there for years. As long as you stay on the island, it is a nice place to live. I don't know what prices are like now, but they shouldn't be any worse than Canmore. The main downside is the cost and hassle of getting on and off the island, especially if you intend to do it regularly during busy times. Spending hours in line and then another hour on the ferry, and dealing with Vancouver traffic to get to or from Tsawassen or Deep Cove gets old in short order. I doubt that I would ever move back.
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Old 04-11-2018, 04:15 PM   #3
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I've visited both places. I got the impression that the Banff-Canmore area must have really rough winters. Keep in mind that as you get older the cold weather affects you more, in general.

Victoria seems really nice, and as the ads touting the city as a retirement location pointed out, it isn't hilly like San Francisco or Seattle; it's easier for older people to get around. But if that big offshore earthquake hits, Victoria is going to go through a shake-and-rinse cycle that might destroy the place. Thirty percent chance in the next 800 years, if I understand correctly. But since you live in L.A. now, you are accustomed to that risk.

A small city on a large island might be good security-wise if the Apocalypse hits. Don't know if Vancouver is large enough to grow its own food, though.
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Old 04-11-2018, 04:57 PM   #4
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Of course it is only 45 minutes from where I live now, but Canmore would be my choice. The beauty of Canmore, Banff and other places near is really hard to beat. If you are looking for activities, they abound in spades. Sure, lots of snow in the winter, but if you are willing to embrace it, it can be a lot of fun.

Victoria is a beautiful city, and and is surrounded by lots of great places to visit and explore. I love visiting there, and will many more times in my life. If you plan to do a lot of trailer travel, or even just car travel off the island, you had best figure that into the cost of living. This is probably the biggest reason I would not want to live there. Though lots of cloudy days and rain, temperatures are way warmer than Canmore on average.

Either location would make a great place to live, a lot of it depends on what lifestyle you want to lead, and what you want to do with your time.

Personally, if I was to move when I retire, I would choose neither of those. I doubt I will as we have a very close family comprised of of my siblings (and mom) and their children. If for some reason I did move from Calgary it would be either to a smaller Alberta town with a slower pace and cheaper homes, or to the interior of BC, either in the Kootenay or Shuswap regions.
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Old 04-11-2018, 08:41 PM   #5
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Victoria vs Canmore

Well I grew up in BC and spent a lot of time in Victoria and I love it. The ferries are a major pain, not so much for retired people. The corny old joke is Victoria is for newlyweds and nearlydeads. But a great climate year round.

Lived in Alberta since 2004 and spent a lot of time in Canmore since my son was a national team biathlete and that is where the shooting range is. Great place I wish I had bought a place there when I moved to Calgary.

I think you need to decide do I like the mountains or do I like the oceans.
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Old 04-11-2018, 08:42 PM   #6
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Lived in Victoria and other places on the island for many years, now live in the BC interior and plan to retire here (have family in Victoria).

Victoria has mild and wet winters, a pleasant city to live in but getting busy, island highway jammed with traffic, good services, hard to get on/off island to travel, great if your a boater not great if you like winter sports.

Canmore 4 seasons of weather, busy in summer, easier to travel the region, great place if you like winter and summer sports. Don't have many endless days of rain and a ferry to get out of area.

Housing expensive in both places. My vote is for the interior of BC.
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Old 04-11-2018, 08:45 PM   #7
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Victoria vs Canmore

Agreed. I will be on Kal Lake when I retire.
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Old 04-11-2018, 09:51 PM   #8
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Have you considered Nanaimo? Smaller town up the Sunshine coast in the rain shadow with a direct ferry to North Vancouver.
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Old 04-11-2018, 11:10 PM   #9
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I'm 12 minutes from the Horseshoe Bay terminal ( mainland side ). We considered Parksville and more likely Qualicum. Daughter said if we did that, she wasn't taking the ferry to visit. Prices of homes in Parksville, Qualicum, Courtenay / Comox have risen significantly in the past year. There are a whole lot of baby boomers cashing out in the Lower Mainland and moving to the Island or Kelowna ( interior ).
Missed the gold rush again.
But still sitting on a lode.
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Old 04-12-2018, 10:59 AM   #10
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Halfway

