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Best Places To Live in Retirement? Our View
Old 11-02-2004, 07:25 AM   #1
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Best Places To Live in Retirement? Our View

It just occurred to me that all of us ER'd folk may have opinions as to where are the best places to live in Retirement in the USA and/or Canada. Please limit your input to these locations. This is obviously based on one's own opinions, but that is OK. Personally I would classify the cost of housing and weather as my top 2 items, in that order. Those with heart problems may not. As we have not chosen a final place to settle yet, I will comment on my last residence. I would love to hear your personal experiences, and YES recommendations are OK. If the place you live is in fact that place, or if you know a place you have visited that you are longing to move to, when you retire or when you get the opportunity, if already retired.

Our most recent abode.

Location: South Orange County California, Mission Viejo 92692 and Rancho Santa Margarita, 92688 (within 1 mile of each other)

Length of Stay: 15 years combined

Cost Of Housing: Silly, unless your home is paid for and you have at least $5k per month of after tax income and a paid for home, it is prohibitive. Average Price of a CONDO is $450k where we were. The price of our 4 be 3 bath when sold helped us to ER.

Weather: Excellent

Cost Of Living: High in general, OK when I was working earning $200k PA. But on $36k pa, not too good. THose with working spouses may be OK.

Health Care: Good and plentifull but expensive.

Please feel free to add what items you like. But those are my top items. In basically the order or merit. Again I consider housing cost and weather as my 2 biggies.

SWR
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Re: Best Places To Live in Retirement?
Old 11-02-2004, 07:29 AM   #2
 
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Re: Best Places To Live in Retirement?

Actually I posted this last week. There is a website that will allow you to fill in yiour requirements and give you 24 choices back in the U.S.

At the end of the survery it asks for your Name and address and a valid e-mail. Feel free to make them up and use a spam mail account. It also asks for other info, but that is optional

Have Fun www.findmyspot.com
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Re: Best Places To Live in Retirement?
Old 11-02-2004, 07:46 AM   #3
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Re: Best Places To Live in Retirement?

Isn't this like asking for great fishing spots? People who know don't want to share.
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Re: Best Places To Live in Retirement?
Old 11-02-2004, 08:46 AM   #4
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Re: Best Places To Live in Retirement?

Quote:
Actually I posted this last week. There is a website that will allow you to fill in yiour requirements and give you 24 choices back in the U.S.

At the end of the survery it asks for your Name and address and a valid e-mail. Feel free to make them up and use a spam mail account. It also asks for other info, but that is optional

Have Fun www.findmyspot.com

Cut Throught. That what spurred this post. I would like educated opionions though not marketing based ones. Personal experiences are much better.

SWR
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Re: Best Places To Live in Retirement? Our View
Old 11-02-2004, 09:28 AM   #5
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Re: Best Places To Live in Retirement? Our View

I'll comment on Calgary, Alberta (Canada)...home sweet home.

Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Length of Stay: Born and raised here (about 30 yrs without me giving away my true age )

Cost Of Housing: Pretty affordable and ranging anywhere from $180K (CAD) to over $1 million for a house. A new condo can still be bought for $100K (CAD).

Weather: The local saying is "If you don't like the weather, wait 5 minutes". One minute it's raining, the next the sun is shining. Winter's can be pretty cold and can get as cold as -30F but this only lasts a few days. Other than that, it's bearable. We have the most sunshine out of any province in Canada...I don't think I could live in Vancouver where it rains all the time and is always cloudy. It's quite funny because most Americans think Canada is the tundra but I remember two years ago on Christmas day where it was 50F in Boston (where my husband is from) and it was 70F in Calgary.


Cost Of Living: Average. Not as expensive as Toronto or Vancouver. We have no provincial sales tax (all the other provinces do) and we have the lowest personal and business income tax rates. The local economy is rocking and we just paid off the last of the provincial debt. The government now has to decide what to do with all of this extra money, which is a good problem to have.

