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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First post on this site - lots of other firsts at moment. Like a lot of the rest of you who write on here, we're facing possibly the biggest decision of our lives - to go, or not to go..... Have been weighing up a move to Canada for a couple of years now, and have recently had relatives make the jump to Alberta after 3 years of trying. Reading through many other posts we appear fortunate - we've sold our house earlier in the year (major miracle), and have a concrete offer of employment in Northern Ontario which on it's own is too good an opportunity to miss. All the usual bureaucracy to still plough through though.

Our children are the main concern, and at the same time, the main driver to our consideration of a move. Like a lot of other posters, it's the UK culture of drinking, petty violence and aggression that we don't want for ours in a few years time. What are others' experiences of the Canadian education system? Most of our research appears to be favourable, with smallish class sizes, but statistics for individual schools is hard to find. Any suggestions? (Job offer is in T-Bay, if anyone has personal experience of the area)

Also, any experience of French immersion? I don't feel that foreign languages is something we do well in the UK, and the idea appeals, but at what stage is this started, and how would it work with kids coming in at different stages? Ours are yr 1 and yr 3 over here. Any personal experience or advice welcome.

Mark
 

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Mark,

My best advice is spend two weeks in Thunder Bay in the middle of January before you make your move. You'll be glad you did, and I'll be shocked if you decide to move.

Ontario has very strict privacy laws, your research will not show you the true picture of where you might be headed.

The violence you wish to escape (the drinking, aggression, petty crime) is a way of life here as well - you just don't hear about it because of the privacy legislation. The UK education system is superior to Ontario, class sizes are around 30 to 1 - and split classes are common here...meaning that your child could have 15 in grade 2, 15 in grade 3 in the same class with the same teacher - it is common for your child to do the same thing two years in a row.

Most Ontarians live within a hour (up to two) from the border. This is for economic and weather reasons. Very few people live as far north as Thunder Bay, you will find that there will be nothing for your kids up there once they finish high school, and chances are very high that your children will complete post secondary education and settle down in the South - a days drive from Thunder Bay.

Florida is full of Canadians - you have to ask yourself why?

Think carefully, the snow isn't whiter on the other side of the pond! There is just a heck of a lot more of it!
 

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Mark,

My best advice is spend two weeks in Thunder Bay in the middle of January before you make your move. You'll be glad you did, and I'll be shocked if you decide to move.
There's no doubt that Thunder Bay has very cold, snowy winters. It's a fact of life for those living in Northern Ontario.
Ontario has very strict privacy laws, your research will not show you the true picture of where you might be headed.
What are these privacy laws and what is it that is witheld? I think your statement is spurious to say the least.

The violence you wish to escape (the drinking, aggression, petty crime) is a way of life here as well - you just don't hear about it because of the privacy legislation.

Where is here? If you're inferring Canada then I again believe you are way off base. Of course crime exists here but, IMO, in no way do we have the problems existing in UK. We do not have yobs or chavs and street in-your-face agression such as in the UK. And again what is the privacy legislation that prevents reporting such?

The UK education system is superior to Ontario, class sizes are around 30 to 1 - and split classes are common here...meaning that your child could have 15 in grade 2, 15 in grade 3 in the same class with the same teacher - it is common for your child to do the same thing two years in a row.

This is absolute balderdash. I read voraciously and have never read anything to suggest such happens. But then, perhaps it's those privacy laws again. I have seen many posts by ex-pats and most are very pleased with Canadian education. Class sizes of 30 are not out of line in a public school system

Most Ontarians live within a hour (up to two) from the border. This is for economic and weather reasons. Very few people live as far north as Thunder Bay, you will find that there will be nothing for your kids up there once they finish high school, and chances are very high that your children will complete post secondary education and settle down in the South - a days drive from Thunder Bay.

I agree with most of this.

Florida is full of Canadians - you have to ask yourself why?

Retired Canadians do flock to Florida in the winter months the same way retired UK'ers flock to Spain, Portugal etc., but so do Americans from the northern States. I think using the word FULL is a stretch.

Think carefully, the snow isn't whiter on the other side of the pond! There is just a heck of a lot more of it!
There's no doubt Thunder Bay is a remote community. It is accessible by road, air and water but it could be difficult for many people to settle into. A visit before deciding would be an appropriate thing to do. If you're into winter activities then it could suit you admirably. Lots of summer stuff to do as it's located on a huge lake and it's ideal if you are into camping and outdoors stuff.
 

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My eldest daughter lived in 'Tundrous Bay' for 3 years , she just loved the place and found it a nice city to live in , my son went there to colledge and he had a ball , but then they were still teenagers . In regards to yourself with a young family , Canada is a generaly pleasant country in which to live , oportunuties are as open as your mind and abilities will allow , as long as you have the drive to succeed . Other than the weather , I have found moving to a new country is not much more difficult than moving from one end of a country to the other , except you cannot just junp in the car and drive back to whence you came .

