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Living in Montreal
Old 07-01-2007, 05:58 PM   #1
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Living in Montreal

I will soon be retired at age 61. I am attracted to the Montreal area and am wondering if any other retirees have set up home there. I will most likely not work for a salary but will be involved in volunteer work of some kind. I look at the rental property and I am pleasantly surprised at the very reasonable rates, far below what you would pay in most places in the US. In addition, the Canadian law forbids an increase in rental property more than 3% a year.

As an American, am I able to rent a house or apartment in Canada? What assurance does the landlord have that I will remain in Canada?

Can a person get a mortgage buying property in Canada or must an American pay in full if he buys a home in Canada? This is probably a ridiculous question.

How many of you have retired in Canada?

Regards,
Rob
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Old 07-01-2007, 06:32 PM   #2
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As an American, am I able to rent a house or apartment in Canada? What assurance does the landlord have that I will remain in Canada?

Can a person get a mortgage buying property in Canada or must an American pay in full if he buys a home in Canada? This is probably a ridiculous question.
There is no legal restriction on an American renting a home in Canada. The landlord has the right to ensure you are who you say you are and won't default on the rent. Getting a lease may require opening a Canadian bank account. Expect security checks. If you plan to live here, as opposed to visiting regularly, you will need a visa. Check out the Immigrating to Canada website for general information. The probability of obtaining permanent resident status depends on the points you accumulate for criteria such as skills in need, family reunification, investor or entrepreneur status. There is no category for retirees. Quebec is picky about selecting its immigrants; see Immigration-Québec - Home Page. In Quebec, fluency in French would be a distinct advantage. You do not need to be a Canadian citizen to get a mortgage in Canada; I had one and retired it before I ever became a citizen. However, I was employed and entitled to work here.

Also check out this thread on the Financial Webring Forum: Financial Webring Forum :: View topic - If You're a Snowback Returning from the U.S.

Happy Canada Day!
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Thanks, Meadbh, but...
Old 07-01-2007, 07:22 PM   #3
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Thanks, Meadbh, but...

Thank you for your response. My inclination is not to become a landed immigrant but just rent an apartment and live there. I hear that I can only stay for 6 months (as an American), but if I go to the States for a day (after being in Canada for 6 months) and then return to Canada, would I be able to stay another 6 months?

Do you know of many Americans who rent or buy, and stay for 6 months at a time or years at a time without being landed immigrants?

Thanks.

Regards,
Rob
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Old 07-01-2007, 08:01 PM   #4
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if I go to the States for a day (after being in Canada for 6 months) and then return to Canada, would I be able to stay another 6 months?
I don't know; ask Immigration Canada.

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Do you know of many Americans who rent or buy, and stay for 6 months at a time or years at a time without being landed immigrants?
No.
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Old 07-01-2007, 11:04 PM   #5
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I don't know; ask Immigration Canada.
There are 2 aspects of this. How long can an American legally stay in Canada physically per Immigration Canada rules, and when does an American become taxable as a Canadian resident.

For the latter, one needs to read up on the tie-breaking rules in the Canada-US tax treaty. It might be that being in Canada more than 6 months of the year with minimal ties to the USA could result in an American being considered a 'resident' of Canada for tax purposes.
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Old 07-02-2007, 08:00 AM   #6
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There are 2 aspects of this. How long can an American legally stay in Canada physically per Immigration Canada rules, and when does an American become taxable as a Canadian resident.

For the latter, one needs to read up on the tie-breaking rules in the Canada-US tax treaty. It might be that being in Canada more than 6 months of the year with minimal ties to the USA could result in an American being considered a 'resident' of Canada for tax purposes.
You're right AR. Here's what the Convention Between Canada and the United States of America With Respect to Taxes on Income and on Capital says:


2. Where by reason of the provisions of paragraph 1 an individual is a resident of both Contracting States, then his status shall be determined as follows:
(a) he shall be deemed to be a resident of the Contracting State in which he has a permanent home available to him; if he has a permanent home available to him in both States or in neither State, he shall be deemed to be a resident of the Contracting State with which his personal and economic relations are closer (centre of vital interests);
(b) if the Contracting State in which he has his centre of vital interests cannot be determined, he shall be deemed to be a resident of the Contracting State in which he has an habitual abode;
(c) if he has an habitual abode in both States or in neither State, he shall be deemed to be a resident of the Contracting State of which he is a citizen; and
(d) if he is a citizen of both States or of neither of them, the competent authorities of the Contracting States shall settle the question by mutual agreement.
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Old 07-02-2007, 10:19 AM   #7
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Oh, and did we mention that July 1 is official moving day in Montreal?

http://www.tourisme-montreal.org/download/bs200006.pdf
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Old 07-02-2007, 04:13 PM   #8
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Rob,

I work in Alberta on a NAFTA work permit. (May eventually become a Permanent Resident.) I have been told that I can continue on like this for many years, renewing the work permit as necessary. I pay taxes in Canada at what may be the highest marginal tax rate in the western hemisphere (although Alberta has the lowest of all the provinces).

