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Old 08-24-2010, 10:15 AM   #1
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Toronto, Ottawa, or Vancouver??

Hey guys,

I've been thinking a lot lately about where I want to move when I graduate. I've pretty much known my whole life I'm not staying in Thunder Bay
I want to move to a bigger city in Canada. I've been researching Toronto, Ottawa, and Vancouver a lot and they all seem like great places to live.
I've been a small town girl my whole life growing up in Thunder Bay so I know I won't be used to living in a big city. But I'm gonna force myself to get used to it because there is no way I want to live in a small town my whole life.
Anyways, for those of you that live in these places or have been or know people that live there, any advice or info you could give me would be great.
Some things I need in a place are affordable rent, good public transportation, job opportunites (perferablely an NGO or government job without a french requirement), and some nature.
I would definitely consider living in a surrounding area of any of these cities if that would cut the living cost.

Oh and I've been to Ottawa and Toronto before, but not Vancouver.

Thanks!
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Old 08-24-2010, 11:01 AM   #2
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Vancouver. I'm surprised you even have to ask.
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Old 08-24-2010, 11:03 AM   #3
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Well I've never been there so I don't know what it's like
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Old 08-24-2010, 11:06 AM   #4
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Vancouver! I am off to work for now, but we can go for coffee and I can tell you all about it!
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Old 08-24-2010, 11:06 AM   #5
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I'm just saying, Vancouver is one of the best and most beautiful cities in North America, and really doesn't compare to the other cities you listed.
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Old 08-24-2010, 11:50 AM   #6
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While Vancouver is beautifully situated, I personally would not choose to live there for a number of reasons. One, I hate rain and until you've spent the most miserable November of your life there...Second, the property prices are ridiculous and anything but "affordable". On top of that, the Vancouver salaries are considerably lower compared to Toronto's even though the cost of living is the same or higher. On a personal level, my career prospects are better in Toronto and on the East Coast in general and Vancouver is too far from those financial centres for my liking and too far from Europe (it's important to me to be closer).

The mountains are beautiful and the only thing that would draw me there. While I like the ocean, the Pacific in Vancouver is far too cold to be useful for beach bumming (I like the water warm).

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Old 08-24-2010, 12:44 PM   #7
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Vancouver!!

anitram's right about the housing costs, though. In the Vancouver core (ie: downtown and a few of the closer suburbs) the cost to rent or own is atrocious. I'd love to live closer to the downtown area, but the suburb where I live is much more affordable. It's a short drive away, so I find myself down there quite often.

Transportation is really good in most areas, so depending on where you'd live, you could get to most places by taking the SkyTrain, West Coast Express, regular bus or riding a bike.

I don't know what the job market is like these days, since I'm not looking for work and don't know anybody who is, so I can't really help you there.

It does rain a lot, but the days when it's nice more than makes up for the gloom in the fall and winter. And we've got nature up the wazoo.

If you want more specific info or whatever, shoot me a PM.
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Old 08-24-2010, 01:32 PM   #8
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Wow sounds like Vancouver is the place to be. My cousin is moving to Victoria from Calgary on Friday. She said once she gets settled I can take a trip out there and we'd explore Victoria and Vancouver as well.

I don't know if this makes a difference in the job market but when I move I'll have my degree in political science and a college diploma in office administration. Hopefully I'll be able to find a decent paying job with those two things.

I just wanna live someplace where there is actually activity going on. I feel like with Thunder Bay, I always have to travel to do or see anything cool. I'd love to live in a big city (or just outside)
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Old 08-24-2010, 02:12 PM   #9
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If obtaining your French is an issue, then you shouldn't work for the federal government, although the government will pay for your training if French is required for your job. This shouldn't stop you from getting a job (plus, French is a beautiful language).

Most government jobs - federal and provincial - require employees to have a Master's degree, especially policy jobs. I'll talk about this at the end.

With respect to the cities, each one has its pros and cons. Ottawa is the most affordable of the three cities, but it's not as hip or exciting as Toronto or Vancouver. It's actually quite more of a family place - not too big, not too small and a few things to do. It's close proximity to Montreal, though, is a big bonus, and Ottawa has excellent music festivals in the summer. Other than Montreal, Ottawa has the most diverse music scene and arrange of festivals. Public transit is o.k. and Ottawa's restaurants are vastly improving (there are some great places in town).

