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trying to figure out where to move to in Canada (from US)

we are thinking of retiring to Canada from the US. we are wondering where we could find affordable housing near Vancouver. (300,000 or less). We would like to live somewhere where there is an artistic community.

WOW, if you are looking for a house for 300,000 USD which is about 400,000 CAD, you will have to look very far from Vancouver. Even a condo in Vancouver starts from 1 million and up. It will be hard to find something like that in your price range in Greater Vancouver area. Vancouver is one of the most expensive places and has been for the last few years.
Do your search and see yourselves. Really not easy these days to find a good and affordable place :( Good luck!

how about near Victoria? A condo would be ok too..

I was thinking about that too, the prices are lower than lower mainland, but not sure if THAT low. See what you can find in your price range. The average house in Victoria in 2015 was 608 thousand, in 2016 755 thousand (internet source). Condos are a bit less of course, but not sure if that could fit into your price range.

Victoria is slightly lower than Vancouver, it really depends what you're looking for and how far out you're willing to go. If you want something more than 1,000 sqft, you might be out of luck. (Case in point we sold our 788 sqft condo in Victoria for $365,000 when the market was starting to drop in 2008)  You could try looking at some places in New Westminster (outside of Vancouver). (It was undervalued by Vancouver standards for a while.) Some of the outlying areas of Victoria might have something, like Saanich, possibly Colwood or Langford, there is a Canadian multiple listing web site where you could surf for available properties. (Yet further is the Comox Valley, with Courtenay, Comox and Cumberland.)

There are several communities 3 hours+ north of Victoria that you might enjoy, like Nanaimo (2nd largest city on Vancouver Island), Parksville, etc. There are little communities between Victoria and the Nanaimo and between Victoria and Saanich where the ferry heads to Vancouver. Hope that might help.

Thank you! This is so new to me, I'm just trying to figure it all out.
Do you know anyone in the Victoria area who might be able to help with paperwork and advice on becoming a permanent resident? Sounds like that's easier than trying to get dual citizenship?

Thanks so much for replying! We're thinking now we might try for a condo near or in Victoria in a retirement community as we're both 65. Do you know of anyone or any agencies in the Victoria area who can help with filing for Permanent Residency or dual citizenship?
Best regards,
Judy

One more info about living on the island - going for a trip to Vancouver would be pricey! We didn't do it for few years and I was surprised what we had to pay to go from the mainland to Victoria and back! Each person (over 12) 17.20 plus car 56.50, plus taxes. So unless you want to live on Vancouver island and go to Vancouver maybe once a year, it's fine.

As for residency, this is what I found online:
Canada has no immigration class for retirees.  If you want to immigrate, you need to qualify as a skilled worker in some form..... As for staying in Canada without immigrating, you can do that as a seasonal resident up to 6 months a year.  Your status would be visitor and you will not get health care and you are not allowed to work.... As a US citizen, you are obligated to file for tax in the US no matter where you are living.  If you reside in Canada more than 6 months a year and in some cases also if you don't as long as you have a home in Canada, you are also obligated to file in Canada.  The US and Canada have a tax treaty so it will likely not cost you double the tax even if you file in both countries.
Just go to the Government of Canada website to get all the info.

If you have no ties to Canada, I believe that you will need to apply for permanent residency, prior to applying for citizenship anyhow. I don't have any legal contacts for that in Victoria, but you should be able to browse the "Victoria British Columbia Telus Yellow Pages" for immigration lawyers. I understand that our Immigration Canada site might still be down and/or very busy, but they would also likely have a list of trust worthy attourneys that might be able to help.

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