Canada's Condominium Magazine
Time will tell how serious they are, these celebrities like Snoop Dogg, Barbra Sreisand and Bryan Cranston, about fleeing the US for Canada now that Trump is president-elect. Plenty of ordinary US citizens, without the stars’ resources and connections, are also talking about moving. According to the Seattle Times, normal enquiries from Americans about Canadian real estate run at about 10,400 a day; in the last few days that has surged to 27,700. Zillow reported a 1,200 per cent spike in searches for Zillow Canada, mostly from people living in Washington state and Seattle. But where would they choose to go? After all, Americans are famously unaware when it comes to Canada.
To the rescue comes online travel magazine Travelers Today, with its pick of the Top Five Best Cities to Live in Canada, published today. Canada, the writer says assuringly, has a “pretty lenient immigration policy” and is known for “its warm people, amazing ski destinations, and its President, Justin Trudeau.” So much for journalistic accuracy. There’s a video titled How to Move to Canada that will give Canadians a chuckle (scroll down to view).
So which Canadian cities make the cut? Certainly not Toronto or Vancouver, for this “guide” is all about economy, though Snoop Dogg did say he was abandoning LA and moving “to the 6ix.”
Regina, shown at top of this page, tops the list, based on its housing prices (average price: $312,000), which the article says are half of Toronto’s, and its strong job prospects. The city was named by the Huffington Post as the best in Canada in which to find a job and an affordable home.
Edmonton places second on the list, once again mainly because of housing prices and good job prospects.
Third place goes to Trois-Rivières, Quebec. The job market there is “a little bit weak,” but it’s a beautiful city with cheap housing. A detached home can be had for only $147,000.
Calgary is also a beautiful city, says the travel writer, and has more sunshine than any other Canadian city. It is also just an hour’s drive from the Rockies, has a multicultural diversity, and the lowest tax rate in Canada.
Finally, there’s Ottawa, where “English and French Canada meet and live as one.” Ottawa has a highly educated workforce, a young immigrant population, and some of the biggest technology companies in Canada.
Having tempted Americans with the prospect of living in places they’ve probably never heard of, like Regina or Ottawa, Travelers Today explains in a separate article that it isn’t actually all that easy for immigrants to obtain permanent residency status in Canada, even with the government’s announced intention to take in more immigrants next year. Claiming political asylum because of Trump’s election is not likely to work, according to a Canadian immigration lawyer quoted in the article.
In contrast to the more or less light-hearted tone of the Travelers Today pieces, a writer for Al Jazeera, Malak Chabkoun, took a much harsher tone, accusing her fellow Americans of being politically immature. She wrote that a US under Trump “is not going to be pleasant, on that we can agree,” but that those Americans “threatening to flee” are displaying an arrogance that is “breathtaking.” They assume that the world, including Canada, will welcome them with open arms just because they don’t like their new president. How long, she asks, would these same people last under the various Arab and African dictatorships and occupiers that the US has propped up for years? Further, Trump was elected by Americans, not imposed on them “by occupation or intervention.”
Regardless of all the talk of expatriating and the spikes in Canadian home searches, the chief economist at Trulia, the other giant homes-for-sale portal in the US, said the heightened interest in Canada was more “gut reaction” than proof of a real intention to move. It’s really nothing more than “window shopping,” said the economist, conceding that the favourable exchange rate might help any US citizens who went through with such a move.