Your biggest hurdles have been overcome , employement and visa , I suggest you rent a small , suitable place to live until you get the lay of the land and you and the wife agree it is a place you can live , if not you can always move . Good luck in your new life , second honey-moon ? LOL
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Mark,

My best advice is spend two weeks in Thunder Bay in the middle of January before you make your move. You'll be glad you did, and I'll be shocked if you decide to move.

Ontario has very strict privacy laws, your research will not show you the true picture of where you might be headed.

The violence you wish to escape (the drinking, aggression, petty crime) is a way of life here as well - you just don't hear about it because of the privacy legislation. The UK education system is superior to Ontario, class sizes are around 30 to 1 - and split classes are common here...meaning that your child could have 15 in grade 2, 15 in grade 3 in the same class with the same teacher - it is common for your child to do the same thing two years in a row.

Most Ontarians live within a hour (up to two) from the border. This is for economic and weather reasons. Very few people live as far north as Thunder Bay, you will find that there will be nothing for your kids up there once they finish high school, and chances are very high that your children will complete post secondary education and settle down in the South - a days drive from Thunder Bay.

Florida is full of Canadians - you have to ask yourself why?

Think carefully, the snow isn't whiter on the other side of the pond! There is just a heck of a lot more of it!
Thanks for your thoughts, but I'm as puzzled as Auld Yin about these privacy laws of which you speak? Could you clarify - this is something that none of my contacts in Canada, be that Ontario or other 'rival' provinces have ever mentioned. The official stats from the Lakehead and Catholic School Boards show 90% of schools having 20 or less children per class - is this untrue?

Mark
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
My eldest daughter lived in 'Tundrous Bay' for 3 years , she just loved the place and found it a nice city to live in , my son went there to colledge and he had a ball , but then they were still teenagers . In regards to yourself with a young family , Canada is a generaly pleasant country in which to live , oportunuties are as open as your mind and abilities will allow , as long as you have the drive to succeed . Other than the weather , I have found moving to a new country is not much more difficult than moving from one end of a country to the other , except you cannot just junp in the car and drive back to whence you came .

Your biggest hurdles have been overcome , employement and visa , I suggest you rent a small , suitable place to live until you get the lay of the land and you and the wife agree it is a place you can live , if not you can always move . Good luck in your new life , second honey-moon ? LOL
Thanks,
It's good to hear from someone who has some (indirect) personal experience of the city itself. Were they at Lakehead, or Confederation, and what made them choose T-Bay - are you from that neck of the woods or afar?

Mark
 

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They were at Lakehead , daughter went to accompany new husband in a company posting , son went to colledge there to spend time with his sister and a free place to hang his hat . At that period in time , the family were resident in the country-side surounding the small town of Kilbride north of Burlington , our own 'Country cottage' close to all conveniences , never did see the logic in driving way north in heavy traffic to 'Relx' , then returning more stressed out than when you left , had good bragging rights though .
 

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A point I missed was French immersion, I learnt reading writing and verbal communication in England which has mostly moved to the back of my brain due to lack of use , despite the many years I lived there , my children went through immersion , but same same , lack of use . The feeling I have is that French is only of use if you intend working for the government , they do not even communicate in the FRENCH languge in Quebec , it is 'Quebecous' they use which is quite the *******isation of French which a long time Parisian aquaintance had difficulty understanding at times . More time could be spent on the 3 'R's' , but then , modern electronics are taking over in those fields , shame realy because those subjects taught more than their inference would suggest , Colin .
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hmmm... Food for thought. My concern is mainly around my daughter, who did French briefly at school, but would be going in 3 years in - is there a staged approach, or is it all or nothing from the start of school. Also, I've seen the comment that Quebecois is very different to French French - but how different? On our recent visit to Ontario my 5 year old would be asked if he wanted fries with his meal, and would reply "No, chips, please". Is it like this, and just a different accent and the odd different word, or is the whole structure different?
 

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Hmmm... Food for thought. My concern is mainly around my daughter, who did French briefly at school, but would be going in 3 years in - is there a staged approach, or is it all or nothing from the start of school. Also, I've seen the comment that Quebecois is very different to French French - but how different? On our recent visit to Ontario my 5 year old would be asked if he wanted fries with his meal, and would reply "No, chips, please". Is it like this, and just a different accent and the odd different word, or is the whole structure different?
French immersion is just that, Immersion. The children are taught mostly in French and English becomes secondary, although not ignored. Quebecoise French is different from Parisien French insofar as use of certain slang/idioms/accents. The French taught in schools is "correct" French, such as would/should be spoken by educated French persons. You could perhaps compare it to someone educated in an English public school and from say London and a counterpart from, say, a council estate in Liverpool/Glasgow etc.
A child from French Immersion would be understood anywhere in the French speaking world.
 

