Relocating between provinces in Canada

Moving from Edmonton, Alberta to the Sunshine Coast, BC

This post was written using a transcript from the video at the top of the page. It has been edited for clarity.

VAL: Well, you're in for a story. We're going to tell you how we moved to the Sunshine Coast. A lot of people wonder about the actual moving process and everything that's involved with that. We're going tell you about our moving experience and how we chose to move here.

PAUL: But before we do that, if you like this kind of stuff, I'm going to ask you to subscribe to the channel, give the video a like, and leave us a comment. Maybe tell me how goofy I am and I'll pretty Val is.

VAL: So how to move? What to do?

Avoiding horror stories

PAUL: You hear horror stories from people, right? That they hired a mover and the mover takes their stuff or holds their things hostage. Or the price ends up being way more expensive than they were quoted. We hadn't had big moves before. We'd always just moved within the city where you could enlist a few friends and a few trucks and move your stuff over an afternoon. But this was the first time we had to take all of our stuff, all at once, and move it a long distance.

VAL: We were moving from Edmonton, Alberta to Gibsons, BC.

PAUL: We were worried about the horror stories that we hear. I guess those fears made us take charge of our own destiny and we rented our own truck, drove the truck, and made arrangements for movers at both ends.

VAL: In Edmonton, I packed up all the boxes and I had them all ready. And then Paul rented a big U-haul 24' thing.

PAUL: Yeah, it was a big truck. It was one of the biggest trucks that they had. We had never move like this before and we didn't know whether we had a normal sized truck or a huge sized truck. And really, the difference in price was not that crazy, so we just took the big truck. And I'm not nervous about driving a big vehicle in traffic so actually having to operate it wasn’t really a consideration for me.

VAL: Prior to picking up the truck, we’d booked a mover ahead of time. Was it just one guy? Or was it two?

PAUL: I think it was two guys.

VAL: So they moved all our stuff from in the house and into the truck for us. We didn't want to do that because we want to stay married, right?

PAUL: That’s right. And I'm old.

Leaving Alberta behind

VAL: So then that was great. Yeah, sure, you pay for it but it was a weight lifted off our shoulders. That's taken care of. And then when everything was out of the house and into the truck, then we did our last little big cleaning on the house. And we left that afternoon, right? We were SO excited!

PAUL: Again, you hear horror stories, and one of the things you hear is that when the truck stops for the night, somebody steals it. So we thought, “Well, we don’t really want to let the truck sit outside the house all night.” It was so big, there was no place that was secure to store it. And so we thought, “OK, well, let's just drive. We'll drive as far as we drive and we'll stop when we get tired. We’ll sleep at a gas station or on the side of the road or something like that. Then we’ll wake up and keep going until we’re in Gibsons.”

VAL: It's about a 14 hour trip. Paul drove the truck and I drove our car and my mom came along to help. It was fun and exciting and she wanted to be part of it and she was very helpful. I think mom maybe got in the truck with you for a little bit. So we drove until...?

PAUL: We left in the afternoon and then we just said we were going to drive until we were too tired to drive. We drove to Valemount and by Valemount, it was dark and we stopped and had a bathroom break and had a drink and got some snacks and that kind of thing. And we were still too wired to stop. We're like, “OK, let's just keep going!” We did have a little walkie-talkie radios with us because don't have a lot of cell service in that part of the country. That meant we could chat back and forth. And when we got to Clearwater, we were powered out.

VAL: OK. That's where it was. And so we slept in the vehicle a little bit. I didn't really sleep. It's hard to sleep in a vehicle, but I think Paul snoozed a bit.

PAUL: Yeah. A little bit, I think. If we did get any sleep, it only would have been for a half-hour or something like that. It was just a power nap and we got up and carried on to Kamloops.

VAL: Kamloops! That’s where we slept for longer. I think we got to Kamloops at like a four in the morning.

PAUL: We fueled up the vehicles and we slept for a couple h
ours and then carried on from there. We did stop one more time. We stopped at A&W and had breakfast somewhere between Chilliwack and Vancouver. I don't remember exactly where...

VAL: I think it was Abbotsford or maybe Langley.

PAUL: Wherever it was, we stopped had another bathroom break and had our first meal since we'd left home. Then we made our way to the ferry.

Arriving on the Sunshine Coast

VAL: We were in line at the ferry, and this is September. The beginning or second week in September, 2014. The car gets in one line, but then bigger vehicles get put into a different line. Mom and I are loading up and we get the car onto the ferry. And then Paul and the truck aren’t getting on yet. His line had moved for a while, but then it stopped and we're radioing back and forth, saying, “Ahh! He’s not going to get on! We're going to be on different ferries and they’re like, two hours apart.” But he was the very last truck that was allowed on the ferry. It was SO exciting. It was like, “Welcome to the Sunshine Coast!”