Toronto is much more diverse and has a lot more to do. It's a very dense city and its public transit is inconsistent and inadequate in parts. It's quite expense to live, especially if you want to stay close to downtown. There are no shortages of restaurants, bars, clubs, etc. Toronto has an excellent arts and theatre scene - by far the best in Canada.

Vancouver is very similar to Toronto in terms of cultural diversity and variety of urban activities. However, Vancouver tops any Canadian city in its beauty and location. There is no shortage of outdoor activities. It's music scene is pretty good, although not yet as dynamic as Montreal, Toronto, or even Ottawa. Vancouver, though, is very expensive to live. Forget about owning a place in Vancouver, as the prices of condos and houses are still quite high. Public transit is much improved thanks to the Olympics, but if you live out in Burnaby or further you'll need a car. Vancouver doesn't get much snow, but it does rain a lot in the winter.

In terms of job prospects, Ottawa is the best place for you if you're looking to work with an NGO (not all require French) or the public service. Toronto would be next, as you could work for the provincial government and there are several NGOs. In Vancouver, you would be limited to municipal government, some NGOs, and a handful of provincial departments based in Vancouver. However, most BC provincial ministries are located in Victoria. The federal government also has offices in every major centre across Canada, but getting those jobs can be difficult.

But many of these jobs require a Master's degree. It's quite difficult to enter the public service with just a Bachelor's degree, as employers are looking for people who are not just well-educated but have refined and sharpened their knowledge and skills - either in a specific field (e.g., economic) or general skills (e.g., analytical ability, writing and communication, logic, etc.).

Given this, I would recommend that you also consider exploring options to obtain your Master's degree. You could either continue to pursue further advancement in political science or take a multi-disciplinary degree like a Master's in Public Administration (MPA). The latter will definitely help you find employment with an NGO or the federal/provincial government since most schools that offer MPAs have strong connections with the public service. There are several universities that offer MPAs, including Dalhousie, Ottawa, Queen's, and Victoria. The Queen's program is only 1 year while the others are 2 years.

If you are set on finding employment, my advice to you would be to first search for a job in each of these three urban centres, not limiting yourself to just one city. Once you have obtained a job, move to the city. The last thing you would want to do is move and not have a job lined up. Depending with whom you obtain employment, your employer may also pay or partially subsidize your move. In addition, once you get your foot in the door and start building your resume, you'll be able to either move to a regional office (in the case of the federal government) or would be in a better position to find a job in the city of your choice.

Good luck with your decision.
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Old 08-24-2010, 07:18 PM   #10
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I would say it depends on what industry you work in (or want to). For myself, I wouldn't even consider living in Vancouver because I don't like to be poor.
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Old 08-24-2010, 07:29 PM   #11
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I tried leaving Thunder Bay Kristen!

It is like a black hole...it sucks you back in!
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Old 08-24-2010, 08:51 PM   #12
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Vancouver might surprise you with a higher cost of living than you are used to. It's a great, beautiful city, and I love the Pacific NW, but it's more expensive to live there than Montréal, Ottawa, and Toronto.

Out of all your choices I'd go with Ottawa. You get to live in a pretty, leafy, park-y city, have access to a ton of government and NGO jobs, and if you want to get your party on during a weekend, MTL is right down the road to the east.

Toronto is amazing, big, and all that is good and bad about living in a big city. Never short on arts and culture. The downside is the urban sprawl, how they've built out and not up. If you want to live cheaply you are reduced to living in the giant suburbs and relying on the TTC to get you to the action areas.

Montreal is spirited, and almost home-y by comparison. You can bike from one end of the city to the other, it's incredibly managable geographically. Public transport is more reliable than Toronto. Winters range from rainy and managable (TO-style) to very harsh. The culture is great and bilingual but you may feel alienated if you don't know any French when you arrive.

You will also need to learn French eventually, at least at the "Please pass me that box of paper" level, if you want to work for the Federal government.
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Old 08-24-2010, 09:40 PM   #13
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Thanks for all the advice guys

I may consider taking French again after I finish all my schooling. I took it all through high school with the intentions that I was going to continue it in university, but I never did. Guess I should have
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Old 08-24-2010, 09:40 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ryancoke71 View Post
I tried leaving Thunder Bay Kristen!

It is like a black hole...it sucks you back in!


Maybe I should just stay here then
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Old 08-24-2010, 10:10 PM   #15
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I want you to stay!
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