02 March 2008

Field guide to snowbirds

Published: Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Doug Gray, author of The Canadian Snowbird Guide, defines a snowbird as a person who spends more than a month each year in a sunny southern location.

  • Western Canadian fowl prefer California and Arizona; for Central and Atlantic Canadians, it's Florida and Texas.
  • About two-thirds of Canada's snowbirds will head south over the next three or four weeks, Gray says. The remaining third will take flight in early January. Both groups typically return before the end of April.
  • Numbers are on the rise. Last year, 517,000 Canadians spent at least 30 nights in the U.S., up from 415,600 in 2003, Statistics Canada says.
  • Mexico is heating up as a snowbird destination. About 700,000 Americans and Canadians live in Mexico year-round or part-time, according to the Mexico Tourism Board. Popular retirement havens for Canadian and American birds are Guadalajara, Lake Chapala, San Miguel de Allende, Cuernavaca, Oaxaca and Guanajuato.
  • An updated edition of Gray's Snowbird Guide hits bookstores around the end of November but can be ordered online now.
  • More information on out-of-country issues is available at snowbird.ca.

-- Paul Luke, Vancouver Province

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