Hi, this in answer to a PM i was sent it may help others or may not so here goes.
Me and the wife went over for 8 days, left the kids with granny far easier, If you know roughly the area you want to go you would be fine, for us it was alot of driving all over alberta to find the area, as we both come from small villages and towns alot of the places we went just seemed to big for us but lethbridge was the one place we liked the feel of, didnt seem to big , even tho it is to us.
I dont have a job yet, i was going to apply for PR under the skilled trade but would prefer to go TWP as atleast i would have a job before going, then will apply for PR whilst there.
You are correct about the sites winter shutdown i have been told this as well, but at the moment looking for non site work as never been much of a house basher, but will take what i can get if nothing else comes along!!
Regarding exams if i go on a TWP then i believe i have 180 days from landing to do exams a tests in very special circumstances i think that can be extended by another 180 days. If you are planning to go PR route then it will be in your interest to get these done asap as it may effect employment opps.
I have looked at many sites, trade secrets was one i can remember there was also another alberta specific site i looked at but cant remember what one sorry. Alot of time it was scouring canadian goverment websites and going from links on them. Sorry not much help on that one.
Yes to start up we would be renting, like i said we had alot of driving as we didnt even know what part of alberta we wanted to go to, If in your case you know the area then you can spend more time there looking at different divisions and streets etc. until we had rented and lived in a specific area i would not buy a house, just to be able to get a feel for the place.
Hope that is of some help, i shall also post this on the thread aswell as you may get some more help that way..