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The Canadian Snowbird Migration -- Along Interstate-75

Written by Posted On Tuesday, 02 November 1999 00:00

From Ontario and Quebec, they head to Florida. From Winnipeg across the prairies to Calgary, Canadians make Arizona and New Mexico their destination. From Edmonton west to the coast, California and Hawaii are the targets. As the fall colours herald the end of summer, Canadians are on the move to warmer climes. Named "snowbirds" after singer Anne Murray's hit song, thousands of Canadians "spread their tiny wings and fly away" to escape the cold, seemingly-endless Canadian winter.

Becoming a snowbird sounds romantic. After spending the summer months in your Canadian home, you make a pleasant journey south to enjoy a second summer in your home-away-from-home. While the snowbird existence is an increasingly popular one, don't be lulled into thinking it is an easy way to live.

Revenue Canada and the federal Income Tax Act dictate how long you can be out of Canada without incurring additional income tax responsibilities. Differences in property ownership and inheritance laws make it essential to find Canadian tax and estate planning advisers who are also very familiar with American requirements.

Each year, going south becomes more expensive as the Canadian dollar drops and costs rise. Health insurance is one of the greatest barriers, with premiums becoming prohibitive for some Canadians. When you're considering a snowbird lifestyle, estimate health insurance costs on the high side so that increased premiums will not crimp your style.

To make sure the trip south is an enjoyable adventure, get a copy of the eighth annual edition of Along Interstate 75 by Canadian travel writer Dave Hunter, published by Mile Oak Publishing Inc., Mississauga, Ontario. This easy-to-use travel guide makes you feel like a local, not a stranger, as you drive through Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia and Florida. Radio stations, construction zones, radar patterns, new hotels, shopping tips, animal clinics, 24-hour mega stores...the book lists anything, exit by exit, that Hunter can think of to make the trip less stressful and more fun.

Hunter and his wife, Kathy, have personally visited the recommended restaurants, hotels, museums and other stops that are detailed in the 202-page Canadian guide. Because they always pay their way, never take freebies and don't use advertisers, you can be sure of friendly service and good value at every spot along the way. Since the names of managers are included, you feel welcome even before you stop.

The southbound, 25-miles-per-page, coloured maps are drawn upside-down so that things drawn on the right side of the map are on the right-hand side of the car. The northbound set have north at the top of the page to continue the pattern.

The 2000 edition records over 500 I-75 exit number changes for Georgia, which, in January 2000, is adopting a numbering system something like Ontario's Highway 401. Hunter has done such a thorough job matching old and new exit numbers that Georgia Power and Georgia Tourism use his book.

In Canada, Along Interstate-57 is available for $24.95 at most bookstores and the Duty Free Shop at the Ambassador Bridge. You can pick up a copy for the trip home at Barnes & Nobel, Borders and many other US bookstores. You can reach Hunter at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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