Quote:
As an American, am I able to rent a house or apartment in Canada? What assurance does the landlord have that I will remain in Canada?
He doesn't. You probably won't be able to get a sucker landlord to rent to you unless you are a PR and can show some source of income.

Quote:
Can a person get a mortgage buying property in Canada or must an American pay in full if he buys a home in Canada? This is probably a ridiculous question.
Not at all. The answer is pretty simple, though. Your US credit history means nothing in Canada. You MIGHT be able to find a US mortgage company who will make you a loan, however. Good luck. By the way, your mortgage interest payments are not deductible in Canada. Also, Canada taxes your world-wide income and income in Roth IRAs are not tax-free in Canada.

As I understand it, you have to work up here to get a PR. Typically, you need to get an invitation to work in Canada, but there is a provision for investors who start a business that employs Canadians. A NAFTA work permit only covers certain professions and trades, by the way. There used to be a provision allowing coming to CA for retirement, but that is long gone.

QE is not the same as the rest of Canada. As stated above, they have their own rules and they are tougher. You have a better chance of getting into QE if you are an Algerian terrorist than an anglophon American. You may even be able to get a job in government. If you can't parlevous, you gonna be in da merde.

If you really wanted to live and stay in Canada, it might work best to get work in Alberta or maybe British Columbia, apply for PR status ASAP and move to Montreal after you get it. This will take a few years. Otherwise, just go for extended visits as a tourist for as long as you can. I think you can spend just short of 6 months in any calendar year in Canada as a tourist. Many rich folks do it this way--one house in North Vancouver or the 'Sunshine Coast' (it ain't, by the way) or Newfoundland, one in LA (for example).

Expect to find taxes higher in Canada, a higher cost of living and selection of goods inferior to what you find in the US.

It has been said (by a Canadian) that anti-Americanism is the state religion of Canada. You will find this out for yourself.

Notwithstanding these little irritations, I like it here.
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Old 07-03-2007, 02:09 PM   #9
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Thank you for your response. My inclination is not to become a landed immigrant but just rent an apartment and live there. I hear that I can only stay for 6 months (as an American), but if I go to the States for a day (after being in Canada for 6 months) and then return to Canada, would I be able to stay another 6 months?
Nope. You are deemed a "resident" of Canada if you are in the country 183 days during the tax year (they won't care if you stay 183 days consecutively or not). The "183-Day Rule" is calculated on the total number of days you're in the country so leaving for one day doesn't make a difference.

Deemed residents
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You mean to say...?
Old 07-03-2007, 08:43 PM   #10
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You mean to say...?

You mean to say that if I go to Canada and live using my pension from the States that I already pay federal taxes on, I will still have to pay Canadian taxes on my pension if I stay more than 180 days in Canada? In other words, Canada would tax me in addition to the US? I assumed that is was possible to live in Canada on my excellent pension from the States and not have to pay Canadian taxes on them since I am already paying US taxes. I now get the impression from the past posters that I have to pay both US and Canadian taxes if I stay more that 180 days.

I do not need to work there. I would just live there, ski, hike and enjoy the countryside. Staying more than 180 days doing this sort of thing makes me a resident?

Rob
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Old 07-03-2007, 10:33 PM   #11
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Please do some serious political and economic research before heading to Quebec. It has been some time since I have visited Quebec, but I have a close anglophone friend who grew up in Montreal. His beliefs follow. As mentioned earlier, anti-americanism (is that a word?) is alive and well in Quebec. They booed your nat'l anthem at a hockey game a while back. In Edmonton, they actually sang along with it during the finals. Also, there is a reason that rent is so cheap. Everyone is leaving. The taxes are the highest of any of the province. This is a byproduct of their extreme socialist attitudes. Private enterprise is dead, unions rule the place. The rest of the provinces support their standard of living through something called equilization payments (welfare). If you aren't fluent in french. Not high school french, but Quebec french, then you will be labelled as what you are, an english speaking American. It is without doubt a beautiful and historic place, but for you....likely one of the least welcoming places in Canada.

