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Old 09-11-2017, 07:18 PM
 
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I'm a 52 year old middle class white collar-employed (insurance) single female and a newly dual US-Canadian citizen (my mother was born in Quebec). I was born and lived my entire life here in New England, but due to the endlessly shaky and increasingly expensive health insurance situation here combined with extreme distaste for our present political situation, plus the general desire for a life change, I am seriously considering a move to Canada. My best friend of 23 years, whom I have visited about twice a year, lives in Pickering, Ontario - east of Toronto, so I'm quite familiar with that area and am considering a move to Ontario. I have a lot of family in Canada, but they're all in Montreal area. I speak zero French and at my age have no desire to learn a new language, so have ruled out Quebec.

I'm looking for a vibrant small to medium sized city with a walkable, historic downtown such as what I see in Kingston, Port Perry, Port Hope, London, and Cobourg. The place has to be reasonably priced (absolute max of $250k Canadian for a decent 2 or more bedroom house or condo - not a scary dump or fixer upper), safe i.e. not gang-y or crime ridden, with sidewalk cafes, indie shops, and a bit of "culture". Also, as I age, I'm going to need a town with good healthcare and not a major doctor shortage, as much as possible. A progressive college town would be ideal. I don't want to be in any sort of "snow belt", mind you. I've dealt with far too much snow here in Maine to want to go to a place that snows more than it does here. I've heard great things about Ottawa, but it seems far too cold for my tastes. I also don't want any place that's too isolated.

Kingston seems to fit the bill on paper, plus it has the advantage of being close enough to both NY and Vermont, where I have family. I just visited the downtown briefly a few days ago, on my drive back to the States, and was impressed.

I would greatly appreciate it if anyone with inside knowledge of Kingston would be kind enough to provide their opinion/experiences/whatever about the pros and cons of the town. What's great? What are the neighborhoods to avoid, if any (due to crime, blight, drugs, whatever)? What do you love or hate about Kingston? What is up with that gigantic police building on rte 10 south? How healthy is the place economy-wise, infrastructure wise, and/or otherwise? Are property taxes higher than other similar sized southern Ontario towns? (I pay $3k a year for my house at present, in a small Portland Maine suburb, and wouldn't want to pay more than that.) What about employment? Can I assume Queens and the hospital in town are the town's biggest employers? How about the town's environment? I looked into Port Hope only to learn there is nuclear waste sites all over that lovely town - scary.

Okay, well thanks in advance for any advice/opinions! Have a great day!
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Old 09-12-2017, 11:59 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marguerite2015 View Post
I don't want to be in any sort of "snow belt", mind you.
Kingston is in the snow belt and it gets quite cold in its long winters.
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Old 09-13-2017, 01:12 PM
 
Location: Gatineau, Québec
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Kingston isn't really in a snow belt. It gets noticeably less snow than Ottawa for example. It's likely fairly similar to much of Maine in the winter.
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Old 09-14-2017, 03:48 AM
 
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Default Thanks - what are the good and bad about this town?

Such as neighborhoods to avoid, etc? I was struck when entering the town via rte 10 last week, byt the absolutely enormous police station complex. For a town of only 120k people, what gives with the NYC sized police department?

I'm really interested not just in the weather, of which I now have two completely differing opinions, but also the other questions such as overall pros and cons of the town, if you are familiar with it.

Thanks.
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Old 09-14-2017, 06:01 AM
 
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Be assured you will get winter with snow and cold. the town overall is nice with much history to it, great access to thousand islands,although i'm only a frequent visitor i have yet to discover a neighborhood i would feel uncomfortable with.I love the place and its on top of my short list for places to move to from Quebec. Next time you are in Kingston take the tour bus as it goes through many neighborhoods,its located next to where you take the 1000 island boat cruises..
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Old 09-14-2017, 07:01 AM
 
Location: Land Of Smiles
293 posts, read 161,540 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marguerite2015 View Post
Such as neighborhoods to avoid, etc? I was struck when entering the town via rte 10 last week, byt the absolutely enormous police station complex. For a town of only 120k people, what gives with the NYC sized police department?

Thanks.
From wikipedia:
Kingston has the largest concentration of federal correctional facilities in Canada. The facilities are operated by the Correctional Service of Canada. Of the nine institutions located in the Kingston area, seven of them are located within the municipal boundaries of the city.
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Old 09-14-2017, 07:15 AM
 
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I'd like to know if there is a big difference between Kingston's and Windsor's climates ?
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Old 09-14-2017, 07:34 AM
 
Location: Montreal -> CT -> MA -> Montreal -> Ottawa
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I've only been to Kingston once -- just passing through, really, from Toronto to Montreal -- but here are my pros and cons:

Pros
1. When you say that you live in Kingston, some people might think that you mean in Jamaica and will think that you're really lucky, especially in the winter.
2. This restaurant: Dianne's Fish Shack & Smokehouse - Kingston, ON (I was passing through at lunch time.)

Cons
1. The same as any eastern Canadian city: winter.
2. The same as any Canadian city: taxes.

I can't answer your questions specific to Kingston, but I can give you my Ottawa perspective on housing:

1. Real estate: I bought a 10-year old townhouse (2 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms) in a suburb of Ottawa for just under $250K.
2. Property tax: Keeping in mind that I had single-family houses in the States (Connecticut and Massachusetts), I was used to property tax in each of those states being five figures. Being in the four-figure range in Ottawa thrilled me. Being in the LOW four figures ($2700/year) made me ecstatic.
3. Land transfer tax: This is akin to a "welcome tax." It's a one-time tax on the property you buy and is approximately 1% of the purchase price.
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Old 09-14-2017, 08:25 AM
 
Location: Gatineau, Québec
21,937 posts, read 27,326,583 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pigeonhole View Post
I'd like to know if there is a big difference between Kingston's and Windsor's climates ?
Kingston is a few degrees colder in the winter than Windsor. Obviously it gets a bit more snow than Windsor as well, but it's really in Ottawa where you notice a bigger difference in snow cover.


Kingston also doesn't get very many really hot days in the summer due to the influence of the lake. It's usually a few degrees cooler than Ottawa and Montreal.
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Old 09-14-2017, 08:27 AM
 
Location: Gatineau, Québec
21,937 posts, read 27,326,583 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marguerite2015 View Post
Such as neighborhoods to avoid, etc? I was struck when entering the town via rte 10 last week, byt the absolutely enormous police station complex. For a town of only 120k people, what gives with the NYC sized police department?

I'm really interested not just in the weather, of which I now have two completely differing opinions, but also the other questions such as overall pros and cons of the town, if you are familiar with it.

Thanks.
If you're familiar with Portland in Maine it's probably got a fairly similar vibe and amenities. Portland's city proper is smaller than Kingston but it's metro is way bigger but keep in mind the US calculates metro areas differently than Canada does.


Portland and Kingston may not be the same size but they're not likely that different in the way they feel on the ground.
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