What's it like in Fort Erie?
June 25, 2009 8:35 AM   Subscribe

What's it like in Fort Erie, Canada?

This is long-term planning for a place to live, nothing imminent. I am wondering if I should include Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada on my places-to-check-out list.

It seems to be in a good location, close to the many doings in the Niagara region, close to highways, on the water, and it seems like it might still have a viable, walkable downtown.

Or maybe it's a dead dying town with no future that borders and emulates the Buffalo wasteland.

For those of you who have been there, what's it like?

posted by lockedroomguy to Home & Garden (14 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
i have been there many times (lived in St. Catharines for 5 years, for school). what are your interests? what would make a city worth living in, for you?

personally, i find Fort Erie to be pretty boring and nothing beyond "meh" - but i also think St. Catharines is boring and not much of a city.

if you have specific interests or things you're looking for in a city, i might be able to speak to those. i have a friend who grew up in Fort Erie and still lives there, and i could ask him about his perspective too.
posted by gursky at 9:21 AM on June 25, 2009

I live in Buffalo, but have a few friends in Fort Erie whom I have visited. Think of it as a suburb of Buffalo with a big bridge between the two. That was their stated opinion, I have none on it.

But, I will say that Buffalo isn't nearly as horrible as you have heard.
posted by munchingzombie at 9:22 AM on June 25, 2009

When we were 17, my friends and I spent a good part of the summer of 1981 at a strip club in Fort Erie, so I will say nothing against the town.
posted by bonobothegreat at 9:33 AM on June 25, 2009

I too live in Buffalo and will second the "not nearly quite as horrible." Actually, it's quite nice and getting better all the time. But you asked about Fort Erie. Many people around here (Buffalo and Fort Erie) call it Fort Dreary. Interpret that how you will.

Now, if you'd like to know how terrific Buffalo is...
posted by jdfan at 9:47 AM on June 25, 2009

My opinion is no, take it off your list.

I grew up North of Buffalo so I've been in the area my whole life.

My impression is that real estate is very expensive compared to job opportunity. Can't think of a viable walkable downtown. Fort Erie has good Chinese Food, golf, and strip joints, because Ontario rules are more lax than New York States', and like all of Canada, cigars, if you like that sort of thing. It has recently developed a shopping strip.

And while the water is nice and it's close to the highways, the same can be said for the Buffalo wasteland, which has cheap real estate (albiet not good job opportunity) and an actual downtown. The Arts are good in Buffalo, the Sports good for a city of its size.

Fort Erie seems to lose its best and brightest kids, therefore the town to me is extremely red neck. Where many of my friends stayed in Buffalo, (though I must admit, we weren't the best and the brightest). If you do check it out, get the fish fry at Green Acres on Highway 3 a couple miles from the border.

Also not sure where you are coming from. It matters because if you are moving into Canada, you will need to deal with immigration.

I would put Buffalo on your list, and Toronto if you can swing the money, and if you are interested in walkable downtown and don't like Buffalo because it is too big, look at Port Colborne 20 miles west of Fort Erie.
posted by rakish_yet_centered at 9:48 AM on June 25, 2009

Just to ask: you are a Canadian person? Because if you are not, or not married to one, it's not like you can just up and move there without somewhat serious preparation and expense.

Leaving out any immigration issues on either side for the moment, I'm not sure why you'd think about Fort Erie and not Allentown or the Delaware district in Buffalo city, or Kenmore village, or Williamsville village as well.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:49 AM on June 25, 2009

rakish_yet_centered described it well - I grew up in Fort Erie, and much of my family remains and so I return for a visit from time to time.

To add to his comments:

The health system is closing a few hospitals / services which now has the nearest emergency room an hour's drive away. The province (and even the immediate region) doesn't seem to have plans that include Fort Erie - and you shouldn't either.

posted by csmason at 11:00 AM on June 25, 2009

Thanks, rakish_yet_centred!

I've got my answer but I thought I would respond to the side questions and comments:

- Gursky: low crime, decent restaurants, nice people, walkable downtown without too many boarded up buildings... a bookstore and movie theatre would be bonuses. Not worried about nightlife, sports, hunting, political or social activism one way or the other.
- MunchingZombie, I've spent a fair amount of time in Buffalo so while I admit my description is an unfair and rude exaggeration I'm not relying on hearsay.
- Bonobothegreat, I appreciate and understand your nostalgic sentiment.
- Jdfan, I would, actually, but sadly that would be a different thread.
- rakish_yet_centered, the other places you mention are all already on the list or rejected for various reasons.
- ROU_etc, I am, and in the question I have the words "long term" so it's irrelevant anyway. (Canada is easy to get into in the long term.) "Just up and move", indeed. Regarding considering Fort Erie, and not the other places you mention: because I haven't been to Fort Erie.

posted by lockedroomguy at 11:03 AM on June 25, 2009

Thanks csmason!

posted by lockedroomguy at 11:04 AM on June 25, 2009

If you asked someone from Ontario "What's a great small town to live in?" no one would answer Ft Erie. There are numerous better small towns in Ontario. Why not St Catherines which is a university town and as semi-nice as such and is only a few km away?
posted by GuyZero at 11:43 AM on June 25, 2009

and in the question I have the words "long term" so it's irrelevant anyway. (Canada is easy to get into in the long term.) "Just up and move", indeed.

Yeah, well, a lot of people (particularly Americans) seem to assume that they can at some vague point in the future pull up stakes and move to $foreigncountry just because they want to. There are lots of questions on askme that boil down to "I'd like to go live and work somewhere else at some point; where should I go?" that ignore that the other country might not let you move there. Likewise, lots of people have convictions for one or another of the offenses, which can be quite petty, that make immigration quite difficult and expensive when it remains possible at all.

So given the common-ness of the misconception, it seemed reasonable to offer a warning.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:48 AM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

I think you should choose Victoria, BC
posted by KokuRyu at 12:25 PM on June 25, 2009

rakish said it far better than i could. i, too, would vote for Port Colborne.

also, i have to disagree with St. Catharines being a university town. yes, there's a university there. but i don't think St. Catharines fits the description of a university town. i am so glad i don't live there anymore.
posted by gursky at 9:55 PM on June 25, 2009

London, Ontario is bigger but might be what you're looking for.
posted by bonobothegreat at 2:17 PM on June 26, 2009

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