The western provinces are absolutely booming right now, especially Alberta, so rental prices are on the rise, and rent controls are definitely not in place as crippling increases per yr. are the norm. If you value a laid back lifestyle, don't need to work, in a place of incredible beauty, check the maritime provinces. May I suggest Nova Scotia.
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Old 07-03-2007, 10:39 PM   #12
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If you stay longer than ~180 days in one year, you must have permission from the government to stay. They don't issue retirement visas anymore, so you would have to find another reason.

You have it backwards: After ~180 days, you become a Canadian for tax purposes. There is a tax treaty between Canadistan and the Great Satan. You pay Canadian taxes first. Then, you must file your taxes in the USA. You get credit for the first $80,000 US (approx.) against your US taxes for taxes paid in Canada--which will be higher than in the US. Above $80,000, you pay US taxes as if it were your $80,000+1, not as it used to be, as if it were your first $1.

They don't want people coming here to take advantage of their vaunted health care system.

Many Canadians are trying to figure out how to retire elsewhere. What does that tell you?

Ed The Gypsy,
Still taking a job away from a Canadian.
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For Ed and Grizz
Old 07-03-2007, 11:09 PM   #13
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For Ed and Grizz

Thank you for sharing with me what you know. I need to reach a decision on what I will do in the future. Your comments really help.

First- I now know that I can only stay in Canada for 6 months out of every year unless I ask for an additional visa or get a working visa which I am not going to do. I guess my only question was that a couple summers ago when I went into Canada by car, the custom police only looked at my passport and did not really take note of anything except that I was the person on that passport. He did not type anything into a computer. I suspect things have changed and they actually take note of the day a person enters Canada.

Second- I am now aware of the tax situation. However, I have an American Express card that allows me to withdraw cash from ATM's around the world. How can I be taxed by the Canadian government if I withdraw money from an ATM machine even after being in Canada after 6 months? If I keep some money in a Canadian bank, I guess the interest can be taxed.

Third- I know the anti-Americanism in Quebec is high. The rent is low, but as Grizz said, that is only because people are leaving. I have a Canadian friend in Vancouver, however, who has stated that rent control is throughout Canada. She stated that the maximum rent can be increased is 3% per year. Is that not correct?

Thanks again.

Regard,
Rob
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Old 07-04-2007, 12:51 AM   #14
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I do not need to work there. I would just live there, ski, hike and enjoy the countryside. Staying more than 180 days doing this sort of thing makes me a resident?
For tax purposes, yes. It works exactly the same for Canadians who are in the US for more than 183 days in a year.

Quote:
I guess my only question was that a couple summers ago when I went into Canada by car, the custom police only looked at my passport and did not really take note of anything except that I was the person on that passport. He did not type anything into a computer. I suspect things have changed and they actually take note of the day a person enters Canada.
Probably not. The fact that Canada doesn't track you doesn't mean they won't be pissed if you overstay. Once again, consider the situation for Canadians entering the US. The border controls are quite lax, INS (or whoever they are these days) doesn't keep an eye on you afterwards, and they would have a hard time finding a Canadian who overstayed. But if they do find you, they will be pissed.

Quote:
I am now aware of the tax situation. However, I have an American Express card that allows me to withdraw cash from ATM's around the world. How can I be taxed by the Canadian government if I withdraw money from an ATM machine even after being in Canada after 6 months?
Because case law and income tax law says that, if you're in the country for more than six months, you're a resident. And income tax applies to the worldwide income of all residents. That's not to say that they'll catch you but once again, if they do, they'll be pissed. (And believe me, you'll probably be happier about having Immigration pissed than the taxman pissed.)

Quote:
I have a Canadian friend in Vancouver, however, who has stated that rent control is throughout Canada. She stated that the maximum rent can be increased is 3% per year. Is that not correct?
Rent control, if there is any, is provincial law, not national. There is rent control in both BC and Quebec at the moment, but do not count on it to protect you.

Finally, a word to Ed.

Quote:
They don't want people coming here to take advantage of their vaunted health care system.
It doesn't bother us much if you pay taxes. Your high rates cover the low rates we investors pay. Thank you very much.

Quote:
Many Canadians are trying to figure out how to retire elsewhere. What does that tell you?
That the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.

It's particularly the case for Canadians, who are whiners par excellence.
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Old 07-04-2007, 09:27 AM   #15
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No, rent control is not nation-wide. In Calgary, due to the booming economy, some landlords are increasing rents by 50%

Here's some more info for you taken from the Government of Canada website - hope this helps (although it is a bit confusing). It sounds as though buying a residence in Canada is the key to determining if you are considered a resident of Canada.