Health Care: I've never had a problem with it but I hear there can be waiting times for certain procedures. Alberta is looking at opening some private clinics and with the local economy booming more money is being put into healthcare.

Recreation: Can't beat it! 45 minutes from the Rocky Mountains and some of the best skiing in the world. We have a ski hill 5 minutes from our house with world class luging and bobsledding (left over from the 1988 Winter Olympics). Every summer we host the Calgary Stampede and we have a ton of festivals and outdoor exhibits.

Hubby and I plan to retire here since life is pretty good.


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Re: Best Places To Live in Retirement? Our View
Old 11-02-2004, 09:55 AM   #6
 
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Re: Best Places To Live in Retirement? Our View

My current abode
Location: Maui Hawaii
Length of Stay: 3 years
Cost Of Housing: Ridiculous (400K for a 900sqft shack.)
Weather: Outstanding. Hotter at sea level, for a cooler climate go higher on the mountain.
Cost Of Living: High
Health Care: Not very good.
Recreation: Outstanding: year round surfing, cycling, hiking, fishing, windsurfing, kayaking, ...
City Life: Minimal. access to Hawaiian cultural activities and music.
Taxes Very low property taxes. 8.5% income tax, 7.25% cap gains, 4% value added tax (like a sales tax).
Ease of Travel Difficult, unless you bounce between the Asia and the west coast.

Other places:

Location: Seattle Washington
Length of Stay: 4 years
Cost Of Housing: Moderate to High
Weather: Temperate climate. It never gets very hot or cold. Summers are beautiful. Winters are typically cloudy with many days of light rain.
Cost Of Living: Moderate
Health Care: Good
Recreation: Very good: boating and fishing on the Puget Sound of Lake Washington. Seattle is nessled between the Cascades and Olympic mountain. Good skiing, fishing, hiking, ect.
City Life: Plentiful. museums, universities, restaurants, theatre, live music.
Taxes Low. reasonable property taxes. 0% income tax, 4% sales tax.
Ease of Travel Good: Major airport, easy to drive around the Northwest.

Location: Boston
Length of Stay: 10 years
Cost Of Housing: High
Weather: Cold winters, snow, hot summers, beautiful spring and fall.
Cost Of Living: High
Health Care: Excellent
Recreation: Good: boating and fishing in the ocean or cape cod bay. Easy to get out of the city into rural areas. 2 hours from the White Moutains (New Hamshire), or Green Mountains (Vermont). Good cycling and hiking nearby.
City Life: Plentiful. museums, universities, restaurants, theatre, music
Taxes High
Ease of Travel Good: Major airport, easy to drive around the New England, excellent public transportation in Boston and Cambridge.

Location: Long Island New York.
Length of Stay:
Cost Of Housing: High
Weather: Cold winters, snow, hot summers, beautiful spring and fall.
Cost Of Living: High
Health Care: Good
Recreation: OK: boating and fishing in the ocean.
Difficult to get off the Island.
City Life: Need to go to NYC where it's outstanding. museums, universities, restaurants, theatre, music
Taxes Very High
Ease of TravelMajor airport, but it's difficult to drive off the island. I feel very trapped there. You need to go through NYC to get off of LI. The traffic is horrendous. Excellent public transportation to NYC and in NYC.

Location: Atlanta GA
Length of Stay:
Cost Of Housing: moderate
Weather: mild winters, hot summers, nice spring and fall.
Cost Of Living: moderate
Health Care: ?
Recreation: Some. fishing in local lakes, hiking. Too far from the ocean for my tastes.
City Life: Good
Taxes moderate
Ease of TravelMajor airport, easy to drive around the South East.
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Re: Best Places To Live in Retirement? Our View
Old 11-02-2004, 10:03 AM   #7
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Re: Best Places To Live in Retirement? Our View

Current digs:

Monmouth County, NJ

Length of stay: 2 years (but Mom & Dad have had a place in the next county south for 30+ years)

Cost of Housing: Moderately expensive. Our 3 BR 2 Bath colonial in a pleasant (but not particularly upscale) suburban 'hood would probably fetch about $400k. Condos are $200k and up. The real killer is RE taxes, though. Our annual bill is about $6k and is low compared to many other parts of NJ. And it has gone up 8% a year since we bought the place.

