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Old 10-08-2016, 10:42 AM
 
Location: San Francisco/East Bay and Los Angeles, formerly DC and Boston
2,138 posts, read 3,429,124 times
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Been to just about every decent sized U.S. city, but haven't been to Canada in over 10 years. Planning trips now to Calgary and Vancouver, and had a couple q's.

What's up with the dense downtowns? Vancouver, for example, has a metro population comparable to a 20-30th rank U.S. metro like Charlotte. Yet its downtown looks like it could be a top 10 US metro. Calgary is comparable to Jacksonville, FL, yet looks like a bigger city.

Are the schools as bad in the cities as they are in the U.S? Do people flee for suburbs, or is it more typical to stay in the city when you have kids?

Does the lower number of large metros limit most young, professional Canadians to Toronto or Vancouver?

Montreal (which I visited many times growing up near Boston), seems to be losing rank and importance relative to Toronto. Is it turning into a cold, Canadian New Orleans? (Party city with French influence and weak local economy)

Thanks in advance for any of your thoughts on this.
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Old 10-08-2016, 01:06 PM
 
Location: Vancouver
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I'll someone else tackle Calgary, but I can speak for Vancouver.

First off downtown Vancouver is on a peninsula so the only way to create more housing is by going up. The vast majority of those high-rises you see in the skyline are apartment buildings and condo's.

Downtown Vancouver has always been a desirable place to live since you can walk to the beaches,and has the huge Stanley Park and others. In the early part of the 20th century was mainly single family homes, boarding houses and the mansion of the rich.

When the CPR ( Canadian Pacific Railway ) created a newer more fashionable neighbourhood away from downtown called Shaughnessy, the wealthy moved. The mansions were made into smaller apartments, but overtime they were torn down and in the 1950's through the 1970's high rise apartment buildings were built.

Canadian cities never had " white flight " so our downtowns were never abandoned in that way. That said, we do have sprawling suburbs as people who wanted yards and more room moved. It's not an uncommon story for many who grew up here to have had an apartment downtown, then got married and moved to the burbs. They didn't leave downtown because of crime or safety or even the schools...just more room and a different lifestyle.

There is enough people having kids and wanting to stay in the city in a condo that developers are starting to build more 3 and 4 bedroom units to meet the demand.

In 1986 Vancouver had the World's Fair. It was held on land around False Creek. After the fair the land was sold with some controversy, to one man. A Hong Kong billionaire whose company, Concord Pacific, started building most of the condo towers along False Creek. This spilled out into creating new neighbourhoods of Coal Harbour and Yaletown and after the Olympics in 2010, Olympic Village. So with just one or two piece on land around False Creek left, the whole area is quite dense and all connected by a seawall that encircles the entire downtown and Stanley Park.

So the reason downtown looks dense, is because it is. Downtown is desirable. You will also find that our suburbs also have high-rise developments of their own, usually around the Skytrain ( metro ) stations. Metrotown in Burnaby is one example.

Schools in Canada are provincially funded, so a school in the centre of the city is pretty much the same as a school in a poorer part of the city. The differences will come from wealthier parents being able to donate extras to their school. I'm not sure how common this is, but I have friends who are elementary school teachers and they say the schools are basically the same, it's just that you may have different issues depending on the neighbourhood.

I'm out of the working phase of my life, so I'll others answer about careers.

I haven't been to Montreal in about 6 years, but I didn't notice it flagging at all. In fact the opposite. It seemed to be thriving. Even though Montreal has a reputation as being a fun place to visit, I don't think people equate it with the type of party scene in New Orleans.

EDIT: I should add that building in Vancouver tend to be slim, to keep the view corridors of the mountains. You will also find, that a lot of the condo towers are mixed residential and business. In my building we have four different type of business, including a trendy coffee shop. This keeps the street busy and active.

Last edited by Natnasci; 10-08-2016 at 01:15 PM..
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Old 10-08-2016, 07:14 PM
 
5,097 posts, read 2,482,126 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheseGoTo11 View Post
Been to just about every decent sized U.S. city, but haven't been to Canada in over 10 years. Planning trips now to Calgary and Vancouver, and had a couple q's.

What's up with the dense downtowns? Vancouver, for example, has a metro population comparable to a 20-30th rank U.S. metro like Charlotte. Yet its downtown looks like it could be a top 10 US metro. Calgary is comparable to Jacksonville, FL, yet looks like a bigger city.

Are the schools as bad in the cities as they are in the U.S? Do people flee for suburbs, or is it more typical to stay in the city when you have kids?

Does the lower number of large metros limit most young, professional Canadians to Toronto or Vancouver?

Montreal (which I visited many times growing up near Boston), seems to be losing rank and importance relative to Toronto. Is it turning into a cold, Canadian New Orleans? (Party city with French influence and weak local economy)

Thanks in advance for any of your thoughts on this.
Younger families live in the suburbs because houses are cheaper, but families who can afford to live in the inner city do. One of the best high schools in the city, also the oldest, is more or less in the downtown area - a few blocks South of the office towers. There are excellent schools in downtown Calgary, and throughout the city. I think the city is becoming more divided according to nationality rather than economics, although the West has always been a bit more affluent than the East.