Factual Residence -- Entering Canada

Establishing Residential Ties in Canada

16. The residence status of an individual is always a question of fact to be determined by taking into account all of the circumstances of the individual. The most important factor in determining whether or not an individual entering Canada becomes resident in Canada for tax purposes is whether or not the individual establishes residential ties with Canada. An individual's spouse or common-law partner, dependants, and dwelling place, if located in Canada, will almost always constitute significant ties with Canada. In addition, the CCRA considers that where an individual entering Canada applies for and obtains landed immigrant status and provincial health coverage, these ties will usually constitute significant residential ties with Canada. Thus, except in exceptional circumstances, where landed immigrant status and provincial health coverage have been acquired, the individual will be determined to be resident in Canada.
17. Although a dwelling place in Canada will usually be a significant residential tie with Canada, where an individual leases such a dwelling place to a third party, the dwelling place may not be considered to be a significant residential tie with Canada except when taken together with other residential ties. For example, a non-resident individual might acquire a dwelling place in Canada for the purpose of residing in that dwelling place upon his or her retirement at some point in the future. If the individual were to lease the dwelling place to a third party during the period of time between acquiring the dwelling place and residing there, then, unless the individual had other residential ties to Canada, the dwelling place would not be a significant residential tie with Canada during that period of time.
Generally, a lease to a third party would have to be on arm's length terms and conditions for a dwelling place located in Canada not to be considered a significant residential tie with Canada. However, in certain situations, particularly where the non-resident individual acquiring the dwelling place has never previously been resident in Canada, a dwelling place that is leased on non-arm's length terms and conditions to a third party (other than the individual's spouse, common-law partner, or dependant), may not be considered to be a significant residential tie with Canada. For example, where a non-resident individual with no existing residential ties with Canada acquires a dwelling place in Canada and leases that dwelling place to his or her sibling (or to some other relative other than a spouse, common-law partner, or dependant) for a rent that is substantially lower than the fair market rental value of the property, that dwelling place will usually not be a significant residential tie to Canada for that individual.
Date Resident Status Acquired

18. Where an individual enters Canada and establishes residential ties with Canada, the individual will generally be considered to have become a resident of Canada for tax purposes on the date he or she entered Canada.
Sojourners

20. An individual who has not established sufficient residential ties with Canada to be considered factually resident in Canada, but who sojourns (that is, is temporarily present) in Canada for a total of 183 days or more in any calendar year, is deemed to be resident in Canada for the entire year. As a result, an individual who sojourns in Canada for a total of 183 days (or more) is taxed differently under the Act than an individual who is factually resident in Canada throughout the same period of time and has subsequently become a non-resident. In particular, whereas an individual who is resident in Canada for part of a year is only taxed on his or her worldwide income for that part of the year, the individual who is deemed to be resident in Canada is liable for tax on his or her worldwide income throughout the year.
21. The CCRA considers any part of a day to be a "day" for the purpose of determining the number of days that an individual has sojourned in Canada in a calendar year. However, it is a question of fact whether an individual who is not resident in Canada is "sojourning" in Canada. An individual is not automatically considered to be "sojourning" in Canada for every day (or part day) that the person is present in Canada; the nature of each particular stay must be determined separately. To "sojourn" means to make a temporary stay in the sense of establishing a temporary residence, although the stay may be of very short duration. For example, if an individual is commuting to Canada for his or her employment and returning each night to his or her normal place of residence outside of Canada, the individual is not "sojourning" in Canada. On the other hand, if the same individual were to vacation in Canada, then he or she would be "sojourning" in Canada and each day (or part day) of that particular time period (the length of the vacation) would be counted.
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Old 07-16-2007, 07:08 AM   #16
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It apparently is possible to become a Canadian citizen living in Montreal if one is famous enough or has enough money:

Little House on the Prairie Television show - Little House on the Prairie TV Show - Yahoo! TV

Little House on the Prairie star to get Canadian citizenship on Canada Day

June 29, 2007 at 2:45 pm
MONTREAL (CP) - Actress Melissa Sue Anderson will become a Canadian citizen on Canada Day.
Anderson is perhaps best known for her role as Mary Ingalls on the television series "Little House on the Prairie."
She will be presented with her citizenship at a special ceremony in Montreal on Sunday.
Anderson was born in Berkeley, Calif. in 1962.
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Old 07-17-2007, 09:43 PM   #17
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I've lived in Quebec for all my life. Montreal is an Anglophone city and don't let anyone tell you differently. You won't have any trouble getting around in it. If you go to Quebec City or the "country" areas you may have some problems but the majority of people there speak English well enough to get by. The separatist movement is alive in the province itself but it is very much weakened from what it once was. The claim that the province is anti American is quite laughable. I, as well as everyone I know love Americans. Maybe the view is skewed by vocal minorities but i've never seen an ounce of anti Americanism. In fact if you've ever lived in Quebec you'll see many similarities in regards to the attitudes of Americans and Quebecers.

