I am still trying to find a
lawyer to handle all the legal work. I was given three laywers to
contact and the first I tried was Tom McGregor and with a name like that
thought it would be worth trying him first. He was going to charge
around $1,700 for the work. My people here in Toronto said that
sounded very expensive so tried a John Mathany and got his co-worker Tammy
on the phone and she gave me a quote of $1369.00 and said it might even be
less. I'm going to check with one of Nola's friends to see if that
is about reasonable but so far that looks to be reasonable given the price
of the house.
I might add that the
lawyers in Wallaceburg must be doing good business as whenever you try and
reach them they are always in meetings. Getting them to phone you
back is not easy either... none of them managed it anyway so I kept
phoning back until I got someone.
I also wanted to get
clarification on how to bring my house furniture in from Scotland and the
web sites give conflicting advice. I thought I'd try and talk with
someone but they have the most convuluted system you could ever believe in
trying to talk to a real person. On their web site they say go to
this number and they'll give you the local addresses of our offices but
when you go to that number they don't even give you that as an option.
Mind you this is not to say
they are any worse than any other country but as I'm just dealing with
this one right now and haven't needed to deal with any other I can only
comment on their service.
While hunting for
information I am generally finding that government offices want to hide
behind text messaging which is most irritating. I think they must
have a profit agreement with the phone companies as you spend a huge
amount of time listening to all the menus you go through and then find out
you don't even get the option to speak to someone. I have resorted
to asking the lawyer if she could find the local customs office around
Wallaceburg and that really shouldn't be necessary.
While listening to all the
text messages on the Customs phone line one of the options was for
reporting suspicious goings on but I think by the time I'd gone through
all the text messages I'd have given up wanting to report anything to
them. I also wanted to check with my mobile phone folk about the need to
change my phone number if I move to Wallaceburg and again that same number
of text messages came up. So all in all today was not a good day as
I couldn't find anyone to talk to and have had to refer to other people to
try and get me phone numbers for real people.
Update Note: Hands
up... I got someone on the phone about customs and they told me that if
I'd waited a bit I would have got an option to talk to an agent.
Essentially when you dial the 1 800 461 9999 number you are told you get 4
options but after they tell you the 4 options they then say you can hit 0
to talk to an agent. So... sorry for the diatribe above as I
obviously didn't wait long enough to hear the fifth option.
Essentially they gave me an
address at 1 Front Street, corner of Bay/Yonge where you go and ask to see
an officer to request a temporary permit. You need to take 3 copies of a
list of your household affects with you. I'll report later on how I get
Update Note: I was
told that I didn't need the list as I was on a work permit and that also
applied if you are waiting for an immigration application to be processed.
Essentially household goods come in duty free but of course no alcohol or
cigarettes. I have contacted the removers in Glasgow and they hope to get
back to me shortly as to what needs to happen. It is possible that I
might need to meet the shippers at the Canadian border but will do an
update on that when I know more.
I will be heading out the
OHIP offices tomorrow to get my Ontario Health Insurance Protection. After
you are here for 90 days you can enter an application to join the scheme.
Their web site is at
and you can get an application form online which you complete and then
take it into one of their offices. In this case they are listed on the
site along with their phone numbers... so Customs and others take note!!!
Update Note: Have now
visited the office and it is a bit like the driving licence office. You
queue up to see reception... around 10 mins. They check what you are
after and verify you have the correct documents with you. (In my case I
needed my passport, work permit and Canadian Driving Licence. I did notice
a couple of people being turned away as they didn't have all the documents
they needed.) If all that is
ok then you are given a number and you then sit and watch for your number
appearing on screens around the room. Once called you go up to the
booth and give over your papers. You then get a photograph taken and
that's about it. They will send you a health card within 5 weeks but
they do give you a bit of paper explaining that you now qualify for health
care. I admit to being a bit surprised as in the documentation they
mentioned that certain restrictions may apply but there was nothing on the
bit of paper saying that so assume I have full coverage. To get more
information on this scheme together with an application form which you can
print out you should visit their web site at
I had a visit to CTV
yesterday and got to see some of their operations. I was visiting
with David Hunter the Chairman of the Scottish Studies Foundation who is
also the Vice-President of Technical Services at CTV. He had
arranged for us to meet Steve McNie who is head of their advertising dept.
to see if we could get some advice on finding some new advertisers.
Steve was very helpful and so will be off to see some folk and explore
I got in a membership
application for the Royal Canadian Military Institute and will be
following this up shortly. I am also pursuing becoming a member of the
Press Club and will let you know how those things go in a future update.
I have also transferred
over funds from my USA bank account to my Scotiabank here in Canada in
preparation for getting things for the house. The funny thing about
Scotiabank is that each time I've transferred money to them they phone me
up to ask where I'd like the money placed. I mean I told them on the
wire what account I wanted it placed in so why phone me up to ask?
Weird! Also in the last phone call the bank asked what I was going
to do with the money... as if it is any of their business. They then said
did I want a mortgage or a car loan. Given the fact that they can't
supply me with a credit card I asked why on earth I'd even consider going
to them for a loan or mortgage. Very weird people indeed. I will say
my bank in the USA, BB&T, has been the best of all the banks I've had to
deal with so far.
Update Note: I was
told that if you transfer a large sum of money in from outside the country
they apparently need to check this as they are concerned about money
laundering. Still seems a bit daft though. I mean if it was half a
million or something fine but perhaps it is just as I'm a new account
I got an invite to go to a
special seminar at the Canadian Consultate in Detroit during February so
am looking forward to going to that. I need to double check I won't
have any problems going into the USA as I'd heard there was to be some
changes to the visa waiver program that the UK has with the USA. The
seminar is on Feb 28th from 10am to 12 noon.
Another funny thing
happened to me when looking for a bed to purchase. As it has been
many years since I purchased a bed I found the process somewhat confusing.
You can't actually purchase a bed, that is a complete bed. You need
to buy a frame, a headboard, a base matress, the actual mattress, etc.
Then you have to decide on a twin bed, double bed, queen bed or king bed.
All in all I found dealing
with Tom and Als a lot easier as you could talk to them and they told you
what you needed. So my advice to folk looking for furniture and
stuff for the house is go talk to the local store as they seem to be just
as competitive and a lot more helpful.
I have arranged the TV and
Internet access through Cogeco for my Wallaceburg access. The total
package seems to be around CAN$169.00 a month and that gives me all the TV
channels and business hi-speed Internet. Around $136 or £72 so in my terms
that is a good price. You can also run 4 TVs on that price as well.
I'm still humming and
hawing about a car as I really don't need one where I am staying in
Toronto so have pretty much decided to leave this to start of March as I
will need one mid March onwards. I am starting to explore how I
might get a car though and what all my options are. As you will already
know getting finance in Canada while on a work permit is not cheap. I am
told that if I am a house owner then this might well give me a better deal
so waiting until 1st March seems like a good idea.
I have ascertained that
insurance will be around $2,600 but if you can produce an old insurance
policy from the UK then you might get a reasonable discount. I have
thus made contact with my old insurers and they have emailed me to say
they've found the policy and will post over a copy of it to me.
Anyway that's pretty much
all for now but still things to do and see :-)
Update for 1st Feb....
I was today notified that I've been elected to the Board of the Scottish
Studies Society which is the commercial arm of the Scottish Studies
Foundation. So hopefully this means I'll be able to help them with
some of the work that they do.