Weather: Pretty nice. Can't beat summers on the shore, and Fall and late spring are lovely. January and February are gray and cold, though.

Cost of living: middling high. Groceries are noticeably more expensive than other places I have lived.

Healthcare: Pretty darned good. If Robert Wood Johnson won't be good enough for you, NYU Medical Center and Columbia Presbyterian are an hour away.

Overall: Its a nice place to live, but the RE tax burden will probably drive me away when it comes time for FIRE.
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Re: Best Places To Live in Retirement? Our View
Old 11-02-2004, 10:24 AM   #8
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Re: Best Places To Live in Retirement? Our View

Quote:
I'll comment on Calgary, Alberta (Canada)...home sweet home.

Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Length of Stay: Born and raised here (about 30 yrs without me giving away my true age )

Cost Of Housing: Pretty affordable and ranging anywhere from $180K (CAD) to over $1 million for a house. A new condo can still be bought for $100K (CAD).

Weather: The local saying is "If you don't like the weather, wait 5 minutes". One minute it's raining, the next the sun is shining. Winter's can be pretty cold and can get as cold as -30F but this only lasts a few days. Other than that, it's bearable. We have the most sunshine out of any province in Canada...I don't think I could live in Vancouver where it rains all the time and is always cloudy. It's quite funny because most Americans think Canada is the tundra but I remember two years ago on Christmas day where it was 50F in Boston (where my husband is from) and it was 70F in Calgary.


Cost Of Living: Average. Not as expensive as Toronto or Vancouver. We have no provincial sales tax (all the other provinces do) and we have the lowest personal and business income tax rates. The local economy is rocking and we just paid off the last of the provincial debt. The government now has to decide what to do with all of this extra money, which is a good problem to have.

Health Care: I've never had a problem with it but I hear there can be waiting times for certain procedures. Alberta is looking at opening some private clinics and with the local economy booming more money is being put into healthcare.

Recreation: Can't beat it! 45 minutes from the Rocky Mountains and some of the best skiing in the world. We have a ski hill 5 minutes from our house with world class luging and bobsledding (left over from the 1988 Winter Olympics). Every summer we host the Calgary Stampede and we have a ton of festivals and outdoor exhibits.

Hubby and I plan to retire here since life is pretty good.


I lived in Calgary for 4 years before moving to the USA. Loved it. But the Winter weather was a little tedious. I was there this year visiting the "Outlaws" house prices are in excess of $300k CAD in reality for a moderate 3x2x2 home. ($500k gets you a nice place) I lived in Midnapore and Lake Bonevista estates. General articles are more expensive than other parts of Canada as everything is trucked in. This makes up for the lack of sales tax.

SWR
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Re: Best Places To Live in Retirement? Our View
Old 11-02-2004, 10:27 AM   #9
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Re: Best Places To Live in Retirement? Our View

Greater Slidell, LA/Orleans Parish boonies - 30 yrs.

DON'T COME! I can go out on the street and throw a rock - odds are I'll hit a retired military or aerospace. Taxes are rising and they're building like crazy.

GO RETIRE SOMEWHERE ELSE! North shore Lake Ponchartrain boom contunues unabated.
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Old 11-02-2004, 10:41 AM   #10
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Re: Best Places To Live in Retirement? Our View

Quote:


I lived in Calgary for 4 years before moving to the USA. Loved it. *But the Winter weather was a little tedious. I was there this year visiting the "Outlaws" house prices are in excess of $300k CAD in reality for a moderate 3x2x2 home. ($500k gets you a nice place) I lived in Midnapore and Lake Bonevista estates. General articles are more expensive than other parts of Canada as everything is trucked in. This makes up for the lack of sales tax.

