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Retire in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada?
Overview: To the east of the U.S. state of Maine, New Brunswick is one of Canada's maritime provinces. Pretty Fredericton is its capital and is bisected by the Saint John River.
The city has the highest percentage of post-secondary graduates in the province and is home to North America's oldest public university - the University of New Brunswick. The private St. Thomas University has programs in journalism and criminology, and the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design emphasizes studio-based learning. Beaverbrook Art Gallery, its near neighbor, has a Salvador Dali collection. Both institutions are part of the trendy Historic Garrison District. The city's Southside has a downtown with a nucleus of provincial government buildings, while the Northside is packed with boroughs peppered with ranch ramblers and raised ranch ramblers. This area is also home to the Saint Mary's First Nation Reserve.
The city puts a big emphasis on the arts. It supports a Poet Laureate, and its Charlotte Street Arts Centre houses artists, artist organizations, an auditorium, dance studios, and a restaurant. The Playhouse, the venue for Theatre New Brunswick, produces a full season of comedy and drama. The city also hosts a film festival, a new play summit, and two music festivals.
Residents enjoy nearly 140 green spaces. In fact, parts of the city are urban forests. There are also swimming pools and beaches, a boat launch, indoor and outdoor ice arenas, gyms and field houses, senior centers, tennis courts, basketball courts and a network of trails that criss-crosses the banks of the Saint John and Nashwaak Rivers.
The annual Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival is always well attended. Craft breweries and coffee shops are in very good supply. The Saturday farmers' market boasts more than 250 vendors. The Botanic Garden has 54 acres of terraces, streams and springs. Shopping venues include two indoor malls and a variety of boutiques, galleries and shops around town. Fishing, camping and hiking are just beyond city limits. Whale watching is about an hour to the south.
Population: 60,000 (city proper)
Percentage of Population Age 45 or Better: 40%
Expatriate Community Numbers: No estimates
Living Costs: Below both the Canadian average and the U.S. average. In fact, Fredericton is one of the most affordable cities in Canada.
Home Prices: The median home price is $220,000 CAD ($165,000 USD).
Climate: Fredericton has a semi-continental climate. Summer temperatures are in the 60s and low-70s, and winter temperatures are in the teens. On average, the area receives 35 inches of rain and 85 inches of snow per year. The highest temperature ever recorded in Fredericton was 102F (1935) and the coldest temperature ever recorded was negative 38F (1925).
Medical Clinic or Hospital: Yes, Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital
Public Transit: Yes, a bus system. A $50 CAD ($37 USD) yearly pass is available to anyone age 65 or better.
Crime Rate: Below the Canadian national average, which is lower than the U.S. average.
Cons: The hospital does not receive outstanding reviews. Spring river flooding occurs most years and affects low lying neighborhoods.
Notes: Seventy-five percent of the population speaks English only, while 23% is bilingual (French and English). Fredericton International Airport has daily flights to Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa.
Immigration: If you live in the U.S and want to retire in Canada, then start planning early (two to four years in advance of your retirement). The quickest and easiest way to enter the country is as a visitor. Citizens of the U.S. can stay in Canada for less than 6 months within a calendar year without a visa. Visitors can also own property in Canada. This means you could spend summers in the North, rent your home when it gets cold and flee to the South for winter.
Another temporary option is the super visa. If your child or grandchild lives in Canada as a permanent resident, you may qualify. You can hold this visa for up to 10 years, but can only stay in the country two years at a time. If you chose temporary visitor or grandparent status, make sure you also look into international health insurance (Medicare is not accepted in Canada).
Applications for permanent residency can be tough. Canada prefers the young, the skilled, the bilingual (French and English), the highly educated (university degree, please), and those still in the workforce. Your must show a means of support. Owning property in Canada will probably not be enough. If citizenship is your goal, stay employed while you wait for the process to work its way through government channels.
Canada considers some groups "inadmissible." This list includes security risks, people who have committed a human rights violation, those who lied at an immigration interview or on an application, and those who have committed a crime. Canada may disqualify you if you have a DUI or DWI in your recent past. If you can convince authorities of your rehabilitation, they may look more favorably on your application.
Both the federal and provincial governments have immigration programs (PNPs) and can and will nominate certain potential immigrants to become residents. These tend to target students, business people, skilled workers or semi-skilled workers.
If you have a good idea that will create jobs and help Canada "compete on a global scale," then you can register for a "start-up visa." Family sponsorship or a caregiver status are other viable immigration options.
Gaining citizenship or permanent residency can get complicated. To start entangling the web, explore Canada's immigration website. Laws change. It's a good idea to talk to an immigration attorney. Don't forget an accountant to help with taxes.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes
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