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There's no doubt Thunder Bay is a remote community. It is accessible by road, air and water but it could be difficult for many people to settle into. A visit before deciding would be an appropriate thing to do. If you're into winter activities then it could suit you admirably. Lots of summer stuff to do as it's located on a huge lake and it's ideal if you are into camping and outdoors stuff.
The "PRIVACY LAWS" to which I speak refer to crime committed by someone under the age of 18. It is rarely reported and you are not aware whether or not it is your next door neighbours child or a visit.

I don't know where you have been, but there is a lot of in you face crime in Canada upon innocent bystanders...just travel into any downtown core on the weekend and you'll see it. This is more apparent in the south, however, any College or University town seems to have these issues...look at London, Ontario, known to most people as a bedrooom community in the middle of farmland..where it's crime rate per capita is actually higher than Toronto.

As for schools, split-classes are very, very common. IMO, Unless you have a child in the system TODAY your really not qualified to speak on this as I am, yes, Ontario has had a good education system in the past, however unless your an involved parent, the chances of success in the system now is greatly diminished. The number one topic during any provincial election is class sizes and split grades - however it does not matter who is elected - nothing changes.
 

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There's no doubt Thunder Bay is a remote community. It is accessible by road, air and water but it could be difficult for many people to settle into. A visit before deciding would be an appropriate thing to do. If you're into winter activities then it could suit you admirably. Lots of summer stuff to do as it's located on a huge lake and it's ideal if you are into camping and outdoors stuff.
In regards to Canadians in Florida...3 million Canadians flock to Florida for the winter on a regular basis. Over 2 million have a winter home in Florida...10%-12% of one countries population (as small as Canada's) migrating annually is quite substantial.
 

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Thanks for your thoughts, but I'm as puzzled as Auld Yin about these privacy laws of which you speak? Could you clarify - this is something that none of my contacts in Canada, be that Ontario or other 'rival' provinces have ever mentioned. The official stats from the Lakehead and Catholic School Boards show 90% of schools having 20 or less children per class - is this untrue?

Mark
Hi Mark,

In response to Auld Yin's comments about the Privacy Act, demographics on items such as crime are protected, - Youth are protected and while details of a crime may be released, the perp., and his location are definitely not (under 18 years). You will not be able to go online and discover that your buying a home next to a registered sex offender as this information is restricted to police agencies only. The police will alert a city that a sex offender may be released and living in their locale for a heads up if they fear that one may reoffend. Crimes may be reported but are not public record.

I have children in the Ontario school system, and they have been in split grades from JK thru to grade 8. It is amazing how much repetition she has had over the years and how many tutors we have paid for where important items were missed altogether. Declining enrolment and school amalgamation is a big problem here. I don't think one can refer to this as "balderdash" unless one has a child in the system or been through it themselves...not loosely based on what others have offered. I have been in the company of many kids from the UK in the past that were farther along, and were left bored in the system. Due to the diversity of the province (one of the most diverse places in the world) the system is slowed due to lack of understanding of all students in the classroom, and difficulty in communicating. The larger the centre, the more of an issue. Your child's success in the system will be determined by how "hands-on" the parents are.

Class sizes of 20 or less are unheard of in the south, with budgets being reduced - split level classes are becoming more of the norm. 20 or less was a provincial target for up to the third grade. I would inquire to how recent those stats are.
 

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Hmmm... Food for thought. My concern is mainly around my daughter, who did French briefly at school, but would be going in 3 years in - is there a staged approach, or is it all or nothing from the start of school. Also, I've seen the comment that Quebecois is very different to French French - but how different? On our recent visit to Ontario my 5 year old would be asked if he wanted fries with his meal, and would reply "No, chips, please". Is it like this, and just a different accent and the odd different word, or is the whole structure different?
Totally agree. I went thru French Immersion, and I have to disagree with Auld Yin, the french taught is Quebecoise and not "correct French" (and really who determines whose french is more correct anyway). Quebecoise is uniquely Canadian, and it is taught by Quebecoise teachers (if you live in a French area like Sudbury, Point-aux-Roches, Cornwall, or even T-Bay, otherwise in other centres your french may be taught by someone like me who went thru immersion themselves). To say that "correct french" is taught is untrue. Canadian dialect (aka Quebecoise) is taught here and is uniquely Canadian. Yes, you will be able to have a conversation with a Parisienne, but to say which "french" is the correct french is a matter of opinion.
 

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The French taught today in Ontario is FRENCH not quebecois , I have friends with children going through the system as we speak , quebecois is more than a dialectical difference , it is unique unto itself , it was determined that way because it is more for govenmental usage which needs to be on a par with international conversational FRENCH .

Where abouts in Ontario does Floridian live incidentaly , it could explain some of the disparaty being given about various things .
 
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