SWR
Real estate is going up but I have to disagree with you that in reality most homes are in excess of $300K. Depends what area you are in. Midnapore and Lake Bonavista are the nicer and more expensive neighbourhoods but you can still buy a home under $200K if you look in the N.E. area of the city such as Martindale, Temple, etc. It won't get you anything fancy but it will put a roof over your head

What general items are you referring to that are more expensive? I've never lived in any other Canadian city so I can't comment. Other things are cheaper though like gas.
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Old 11-02-2004, 12:19 PM   #11
 
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Current Location: Jacksonville, FL for past 2 years

Cost of Housing - Median price around 190K - 250K. My home was up around 35+% since purchase 2 years ago. Less expensive properties probably can be found outside of St. Johns county.

Weather - hot and humid from Apr - Oct (80 - 92 degrees). Great the rest of the year.

Cost of Living - Kinda high due to 6% sales tax but somewhat offset by low property tax (atleast compared to my history of other places) and no state tax.

Insurance/healthcare: low car insurance (1/3 compared to Texas), reasonable health insurance rate. Healthcare facilities abound (2 Mayo clinics, plenty of choices for hospitals, doctors, dentists).

Recreation: Beautiful beaches if you like white and sandy ones. City has the feel of a growing metropolitan area but in some parts still resort-like or rural so take your pick. My neighborhood has mostly young families with kids not retirees.

Other observations: I like the people interactions here, friendly but not intrusive.
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Old 11-02-2004, 12:42 PM   #12
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Re: Best Places To Live in Retirement? Our View

Location: Toronto, Canada - right downtown

Length of Stay: many years in multiple blocks of time

Cost of Housing: ~1200 sq ft condo - CDN$200K and up (and up up up)

Weather: all 4 seasons - winter can be cold and August can be hot and humid
You can avoid much of the weather issues by choosing the condo carefully. *Much of the downtown core is connected together with large underground pedestrian tunnels with shops called PATH. *These can connect you to the subway and from there to most areas of the city.

Healthcare: Good to excellent and FREE to citizens and legal permanent residents.

Recreation: *Massive quantities of cultural activities ranging from the ballet to professional theatre to jazz clubs to punk clubs to a large art gallery. *You name it and you can find it. *The large ethnic diversity leads to a large variety of cultural activities and food. *Three large universities (Toronto, York and Ryerson) and a number of community colleges lead to a diverse number of groups for any activity you can think of as well as the ability to study just about anything.

The city is very diverse - ethnically, socially, culturally, etc. *Don't even bother trying to live there if you can't handle people who aren't straight, buttoned down, church going, WASPs - you're head will explode within a week.

You are also within easy reach of the outdoors and camping/fishing opportunities too. *You can boat on the lake including canoeing/kayaking if you desire. *There are many parks within and on the edge of the city.

Safety: Toronto is safer and cleaner than any US city.

Transportation: *It is quite possible to go without owning a car in a city with good public transportation such as Toronto. *You can use public transportation for the bulk of your travel, use a taxi occasionaly (large loads, late nights at the clubs, etc.), and rent a car a couple of times a year for trips outside the city. *If you leave the city by car more frequently then owning an inexpensive car just for such trips "might" make financial sense - I think you'd have to be renting a car more than one weekend a month for it to make sense.

Taxes: It should be possible for a retiree couple to live quite well and pay very little in income taxes if they have properly set up their portfolio. *Split income equally between the partners (taxes are by person and not by couple) and capital gains taxes are very low (only half of the gains count as income).

Observations: A great public transportation system may allow one to stay active within one's community as one ages. *If one retires to the suburbs or the country they may very well become a shut-in as they age: living on an intellectual diet of soap operas and game shows.
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Old 11-02-2004, 12:49 PM   #13
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Re: Best Places To Live in Retirement? Our View

Location: Waterloo, Canada - Small University City

Length of Stay: many years in two blocks of time

Cost of Housing: 3 bed / 2 bath family house - ~CDN$200K and up

Weather: all 4 seasons - winter can be cold and snowy and August can be hot

Healthcare: Good to excellent and FREE to citizens and legal permanent residents.