Calgary nightlife is spread over a few different areas - not exactly in the downtown core.

What sort of things would you be looking to do/see in the Calgary area?
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Old 10-08-2016, 11:20 PM
 
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Montreal still has caché. London's mayor Khan arrived in the continent here last month and had meetings before finishing up with the other ones in Chicago and NYC. Shortly afterwards last month Chinese Premier Keqiang flew here for meetings and flew back home. The ICAO is in the midst of holding its 2-week conference at their HQ here, finding theselves forced to talk about aviation carbon emissions that thus far have been exempt from any climate talk anybody's ever heard spoken about. And (me, I'm skeptical about this one) a private venture is being embarked upon to bring about a 5-billion-dollar, 24-station, 41½-mile-long automated light rail transit that's to be the next largest after Dubai's and Vancouver's by - errr - 2020, although much right-of-way of the 3-prong network already exists yet it's chiefly criticised for not sufficiently integrating with the metro system. Many highrises are under construction, the skyline's changing, plus autoroutes and expressways are being reconfigured in and around the Champlain Bridge replacement that's been under construction since last year; a whole new boulevard to the near southwest is also being constructed..lots of traffic forecasts predict sheer hell come the end of this month due to all these adjacent roadworks occuring simultaneously.

Last edited by trainrover; 10-08-2016 at 11:30 PM..
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Old 10-09-2016, 04:29 AM
 
Location: Gatineau, Québec
21,937 posts, read 27,320,303 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheseGoTo11 View Post

Montreal (which I visited many times growing up near Boston), seems to be losing rank and importance relative to Toronto. Is it turning into a cold, Canadian New Orleans? (Party city with French influence and weak local economy)

.
Montreal can only be said to be in decline "relative" to Toronto. In that Toronto is growing faster on most metrics.

This is now new. Toronto overtook Montreal as Canada's largest city in 1980.

But Montreal is far from a declining city.

When you're there, it actually doesn't even feel like it's a "second" city either, as it's still the uncontested metropolis for about one quarter of Canada (the French speaking part), which is very self-contained.
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Old 10-09-2016, 06:20 AM
 
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At the moment it seems the entire city of Montreal is under construction,ya just cant get anywhere without going through a dizzying array of detours.
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Old 10-09-2016, 06:43 PM
 
Location: Canada
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Originally Posted by jambo101 View Post
At the moment it seems the entire city of Montreal is under construction,ya just cant get anywhere without going through a dizzying array of detours.
Which is annoying, but not indicative of a city in decline, which it isn't. Moderate, steady job and population growth in a province with balanced budgets and some growing industries (tech, finance, advanced manufacturing).

In Canada, we typically have healthy downtowns because of investments in transit, provincially funded public school systems rather then a US style district system, lower levels of urban poverty, and zoning which advantages urban cores. High housing prices are also a big contributing factor.
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Old 10-10-2016, 07:36 AM
 
5,097 posts, read 2,482,126 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jambo101 View Post
At the moment it seems the entire city of Montreal is under construction,ya just cant get anywhere without going through a dizzying array of detours.
I was surprised that there is so much construction in Montreal. For a "have not" province that relies on equalization payments to survive, it seemed to be one of the most economically stable cities in Canada. I do wonder what will happen in Quebec without the equalization payment from Alberta going forward. Will the Federal gov't borrow more money to ensure that Quebec continues to receive the same financial aid in spite of the national financial downturn, or will the construction seize up until the country bounces back?

Another thing I noticed in Montreal is that although speaking English, and English language signage, can be a problem, many languages other than French were spoken all over the city. I'm surprised that there is no backlash against the other languages.
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Old 10-10-2016, 08:53 AM
 
Location: Windsor Ontario/Colchester Ontario
1,500 posts, read 1,350,179 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lieneke View Post
I was surprised that there is so much construction in Montreal. For a "have not" province that relies on equalization payments to survive, it seemed to be one of the most economically stable cities in Canada. I do wonder what will happen in Quebec without the equalization payment from Alberta going forward. Will the Federal gov't borrow more money to ensure that Quebec continues to receive the same financial aid in spite of the national financial downturn, or will the construction seize up until the country bounces back?

Another thing I noticed in Montreal is that although speaking English, and English language signage, can be a problem, many languages other than French were spoken all over the city. I'm surprised that there is no backlash against the other languages.
Quebec does not survive because of equalization payments from Alberta, what a stupid statement. Sorry, but our side of the country is doing well, unlike Alberta!
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Old 10-10-2016, 11:47 AM
 
34,356 posts, read 41,427,648 times
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Originally Posted by Lieneke View Post
I was surprised that there is so much construction in Montreal.
We have a little fat demi-God for a mayor (Kodak Coderre)who seems to be drunk with the power of his office and has no problem spending as much tax-payer money as he possibly can.all this construction much of it needless will cost billions,whos going to pay for it?the hapless tax payer of course.
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