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Old 07-13-2013, 08:07 AM
 
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Hi everyone!

My husband recently received a job offer in Markham that we are considering taking. We currently live in Indiana, US, we have two kids, eight and six years old. I have been doing some research online since I don't know much about Canada. Can you all suggest to me what would be the best areas to live? We will be renting, preferably a house since we have a big dog, so something with a yard would be great! My husband would like to keep his commute short, tops 40mins to work. What about schools? What are the best options?

Any information will be greatly appreciated! I would like to know as much as possible before we make any decisions.

Thank you
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Old 07-13-2013, 08:20 AM
 
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Markham is a good area to live in. I would also recommend Richmond Hill.
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Old 07-13-2013, 09:14 AM
 
Location: Oakville, ON
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Markham and Richmond Hill are both good areas. They are very large, diverse and and busy. In Markham, I would stay north of 407 if possible. Like most of Greater Toronto, certain pockets of these communities are very immigrant heavy, especially Chinese in Unionville and Jewish and Italian towards Bathurst and Dufferin Street.

I have nothing against any of these groups, but it can create challenges for people who aren't in those demographics. For example, we considered moving to Thornhill at one point and all the daycares we considered for our son recognized Jewish holidays and traditions - which we did not. We didn't want to take extra days off for holidays that our family does not celebrate.

If that doesn't appeal to you look at Aurora as well. It won't win any diversity awards, but it's a smaller upscale, semi-rural community north of Markham and Richmond Hill. Your husbands commute shouldn't exceed 40 minutes to Markham in traffic. Outside of rush hour, it's much quicker. Honestly, Aurora is one of my favourite Toronto suburbs, and if I had to live in the northern suburbs - it would be at the top of my list.

For schools, you can't really go wrong in any of these 3 communities. Schools in York Region are amongst the best in the country. Americans moving to Canada often ask "where are the best schools?". The Canadian system of budget distribution is much different than in the US. Here resources are allocated equally to schools within a district. In the US, resources are allocated within zip codes - so there is a larger correlation between affluence and public school quality. That's not really the case in the Canada, and as long as you live in a good neighbourhood in a good district, your children will be in a great school catchment.

That said, search the Fraser Institute website and they do an annual ranking of national schools. The reports aren't perfect, but it should be a good starting point on where to look.
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Old 07-13-2013, 04:21 PM
 
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Thank you for the information! I will look a little more into those areas. How about renting a house with a yard and 3+ bedrooms, Is that something that can be done under $2,000/monthly?

My husband is Japanese and I'm Brazilian, we are both legal permanent residents in the US. If we move there will my girls even be able to attend school and what about medical treatments?
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Old 07-13-2013, 04:44 PM
 
Location: Oakville, ON
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Your budget shouldn't be a problem. Search realtor.ca. Also consider Newmarket or Stouffville.

Yes, your girls can attend school and you will qualify for medical coverage. I don't know the specifics on different immigration classifications (I assume your husband's employer will handle this), but generally anyone with permanent residency in Canada qualifies almost immediately for health coverage.
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Old 07-14-2013, 06:50 PM
 
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Liberated in TO is overgeneralizing about school funding in the U.S. and doesn't understand how schools are funded in Ontario. In Ontario, the schools are funded by the provincial government. As a result, even a rich area like York Region doesn't receive more funding for its school district than a more middle class area like Hamilton. So schools are generally quite equal throughout the province. Of course, larger and more affluent school districts will often have a wider selection of programs available than schools in a tiny rural area would. The Fraser Institute rankings are from a right-wing think-tank and should be ignored. They are meaningless and the methodology is skewed in favor of private schools.

In the U.S., generally most school districts are funded by local property taxes. In some states, each town or city has its own school district. In other states, school districts are countywide or regional in scope. A richer area with a larger tax base will have better funded schools, while poorer areas will often depend on the state handing them money to pay for their schools because their tax base is so low. In New Jersey for instance you have affluent towns like Cherry Hill with great schools right near run-down slums like Camden with poor-performing schools (yet Camden actually spends more per pupil on their schools, given to them in equalization payments by the state). The losers are the middle-of-the-road towns with mediocre tax bases that don't get equalization payments and struggle to fund their schools. This problem is avoided with countywide school districts where the burden is spread across a wider tax base. In Canada, all school districts are countywide or regional in scope, and the provincial funding makes it even less unequal.

