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Saturday, October 24, 2020

You Are A Canadian Snowbird, So What Are Your Plans?

 Leaving Canada during the long and cold winter has been a Canadian staple for decades. Thousands have gone south before winter came to their town or village. Florida and the South-West have been the most popular destinations. Starting in 2005, we did it ourselves until the winter 2013/14. Then our dog got old and didn't like to travel, so we stayed home. But dialing back to 2008, we had sold our property and became fulltimers. During that time plans were discussed to continue full-timing, but ultimately we ended up buying another property in Maritime Canada. And we started to enjoy celebrating Christmas at home. It was fun too.

Meanwhile, many of our friends continued with their snowbird commute, and of course some times we thought about doing it again as well, and this year we bought an RV again, making plans for a trip south to the desert of the South-West. But then Covid-19 came making any further thoughts of a warm winter in the desert pointless.

Just like us, tens of thousands of Canadian Snowbirds will have to accept the new harsh reality. And those who have a comfortable home, like us, may still have a  tear in one eye, but at least can settle in with a homey fire in the oven instead  of sitting by a roaring campfire. 

But what about the others? Those who were fulltimers before Covid turned the world upside down? Some might trek over to Vancouver Island or the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, both places are known for milder winters. Some have to rent an apartment or move in with family and relatives.

When we considered going full-timing for good Bea argued that we could be in trouble if one of us gets sick, preventing us from going south. The fact that an outside enemy like the Coronavirus would play the deciding role never occurred in our thoughts. But here we are getting ready for snow and another winter up north. Not a tragedy, of course, just not what we had in mind.

And what is the outlook for the winter 2021/22?

Right now I would advise anybody not having a winter home, "Get One". We feel very strongly that we will have to stay yet another winter away from the desert dunes. The fact that the United States does not even make a serious attempt to rein in the spread of the virus and that daily infections will reach 6-digit numbers in a very short time and that the total death toll will go to 500.000 during the first 4-6 months of 2021 with no distributed vaccine available until earliest June 2021, would make it still quite questionable whether a snowbird winter 2021/22 is realistic.  Even though it wouldn't be what we want, it would still be doable for us.  And come summer we have our trailer rented out to make us $$$.


  1. Yup, we're one of those fulltimers caught up in this. We have just moved into an apartment courtesy of a couple of friends who changed their lives to help us out. We have though, embarked on buying another house so we'll be ready next winter if we can't go south.
    We happen to be in the Okanagan Valley and quite far south at that and it is bloody cold here! The snow came yesterday and the north wind has been blowing steady making the wind chill nasty.

    1. Yes, the Okanagan Valley is not Arizona, but maybe better than being far up north. And I believe your winter will be shorter. Actually the southern part of NB is quite far south as well, on the same latitude as Portland OR, but we have a lot of nasty cold winds out here at the coast. Stay warm where you are.

  2. Any Canadian can rent a place this winter in the USA. You can fly here, if you rent a place. Any person with common sense won't get covid.

    1. It's common sense which would make Canadians stay home.

  3. Cathie's sister and hubby live in the Okanagan (OK Falls), and they are getting below-freezing temps with snow right now. Overall milder than here in southern Ontario, but it sure isn't Arizona. Like you we're happy to have a stick-n-bricks home base in these uncertain times.

  4. Stay warm and stay safe my Canadian friends !


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