My Canadian Experience
Trials and Tribulations


Getting Car Insurance is not easy in Toronto.  It might be easier in other parts and in fact I found it to be so.  I think I mentioned that my first quote was on the Internet and despite having an $11,500 car it was going to cost me over $5000.  Essentially if you come to Canada from anywhere else other than the USA you are deemed to be a new driver.

Even with personal introductions it wasn't much better than $3,600.  My final try was to a person called Tracy Scott in Sarnia, Ontario on 519 332 0480  who is an Insurance broker recommended to me by a visitor to the site. She did manage to get me 6 months insurance for $1583 ($3166 annual). I can cancel it earlier for a $200 cancellation fee. So with luck I will only pay that rate for a couple of months.

North Kent Mutual has been by far the best deal at $1,800 for the year with an additional discount if I also insure my house with them. They have decided that my driving experience does count for something and have given me a 3 star rating and thus extra discount. It seems that brokers outside Toronto can get you better deals for both residents of Toronto and elsewhere.

You must have car insurance arranged before you can pick up your car. And just as a matter of interest I have bought a Buick Regal LS year 2000 model for $11,500 on a 3 year lease with a $2000 buy outright at the end of the term.

It is now onto house buying again and I have found three houses in Chatham which I am going to look at....

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This one I have seen and found it to be perfect for my needs with some spend on alterations but hopefully not too much. For example I would want to put in a dividing wall so you don't walk right into the living room and I'd want to get a whole new bathroom put in on the upper floor as the current one is so tiny you'd like knock your head on the roof.  This would mean taking the small bedroom next door and making the whole into one good bathroom. There is actually a smallish bedroom on the main floor with a toilet and wash hand basin ensuite. It was obviously used for a disabled person but would make a good wee guest room.

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This one is a very solid house but is pretty well gutted inside so a fair bit of work needed to bring it up to standard. It is also on a very busy crossroads so am not too sure about it but size wise it is excellent. It does have old Victorian features with superb wood floors and decorations on the wood work. The attic is huge and would actually make a superb office.

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This one I have only seen from outside but the inside description is very good so I will be arranging to view it later this week.

To keep costs down I will be viewing all three houses this coming Wednesday with the realtor and builder in tow. This way I get a reasonable idea on whether the houses are in good shape with foundations, etc and get an idea of what the improvements will cost. Should one of these fit the bill then I will arrange for an offer to go in conditional on a building inspection, getting insurance, and legal work being satisfactory. There is full hi-speed cable Internet in Chatham so no problem there.  I am also told there are 7 Tim Horton's in the town :-)

I am now also getting organised to apply for immigration and so have sent back to the UK to get copies of my educational qualifications.  Also to the police to get a report on any criminal activity they hold on me (hopefully none!).  I also need to get a report from my old school saying how long I attended there. I will also need to try and get some kind of report from my old school in Kuwait to verify how long I was there.  This is all to do with proving I have 13 years worth of education.  This is needed to get my point score up to the required 67 points.

The point about the application is that you need to prove whatever you are claiming and leave no ambiguity in your application as if they need to write to you then this could add months to the process. So if you are going to do it at all then do it right.

I also get 10 points for arranged employment but as I am self employed I need clarification on whether me working for myself counts. That is being investigated right now.  If that doesn't work out then I apply as a self employed person although this does take longer.

This month I was also made a Director of the Scottish Studies Society and am helping them get organised for the big Tartan Day dinner on 5th April 2005.  This is a big time dinner with the Scot of the Year Award being presented. I am helping to raise awareness of this event and if you are near Toronto you've got to come as the tickets are only $150 each. It's formal kilt or black tie. Pipes and Drums, music, entertainment, fabulous dinner and dancing afterwards. I'll be there so you can get to meet me as well :-)

Anyway... that's my report to date through 28th February so hopefully March will see me making more progress.


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