Health coverage in Ontario takes 90 days to kick in for a new resident.

To the original poster who is a permanent resident in the U.S. -- you may lose your P.R. status in the U.S. if you move to Canada.
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Old 07-14-2013, 07:17 PM
BMI
 
Location: Ontario
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tarp View Post
Liberated in TO is overgeneralizing about school funding in the U.S. and doesn't understand how schools are funded in Ontario. In Ontario, the schools are funded by the provincial government. As a result, even a rich area like York Region doesn't receive more funding for its school district than a more middle class area like Hamilton. So schools are generally quite equal throughout the province. Of course, larger and more affluent school districts will often have a wider selection of programs available than schools in a tiny rural area would. The Fraser Institute rankings are from a right-wing think-tank and should be ignored. They are meaningless and the methodology is skewed in favor of private schools.

In the U.S., generally most school districts are funded by local property taxes. In some states, each town or city has its own school district. In other states, school districts are countywide or regional in scope. A richer area with a larger tax base will have better funded schools, while poorer areas will often depend on the state handing them money to pay for their schools because their tax base is so low. In New Jersey for instance you have affluent towns like Cherry Hill with great schools right near run-down slums like Camden with poor-performing schools (yet Camden actually spends more per pupil on their schools, given to them in equalization payments by the state). The losers are the middle-of-the-road towns with mediocre tax bases that don't get equalization payments and struggle to fund their schools. This problem is avoided with countywide school districts where the burden is spread across a wider tax base. In Canada, all school districts are countywide or regional in scope, and the provincial funding makes it even less unequal.

Health coverage in Ontario takes 90 days to kick in for a new resident.

To the original poster who is a permanent resident in the U.S. -- you may lose your P.R. status in the U.S. if you move to Canada.
I agree that Canadian schools are more even in terms of funding and quality of
facilities and teachers. However, the actual students/classmates in a lower income neighbourhood
can be a bit tougher for your kids to deal with. After his retirement, my dad drove school buses for few years and noticed that the kids from high schools in poorer neighbourhoods tended to be noticeably less disciplined and a lot rowdier.

As for renting a detached house in Markham/Richmond Hill for less than $ 2,000 ...
might be a bit difficult, for a townhouse, I'd say yes, detached...maybe.

I would check out Stouffville, a very nice area just north of Markham.
Aurora, King City, and Kleinburg are good too.
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Old 07-14-2013, 08:19 PM
 
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King City is very rural, isn't it?
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Old 07-14-2013, 08:38 PM
BMI
 
Location: Ontario
7,471 posts, read 6,376,789 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tarp View Post
King City is very rural, isn't it?
True.

Maybe not best choice for OP at this time, perhaps a few years down the road, they may want to consider it, homes there have plenty of elbow room, many on 1 acre+ estate type lots.
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Old 07-15-2013, 08:21 AM
 
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Julianna, We also just found out that my husband's company will be relocating us to Toronto soon (although they also plan to bring us back in 3 years). He will be working in Richmond Hill, and I have 3 kids. So I am going through the same process that you are and have the same questions....where to rent a house and where to send the kids to school.

I had been looking at the Fraser Institute school rankings, and I have found previous posters' comments on the Fraser Institute interesting. You really do have to take rankings with a grain of salt (as in America). It's so hard to get a picture of the school situation without actually being in the area to which we're moving. We'll definitely have to take a trip soon.

I have seen comments about education in Canada and the U.S. on other threads. Several expats have mentioned that the public school standards in Canada are lower than in many U.S. states (up to a year behind), and that they have had to move their children out of public and into private schools. Many of these expats lived in the Oakville area.

Can anyone comment on the quality of public education in the Markham/North York/Aurora area? Do I need to be seriously considering private schools? Since I know that we'll be coming back to the US in 3 years, I just want to make sure the kids are not behind when we return. My kids currently attend a good US public school in IL.

I appreciate any information or thoughts...this is tough.
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