Recreation: *Not as numerous as a big city but still very good due to the presence of two universities and a large community college. *Many activities on campus - theatres, clubs, art shows, etc. *Opportunities for continuing education and use of the university libraries. *The large student body means that there are a large number of book stores, cafes, restaurants, and clubs.

You are about 1.5 hours outside of a very large cosmopolitan city - able to head in by car or train.

You are also within increadibly easy reach of the outdoors and camping/fishing opportunities too.

Safety: Even safer and cleaner than Toronto.

Transportation: The public transportation is not comparable with Toronto but it beats anything I've found in Silicon Valley. *You could get by with one car for a couple and use the public transportation coupled with a bicycle.

Observations: *Smaller university cities may offer an nice compromise between cultural/intellectual activities and costs. *An interesting option.
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Old 11-02-2004, 12:50 PM   #14
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Re: Best Places To Live in Retirement? Our View

Psst..Hyperborea...don't say anything more about Toronto, don't you think we have enough people already?

Meanwhile Oakville, Ontario (my current resident) is about 30-40 min drive from Toronto and has nothing of interest. Really.

Try Calgary. Real nice skiing there. Or Vancouver - good sushi places.



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Re: Best Places To Live in Retirement? Our View
Old 11-02-2004, 12:55 PM   #15
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Re: Best Places To Live in Retirement? Our View

Quote:
Psst..Hyperborea...don't say anything more about Toronto, don't you think we have enough people already?
Yeah, it is a big city already. *However, most of those reading this though are Americans who can't or won't be able to move. *Toronto (right downtown - maybe the Annex or similar) is high on my list of places for settling into after the perpetual traveller phase of retirement.

Quote:
Meanwhile Oakville, Ontario (my current resident) is about 30-40 min drive from Toronto and has nothing of interest. Really.
Well, it is a suburban pit, really. * *I can say that with all honesty because I spent a large chunk of my boyhood in another suburban pit on the edge of Toronto.

The suburbs really take the worst attributes of the city and country.
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Old 11-02-2004, 08:09 PM   #16
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Re: Best Places To Live in Retirement? Our View

I currently live in the suburb of Pardise Valley, Arizona, nestled between Scottsdale and Phoenix. *Housing is expensive for Arizona in this area. *Lots are large, and houses range from the mid-400's up to the seven figures. *I moved here about ten years ago before much of the real estate went up. Great place, nice desert mountains, short drive to one of Mayo Clinics primary medical centers in Scottsdale (did you think that a senior Mayo Doc was going to spend their winters in Minnesota?!?) However, there is still plenty of affordable (this is a relative term) housing in the Phoenix area, with a decent three/two in a nice neighborhood available on the growing permiters of the valley for 150-200 K. *Plenty to see and do, but it is a large urban situation, with traffic, growth, and a seemingly endless Ad Valorem Tax increase each year to give the county an advanced payout from my estate to reflect the higher real estate values.

I moved here from Denver, great place, but nowdays I go back to visit I wimp out at the sight of snow. Theres much to like about Denver, but I prefer the metro Phoenix area overall.

On the plus side for the Phoenix Metro Area: no big winter snows, no earth quakes, no long grey weeks without sun, unbeatable winter weather, still relatively affordable housing, primarily decent working folks, newer infrstructure (the city is so new that anything built in the 50's is almost considered for historical designation! *I guess I should have a bronze plaque attached to my butt )

On the minus side: Nuclear heat from May through September, with highs of 110 not uncommon, as a result even though I own my home outright, I still have to pay what many would consider the equivalent of rent from the local power company for air conditioning for nearly half the year. The best way to deal with this is to travel during the summer, which I and my wife like to do. *Otherwise the cost of living is not all that high. *I lived in San Francisco from 1985 - 1990 and I thought I was never going anywhere but into bankruptcy paying for housing and basics. *I lived on Russian Hill in a flat, went in hock buy it, and *sold it for an obscene amount and had a great time. *SF is truly a world class city, but budgets get smashed to bits living there.

