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The 8 Best Places to Retire in British Columbia

October 10, 2021BY Dale Carroll

Thinking of immigrating for your retirement? British Columbia is one of the best provinces in Canada for retirees. It offers a safe environment, plenty of amenities, a wealth of natural beauty, and lots of opportunities to get involved with whatever community you happen to choose.

As Surrey immigration attorneys we’re committed to helping people live their best lives in Canada. That’s why we wanted to take the time to put this guide together, so that you can make an informed decision about whether life in BC will be right for you.

Here are the 8 cities where retirees are usually happiest in British Columbia. 

Surrey

There are lots of reasons why retiree expats may want to call Surrey home. The weather is temperate year-round. There’s ample public transit if you don’t want to get a car, and you can easily find a home that puts shopping and dining within walking distance. Home prices are lower than in nearby Vancouver, but you’ll be close enough to enjoy everything that Vancouver has to offer.

Retirees from India will enjoy access to the thriving Punjabi community here. 

Of course, we may be slightly biased…our law office calls Surrey “home!”

See also:

Living in Surrey, BC

The Cost of Living in Surrey, BC

The Nicest Parks in Surrey, BC

Best Neighborhoods in Surrey, BC 

Victoria

If you want stately old world charm, a glorious climate, and incredible scenery then Victoria is an excellent option. You can spend your days enjoying the numerous gardens and parks in a city devoted to planting as many flowers as possible. You’ll also find numerous museums, interesting festivals, and historic buildings to enjoy. There’s a reason why Money Sense named Victoria as the #1 place to retire in Canada. 

Love to cycle? Victoria is the “Cycling Capital of Canada.” There are bike trails galore, and you can even bike down to the Gulf Islands. 

You’ll also find plenty of other retirees here. 18% of the population is 65 or older, which means you’ll have plenty of opportunities to make new friends. It also means finding a quiet neighborhood to settle down in won’t be too challenging.

Langley

If you like the idea of settling down in some gorgeous farm country then Langley is the place to be. You’ll spend your days in quiet but will be close enough to nearby Vancouver and Surrey to continue enjoying all the activities and amenities the city has to offer. 

Yet you might not have to travel far to find fun things to do: wine tastings and farm tours can take up plenty of time!

There are plenty of retirement communities that will put you within walking distance of almost everything you’ll need, including doctor’s offices and pharmacies. 

See also:

The Top 20 Things to Do in Langley

Nelson

Low property taxes and warm weather make picturesque Nelson a great option for many retirees. Money Sense named Nelson as one of Canada’s top places to retire. There’s a thriving arts and music scene to keep you entertained, as well as lots of recreational opportunities at nearby Kootenay Lake.

Don’t want to buy a car? You don’t have to. Nelson is highly walkable, has lots of trails, and offers access to public transit. 

It’s a small town atmosphere, with just over 10,000 people calling it home. 

Vancouver

Not all retirees are seeking a quiet lifestyle. Some want a wealth of things to do now that they’re no longer stuck at work! If that’s you, then consider heading to Vancouver. You’d probably need another 100 years to explore all the shopping, dining, and cultural opportunities. You’ll still be close enough to natural beauty to enjoy a wealth of outdoor activities. You definitely won’t need a car.

The main drawback to life in Vancouver is the expense of living there, but for many retirees this isn’t much of a hurdle. Any home you buy will definitely protect and grow your wealth, simply because the value of Vancouver homes continues to rise.  

Kelowna

If you love wine then you’ll love life in Kelowna. This small mountain town boasts over 40 wineries. The city is known on the international wine scene. 

It’s also a great place to go if you’re looking for a sense of community. In Kelowna, most people know each other and take an interest in one another’s lives. The people are friendly and welcoming, and are likely to make you feel right at home in no time. 

Vernon

Moving to Vernon means settling into lake country in a gorgeous mid-sized mountain town in the Okanagan Valley. Incredible views and interesting architecture make this a picturesque option. It’s not hard to find a home with some lovely views. 

You’ll probably want to own a car in Vernon. While you can access transit and walking trails most residents do own a car. Vernon’s centralized location makes it a nice location for taking day trips to just about everything else that British Columbia has to offer. 

You’ll also have access to the newly expanded Vernon Jubilee Hospital and a wealth of walk-in clinics to help you manage your health care needs. 

Finally, making friends will be easy thanks to numerous community groups. There are lots of volunteer organizations devoted to a wealth of causes, plenty of faith-based groups, and a senior recreation center where you can meet other like-minded individuals. 

Burnaby

Burnaby ranks #3 in a worldwide survey for quality of life. It’s a smallish city of about 250,000 people located near Vancouver. You get the best of both worlds: lower prices with big-city atmosphere and access to everything Vancouver has to offer. 

You’ll find an outstanding public transit system that runs straight into Vancouver. Yet you may not want to: there are enough parks, shopping centers, and dining options in Burnaby to keep anyone busy for quite some time. 

Almost every neighborhood has its own community center, which means you’ll have plenty of opportunities to get involved and make friends. You’ll even be able to enjoy the Burnaby VIllage Heritage Museum, an old-fashioned village where the staff dresses in 1920s costumes and re-enacts what life was like a century ago. 

Where is the most affordable place to retire or live in BC?

If you’re looking for a city where your nest egg will go its farthest, then check out Prince George. It’s a medium-sized town of about 74,000 people. The average home prices are lower, the cost of living is lower, and you aren’t sacrificing much.

If you love theaters, museums, and symphonies, Prince George has them. You’ll also find plenty of outdoor recreation to enjoy. 

Ready to begin your immigration journey?

If you don’t plan to work then family sponsorship may be one option for you. If you don’t have family in Canada then you might want to look into one of the investors and entrepreneurs programs.

In the investment program you must have a net worth of $2 million and invest 1.2 million for a period of five years at no interest under one of the two available immigrant investor programs. The investment is government-guaranteed and is repaid in full at the end of the program. You must demonstrate relevant business experience, showing that you’ve owned, managed, or operated a qualified business for at least 2 out of 5 years preceding your application. 

You can also use the entrepreneur visa. This requires you to establish, purchase, or make a substantial investment in a business in Canada within 2 years of arrival. This business must result in a significant contribution to the economy. You’ll have to remain active in the management of the business and employ at least one Canadian citizen or lawful permanent resident who isn’t in your family. 

Artists or writers may be able to retire in Canada under the self-employed person’s program, wherein you must demonstrate that you’ll make a significant contribution to the economy or Canada’s cultural or artistic life. 

British Columbia also offers two Entrepreneur programs. One requires you to have a net worth of $600,000 and 3 years of business experience. You would then invest $200,000 to create at least one full time job for a Canadian citizen or LPR. Under the Entrepreneur Regional Pilot your net worth can be $300,000 and you can invest $100,000, but you must retain a minimum of 51% ownership of whatever you invest in and create one full-time job in the local community. The business must be located in a community in BC with a population of less than 75,000. 

No matter which immigration program you choose for your retirement you’ll need help from a qualified immigration attorney. Why not consider our team? We have attorneys on staff who speak fluent Mandarin and Punjabi, and we’ve got decades of experience. We can help you find the right immigration program for you. 

Get started by calling  (604) 394-2777 to make an appointment today. Our team is ready to work with you!

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