We picked Kelowna...halfway between the two. You can get to each in a day. Not as cold as Alberta in the winter but not as warm as the island in the winter. Like some have said...if your not going to use the ferry it is a great place.
Kelowna is real expensive now with the stats stating the average home price to be over $700,000. House prices are going up 15% a year here. Armstrong is the sleeper right now. Small town...15 mins away from all the big box stores in Vernon. Good luck
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Old 04-12-2018, 01:33 PM   #11
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A big plus for Victoria is that seniors now travel for free on the ferries Monday through Thursday. That saves us $68.80 round trip
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Old 04-12-2018, 01:44 PM   #12
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A big plus for Victoria is that seniors now travel for free on the ferries Monday through Thursday. That saves us $68.80 round trip
But, you still pay for the vehicle and trailer.
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Old 04-12-2018, 01:54 PM   #13
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We picked Kelowna...halfway between the two. You can get to each in a day. Not as cold as Alberta in the winter but not as warm as the island in the winter. Like some have said...if your not going to use the ferry it is a great place.
Kelowna is real expensive now with the stats stating the average home price to be over $700,000. House prices are going up 15% a year here. Armstrong is the sleeper right now. Small town...15 mins away from all the big box stores in Vernon. Good luck
I like the Okanagan Valley, but mostly just to visit. Too darn hot in the summer for me, especially the further south you go. I do like the Vernon area though, a bit cooler in the summer, and real trees.

I do like Kelowna though, and know lots of folks who live there. I think about the biggest weakness it has is the inability to drive through it without traffic hassles, what with it being about 1/2 kilometre wide, and 30 long. (maybe a wee exaggeration there). They could use a bypass road in the hills somewhere.
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Old 04-12-2018, 02:41 PM   #14
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We have trees as far down as Kelowna...small sample of my back yard.
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Old 04-12-2018, 05:35 PM   #15
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Both places have their pros and cons....
The one thing I wouldn't like is the ferry cost to get off the island.
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Old 04-12-2018, 05:56 PM   #16
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Both places have their pros and cons....
The one thing I wouldn't like is the ferry cost to get off the island.
Islanders rarely leave the island. When riding on the ferries you soon discover that the majority of the passengers are Mainlanders. They are either coming too the island for their holidays or leaving because their holidays are over.
It is in my opinion and the opinion of almost every islander you will meet, that it is best place in Canada to live!
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Old 04-12-2018, 06:08 PM   #17
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For me that would a hard decision, Victoria or Canmore. I live in North Vancouver and like it, but find it is getting a bit too busy for me. We picked North Vancouver so we could have easy access to the mountains, which my wife and I use daily for hikes etc. Canmore is also a favorite spot to hike. Been doing a hike in the Rockies every year for the past 40 years. We hike with a whole group of friends and we always start In Canmore for our pizza/wine kick off party.
If you like skiing, Canmore is hard to beat with Sunshine, Norquay and Louise all very close.
Victoria on the other hand has a great climate, not as much rain as Vancouver and has developed, what I think, a real nice vibe with a lot of university students etc. Great coffee shops and restaurants. Lacking a bit in the way of mountains though, but you can find them quick enough.
As for the ferries, once you are retired or semi-retired, spending time in line ups or on the ferry is not a big deal IMO. Sit back, read a book, and don't worry about the time issue.
My wife likes Canmore as well, but if it went to a vote, Victoria would win hands down.

Personally we are considering Saltspring Island, several mountains to access, nice vibe in Ganges and the rest of the Island. The question for me is maybe just a bit too small.
Good luck making your decision. Can't go wrong either way
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Old 04-12-2018, 06:11 PM   #18
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thanks to everyone for all the awesome thoughts. very interesting thread!

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Old 04-12-2018, 06:25 PM   #19
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Personally we are considering Saltspring Island, several mountains to access, nice vibe in Ganges and the rest of the Island. The question for me is maybe just a bit too small.
Sounds great, until you age and have numerous medical and dental appointments that require you to leave the island. Cost of transportation and motel or hotel rooms adds up.
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Old 04-12-2018, 06:58 PM   #20
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Islanders rarely leave the island. When riding on the ferries you soon discover that the majority of the passengers are Mainlanders. They are either coming too the island for their holidays or leaving because their holidays are over.
It is in my opinion and the opinion of almost every islander you will meet, that it is best place in Canada to live!
That’s pretty good insight.
I maybe leave the island once or twice a year, no real reason to leave except for our Escape vacation coming up this summer. Yeah the ferry cost will suck, but hey, it’s my vacation . It’ll be lthe equivalent of a couple extra tanks of gas in the ole Tundra.
Also I’ve probably shovelled snow just a couple times a year, taking no more than a couple minutes. You’ll have to prepare for hefty home prices, deadly Colwood traffic if you live in the west shore, and a vitamin D supplement in the winter, lol. Warning, we don’t have an IKEA.
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