Quebec does have the highest tax rates in the western hemisphere. As someone who is young they benefit me so I'm biased (surprise surprise) but I can see how they effect those with higher incomes. 50% tax rate anyone? There are some benefits to the high taxes however. Public transportation is cheap, there is lots of cheap entertainment, university education is the cheapest in North America, free health care, rents are cheap etc.

The claim that everyone is leaving Quebec en masse is only a partial truth. Despite the disadvantages people stay in Quebec for the culture and the "sens du grand village" or roughly translated, small town feel.

Enterprise is alive and well in Quebec but the government does have it's hand in everything. Bureaucracy is rampant and quite possibly the most in the western hemisphere (try having to deal with two governments that do the exact same things). Despite the claim that we are a socialist state there are pockets of capitalists. We are few but we are proud! As for me? I don't plan on staying. I've read the brochure and it doesn't appeal to me anymore.
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Old 07-18-2007, 02:38 AM   #18
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I've lived in Quebec for all my life. Montreal is an Anglophone city and don't let anyone tell you differently. You won't have any trouble getting around in it. If you go to Quebec City or the "country" areas you may have some problems but the majority of people there speak English well enough to get by. The separatist movement is alive in the province itself but it is very much weakened from what it once was. The claim that the province is anti American is quite laughable.

I'm a born and raised Albertan, and haven't been to Quebec for some time. I'm at a disadvantage on this one in that you probably have a good "man on the street" feel for the place. Firstly, I certainly don't believe the majority of what the media reports, since there are often circumstances left out of or inserted into stories to sensationalize. If you are wondering where I got the opinion from, When the Habs fans booed the American nat'l anthem, the media from both countries were pretty much unanimously strongly hinting that Quebec was anti-american. When I asked my former Montrealer friend what the scoop was, he said that it was over reported, but that there was a low key hostility.

I, as well as everyone I know love Americans. Maybe the view is skewed by vocal minorities but i've never seen an ounce of anti Americanism. In fact if you've ever lived in Quebec you'll see many similarities in regards to the attitudes of Americans and Quebecers.

Quebec does have the highest tax rates in the western hemisphere. As someone who is young they benefit me so I'm biased (surprise surprise) but I can see how they effect those with higher incomes. 50% tax rate anyone?

There are some benefits to the high taxes however. Public transportation is cheap, there is lots of cheap entertainment, university education is the cheapest in North America, free health care, rents are cheap etc.

It isn't just the overburdened Quebec citizens paying the taxes for those perks. $5.5 billion or $725 per capita in 2006 in transfer payments from Ontario and Alberta. I can't help but think that Quebec is a rather inefficient machine when it comes to economics. As one who looks at things logically through mathematics, well....ya just can't argue numbers.

The claim that everyone is leaving Quebec en masse is only a partial truth. Maybe not everyone is leaving, but there are sure lots of industrious, hard working Quebecers living in Alberta right now. In recent years I've become very familiar with the Quebec license plate.

Despite the disadvantages people stay in Quebec for the culture and the "sens du grand village" or roughly translated, small town feel.

100% agreed, the history and architecture is amazing too, especially for a westerner who lives in a province that was being settled only 100 yrs ago.

Enterprise is alive and well in Quebec but the government does have it's hand in everything. I'm not convinced that these two things can co-exist

Bureaucracy is rampant and quite possibly the most in the western hemisphere (try having to deal with two governments that do the exact same things). Despite the claim that we are a socialist state there are pockets of capitalists. We are few but we are proud! As for me? I don't plan on staying. I've read the brochure and it doesn't appeal to me anymore.
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Old 07-20-2007, 03:37 PM   #19
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I was in Quebec City last weekend for the Festival Dete. I only know Bonjour and merci as far as my french goes. I had no problem anywhere, and even in some parts of the country I was able to get by easily. Very friendly place and I will surely go back next year for their 400 yr celebration. They sure do know how to have a festival - the concerts were awesome. And CBC on the radio was very similar to listening to BBC and I loved that

-h
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Old 07-20-2007, 03:39 PM   #20
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Btw having been to Toronto, Montreal, vancouver and now Quebec my order of canadian cities with nice people is

1. Montreal - After all I got tickets to the GrandPrix easily and free beer at the bar
2. Quebec - Beautiful city and walkable
3. Vancouver - great food and skiing
4. Toronto - very American
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