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Old 11-02-2004, 11:14 PM   #17
 
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I'm surprised at all the people ER'd in Canada. Are you Canadians or did you decide to move to Canada after retirement?

Anybody from Vancouver? I've heard it was closer to the San Francisco I remember 15 years ago (reasonable cost of living, lots of great food, tolerance. diversity and culture coupled with great outdoor activities and reasonable traffic).
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Old 11-03-2004, 05:59 AM   #18
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Re: Best Places To Live in Retirement? Our View

We are currently in the Toronto Area for the summer. (What is left of it) Only 2 weeks till we hit the Caribbean for 6 months Yaaaaaayyyyy!

OK back to T.O. Both my wife and I are Canadian Citizens as well as US. Canada DID ONCE offer a favourable exchange rate on the US Dollar. Reasonably priced health care and somewhat affordable housing. But the Winters are brutal here. If we decide to settle back in the Ontario area, it will be on the Niagara peninsular. Far enough from T.O. so the housing is reasonable and traffic is bearable, plus you get a slightly longer summer there. (Micro Climate). Otherwise, we will head for British Columbia some place, Kelowna, Victoria, Buncan, Nanaimo.

Half the fun is travelling about and looking for us at the moment. No ties at all. No Kids to worry about etc..

Maybe Canada for the summer and Florida for the winter. Who Knows. It is a next year decision, highly dependent on the state of affairs in the USA now the election is almost over.

SWR
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Old 11-03-2004, 07:06 AM   #19
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Re: Best Places To Live in Retirement? Our View

Quote:
But the Winters are brutal here. If we decide to settle back in the Ontario area, it will be on the Niagara peninsular. Far enough from T.O. so the housing is reasonable and traffic is bearable, plus you get a slightly longer summer there. (Micro Climate). Otherwise, we will head for British Columbia some place, Kelowna, Victoria, Buncan, Nanaimo.

SWR
Niagara Peninsular is a very nice place indeed. Whenever I thought myself as being retired I usually pictured myself somewhere around Niagara Peninsular, wearing a straw hat and riding a lawnmower * it is definitely one place I consider quite nice.

Traffic in TO can be quite exasperating and if that doesn't inspire road rage in you, the insurance and property tax will. I like my suburb (every suburb is different btw, some are better than others). I live all my life in suburbs and I always work in the city. At the end of the day I am relieved to leave the bustling city and come home to my quiet suburb. Some of my peers can't understand this appeal as they prefer life in the city.

(Btw this is by no means an advertisement for Oakville because I like my suburb not too crowded!)

Oakville is clean (cleaner than a lot of other suburbs I have seen) and there are still lots of empty green spaces. It has extensive interconnecting trail system and a small skiing hill nearby (30 min drive from my condo) so if you like biking, jogging, hiking and skiing in your spare time and if you like empty green outdoor, you will like Oakville. Also there is a world-class golf just 5 min drive from my place if golf is your thing.

Housing is cheaper (unless you go for million dollars McMansions which you can also find easily around the golf course if you really want to own one). Property tax and car/house insurance is cheaper compared to TO (unless you are driving everyday to TO). It is only a half an hour drive/train from TO if you would like to indulge in clubs, restaurants, cultural events etc. Yes you do need a car to get around the 'burb as transit system is not as extensive as the city but right now we only have 1 car for 2 adults and we are so far doing fine.

Jane
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Old 11-03-2004, 07:23 AM   #20
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Re: Best Places To Live in Retirement? Our View

Jane:

We are staying in Georgetown at my sister's place for the summer. It is OK. Nothing like Vineland, Beamsville, Welland or Pelham. About the best small towns around here are Erin, Balinifad and Glen Williams. Transportation is poor though. Traffic is OK though. Go figure. Brampton is close and has everything. BUT, it has far too much of all the things you hate about the Burbs is centered in Brampton. It is the biggest PIT around here.

SWR
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