We were the last truck to be loaded onto the ferry before it was full. Paul and Val’s mom pose beside the truck on the ferry. Photo by Val Labrecque.

PAUL: We had movers in Gibsons lined up so that we didn't have to unload this truck on our own. That was Len Wrays in Gibsons. They were very good. They send over three or four young guys, in their late teens or early twenties.

VAL: We didn't know when we'd arrive so we booked the movers for Saturday. We hoped we'd arrive on Friday, but worst case scenario, maybe we only got here on Saturday so we booked movers for Saturday. But then when we got onto the ferry, the movers called us and said, “Can we move you guys today? That way we can have the weekend off because we're actually caught up with our work.” And we're like, “Yeah! We'll be in Gibsons in an hour. Please come early. That would be great!” So, that worked out awesome.

PAUL: These four young guys showed up and were really nice. They worked like dogs.

VAL: They were strong!

PAUL: They didn't want to stop. It was fairly warm out and we asked, “Do you guys want to stop and have a drink or something?” “No, no, no,” they say. They just wanted to work and get done. Super nice guys and they got it all done. Now we have all our stuff in the house. Val and her mom started unpacking, well, we all started on packing. We let the truck sit outside in our parking stall overnight. I think that impressed our new neighbours. First day we live here, we put a HUGE truck in the stall.

The next day, we had to take the truck back to U-haul. And according to U-haul’s website, we had to take the truck back to Vancouver. But at the time there was a U-haul drop-off on the Sunshine Coast out here. We phoned U-haul and said, “Can we just drop it off out here?” And I think we kind of got one over on U-haul because my guess is they looked at a map and they just saw that we were close enough to Vancouver. Maybe weren't aware that there was a ferry involved and that it was going to be a bigger job for somebody to come out to the Sunshine Coast to pick it up. So U-haul said, “Yeah, no problem. Just go drop it off close to you.” We originally thought it was going to be a whole half-day to go to the city to drop the truck off and come back. But in the end, there was none of that. So we just took the truck up the road and dropped it off at the at the U-haul lot on the Sunshine Coast and then came home and kept unpacked. And then we lived in Gibsons.

NOTE: According to Google, the U-Haul location on the Sunshine Coast is permanently closed.

Moving is expensive

VAL: So for U-haul, we paid for the one-way renting of a vehicle. So it might be a little more expensive because you're not bringing the truck back to where you started but it worked out fine for us. Moving is expensive. You don't want to do it all the time and it kind of sucks, but yeah, it turned out fine for us.

PAUL: We had a house full of stuff, so it didn't make sense for us to sell everything in Edmonton and then buy everything again in Gibsons. Maybe if we were younger or single, and we just had a studio apartment or a one-bedroom apartment full of stuff, them maybe it wouldn’t be worth the aggravation of hiring movers in both locations and renting a truck and all the rest. Maybe that would have been the way to go. But for us, how we moved was the answer. If you're in a similar position and you find yourself needing to move, I think it worked out really well for us. We moved in the fall, so when we drove over the mountains, we didn't have to worry about snow or anything like that.

VAL: We also moved mid-month, the second week in. I'm sure the end of the month or the beginning of the month must be a lot busier for moving vehicles and movers.

Be organized

PAUL: The process worked really well and if we ever have to make another big move, I think we would probably do the same thing. Hire movers at both ends, rent a truck, drive the truck ourselves. That seemed to be about as painless as we can get. We didn't have to wait for furniture. We weren't worried that somebody was going to all our stuff hostage. It was a lot of work. Val was the one that packed and knew how much stuff had to be packed on what day for us to meet our moving deadline. She bought all the boxes. She labelled everything. She was super, super organized. And if it wouldn't have been for her, we wouldn't have gotten to the Sunshine Cost. It was her effort and expertise that got all that organized.

VAL: We both wanted it to happen. I didn’t really know how to pack. I'm not really an organized person, but it did make sense to label boxes KITCHEN if it was for kitchen and LIVING ROOM if it was for the living room. That did help a lot so that when the movers unpacked the stuff here, they were able to put the boxes in the appropriate room. That’s probably Moving 101 for a lot of people, but it went well.

PAUL: If you're comfortable driving a truck in traffic along distance, we would recommend moving the way we did. It seemed as relatively pain-free as moving could get. I don't know that I could be bothered to actually hire movers with their own truck to move all my stuff for me. That seems like there'd be a lot of extra stress.

VAL: Well, that's our moving story from AB to BC. If you’re still reading, I hope you enjoyed it. And if you thought it was boring story, then good for you for leaving. But we were excited about moving! It was exciting for us!

PAUL: If you’re entertained by the minutia of packing and moving between provinces, you can subscribe to our YouTube channel for other riveting content, just like this. If you have questions about moving between provinces, leave a comment below. Or you could ask an unrelated question about a topic we haven't covered yet, and we can do a story on that topic in the future.

This post was written using a transcript from the video at the top of the page. It has been edited for clarity.

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